Re: Your Ire Is Misdirected

Hi, Gerv,

I’m sure you’re inundated, and you sure as heck don’t know me, so there’s no need to respond to this.  But I really appreciated your post the other day, and wanted to share my reaction with you.  Perhaps it will be of some use in figuring out Mozilla recovers from this catastrophe.

As I see it, there are still two big reasons why I and people like me — broadly speaking — are going to have to withhold support Mozilla for the foreseeable future, even after our current anger subsides:

(1) In your post, you give the public your assurance that Brendan really did leave of his own accord; that he really wasn’t forced out; that the Board actually fought to retain him as CEO.  The problem is that your assurance is not a very strong authority outside Mozilla’s walls, and it has to be weighed against the evidence.  This certainly looked, from the outside, like a standard corporate decapitation, where the Board decided to fire the CEO and allowed the CEO to “resign” only to retain his own dignity.

We saw Brendan promising never to resign just a couple days before he did.  We watched Robert George predict — to all appearances accurately — how this was going to play out. We heard the dead silence from the principal players.  (Why hasn’t Brendan said a word in defense of Mozilla since he left?) We noticed that all other accounts of his resignation say the Board tried to retain Brendan as CTO — but pointedly not as CEO. Above all, we read Mitchell’s (very unfortunate) blog post on Resignation Day.  In that post, she seemed to concede that Brendan never should have been hired, that “equality” trumps free speech in this case, and that Mozilla’s biggest takeaway from all this is that, given the chance to do it all again, they’d have fired Brendan even faster.

In this light, your anonymous sources are just not very convincing, even given your bona fides as Mozilla’s last public marriage traditionalist.  (Perhaps especially given those bona fides: what happened to you two years ago would seem to support the suggestion that Mozilla’s commitment to inclusion is skin-deep at best.)

(2) Even if you are absolutely right, and leaving was entirely Brendan’s idea, it still sends a terrible message to the world: “Mozilla can be bullied.  We cannot protect our leader from a bunch of petty thought police on the internet.  We will leave him on the front line, alone, to take 100% of the incoming fire, and then we’ll thrust the blame on ‘outsiders’ when the wounds take him out.”  If that’s the case, then perhaps Mozillans really do still believe in the radical inclusion the project was founded on — but it hardly matters, because Mozilla is no longer calling the shots.  The bullies have taken control, and Mozilla is impotent to resist their imperious will.

In either case, Mozilla is not something many of us feel we can be a part of — or should be — right now.

You mention forgiveness.  If Mozilla wants forgiveness (and I am not even convinced that it wants to be forgiven as forgotten right now), I think it will have to demonstrate some level of repentance and some level of autonomy.

First, repentance: Mozilla must recognize that what happened was not a causeless tragedy that mysteriously destroyed the co-founder like a bolt of lightning.  This happened because the entire community failed.  It wasn’t just the few who raised their voices in protest against Brendan.  It was also those who were publicly ambivalent and conflicted (there were so many!), and even those who supported Brendan but refused to put their foot down and demand that he be retained.  The community either openly attacked or (more often) simply failed to defend either the principles of the project or the concrete policies that give those principles life.  The community’s reluctance to close ranks around the project – not the CEO or his particular beliefs, but the whole concept of an open-source browser that everyone can be part of — was the key fact that made the subsequent media bonfire successful.  It was a sin by the entire community, and it needs to be acknowledged and addressed by the whole community, not just in individual “I feel sad we lost Brendan” posts on Planet Mozilla.

Second, autonomy: social conservatives need to know that Mozilla not only regrets what happened to Brendan, but that it has the desire and ability to make sure that nothing like it will ever happen again.  That people who have “offensive” political opinions still have a place at Mozilla, that our contributions are valued, and that we can even become leaders within the organization.  That Mozilla has not been conquered by ideological interests at Slate and Salon and OKCupid, but remains a genuinely global project that embraces literally anyone who is willing to work toward the (crucial!) goal of a free and open web.

I don’t know how Mozilla might go about doing this, and (unlike those who waged war last week) I don’t presume to dictate terms.  I only know that Mozilla has done absolutely nothing whatsoever since the resignation to restore our sense that it is a “safe space,” and I know that it cannot ever do that without positive action of some kind.  When a university administration is accused of discriminating against racial minorities, they will often establish programs and endowments to ensure that members of those minorities are hired and are able to contribute to the university project without fear of reprisal or undue discomfort.  Perhaps (perhaps) something along the same lines for ideological minorities would help restore the public trust.

For now, however, I’m afraid I won’t be on my favorite browser, and neither will my clients.  This is written from Chrome, which is gross… but at least I know I could go to Google and have a productive career there despite my private beliefs… even if they harvest all the data about my private beliefs and sell it to the NSA.

I don’t know where the open web goes from here, but, fundamentally, a web controlled by the same forces that led to Brendan’s resignation is not an open web at all — except for those privileged to have the “right” opinions.  That means Mozilla, as it currently looks from out here, as it currently operates, cannot carry forward the open-web ideal — not until this is addressed and corrected.

Maybe this all looks completely different from within the Mozilla community. I don’t know; I’m pretty much just a longtime fan and user and promoter, not a contributor.  And there are my two cents.

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  • LorenzoC

    Well written, I agree on everything.

    One thing then, I have never bought the “Mozilla is a safe heaven” idea.
    Mozilla is not going to do anything about “the event”, they will either rewrite history to remove the said above issues and sell the “not our fault” story or simply throw it all behind their shoulders. At the and a “conservative guy” was rightfully removed, everybody feels relieved but a bunch of other “conservatives” who have their lesson learned, problem solved. Now move on with the “mission”.

    And who cares of using Firefox or Chrome now? The implications and consequences of “the event” are much wider than the browser. Now everybody in the world knows that Mozilla is a sort of trojan horse left out of their wall. In the sides there is written “we support the Open Web” but inside there are stormtroopers of the “we support equality”.

  • LorenzoC

    BrendanEich (@BrendanEich)

    BTW, about “the accounts”, I am reading this:

    http://dutherenverseauborddelatable.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/a-curse-and-a-blessing/

    April 8, 2014 at 4:37 pm
    David, can you please stop running all over the blogosphere writing things you do not know to be true?

    No one tried to convince me to stay as CEO. My previous position was
    not just CTO, it was also SVP Engineering — a position eliminated in a
    reorg I had just done.

    What “key position” am I “active” in now, pray tell?
    Best to stick to what you know to be true.

    /be

    • BCSWowbagger

      Oh, Brendan’s back online! Thank you — I had not seen this. (His Twitter seems to be up again, too.) (And he seems angry. Which… can’t say I blame him.)

      • LorenzoC

        This must be verified.
        But he says: “No one tried to convince me to stay as CEO” and this is the opposite of what we are being told by everybody. In Mozilla official blog it is said somebody asked him to stay in another position, like it was a viable option. I guess Eich doesn’t say anything these days because the truth could do more harm to Mozilla.

  • LorenzoC

    Please forgive the mistake in “copy&paste”.

  • Anonymous Bystander

    Good post but what’s with that paragraph about “I’m using Chrome now even though I prefer Firefox”? That’s just silly.

    • Valentin G.

      I agree with everything in this post except the paragraph about Chrome. Sure, use Chrome if you like it more, if you feel it’s better or if you think it’s better for your privacy. But I for one treasure your privacy and security more than I care about the recent scandal.
      Sure, Chrome is good enough, but try to make this decision with your head, instead of your heart.
      Many were hurt by the recent events, but I don’t want to use that as an excuse for making a poor judgment call (security/privacy wise).

      • BCSWowbagger

        “Sure, use Chrome… if you think it’s better for your privacy.”

        Ha ha! I smiled. Perhaps there is some alternate reality out there where everyone is evil, Mitchell Baker has a goatee, and Chrome is better than Firefox at privacy. But this is not that reality!

        However, if forced to choose between a browser that protects my private data and a browser that protects my private actions, I will actually choose the latter. Just different values, I guess.

        Fortunately, I don’t have to make that choice, because IceCat and Opera and Pale Moon all exist, so that’s where I’m headed. But I’m not familiar with any of them, so I’m spending a few days with just Chrome while I test them each out. My preference, however, will always be for a free and open Firefox backed by a free and open Mozilla. I’m hopeful for the future in that regard.

        • LorenzoC

          Opera is a skin of Chrome unless you stay with some version of the 12.x branch (the one still based on Presto engine).
          Pale Moon is Firefox code recompiled with different flags.
          Icecat is basically Firefox.

          To get away you should use some really different thing like Midori or Qupzilla but they are not as “refined” as the browsers above.

        • Guest

          Your reasoning for using chrome is absurd.

          Mozilla did not force eich out, he resigned because he could no longer effectively lead due to this absurd controversy. The pressure was from outside forces, the media picked up on eich’s donation and the board members resigning, and made false assumptions that the board members resigned because of eich’s views (hint, this is not true at all, they resigned for completely unrelated reasons), and the tech media’s unresponsible reporting is what started this ridiculous media frenzy. And then once eich resigned, the conservative media made assumptions that he was forced out by mozilla because of his views (hint, again, this is NOT true, he resigned because he could not effectively lead mozilla with this circus going on), and started piling onto mozilla.

          This whole circus was a bunch of outside forces using mozilla as a springboard to project their political arguments. Mozilla and Eich were victims of the media spreading ridiculous rumors and the resulting internet lynch mob, they didn’t really have any winning moves.

  • djc

    In my view, both the principles of the project and the concrete policies flowing out of them include “vigorous debate in the open”, and I like that about the community. Thinking out loud (including doubting leaders’ decisions), to me, is an integral part of what it means to be an open community. It obviously doesn’t work well with the media, but I would be hard-pressed to ask for repentance because of it.

  • Robert O’Callahan

    “Mozilla can be bullied” is a true statement. We all wish it wasn’t true, but the nature of our work means that we’re vulnerable to boycotts and other tools of bullies.

    Now, you probably say “but my issue X” (inclusiveness in your case) “is so important that you should stand up for it no matter what the cost to Mozilla’s actual mission”. Do you hear how similar that sounds to the message of your opponents (where X = “marriage equality”)?

    A few more things:
    * You’re probably right that, in hindsight, it would have been good for more Mozilla employees to publicly demand Brendan be retained. But that’s in hindsight. At the time, it seemed plausible (to me anyway) it might just make things worse, and it didn’t seem all that plausible that Brendan would step down.
    * Why is that only an obligation for Mozilla staff? Shouldn’t the conservative public calling for a boycott now have been just as vehement in their support of Mozilla back then? I saw none. It looks to me like both sides of this war are only interested in punishing their enemies, not supporting their allies.
    * I’m well-known to be a Christian within Mozilla. This is not a problem. http://robert.ocallahan.org/2014/04/fighting-media-narratives.html
    * Google officially opposed Proposition 8, so I don’t think you can be CEO there. I don’t see how it’s better than Mozilla from your frame of reference.

    • Eric

      I think the conservative public didn’t express support for Eich before his resignation because they weren’t even aware of the controversy until after he resigned. I myself didn’t know about this until April 4 (the day after), and I’ve been obsessed with following this story ever since.

      • LorenzoC

        You mean “american public”.
        Others don’t exist.

    • BCSWowbagger

      “Now, you probably say ‘but my issue X’ (inclusiveness in your case) ‘is so important that you should stand up for it no matter what the cost to Mozilla’s actual mission’. Do you hear how similar that sounds to the message of your opponents (where X = ‘marriage equality’)?”

      Here is the difference, as I see it: marriage equality has nothing particular to do with a free and open project to construct a free and open web. I concede that there are excellent arguments why someone who supports that project should, logically, also support marriage equality. But you could have a free and open project to construct the free and open web regardless of whether or not your jurisdiction has marriage equality. Mozilla was founded and very successful before same-sex marriage existed literally anywhere in the world. It has continued to be successful as same-sex marriage becomes normalized throughout the West. It could continue to be successful in a world where same-sex marriage was universally legal — or, hell, even mandatory! The point is, there’s no direct connection between the one and the other.

      But a free and open project to build a free and open web is by definition inclusive. I’m not saying, “Hey, sacrifice the entire project in order to keep it inclusive!” I’m saying, “If you’re not protecting inclusiveness, you’ve already sacrificed the project.” And I think that’s true. Mozilla is either about letting everybody build the web for everybody, or it’s about letting some people build the web for some people. This week, it appeared to consciously choose the latter. Perhaps this is my mistake, and I’ve been misunderstanding the mission all these years… but I’ve always understood the Manifesto’s Invitation to put radical inclusion at the very foundation of the project.

      “Why is that only an obligation for Mozilla staff?”

      It’s not. There wasn’t complete silence — I was trying to make a little noise — but it was close and that’s not okay. I wrote more about this on Andrew Truong’s blog a few days ago, hoping to explain conseratives’ silence, though I certainly can’t absolve it: http://feer56.ca/?p=111#li-comment-1527 .

      However, I think Mozilla team members have a special obligation to speak up on behalf of Brendan, because — unlike the rest of the world — Mozillans have committed themselves to the mission: to the Manifesto, to the Community Participation Policy, and (in my eyes) the core principle of inclusion. Conservatives will (as we’ve seen) hold Mozilla accountable when they stray from the mission, but I think the buck ultimately stops with Mozillans themselves.

      For what it’s worth, I agree with you that hindsight makes plain what at the time seemed cloudy, I agree with you that online discourse is very broken, and I agree with you that both those things have painfully exacerbated this situation.

      “Google officially opposed Proposition 8, so I don’t think you can be CEO there.”

      Well, the reason I PERSONALLY can’t be CEO there is because I’m terrible at business and frankly no genius when it comes to code, either. But — and maybe this is incorrect of me — I do think someone like Brendan could serve as Google’s CEO, because most companies hold their CEOs harmless over private political activity.

      A couple of years ago, Target — whose corporate culture I would describe as “deep blue” (their headquarters are here in Minneapolist) — got in trouble with LGBT activists because of a corporate political donation a couple years ago (long and boring story). In the course of that kerfuffle, it came out that Target’s CEO and his wife have donated big piles of money to Michelle Bachmann in several recent campaign cycles. Most at Target deplored this. Heck, I deplore Bachmann and I’m conservative! Activists wanted him (and Target) punished for it. But Gregg Steinhafel is still CEO over there, because he’s very good at his job, he keeps his politics out of his work, and Target wasn’t willing to enforce its positions on public affairs on its officers’ private lives. It wasn’t worth it, even if their stand cost them money and prestige.

      I’m sure we could dig up other examples given time and sufficiently large donor databases. What made the Eich case such a firestorm, after all, was its novelty: to my knowledge, nobody’s ever been thrown out a corporate window before simply for donating to a political cause, or at least not a political cause that commanded majority support at the time. Not at Target, not at Google, not anywhere. Except now Mozilla.

      So I may disagree with Google’s stance on marriage. But I’ve seen no reason to believe that someone within Google would one day hit an ideological glass ceiling, as long as they can keep their opposing views out of the workplace. It seems the same is not true at Mozilla. That’s very important to me, and apparently to many others.

      “I’m well-known to be a Christian within Mozilla. This is not a problem.”

      I, personally, don’t think people are worried about Mozilla’s stance toward contributors who quietly profess mere Christianity. I, at least, am worried about Mozilla’s stance toward contributors who privately adopt unpopular political positions that might stem from a Christian faith. You’re a notorious Christian, but it’s not widely known whether you are pro-traditional-marriage, or pro-Personhood, or pro-Voter ID, or a climate denier. It’s healthy to keep that private, but if you hold one of those positions and it became known, are you still confident that you would face no problems or backlash within the project?

      If so, that’s the story Mozilla should be trumpeting right now, in my opinion. If it’s true, it’s not being seen, it’s not being heard, and the project is being unfairly pilloried. The current storm will pass, but the new perception that Mozilla is a hostile environment for us dissenters is going to persist until it is dispelled by positive action.

      Thanks for your post, and for your years of contributions to a project that has reshaped the web.

      • Robert O’Callahan

        Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I agree with a lot of it, and it’s a feature of broken Internet discourse that I’m going to highlight some bits I disagree with :-) .

        > I’m saying, “If you’re not protecting inclusiveness, you’ve already sacrificed the
        > project.”

        I agree that inclusiveness is a good goal. It is, in practice, a lot more diverse than companies whose power centres are enclosed by the Silicon Valley bubble. But even accepting Mozilla isn’t perfectly inclusive, I think your position is overly absolutist. You seem to think that if we’re not 100% inclusive, we should give up on the entire project. I don’t see how Brendan getting run over (not of our will!) outweighs all the good we could yet do.

        > Mozilla is either about letting everybody build the web for everybody, or it’s
        > about letting some people build the web for some people.

        This isn’t logical. It would be quite possible to build a Web for all people with an organization of very limited inclusiveness. No-one wants that, of course, and Mozilla definitely isn’t that.

        I don’t accept the equivalence of the Target analogy you’ve presented, and I stand by my evaluation of Google. Unfortunately, we’ll probably never know, since it’s pretty clear that from now on major California tech companies will quietly weed out CEO candidates on the Prop 8 blacklist. If it plays out otherwise, I will gladly stand corrected.

        I see the implicit challenge to me you’re raising here. It’s something I’ve been thinking about. I’m not sure whether or how to pick it up, and whether the results would be overall good or bad. I’m quite sure I, personally, would be fine.

        • LorenzoC

          ” Mozilla is either about letting everybody build the web for everybody,”
          In fact IT IS NOT.
          Mozilla “lets” you build the Web only if/when you are approved by the LGBT community. Then you must “support the LGBT community” or you must stay invisible. Try to do something that pisses the LGBT community and then come back and tell.

        • http://weblog.latte.ca/blake/ Blake Winton

          In my opinion, the analogies with both Target and Google are fatally flawed, as neither of them are non-profits attempting to build communities, and hiring CEOs who have taken action to rescind the civil rights of a segment of their communities. (To be clear, that previous sentence was from the point of view of a marriage-equality-supporting contributor, not necessarily my point of view.) If you could find a Greenpeace CEO who drove a Hummer, or owned significant stock in an oil-drilling company, that would be more convincing to me. ;)

      • Gijs Kruitbosch

        “The point is, there’s no direct connection between the one and the other.”

        There is, however, a connection between being a community that is very open, and where people are used to saying what they would say without first having to put in numerous disclaimers on how their speech relates to their belonging to the community (or being employed by the Mozilla Corporation or Foundation) and the outside world. On any issue. As Robert noted, we can be bullied. We don’t live in a vacuum. On top of that, there’s the thorny issue of seeing prop 8 as taking away existing rights at the time, which directly affected people employed by Mozilla’s corporate daughter (Mozilla Corporation). A lot of the people inside the community, including those whose previously-established legal rights had been affected by prop 8, effectively thought along the lines of: “well, that might be what you did privately, but you’ve always treated all of us well, so I have no reason to suspect that will suddenly change”, and Brendan promised to work hard to do still more for Mozilla’s inclusiveness (including, ironically, a project to involve more of the LGBT minority much like what you noted in your original post) but that was not enough for the bullies.

        I would wager (and I sadly lack crystal balls, so add salt appropriately) that on any issue of this kind, enough bullying would be effective to get someone to step down as CEO. Even if it were about animal rights, or about housing (another thorny issue in SF particularly), or about any number of issues where political donations have actual real-world-affecting power, which feeds back into the community and the world at large, CEO or board appointments could be problematic. And I’d argue that’s less of a fault of Mozilla than it is of “the real world”. There are thousands, perhaps even millions, of cases where people in power step down under intense pressure even if their own organization/company/government backs them up continuously (we just had one here in the UK where Maria Miller resigned over expenses issues, despite being cleared by the relevant committee as well as public backing by Cameron et al. until the very end — yes, of course expenses are actually related to her work rather than orthogonal, but she was actually formally cleared of charges, ie officially innocent, and still couldn’t hold her post!). In other words: we can be bullied… like most organizations/corporations/governments.

        While a lot of the community looked at everything that happened, looked at the CPG and Brendan’s actions within Mozilla, and said “OK, so by our rules this shouldn’t be an issue, because within Mozilla things are clearly fine per the CPG”, the outside world doesn’t judge us by our rules, it judges us by their own laws and personal value systems. And this time, the outside world didn’t let it go, even when we tried to explain that we thought there wasn’t an issue (or didn’t say anything because we thought there wasn’t an issue, and in time the outside world would stop complaining – which with 20/20 hindsight was clearly wrong).

        To me, the saddest thing is that it’s all about media power. If the next CEO (not just at Mozilla, but practically anywhere in the US, UK, or even “the West”, if you prefer) had donated money to any side in certain causes elsewhere (the Palestinian issue, the war in Syria, the issues in the Central African Republic, Egypt, issues relating to China and Taiwan, …) that effected (even more) serious impact on people’s rights elsewhere, I’m not sure the uproar would be as big (or, at least, it would need a correspondingly larger number of people to be uproared, cf. Avaaz et al.). It’s not about the freedom of speech, it’s essentially just how news impact is inversely proportional to how close to us it is. And yes, Mozilla’s US corporate headquarters are in California, and Silicon Valley has a lot of people that care about prop 8, so bullying there is highly effective. Hypothetical bullying of a hypothetical $NEXT_CEO of $COMPANY from (for example) either side of the Palestinian issue might have been much less so. Is that really sad? Definitely. Is there a lot we can do about it? Probably not. :-(

        So this is all point 2 (because I don’t really see how I can address point 1). As for forgetting, no. We definitely do not want to be forgotten. We do a lot of our communication in the open, as individual contributors, and if anything, I’d like to point to this particular post by one of our volunteer contributors: https://groups.google.com/d/msg/mozilla.governance/9OS_8pT_CwM/Tl0NWSSZ-poJ .

        Getting forgotten would be a disaster for the open web. As for repentance and forgiveness… this is a difficult question (forgiveness is always difficult, I guess). I’m not sure what you think community repentance would look like. We don’t generally vote on things. We have discussions about what the best thing to do is, and then someone we trust makes a decision based on the discussion and the pro/con arguments, and the appeals go through the “decision maker” (“module owner” in mozilla-speak) chain. Brendan is buck-stopper at the end of this appeal chain (and still is, because our community isn’t defined by employment — see also his two comments linked above). This is actually how we avoid being victims of bullying by a “vocal minority” for technical issues (and perhaps part of why we were taken by surprise to a certain extent).

        I’m not sure how that discussion would work regarding forgiveness/repentance in this case. Repentance has to come from the offender and can’t be laid down from “management” or a central decision maker. To my mind, that rules out a process like the above. In a sense, I would say that the repentance that was the deluge of blogposts of sadness about the whole affair has already happened (yes, I am aware that sorrow at having offended and repentance are not necessarily the same thing). Waiting for everyone to say the same thing doesn’t seem reasonable. I’m not sure what else you think we could do to represent “repentance” from “the whole community”.

        While I sort of see your point about autonomy, trying to create an incentivized effort for people to join Mozilla, specifically for those who hold opinions outside of Mozilla that they will then be careful not to apply to Mozilla-internal things seems… hard to make work? That said, I know that there are staunch atheists, Jews, Buddhists and Christians, Britons and French, youngsters and oldsters, and so on — all within one Mozilla. Making them all “show their color” as it were, about their privately held beliefs or private actions or private donations or private “allegiances” (OK, kidding about the Britons and French…), would not necessarily seem productive to me. Not because I would fear for judgment from within the community – I would fear for judgment from without, and as I’ve noted above, that’s something that it’s very hard to protect people against.

        PS: final nit on your original post (and then I should get back to work!) — Mozilla seeks an open web. Mozilla does not seek to control said open web. So even if you were to think that we are a community that has issues, and that we can’t be trusted with governing the web, in principle that shouldn’t mean not supporting us to help create the open web. Obviously, I would prefer that you did trust us and joined us, but even so, you can support the open web both “inside” and “outside” Mozilla (the definition is pretty fuzzy anyway…). We’d be happy to have you on board with our manifesto and mission either way. :-)

        • Herb

          the outside world doesn’t judge us by our rules, it judges us by their own laws and personal value systems.

          You make several statements along these lines and I have one question.

          Why is it okay for Mozilla to be affected by one group of people, the LGBT community, but not another? If you wish to blame outside pressure for the resignation and claim you could do nothing then why not do the same with the uninstall movement? After all, it’s outside forces not judging you by your internal standards but their own so what can you do?

          The seeming contradiction is easily resolved if you realize that the majority of people in the Community and certainly the Corporation agree with one group and disagree with the other. However, having decided to bow to external judgement both the Community and the Corporation have to accept, like it or not, you’ve given everyone who wants to do so and try to influence you to join in.

          • Gijs Kruitbosch

            Where did I say or imply it was OK to be affected by any group of people particularly? I tried to make the point that it’s (a) bad that we can be bullied, and (b) that the ease with which we can be bullied is correlated to a topic/side’s relevance to the people that make up the community (and sadly, probably the corporation in particular). I don’t think either of these are good, but I don’t really see how we can usefully fix them, either.

            Meanwhile, I am unsure how we would or wouldn’t “do the same with the uninstall movement”. Concretely, what are you suggesting would redeem/help us?

            • Herb

              Where did I say or imply it was OK to be affected by any group of people particularly?

              It was a rhetorical question because I completely agree with your point b.

              that the ease with which we can be bullied is correlated to a
              topic/side’s relevance to the people that make up the community (and
              sadly, probably the corporation in particular).

              The Corporation hasn’t even bothered to respond to the critics of the “resignation” beyond an insulting FAQ that is 100% true except for the lies by omission. At the same time they apologized for not acting quickly enough about the promotion. When we ask if that means they should have forced him out sooner the reply is “no, we should have started a conversation sooner.”

              Instead of responding to critics we have the “reinstall Firefox campaign” which is so respectful of people who they want back it boils down to “you don’t understand what happened and if you don’t believe our story 100% you’re close minded an not worth engaging”.

              A much smaller group “bullied” Mozilla Corp into doing something you admit was aligned with the majority view in Mozilla while the larger group isn’t even worth a “hey, can we talk about it.”

              Mozilla chose to allow itself to be bullied because it was a way to attain the goals many in the community wanted without having to take responsibility. Even your post is a continuation.

              Why can’t the lot of you be honest and admit you believe employment should be conditional on belief. I suspect I know the reason but I’d like to hear your explanation.

      • Mook

        Thank you for the discussion; this has been insightful :)

        Your words made me go re-read the manifesto; I note that it mentions nothing at all about being inclusive, at least in terms of who participates in the project (as opposed to who the end users shall be). The closest is point 8, “[t]ransparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability and trust.” But that doesn’t actually say that the community gets to decide; in fact, people involved in Mozilla frequently bring up “meritocracy”, which is basically the opposite of that.

        • helix400

          Mook? Is this my fellow MinimizeToTray partner from years back?

          I think this part covers inclusiveness:

          “Some Mozillians may identify with activities or organizations that do not support the same inclusion and diversity standards as Mozilla. When this is the case:
          (a) support for exclusionary practices must not be carried into Mozilla activities.
          (b) support for exclusionary practices in non-Mozilla activities should not be expressed in Mozilla spaces.
          (c) when if (a) and (b) are met, other Mozillians should treat this as a private matter, not a Mozilla issue.”

          Part (c) should mean that inclusivity is allowed if people leave their politics at home.

          • Mook

            Yes, I’m that Mook. Hi! Been a while. How have you been? (… Okay, mail me offline or something.)

            Right, that quote is from the CPG. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s supposed to be fundamental to the Mozilla project (it’s just the sensible thing to be doing when interacting with people). It seems more… advisory than evocative.

            Fun history: the CPG was started because of a blog post on the definition of marriage (beginning of March, 2012). But then, the Manifesto didn’t exist when we started either.

    • LorenzoC

      Besides I have never heard of a company that is “pro” or “contrary” some regulation or law in my own country and the only issues companies usually have are about salaries of employees and complaining customers, your “I am a well known X, it is not a problem” is true only until:
      1. you become CEO or some relevant position

      2. some mozillians get angry at you for any reason

      3. these mozillians build up a campaign to get you out.
      So you being “ok” or not depends on you annoying the right people or not.

      You know it sounds a bit like a mafia movie, when they come and make you an offer you cannot refuse. Currently you are “ok” in the neighborhood because you get along well with Mozilla’s goodfellas.

    • Herb

      Now, you probably say “but my issue X” (inclusiveness in your case) “is
      so important that you should stand up for it no matter what the cost to
      Mozilla’s actual mission”. Do you hear how similar that sounds to the
      message of your opponents (where X = “marriage equality”)?

      Mozilla has shown it’s willing to embrace political positions based on public pressure. Why should I reject the chance to influence them if those I’m opposed to did not? Why should we unilaterally disarm?

      We did not open this front in the culture war. Mozilla did not resist but responded passively to attempts to drag Mozilla into the culture wars.

      Your employer has, admittedly passively, decided to pick sides. Why shouldn’t we try to move it to ours?

      • Robert O’Callahan

        Mozilla did resist and is still resisting. From https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2014/04/05/faq-on-ceo-resignation :
        > Do you need to support marriage equality to contribute to Mozilla as an
        > employee, volunteer, or in a leadership role?
        > A: No. There is no litmus test to work at Mozilla.

        “Why should we unilaterally disarm?” Don’t disarm, just pick someone else’s neighbourhood to raze. Someone who isn’t just trying to do some good in the world.

        • Herb

          > Do you need to support marriage equality to contribute to Mozilla as an
          > employee, volunteer, or in a leadership role?
          > A: No. There is no litmus test to work at Mozilla.

          Who am I supposed to believe, you or my lying eyes? Your CEO is a former and all the white wash in the world won’t fool anyone who has been around Fortune 500 style corporate management or a political campaign at any level caught in a scandal (and I’ve been around both). All that was missing in the resignation was a desire on his part to spend more time with his family.

          As I said above, I’d be much less frustrated by all of this if Mozilla would just be honest about it and admit:

          1. Politics controls who can work at or above a certain level at Mozilla
          2. Mozilla is willing to cave to small protests they agree with (on the whole) and to stand up to those who they disagree with in face of a larger protest.
          3. They are cowardly enough to claim they had no control on the effects of the small protest in #2 but are bold enough to do that while trying to reverse the effects of the large one.

  • thought

    > at least I know I could go to Google and have a productive career there despite my private beliefs…

    No, I think it is 100% certain that Google would never promote a supporter of traditional marriage to the position of CEO. Especially after this event, but even before. Like most bay area companies, Google is extremely liberal.

    • BCSWowbagger

      Perhaps that is the case. I have no evidence either way at the moment. Should it ever be proved true, then I will uninstall that, too, and browse in… I don’t know, Netscape Navigator 4 or something. I’d rather have no web than have to browse the web in Internet Explorer!

  • Malaka

    It’s kind of ironic to see that your discomfort in seeing Mozilla as a welcoming place for ppl sharing your ideas is exactly the same that ppl had back when the whole thing started 2 years ago.
    They saw no official statement that the views expressed where their sole owners opinions and were not representative of Mozilla views as a whole.

    Had it been stated clearly back then, it would have closed any debate.

    Welcome to the our world from 2 years ago. When ppl like me decided not to use mozilla products anymore…

  • helix400

    Thanks James. You’ve summarized *exactly* what I’ve been saying and thinking, but you did it better and more eloquently. I’m with you. This is a new glass ceiling. And I can’t support an organization that is complicit in creating this new glass ceiling, and is dead silent on taking any steps to remove it. How can I support an organization knowing that if I were to work for them, they wouldn’t support me? Even if I follow all company rules on company time? It’s a scary new precedent.

    So far, indications are that Mozilla wants to just do a reset button. “Lets say we’re sad, recognize nobody won, ignore the past, and look forward.” That isn’t going to work. Mozilla can still be bullied, and the glass ceiling is still in place.

  • gerv

    Hi James,

    As you may have noticed from the mention on my blog, I really appreciated your analysis. Please ping me your email address at gerv at gerv dot net, as there’s a couple of things I’d like to share with you.

    (Also, all praise to the power of the pingback; without those, I would not have known about your article.)

    Thanks,

    Gerv

  • Fourth doorman of the apocalyp

    As someone who finds Evolution a compelling explanation for much of life, I see this as evolution in action. Just as organisms that make mistakes in life fail to pass on their genes, so too should organizations.

    Die Mozilla.

  • tz1

    Sins of omission can also be grave and willful. And done with full knowledge.
    Eich was bullied. Extorted. Recant, resign, or the “tolerance” crowd will destroy Mozilla. That was his choice. When bullying is happening – and Mozilla employees themselves were part of it – the proper response is to act against the bullying regardless of why the bullies may think they are justified. The board preaches freedom and tolerance, but like Pilate when confronted with having to do the right thing claimed they had no idea what it was, and afterwards apologised for letting Eich be CEO.

    They’ve not asked for forgiveness – nor.thi.k they’ve done anything wrong.

  • tz1

    I’ve switched to PaleMoon, which is a fork of Mozilla and set the useragent compatibility off. But my favorite extensions work. Linux and Mac versions are available, the former on SourceForge

  • Blackdog112

    I tend to agree with this post. There were multiple public pronouncements from Mozilla “apologizing” and reaffirming support for marriage equality when the LGBT community was offended. Yet there has been nothing but crickets in response to those offended by the perceived intolerance for opposing views. Folks at Mozilla can claim to simply be victims in the “culture wars” but it rings hollow. From the outside it seems apparent that the company is choosing sides. That being the case I don’t expect any sort of comment at all on the issue from Mozilla much less repentance.