Basecamp Bans Politics, An Act That Itself Is Political

from the you're-not-actually-helping dept

On Monday, Basecamp CEO Jason Fried came out with a blog post announcing not only a cutback in employee benefits, but that it would be banning social and political conversations on the company's platforms as well:

"These are difficult enough waters to navigate in life, but significantly more so at work. It's become too much. It's a major distraction. It saps our energy, and redirects our dialog towards dark places. It's not healthy, it hasn't served us well. And we're done with it on our company Basecamp account where the work happens. People can take the conversations with willing co-workers to Signal, Whatsapp, or even a personal Basecamp account, but it can't happen where the work happens anymore."

In an accompanying post, CTO David Heinemeier Hansson added a little more context:

"There are many places to be involved, exposed, and engaged in those conversations. Basecamp shouldn't be one of those places. Basecamp should be a place where employees can come to work with colleagues of all backgrounds and political convictions without having to deal with heavy political or societal debates unconnected to that work."

While the executives' public-facing posts make it sound like the company (and all of its 60-odd employees) was somehow awash with uncontrollable off-topic partisan division, insiders are telling a different story. According to employees, the saga actually started when employees began to balk at a running, 10-year old list of customer names being consistently shared among customer service reps because some of the names "sounded funny." As a cultural reckoning over race, speech and corporate responsibility grew, employees wanted to apparently have candid conversations about mocking folks on the list:

Some of the names on the list were laughed at for harmless reasons. But given some of the names on the lists were of Asian and African decent, some employees felt uncomfortable. So in other words, the "ban on politics" was really a ban on having basic internal conversations about the company's own juvenile behavior and whether Basecamp could do better as a company.

It should be obvious that it's unrealistic to believe that in an era of daily police brutality, racist violence, mass shootings, a plague (and idiotic politicization of said plague), rampant corruption, and life-threatening climate change triggered events, that "don't talk about reality on your work accounts" is a serious and effective adult position you can take. Especially in an era where governments are seemingly incapable of meeting the needs of their people, and companies are often foisted into political leadership roles (whether they like it or not).

The other problem, of course, is that the assumption that politics and work are isolated, separate entities is just kind of naive:

The founders of Basecamp assume that conversations about politics and society are unrelated to work. It’s a false assumption. Politics and societal issues shape the world of work in myriad ways, including both the products that Basecamp builds and the experiences that people have while working there. We know, for example, that people’s racial and gendered biases get built into algorithms; that programming terms can reflect racist histories; that conversations about transgender and LGBTQ rights can apply to something as concrete as company policy surrounding pronouns; and that the #MeToo movement prompted a much-needed conversation about how sexism and sexual harassment are rampant in many workplaces."

The other, more notable problem is that banning political conversations is itself a political act, something noted by journalist Will Oremus:

Someone who has a lot of power (CEOs making significant cash) telling others with less power and wealth to "not talk about politics" is itself an act of politics. It's also an act of wishful thinking that protects and defends the status quo, whether the folks making the restrictions understand that or not. It's an act that prioritizes the comfort of those who think politics is a gross distraction. Folks who don't understand "politics" can often mean "I'd simply like to not be murdered for being black" or "I'd simply like to have clean drinking water" and that muzzling those worries at work is an additional kick to the groin.

If the status quo is a broken system that largely benefits wealthy white executives, then of course said executives would just prefer to see politics as this superfluous annoyance that should be muzzled and locked in the basement. But it's a foolish distinction that's not only not going to work, it's only going to net you bad PR for not understanding how the world works.

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Filed Under: culture, jason fried, politics, society, work
Companies: basecamp


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  • icon
    amoshias (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 1:50pm

    Cutting benefits

    Did they actually cut benefits? Or did they just turn benefits payments into salary? It was hard to tell whether what they were doing was neutral or bad for the employees.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 4:36pm

      Re: Cutting benefits

      Not what is being discussed...but I’d note that A) they got a cash payout this year, but no benefits and no one hired after that announcement is likely to get what sounds like a one time payoff.

      B) cash is less useful than a benefit. Your landlord can raise your rent and take cash. It can’t take your company healthcare

      C) no raises are being given. Benefits are replaced with a 10% profit share, a retirement plan whose value is unknown and provides little immediate benefit. This was not an “incorporation of benefits into salary” it was a one time cash bonus in the value of a years worth of medical benefits, and afterwards a pay cut.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Whoever, 30 Apr 2021 @ 11:04pm

        Re: Re: Cutting benefits

        C) no raises are being given.

        I don't see that in the blog posts.

        it was a one time cash bonus in the value of a years worth of medical benefits

        I don't see any reference to medical benefits in the blog posts.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Koby (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:31pm

    Don't Spread Misery

    Numerous entertainment activities are enjoyable because they are an escape. Leftist puritans have sought to politicize everything, out of fear that some folks out there might be happy.

    If SJWs are constantly making everything political, then it sounds like having no politics is a superior solution. Let the woke mob angst over the latest microaggression on their personal accounts and time, while leaving the rest of the employees alone to do some actual work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:42pm

      Please define the terms “SJW” and “woke” separately from one another.

      Also: As the article points out, work and politics are intertwined in numerous ways. A software company that doesn’t to confront the fact that its product may contain racial biases, for example, could refer to any discussion of such biases as “politics” and therefore ban it from employee discussions. The “no politics” approach could thus silence those whose voices should be heard on the matter and make harder any meaningful change within the company.

      Then again, maybe that’s your goal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bloof (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:48pm

      Re: Don't Spread Misery

      Except this is nothing more than a means to crack down on people in the company discussing the activities going on in their workplace. They're just slapping down a blanket ban rather than accepting internal criticism of things management are fine with that look horrible to more recent hires, like the 'Let's laugh at the funny foreign names' list.

      Once again, it seems you're fine with free speech being cracked down on, as long as it's the free speech of the left or any sort of social conscience. It's almost as if your endless claims of being a champion of free speech are entirely disingenouous and you're fine with censorship as long as it preserves the ability to punch down.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:49pm

        It's almost as if your endless claims of being a champion of free speech are entirely disingenouous

        “Every self-imposed label, a rejection”, indeed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2021 @ 4:42pm

        Re: Re: Don't Spread Misery

        this is nothing more than a means to crack down on people in the company discussing the activities going on in their workplace.

        Yep, and it's explicitly illegal under the National Labor Relations Act:

        the National Labor Relations Board protects the rights of employees to engage in “concerted activity”, which is when two or more employees take action for their mutual aid or protection regarding terms and conditions of employment. A single employee may also engage in protected concerted activity if he or she is acting on the authority of other employees, bringing group complaints to the employer’s attention, trying to induce group action, or seeking to prepare for group action.

        They also have the right to attempt to form a union, which is a political topic if I've ever heard one.

        Basecamp has already broken the law:

        The National Labor Relations Act forbids employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of rights relating to … working together to improve terms and conditions of employment….

        I can't see any court buying their argument that the discussion was "unrelated to work". That's obvious bullshit, given that one of the complaints was about how company employees (mis)used data provided to the company by customers.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        Koby (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 4:59pm

        Re: Re: Don't Spread Misery

        It's very simple: people in their private lives and in their personal time can say whatever they want. When you're at work, tho, you're expected to do work. Your employer can tell you what to say as a condition of employment. It's not a free speech issue; it's a matter of business survival.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 5:31pm

          When you're at work, tho, you're expected to do work.

          What if, as a part of work, someone talks about a situation like the Basecamp situation with the “funny names” — would that discussion be “political” because it might bring up race, or would that discussion be “political” because it calls attention company practices that the company would prefer everyone to ignore?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 8:06pm

            Re:

            Remember that these are the same kind of trash that attack the LGBT community as being "political" simply for existing.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              sumgai (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 10:10am

              Re: Re:

              ... attack the LGBT community as being "political"

              To be fair, the queer community has been depending on politicians to defend them from persecution, for decades. In my book, that's about as close to the word "politics" as you can get, in both senses of the word.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 May 2021 @ 1:07am

              Re: Re:

              "Remember that these are the same kind of trash that attack the LGBT community as being "political" simply for existing."

              To be fair, in an environment where a significant proportion of the population believes that LGBTQ people are untermenschen, being LGBTQ is indeed political.

              It's one of those hypocritical newspeak concepts of the modern US conservative - they bicker endlessly about wanting the lesser people cast out of society then whine incessantly when those people try to claim their rights.

              It's why anyone who believes in equal rights is an enemy to the entitled snowflakes of the trailer trash alt-right. To them it's personally offensive to be told they don't actually have someone lower than them on the totem pole to spit on.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2021 @ 4:02pm

      Re: Don't Spread Misery

      Rightwing nutjobs make every suggestion for an improvement anywhere into a political circus. These things don't have to be very political, even if they have roots in social politics of the past. But y'all do your damndest to make sure they are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 5:48pm

      Re: Don't Spread Misery

      "Leftist puritans...
      ...SJWs...
      ...woke mob..."

      Koby is devolving into a bad Twitter meme.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 8:04pm

      Re: Koby Spreading Misery

      [Projects facts not in evidrnce]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 10:42pm

      Re: Don't Spread Misery

      Why do you think this story has anything to do with "leftists" or "SJWs"?

      Why do every one of your comments make stupid assumptions?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 2:30am

      Re: Don't Spread Misery

      "If SJWs are constantly making everything political..."

      In a country suffering the problems with racism, misogyny and intolerance the US is suffering from, everything is political.

      "Let the woke mob angst over the latest microaggression on their personal accounts and time..."

      Microaggressions are no doubt inflated in importance in the US where everyone has become incredibly thin-skinned...but Koby, we all know by now that you aren't lambasting platforms for throwing out people who dared to doubt the benefits of cale or the sanctity of preferred pronouns.

      Your definition of "microaggression" is that platforms are being too "thin-skinned" when it comes to evicting your Proud Boy and neo-nazi friends. That's become pretty clear from all your previous arguments so as a source of revelations your well has been pretty thoroughly poisoned.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bshock, 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:36pm

    It has been argued that the political system each of us lives under is most attributable to where we spend our time. In other words, if we spend significant amount of our time at work, the work environment constitutes our primary political system. Considering that our work environments are usually rigid hierarchies ruled by one or more people, most of us are probably spending our lives in hegemonies or dictatorships.

    Companies are always encouraging a unidirectional loyalty from us, analogous to the patriotism where we give life and limb for our country. Of course if any individual in the hierarchy above you finds that they can improve their salary, bonus, or general standing by kicking you out, the company will expell you with the minimal expense it thinks it can get away with. If the company wants to move its offices, it will do so on a whim, either leaving you behind or making you uproot your entire life to follow. If the company wants to ship your job overseas, it will do so without consulting you (beyond, perhaps, requiring you to train your replacement). In fact, although so many aspects of your life are wrapped up in the company -- where your family lives, how well your family lives, whether or not your family has healthcare -- the company can and always will make any decision it wants without even giving you a vote in the matter.

    Company politics sure as feces isn't democratic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 2:35am

      Re:

      "In fact, although so many aspects of your life are wrapped up in the company -- where your family lives, how well your family lives, whether or not your family has healthcare -- the company can and always will make any decision it wants without even giving you a vote in the matter."

      ...which is why it's important to have unionization and regulations forcing the corporation to provide some advance warning before it chooses to change itself drastically.

      Although everyone suffers to some extent when the largest employer leaves town, only the US has such lacking regulatory oversight that "employees" might as well be considered indentured serfs.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:37pm

    Leftist puritans have sought to politicize everything, out of fear that some folks out there might be happy.

    IIRC the Puritans had more in common with conservatives than liberals. Might want to check that your analogies are making any sense at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:38pm

      Re:

      Bah, miss-clicks. Well I'm sure most people could figure out who I was trying(and failing) to reply to (And if you can not, well you are probably better off)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sok Puppette (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:37pm

    Who (the fuck) are these people and why is everybody talking about them all of a sudden?

    From all the stuff that's been plastered all over everything I read, I have gleaned the information that they're about a 60-person company in Chicago, and that they had something to do with inflicting Ruby on Rails on the world.

    Somehow I'm having trouble caring about them or anything they do...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2021 @ 6:29pm

      Re:

      The company itself seems to be under the watchful eye of the FBI and SEC for currently unknown reasons.

      But we've all seen how Enron and other things like this start as "being watched" and suddenly the boulder is rolling downhill right at them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    William Null, 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:44pm

    Interesting.

    Looks like TechDirt only protects the right of companies to make moderation decisions willy-nilly only when those decisions suit them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:46pm

      Please point out where the article said Basecamp didn’t have the right to make this decision.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        William Null, 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:50pm

        Re:

        Let me rephrase.

        Looks like TechDirt doesn't criticize companies for making moderation decisions willy-nilly only when those decisions suit them.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:52pm

          So what if it doesn’t? Find a different blog if’n you don’t like the stories this blog covers (and the way it covers those stories). Door’s to your left; nobody is making you stay.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            William Null, 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:57pm

            Re:

            Unfortunately there aren't any other blogs that cover the kind of issues TD does and besides TD does good job on stuff like trademark, DMCA and patent abuse. It's only when they engage in politics that their obvious left-wing bias shows (although I must praise them for correctly highlighting Biden's anti-freespeech history, shame only it was released after the election).

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 3:01pm

              Techdirt isn’t legally, morally, or ethically required to comfort your feelings. Don’t like the bias? Go somewhere else. Whining about the bias won’t do shit here.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Baron von Robber, 29 Apr 2021 @ 3:06pm

              Re: Re:

              So what you're saying is, "I'm so far on the right, there's nobody further on the right of me and everybody else on the left. I did Nazi that coming."

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              christenson, 29 Apr 2021 @ 3:09pm

              Re: Re:

              Uh, bad news for you: TM, DMCA, IP, and Patents are very much politics. So is TD when it reports on the police. It's all politics!

              And, by the way, a list of funny customer names is something I'd definitely put the kibosh on if I were CEO...making fun of a few customers is a good way to lose many customers, and (unless I'm a really big outfit) they pay my salary, if indirectly! In the alternative, making my power-minority customers feel better might be a way to a lot more customers, too.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 2:42am

              Re: Re:

              "It's only when they engage in politics that their obvious left-wing bias shows..."

              You know how we can tell you don't have a clue where left/right are even located on the political scale?

              To the rest of the world, Techdirt would be considered a broadly centrist-skewed publication with a nod toward classical old conservative liberalism. Eisenhower might have fit in well enough here.

              As Baron von Robber highlighted the only thing you just showed was that from your personal perspective the founding fscking fathers would be screaming leftists.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 10:02am

              Re: Re:

              It's only when they engage in politics

              The irony of making this complaint on this particular story...

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 6:11pm

          Re: Re:

          Looks like TechDirt doesn't criticize companies for making moderation decisions willy-nilly only when those decisions suit them.

          Again, this is not about moderation, and we criticize moderation decisions all the time.

          You're not making any sense, William.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 6:10pm

      Re: Interesting.

      Looks like TechDirt only protects the right of companies to make moderation decisions willy-nilly only when those decisions suit them.

      This is not about moderation. This is about how a company works, and we're not saying they don't have the right to do this... just that it's stupid.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 11:27pm

      Re: Interesting.

      Is it too hard to ask that there be some kind of criticism of stories on this site that aren't completely idiotic and depend on lying about the site and the story?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 12:12am

        Re: Re: Interesting.

        Seriously. Sometimes we get perfectly reasonable criticism. But lately, the true crazies have really been coming out of the woodwork.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2021 @ 8:59am

          Re: Re: Re: Interesting.

          But lately, the true crazies have really been coming out of the woodwork.

          They haven't quite been able to cope with the fact that QAnon's promises turned out to be nothing but fetid horseshit.

          Although when you think about it, the fact that Hilary Clinton never stepped into a jail cell - or the lack of a fully constructed wall along the border - should really have made them realize something was up. They really only have themselves to blame for failing to recognize that Trump was absolutely going to throw them under the bus after January 6th.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 12:14am

        Re: Re: Interesting.

        When you think about it the 'quality' of the criticism actually serves as a solid compliment to the site, because when you need to lie to make your argument that's a pretty solid admission that even you know you've got nothing and can't honestly argue against your opponent.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 12:52am

          Re: Re: Re: Interesting.

          Yes. What's sad is that it is possible to make a coherent counter-argument against most of the articles written here. But, the truth is often boring.

          I might not agree, but I would respect someone who is capable of articulating a counter position to what's in the articles here. For example, the article above has a lot to chew on. It's clear why some organisations choose zero tolerance policies rather than deal with cases on their own merits. It's also clear why these cause their own problems, why work and politics cannot easily be separated (especially if you consider things like race and sexuality to be political). It's clear why some people would consider, for example, a list of "funny" names to be harmless fun, while another person would see a disturbing racial motivation that makes them feel uncomfortable.

          It's a complex issue, with discussion to be had on all sides, and it would be interesting to have a counter-argument about why the zero tolerance policy might be the correct thing to do, or how the things being criticised here are positives. Especially in those areas that bleed out into the wider discussions of things like platforming. Many would probably disagree, but it would be an interesting disucssion.

          Instead, we get random people spouting off complete misrepresentation of the issue, the opinions stated here and in other threads, and zero attempt to even engage with what's said, let alone provide a way to discuss things honestly. It's such a sad waste of time and effort. But, I agree - if this is the best argument these people have, it's a fair indication that the original criticism was spot on.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            christenson, 30 Apr 2021 @ 5:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Interesting.

            OK, I've given a solid business reason why a list of "funny customer names" might be a problem for a business -- some customers see it as insulting to at least some customers, don't want to do business with me.

            On the second hand, in the exact same business, let me turn that very same list into training material for my customer service reps...the exercise being how to handle oddball names they aren't used to in the best way???

            On the third hand, what if the business is like "The Motley Fool", which has a reputation for not taking itself all that seriously, and undoubtedly has a large number of standing jokes in their offices?


            Politics at work is not a problem per se. It's that when you get into hardened "us" versus "them" with no respect and no learning going on, it tends to interfere with the business as a whole -- successful businesses never forget they are about making customers want to pay for what they do and marshaling the necessary resources, including people, to make that happen.

            There's a few restaurants in the news this week (especially one in Ohio) that are learning the hard way that by ignoring "SJW" values, such as Covid guidelines and generally being decent, they can't seem to hire any help to do the essential work. Reasonably diligent management would have had no trouble seeing it coming, but only if they allowed that aspect of politics to be discussed.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 1 May 2021 @ 1:26am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Interesting.

              "by ignoring "SJW" values, such as Covid guidelines"

              I have nothing to add, except to note how sad it is that the US has devolved so far that basic hygiene during a global pandemic has become a divisive political issue. The irony being that if they didn't oppose temporarily wearing an extra piece of clothing while in public, it might already be over.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 1 May 2021 @ 2:21pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Interesting.

                Reminds me of a pic I ran across.

                'Patriot': I'd do anything for my country!
                Doctors: We just need you to wear a mask.
                'Patriot': But I don't wanna!

                That really is a whopper of a facedesk thought, when you realize how much of the whining about the gov'ment telling people what to do and 'infringing on their rights' could have been avoided had people simply been responsible and shown even a sliver of care for the lives and well-being around them for even just a month or two.

                You'd still have cases I'm sure but they would likely be few and far between and easy to contain, however instead because the whole thing was politicized and people decided that their personal comfort trumped the lives and safety of everyone around them the death toll in the US has hit half a million and just keeps rising.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 7:18am

          Re: Re: Re: Interesting.

          "...when you need to lie to make your argument that's a pretty solid admission that even you know you've got nothing and can't honestly argue against your opponent."

          That'd normally be true...but not in this case.

          There are plenty of criticisms that can and have been levied at Techdirt articles. Over everything from grammar to factual bloopers and corrections. And this isn't that.

          What we're seeing lately coming from more than just Baghdad Bob is a bunch of proud boys and stormfront refugees who are allergic to logic and factual reality and swing around here only because mentioning bits and pieces of the reality they don't agree with compels them to start chanting a talking point they don't understand but feel may suit the occasion. No matter the topic they'll just swing by and drop the idea that racism is a valid pov, bigotry a conservative value, and anyone showing them the door because they're horrible people is obviously a censorship maniac.

          It's like that old Roman senator Cato who inserted a call for the destruction of Carthage at the end of every speech.

          What you say is completely unimportant. No matter what it is they'll respond with some variant of "Let us shout the N-word on Facebook, you terrible person!"

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelaion, 29 Apr 2021 @ 9:45pm

    And one time, at Bandcamp, I stuck a foot in my mouth...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Annonymouse, 30 Apr 2021 @ 10:01am

    Politics in Business and how to screw things up

    One of my clients has postings throughout their laboratories and production areas that state "we only speak the language of business here".
    This had me thinking everyone had to use pointy haired boss business speak but on further thought it was management's attempt at the communication issues in those areas.

    A majority of the personnel are non-native speakers and tend to converse in their native tongue with coworkers from the same country.

    This causes major safety problems where clear communication in a hazardous environment is essential. Annoys me to no end.

    There are also social problems where denigration of other groups is involved. With the prevalence of smartphones and the availability of capable translation apps a few people were rightly furious with what was being said about them or others.

    HRs solution was the unclear signage.

    Sadly nothing has changed and I sure as heck won't react and admit I understand the particular language being spoken. Not worth the aggravation.

    Note: I speak 2 fluently and have basic understanding in 3 others that also happen to be spoken in these facilities. Not saying how many I can spew invectives in though.
    =P

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 May 2021 @ 1:20am

      Re: Politics in Business and how to screw things up

      "HRs solution was the unclear signage. "

      That sounds like a client which has serious problems with professionalism. Where I work that'd be grounds to terminate the contract, the way we write those things.

      Most major corporations have a code of conduct which specifically state that as an employee you are held to high standards of inclusivity and diversity. If it turns out that you are a racist, this job is not for you. If someone makes an off-color joke where the humor lies in denigrating other people, co-workers or not, then it's everyones job to speak up and say "not cool".

      Politics is safe, and we all understand that racism and bigotry isn't "politics". Violating those Codes of Conduct is one of the few things which will let your line manager walk up to you and hand you your notice.

      I work for Big Oil. If we can get this there's no excuse for anyone else not to.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2021 @ 10:44am

    It seems plausible that arguments over this office humor list had become disruptive to work performance and mangement took the opportunity to put a stop to it and try to forestall similar issues in the future.

    Whether the policy will be effective I don't know, but either way I dont't think employees should be using work time and work accounts to talk politics unless its part of their job.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 11:57am

      It seems plausible that arguments over this office humor list had become disruptive to work performance and mangement took the opportunity to put a stop to it and try to forestall similar issues in the future.

      Maybe management should’ve tried stopping people from using that list of names as a source of humor steeped in cruelty (and maybe some bigotry). Sweeping the issue under the rug with that “no politics” dictate doesn’t solve the root issue in this situation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2021 @ 8:38am

        Re:

        Cruelty? It's office humor, not a hit list. When you exaggerate an inconsequential thing like a list of funny names by calling it something serious like cruelty or bigotry, you are also diminishing those serious words.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 May 2021 @ 12:59pm

          Cruelty requires either an act that inflicts suffering or enjoyment in the suffering and degradation of others. Mocking a person for their last name — reducing their existence and their humanity to a punchline for the sake of a cheap laugh, possibly due to bigotry — is cruelty. A child bullying another child in a way that never becomes violent but still destroys the self-esteem of the victim is also cruelty.

          Humor borne from cruelty is only funny to the similarly cruel. To everyone else, it’s called “being an asshole”. Yes or no: Do you still wish to defend that “office humor” as “inconsequential”?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sumgai (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 11:19am

    Ultimate Policy Statement

    OK, boys and girls, this is it, the shit is now hitting the fan.

    Unless you are masochistic (and if you are, then take it offline!), then here's the new policy. And yes, it's not even a restatement of the old policy, it is the old policy. But somehow, many of you have forgetten it.

    • Do fscking NOT fscking feed the fscking trolls!!!!

    If you think you're reading Bagdhad Bob, blueballs, or someone of simliar nature, then STOP! Think about it.... he (or she, or it) has never before exhibited any kind of working brain cells, so why in the world would you suddenly be capable of bringing them to Jeebus???

    Even postings like "Assumes facts not in evidence" or "Show me where in the article it says...." or anything else like that, all of those responses are simply feeding the troll(s). And you just know that's what they'are here for, to agitate you no end. That's the only thing they live for, period.

    Remember this above all else - if you engage a troll, you are stooping to their level, and they are going to beat you with experience. Think about it the next time you're tempted to hit the 'reply to this' button.

    That is all, thank you for your attention to this matter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 11:54am

      Re: Ultimate Policy Statement

      here's the new policy.

      I would be on board with your idea, but of course commenters don't have any authority to set policy. Which is good.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 11:58am

      You have no power here, but feel free to think you do if that makes you feel better.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 12:05pm

      Re: Ultimate Policy Statement

      Speaking of trolling, enjoy the flag you've earned.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 1:26pm

      Re: Ultimate Policy Statement

      Good advice, but maybe next time phrase it as a request instead of acting like you have some kind of authority to enforce it.

      At any rate, even if you'd asked nicely, people still aren't going to stop feeding the trolls. I figured that out years ago and wrote a Greasemonkey script to let me block users I don't want to see, and replies to them. If you want a quieter Techdirt experience, that works for me.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sumgai (profile), 1 May 2021 @ 9:15am

      Re: Ultimate Policy Statement

      OK, OK, I've read your comments, thank you one and all (even you, the flagger). And I hope you are reading this reply.

      Essentially, we can't use emoticons of any sort here, or I'd've plopped down the sarcasm jobbie, trust me. This was both a venting, to be sure, and a plea for others to do as I asked. But the mood I was in at the time, that lead my reply to be based on

      • This life is just a drill. Had it been a real life, you would've been given instructions on where to go and what to do.

      I simply riffed on that. Most of you took it another way, and I'm sorry that I did't make it more plain. But in my defense, you should recall that I usually say something like "If I were Mike" or "If I were in charge...", that sort of thing. This time I didn't, and I have to pay the consequences. Mea culpa.

      But let me finish with just one question: Why in Gawd's name would anyone want to feed any kind of troll???? (Per Thad's reply below.) Oh, wait... I have a potential answer - to clean up the mess left by the trolls, is that it? But if feeding them just leads to further messes, we're stuck in a 'lather, rinse, repeat' cycle, aren't we?

      And to keep it all in one post: No, Stephen, I don't have power here, I'm done with that after 15 years of being the SysGod of another forum, TYVM. But like I did there, I was attempting to guide others into a more productive channel, that's all. (And yes, even after all that time, I still stumbled on occasion.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 1 May 2021 @ 9:47am

        Re: Re: Ultimate Policy Statement

        But let me finish with just one question: Why in Gawd's name would anyone want to feed any kind of troll????

        Back in the before times, if I remember correctly comments couldn't be downvoted into oblivion, so it made sense to rebut them for the benefit of anyone else reading. Now that they can be hidden, I agree it would be better to just flag them and move on. Any curious reader will at least have an indication that the community has decided the comment is without merit. Alas and alack, the urge to reply is just too strong. I admit I do the same, but only if others are already replying and it's too late to leave it ignored.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          sumgai (profile), 1 May 2021 @ 11:45am

          Re: Re: Re: Ultimate Policy Statement

          Thank you, nasch. I agree, it's hard to keep quiet when someone is begging to be 'corrected'. My "mantra" is coming out of frustration that these asshats don't understand that they are being laughed at - they just keep on being ignorant, come hell or highwater. My second-grade teacher Mrs. King would've had some choice words for the parents of such people.

          But as others point out, I'm not in charge, so my choices are still the ultimate ones: love it or leave it. ;)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 May 2021 @ 1:10pm

        Essentially, we can't use emoticons of any sort here

        You can, but you have to use the proper escape character for Markdown (the backslash) when necessary. For example: I have to use three backslashes for the shrugging emoticon to parse right.

        ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        Alternative solutions include using an emoji known for marking irony/sarcasm/humor (e.g., 🙃) or, as I started doing a while back, using a tilde before punctuation. I promise that it always works~.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    restless94110 (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 12:36pm

    No Reason

    What a breath of fresh air for a company to ban social justice banshees from the company. The business of Bandcamp is music not who has the correct political beliefs. He should have gone farther. All the people doing their social justice idiocy should have been let go.

    Replaced by people who want to work, not monitor others. Such a great development. We can only hope that all companies dismantle all of the Diversity Departments immediately. I know. Those employees will have to go back to being Starbucks baristas, where they belong.

    The next step would be cutting all HR departments by 90 percent. Or 99 percent. They are utterly useless and serve no positive purpose. Perhaps the ones that are cut can become farm workers thus obviating the need to have illegals come in to do jobs Americans won't do.

    We an only hope and pray that this is a trend that will take over all American companies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 1:13pm

      Translation: “I love to see a company let its employed bigots run amok with no consequences.”

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 30 Apr 2021 @ 1:20pm

      Re: No Reason

      The business of Bandcamp is music not who has the correct political beliefs.

      You may have to take that up with Bandcamp yourself, the rest of us is debating Basecamp who dabbles in project management, team communication and sticking their head into the sand.

      Oh, just a little PSA for you: Before posting, make sure you have engaged your brain, it seems to be severely underused judging by your posting-history.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2021 @ 7:05pm

        Re: Re: No Reason

        Before posting, make sure you have engaged your brain, it seems to be severely underused judging by your posting-history.

        Yeah... about that. I don't think restless will be engaging his brain any time soon; he has not, at any point, demonstrated signs that he even possesses one.

        The suggestion that white folks would suddenly lower themselves to do the blue-collar work they rubbish immigrants for is also icing on the cake.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 9:51pm

      Re: No Reason

      The business of Bandcamp is music not who has the correct political beliefs.

      That's fascinating. This story has nothing to do with Bandcamp. But it's good that you've now demonstrated how little you actually read the articles here when you have to rush in to virtue signal what a total bigoted asshole you are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2021 @ 12:24am

      Re: No Reason

      The business of Bandcamp is music not who has the correct political beliefs.

      Basecamp =/= Bandcamp.

      Holy shit, what a fucking idiot!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 1 May 2021 @ 1:16am

      Re: No Reason

      "The business of Bandcamp is music"

      Cool. What does that have to do with Basecamp, the subject of the article which is not in that business?

      The rest of your comment has the same relationship to reality as that part.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Thad (profile), 30 Apr 2021 @ 1:14pm

    Casey Newton:

    About one-third of Basecamp employees accepted buyouts today after a contentious all-hands meeting. I’m told more are coming.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2021 @ 6:25pm

    In other news, why are accountants swirling around Basecamp like vultures around a dead zebra?

    Why are the CEO and his buddies quietly dumping all their basecamp holdings and moving money offshore?

    Also, Why has basecamp been given a court order not to destroy any financial documents and to co-operate with the FBI and SEC in a major audit?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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