Let’s start with a Mozilla drama
Some time ago, a Mozillian expressed his opinion on gay marriage. This post has been relayed on Planet Mozilla, an aggragator of blogs of a lot of mozillians. Planet includes technical stuffs as well as personal stuff. It’s not curated, so everthing shows up, regardless of what it’s about and regardless of endorsement by Mozilla or even the community. Anyway. Since the position isn’t the politically correct one, it became a drama.
It has generated a lot of comments. I’ve been surprised by some:
Gay marriage isn’t far left wing. It’s good for everyone. Looking forward to the day when this is obvious in the Mozilla community.. What does it have to do with the Mozilla community? It was the opinion of one person!
A lot of my thoughts on people’s reaction is well summed up by Kairo:
Being open is to a large degree about accepting that other people have different views, even on controversial topics, tolerating their views, and requiring other people to change those to be able to work in the same community with them.
Unfortunately, it’s is often those who insist most to call themselves “open” who seem to not be able to accept that.
I am seeing this very often. Those who call for accepting differences, who are against discriminations are shockingly discriminating towards those who disagree on that point, having the exact attitude they reproach others to have.
Discrimination and work
Today was publish a post on RudeBaguette on recruiting a developer. Some parts are rather disturbing. With work, the equation of how to handle discrimination is becoming harder to solve.
People can have gaps in their CV. They will always try to cover these up. The causes can be very different – from drug abuse, unemployment (especially in France), sickness, laziness, failed relationships. Without trying to pry into their personal lives, try to get an idea of these gaps if you see them. Obviously the drug abuse is a red flag…
So now, to be hired somewhere, you have to not have touched drug of your entire life? And maybe no parking ticket as well? How is it the business of an employer if someone did drug and is now clean?
Obvious Red Flags – Offensive behavior: Any racist remark or female-bashing, is a no-no for me. In theory I don’t care about what people think about this stuff, but if they need to air it during a job interview, they can keep looking for that perfect job position at the Front National.
Ok, so now, expressing political opinion makes you not being hired. That’s just plain recrutment discrimination. Aren’t there laws against that?
The grey area
I strongly disagree with the above quotes especially with how radical (“red flag”) they are. I however understand the underlying intention. It is definitely easier to work with people you agree with. It probably looks better for the company to not have an ex-junky as employee. But are those reasons to not hire someone.
I strongly disagree with all form of extremism, both discrimination and positive actions and I think a middleground should be looked for.
Going back to Mozilla, I do not know Gerv that much, but before his post appeared on Planet, what I knew of him was his action among Mozilla, the work he was doing. And as far as I know, he works hard, he fights for the same Mozilla mission. I don’t give a shit about his political opinions as long as they are expressed with respect to other opinions and stay within the realm of opinions. Caring for the same mission and working towards it is what made Mozilla the meritocracy it is.
I think what is true for Mozilla is also for any human group. People are not all the same, they disagree on some things, agree on other. It doesn’t prevent them to be able to work together on the same projects. There is no reason this couldn’t be true in a startup. There is no reason being an ex-junky or ex-alcoholic makes someone less reliable or efficient for a developer job.