DEV Community

loading...

Discussion on: How to Apologize

Collapse
rrampage profile image
Raunak Ramakrishnan • Edited

I think the apology is fine (at least they apologized rather than the usual corporate non-apology we see) but they will need to take more concrete measures to regain trust. They only went back on this because of the massive backlash on various social networks.

For Triplebyte job applicants are the "products" whereas the companies which pay for the service are the customers. Given such incentives, it is natural to start introducing measures which are hostile to the job applicants.

A mark of Silicon Valley culture has been to ask for forgiveness, not permission especially regarding user data. And most times, the companies get away with it. If the company is big, it can get away with a few days of bad news (looking at you Facebook). I will remain skeptical of Triplebyte for the near future.

Collapse
somedood profile image
Basti Ortiz

A mark of Silicon Valley culture has been to ask for forgiveness, not permission especially regarding user data.

Wise words there, my friend. This is indeed the unfortunate reality we live in.

If there is any consolation, at least the apology was genuine, and I find that commendable at the very least.

Collapse
codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald Author • Edited

While I generally agree on a broad level, I think the critical difference here is twofold:

(1) Triplebyte doesn't have a history of these sorts of mistakes, to my knowledge. (Contrast with, say, Zoom.) Perfection is unattainable; all anyone can ask for is best effort, and appropriate response to mistakes. Yes, this is a big mistake, but it's not a pattern.

(2) It's a plausible mistake to make, not just the usual "ask forgiveness, not permission". When I first saw the feature announced, I (a privacy advocate) overlooked the problem. "Oh, cool, that'll make job searches easier for users," I thought. I'm stressed already, so it wasn't until I saw this email that I realized the problem. I really think they tried to do something for the users, and missed a REALLY BIG facet.

Consider for a moment if you made a mistake like this in one of your projects. You think it's a great feature...until you go on social media (the primary means of getting feedback) and find your users in distress about it. Did you "ask forgiveness, not permission"? No! You merely found out about the mistake because of user feedback that came through the usual channels, of which social media is a primary component. (We don't know if they received direct emails, nor is it wise to assume that their response wasn't triggered that way instead.)

I think it's reasonable to be fair here. They made a mistake — yes, a big mistake, but no bigger than anyone in their position is capable of — and immediately responded in the only correct way. What more could anyone even do once the mistake has been made?

I'm sure it will take time for trust to be regained for many. As Ammon stated in his letter, this is just a first step. They've already made the concrete step of immediately cancelling the feature. Triplebyte doesn't expect that this will make everything better, as many companies would. But it's the only good place to start.

Collapse
rrampage profile image
Raunak Ramakrishnan • Edited

I think it's reasonable to be fair here. They made a mistake — yes, a big mistake, but no bigger than anyone in their position is capable of — and immediately responded in the only correct way.

I would agree if the response was immediate. They responded after over 2000 people deleted their accounts. It was more a reaction to extremely overwhelming feedback on Hacker News (the original post has >1500 upvotes).

Here's their CEO defending their plan on that post:

  • link telling that the idea was to have something similar to LinkedIn (another company with known history of anti-patterns) profiles
  • link conflating public profiles on Stackoverflow, HN, Angellist with their own platform which on its front page says : "Is it confidential? Yes. We will not share any information about you with companies until you’re ready"

Summing up, a string of red flags for me:

  • It was surprising how such a decision was taken with very little input from developers.
  • Opt-in by default - a known anti-pattern
  • With a one week deadline to opt out
  • By releasing an email on a Friday
  • Only backing off due to overwhelming negative feedback.

Of course other companies have done worse, not back-tracked and sent out non-apologies. But that is not a very high bar for a company which claims to care for developers. That's why I will be skeptical of Triplebyte for the near future.

Thread Thread
codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald Author

Well, I see his thought process behind the feature, which he echoed in his apology letter. I thought much of the same about it at first.

I can't really say I share your assessment though, as there are a lot of assumptions of bad faith inherent. Here's a few thoughts in response:

It was surprising how such a decision was taken with very little input from developers.

Developers, as in the team itself? Source if so? Or do you mean "from users"? If so, mistake, but there's also a balance between getting user approval for every idea (bad) and getting their approval for certain things (good).

Opt-in by default - a known anti-pattern

Agreed, mistake. He didn't disagree.

With a one week deadline to opt out

As opposed to no deadline, the industry standard.

By releasing an email on a Friday

At the weekend, when people would be more likely to check their personal emails, which are the most likely addresses to register with. That's not a bad thing.

Only backing off due to overwhelming negative feedback.

As opposed to what? There are always complainers about even the best idea, and it isn't always easy to weed through user feedback. Once it became clear there were a lot of concerns, they reconsidered and immediately backed off. Instead of moving forward anyway, like most of Silicon Valley.

But that is not a very high bar for a company which claims to care for developers.

It almost sounds like the bar you're setting is perfection, if I'm honest.

Thread Thread
rrampage profile image
Raunak Ramakrishnan

Or do you mean "from users"?

I meant users not the development team

It almost sounds like the bar you're setting is perfection, if I'm honest.

No. All I explained were my reasons why i will not trust Triplebyte more after this controversy.

I can broadly understand where you are coming from - a company pulls a bad move, is widely criticized, rolls it back and apologizes. Hence, you trust it more after the incident.

As for me, trust lost is more difficult to regain as I held Triplebyte to a higher standard compared to the rest of the industry. Let's just agree to disagree here.