Symbolic gestures make sense when there are no pragmatic alternatives, like the things Eich was working on. You shot one of the good guys.
— Dave Winer ☮ (@davewiner) April 4, 2014
If you care about the open web, please help de-politicize Mozilla http://t.co/8n3d8QHCwv
— Ben Moskowitz (@benrito) April 4, 2014
Mozilla, if you don’t know it, is a much-respected nonprofit with a business nestled inside it that, among other things, makes Firefox. They elevated Brendan Eich, one of their cofounders, to CEO. Eich was a Prop 8 donor; people objected. Three board members resigned when he was given the job, including two who were former CEOs. (The organization says those board members were planning on leaving, but their departure leaves the Mozilla Corporation board with three whole members.) Employees asked Eich to step down. Eich made a commitment to help Mozilla ensure its place as an ally to the gays. And then Eich resigned, and resigned from the board of the foundation itself, which now has just five members.
And now the gays are being blamed for their pesky “interference” in this important company. And we’re getting straightsplained about how we “politicized” Mozilla. Why did we do this terrible thing! Why did we “shoot” one of “the good ones,” in the classic language of Dave Winer? Yes, and why did we make those board members go away? How can we want to live in a society where people with despicable views won’t defend them long enough to make the situation better, and instead, huff off, quit their jobs and apparently delete their Twitter accounts? One minute Eich was blogging about how he’d show everyone that he could deal with a complicated situation, celebrate diversity and the company, and ensure that everyone could trust in his leadership. Eight days later, his willingness to see that process through had apparently evaporated. Mozilla politicized Mozilla. And the gays didn’t make Eich quit. He didn’t want to do the actual work. He flounced.