Somebody working at Mozilla put together a timeline of facts surrounding Brendan Eich’s resignation.
And the real tragedy here is that Mozilla would have sorted this out satisfactorily if it hadn’t been sensationalized by the media and turned into an internet witch hunt. Anyone who wrote a news story, posted to their blog, or tweeted about Brendan without understanding paragraph (i)(c) of the Community Participation Guidelines was part of the mob that brought Brendan down.
For more than 15 years, Brendan fought for openness and freedom on the web, and led many of the people who built that open and free web. This week, in a senseless, vicious convulsion, the web turned on him.
Meanwhile, Mozilla published an FAQ.
Q: Was Brendan Eich forced out by employee pressure?
A: No. While these tweets calling for Brendan’s resignation were widely reported in the media, they came from only a tiny number of people: less than 10 of Mozilla’s employee pool of 1,000. None of the employees in question were in Brendan’s reporting chain or knew Brendan personally.
In contrast, support for Brendan’s leadership was expressed from a much larger group of employees, including those who felt disappointed by Brendan’s support of Proposition 8 but nonetheless felt he would be a good leader for Mozilla. Communication from these employees has not been covered in the media.
Which echoes something written in the timeline mentioned above:
11) On March 27th, a small number of Mozillians tweeted variants of “I am an employee of @mozilla and I’m asking @brendaneich to step down as CEO”. These tweets were reported by the tech press, and my perception is that this was the start of the media firestorm. Most (or perhaps all) of the Mozillians who tweeted this were employed by the Mozilla Foundation, not the Mozilla Corporation which means that they report to the executive director of the foundation and not to the CEO. As foundation employees, they did not share the same org chart as Brendan.
This is why pieces like this trouble me:
Both writers seem concerned that Eich’s resignation is a defeat for freedom of expression. If anything, it is a victory – the ouster of a founder and CEO by his own people, at a foundation based on open and equal expression, should be the new textbook example of the system working exactly as it should.
I hope this episode is now closed and that everybody learns a lesson from this.
(Especially, the guys at Rarebit who, after publishing an article “5 reasons why Brendan Eich should step down” now write “I want to say how absolutely sad to hear that Brendan Eich stepped down.” No comments.)