linuxftw in  
Software Engineer  

Bridging the Silence: the middle voice matters now more than ever

Found this tweet very interesting:

My attempt to summarize: in a compelling observation of American discourse, the author identifies a concerning trend where only the extremes are heard—the super-empowered and the utterly disempowered—while the moderate majority remains silent. The 'super-empowered', wealthy and influential individuals, are not hesitant to voice their opinions on various issues, as they are well-informed and hold enough societal standing to withstand potential backlash. On the other end of the spectrum, the 'un-empowered'—often labeled as internet trolls—speak without filter or fear of consequence due to anonymity or a perceived lack of social standing to lose.

The 'normal good people' with reputations and livelihoods to maintain, however, choose silence over speaking out. This silence is not without reason; it's a self-preservation tactic in a society where a single comment can attract significant negative attention, potentially leading to ostracization or job loss. This phenomenon was personally witnessed by the author through experiences during a campaign for a Harvard Board, where numerous well-meaning and successful individuals privately expressed support but shied away from public endorsement on contentious subjects.

The heart of the matter is that these extremes dominate the conversation, forming echo chambers that impede diverse and moderate viewpoints. The author argues that this is a serious challenge for our institutions and society, as it stifles well-reasoned, moderate voices that are crucial for a balanced and constructive dialogue. There is a pressing need for the 'middle'—the well-adjusted and thoughtful majority—to find the courage to express their views, ensuring a healthier, more representative public discourse.

I find this to be very true today, and I think this happens within all spheres including among companies and corporate decision making. I wonder what the best counter to this is. I don't know the answer, but there has to be some element of letting people speak freely without consequence as an individual, and that usually lends itself to some amount of anonymity. Thoughts?

psterlingSoftware Engineer  
I honestly think the best solution to this is to actually have smaller teams entirely. Teams that execute fast should actually trend towards being more homogenous for the sake of speed and alignment than being a bloated organization with dissent between the “top”, “middle”, and “bottom”