Slack正在开发一些工具来判断某人是否有麻烦

2018年03月30日 1660次浏览
Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield is fascinated by “people analytics.”

 


在二十世纪九十年代初期,新成立的互联网传播者承诺无性别的乌托邦。他们认为,像种族和阶级这样的分层标识符会在网上被遮蔽,因此有偏见的判断将因此变得过时。这并没有完全奏效。

性别规范今天渗透到数字通信当中,如同他们面对面一样强有力地(并且对女性有害),显示出数十年的语言分析。正如 研究数字通信动态的领先语言学家Susan Herring 所说的,无论是在列表服务,短信,Facebook还是Reddit中,男性都倾向于“数字化传播” 。与此同时,女性在私人空间中自我隔离,像直接消息一样仅限女性空间。

日益流行的工作场所沟通平台Slack不免于这种现象。正如我在“ 你的公司的Slack可能是性别歧视 ” 一文中所写的那样,各行各业的女性都表示,他们的男性同事用他们在会议中部署的同样权威的沟通风格来主导公共频道的对话。与此同时,女性更倾向于使用支持性的友好标点符号,并用对冲方式修改他们的观点,如“我可能是错的,但是......”









现在,Slack首席执行官斯图尔特巴特菲尔德说,斯莱克是领先的产品,将提供单独的斯莱克用户的数据,他们的数字通信是否改变时,他们与不同人口的人说话。他表示,这些数据将有助于促进更加平等和包容的工作场所文化,并使员工更有效率和效率。
在Slack上偏置
随着Slack继续取代电子邮件,成为全球5万多家公司内部沟通的主要手段,女性对平台的抑制对组织文化,创新和商业成功构成了巨大威胁。

当然,性别或其他等级的传播规范并不普遍; 有些女人很自然地说话,特别是其他女人也一样。有些男人自我质疑,以至于瘫痪。Slack(作为一个公司或产品)也不应该归咎于性别规范的流行,我们在我们打字之前就开始内化 - 甚至可以用完整的句子说话。但是,尽管Slack认为其产品的任何部分都不利于偏见,但公司现在似乎承认,女性和代表性不足的少数群体的人  可能会在Slack上保持沉默 - 并且正在研究解决这些趋势的产品开发。





2017年11月,Slack告诉Quartz,关于该平台促进性别偏见的抱怨没有出现。“如果我们看到一种趋势,那就是女性说他们在Slack上没有发言权,我们会努力解决这个问题,”Slack通讯主管Julia Blystone说。“但我们在研究中没有听说过。”

短短几个月后,CEO巴特菲尔德管家指出,斯莱克是 着手解决的担忧,通过开发工具来分析其平台上通信的发展趋势,在沃顿人们分析会议 3月23日在费城响应来自沃顿商学院管理学教授一个问题Mae McDonnell谈到Butterfield是否担心私人Slack聊天“渠道”会加剧排斥,CEO也开玩笑说,“我担心所有事情。我有一个犹太人的祖母。“

“如果组织内部存在深层和系统性问题,Slack可能夸大他们,”他说。

巴特菲尔德补充说,该平台还可以增强组织的积极特征。“如果组织内部有真正的积极属性和成功的[谈判和对话]技能,那么这些技能可以超负荷,”他说。“所以我认为[Slack]的结构没有任何内在的东西......或者任何固有的可见特征都会抑制多样性。”





巴特菲尔德强调,对于所有身份不太熟练的雇员来说,斯莱克可能是天赐之物。巴斯菲尔德说,几乎每个星期,斯拉克都会听到那些内向的或者以前很难参加“某些参与者声音更大,或者更具侵略性”的会议的客户,或者只是想更慢地思考。“他们伸手要说声谢谢,因为现在有了Slack,他们可以异步参与,他们觉得他们有更多的投入,并且他们的公司对话中的参与者要多得多。”
“个人分析”可能会暴露沟通偏见
虽然面对面沟通中的性别歧视或种族歧视可能会被感知和记忆扭曲,但Slack的数字档案为语言分析提供了宝贵的机会。

巴特菲尔德说,他对个人分析的想法非常感兴趣。

“这些分析是除了你之外没有其他人能够接触到你,”他说。“他们没有以任何方式向你展示任何真正的道德价值,但[他们回答诸如此类的问题],你跟男人说话的方式不同于与女人谈话?你是否以支持小组的方式发言,而不是与上级谈话?你在公共场合讲话的方式不同于你私下说话吗?

巴特菲尔德的纽约员工正在创建这些分析工具来识别这些个人通信风格,他说。“Slack员工使用一些API来完成自己的查询,”他说。“ 我们未来几年的计划是尽可能地扩大这一计划 - 以便为客户提供有关其组织和个人的见解。”

布莱斯通表示,个人分析计划“处于早期阶段,并将在未来几年继续发展。”

作为首席执行官,Butterfield表示他有兴趣在更宏观的层面上使用Slack通信分析来识别功能失常的团队或其组织内不匹配的合作关系。Slack已经公开承诺在自己的职位中实现多元化,2016年已经将女性管理人员的比例从43%提高到48%。尽管如此,有色人种  仍然缺乏代表性,  只有5%的Slack科技职位的雇员是黑人,这在科技公司中普遍存在。
分析和监视之间的细微线路
在这些产品的早期,它们将数据放在逐个人基础上损害(和积极)通信动态的潜力是前所未有的。

女性和代表性不足的少数民族的人有时不会说出Slack习惯使他们感到不舒服的同事,因为担心他们不会相信,或者没有数据支持他们的指责。令人信服的是,对于性别交流模式的语言学研究可能是有代表性的,但与容易获取的有关人们坐在一起的实时数据(或偷懒)相比,这些国家代表性的样本显得苍白无力。

当然,与人们分析相关的隐私仍然很紧迫。这是Slack尚未解决的问题。

巴特菲尔德说:“我们在这些关于信息访问的谈话中处于中间位置,因为我们大部分大型企业客户都有员工条款,这些条款已经授予他们访问所有员工沟通的权利。

自动分析用户如何沟通将是更进一步的一步。 巴特菲尔德后来说:“这是一个  充满挑战的领域,因为你希望通过他们得到的反馈和他们使用的工具来赋予人们权力,而没有他们感觉他们正在被监督。

“ 这对任何员工都是有用的反馈,但这可能是人们与他们的经理或同事分享不太舒服的东西,所以同意问题真的很有趣。”

然而,即使不公平的数据要暴露个人,它也可以 - 并且在巴特菲尔德的书中  应该激发积极的变化。“因此,如果[数据]的结果不是'嗨,结果你是个混蛋,我们正在解雇你',但'嘿,事实证明我们已经确定了一些围绕沟通的问题,或者管理结构或组织设计,这阻碍了我们想要取得的进展,因此我们要纠正它们,“这是件好事,”他说。


 

 

以上由AI翻译完成,仅供参考。

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In the early 1990s, newly minted Internet evangelists promised a gender-free utopia. Hierarchical identifiers like race and class would be obscured online, they argued, and biased judgements would therefore become obsolete. That didn’t quite work out.

Gender norms infiltrate digital communication today as powerfully (and as detrimentally to women) as they do in-person, show decades of linguistic analysis. Whether on listservs, text messages, Facebook, or Reddit, men tend to “digitally manspread,” as Susan Herring, a leading linguist studying digital communication dynamics, calls it. Meanwhile, women self-segregate in private, women’s-only spaces, like direct messages.

Slack, the increasingly popular workplace communication platform, is not exempt from this phenomenon. As I wrote in “Your company’s Slack is probably sexist,” women across industries say that their male colleagues dominate public-channel conversations with the same authoritative communication styles they deploy in meetings. Meanwhile, women are more likely to use supportive, friendly punctuation, and to modify their opinions with hedges like “I could be wrong, but…”









Now, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield says Slack is pioneering products that will provide individual Slack users with data on whether their digital communication changes when they speak with people of different demographics. He says this data will help promote more equal, inclusive workplace cultures, and make employees more efficient and effective.
Bias on Slack
As Slack continues to replace email, becoming the primary means of internal communication at over 50,000 companies worldwide, women’s inhibitions on the platform pose a formidable threat to organizational culture, innovation, and business success.

Of course, gendered or otherwise hierarchical communication norms aren’t universal; some women are comfortable speaking bluntly, especially when other women do the same. And some men self-question to the point of Slack paralysis. Nor is Slack (as a company or product) to blame for the prevalence of gender norms that we start internalizing before we can type—or even speak in full sentences. But while Slack holds that no part of its product facilitates bias, the company now appears to acknowledging that women and people of underrepresented minorities could be silenced on Slack—and looking into product development that addresses these trends.





In November 2017, Slack told Quartz that complaints about the platform’s facilitation of gender bias hadn’t come up. “If we had seen a trend where women said they didn’t have a voice on Slack, we would work on how we might address it,” said Julia Blystone, head of communications at Slack. “But we haven’t heard that in our research.”

Just a few months later, CEO Steward Butterfield indicated that Slack was beginning to address concerns, by developing tools to analyze communication trends on its platform, at the Wharton People Analytics Conference in Philadelphia on March 23. In response to a question from Wharton management professor Mae McDonnell on whether Butterfield ever worries that private Slack chat “channels” can reinforce exclusion, CEO also joked, “I worry about everything. I have a Jewish grandmother.”

“If there are deep and systemic problems at an organization Slack can exaggerate them,” he said.

Butterfield added that the platform can also enhance an organization’s positive characteristics. “If there are real positive attributes and successful [negotiating and conversational] skills within an organization, those can be supercharged,” he said. “So I don’t think there’s anything inherent to [Slack’s] structure… or any inherent visible characteristics that would inhibit diversity.”





Butterfield emphasized that for less loquacious employees of all identities, Slack can be a godsend. Nearly every week, Slack hears from customers who identify as introverted, or previously struggled to participate in meetings “where some of the participants are louder, or more aggressive,” or just prefer to think more slowly, says Butterfield. “They reach out to say thank you, because now with Slack, they can participate asynchronously, and they feel like they have much more input, and are much more active participants in their company’s conversations.”
“Personal analytics” could expose communication bias
While apparently gendered or racial slights in face-to-face communication can be distorted by perception and memory, Slack’s digital archives provide invaluable opportunity for linguistic analyses.

Butterfield says he’s “really interested in the idea of personal analytics.”

“These are analytics that no one else has access to you except for you,” he said. “And they don’t present you with any real moral  value either way, but [they answer questions like], do you talk to men differently than you talk to women? Do you speak to support groups differently than you speak to superiors? Do you speak in public differently than you speak in private?

Butterfield’s New York staff are creating those analytics tools to identify those personal communication styles, he says. “There’s a handful of APIs Slack employees use to do their own queries,” he said. “Our plan for the next couple of years is to expand that as much as possible—so to provide customers with insights about their organizations and individuals.”

Blystone says the personal analytics initiatives are “in the early stages and will continue to develop over the next couple of years.”

As CEO, Butterfield says he’s interested in using Slack communication analytics at a more macro-level to identify dysfunctional teams or mismatched partnerships within his organization. Slack has publicly committed to diversity within its own ranks, and 2016, has raised representation of women in management from 43% to 48%. Nevertheless, people of color remain vastly under-represented, only 5% of employees in tech roles at Slack are black, a disproportion common in tech companies.
The fine line between analysis and surveillance
Early as these products may be, their potential to put data behind damaging (and positive) communication dynamics on a person-by-person basis is unprecedented.

Women and people of underrepresented minorities sometimes don’t speak up about coworkers whose Slack habits make them uncomfortable due to fear that they wouldn’t be believed, or wouldn’t have data to back up their accusations. Convincing as linguistic studies on gendered communication patterns may be, nationally representative samples pale in comparison to easily accessible, real-time data about the people literally sitting (or Slacking) alongside you.

Of course, privacy as it relates to people analytics remains pressing. It’s an issue Slack has yet to resolve.

“We’re a bit stuck in the middle on these conversations about access to information, because most of our large corporate customers have employee provisions which already grant them the right to access all employee communications,” said Butterfield.

Automatic analysis of how users communicate would be a further step. “It’s a fraught area, because you want people to be empowered by the feedback they’re getting and the tools they’re using, without them feeling like they’re being surveilled,” said Butterfield later.

“That would be useful feedback for any employee, but it’s probably something that people don’t feel very comfortable sharing with their managers or with their peers, so the consent question is really interesting.”

However, even if unfavorable data were to to be exposed about an individual, it can—and, in Butterfield’s books, should—inspire positive change. “So if the result of that [data] is not ‘Hey, it turns out you’re a jerk and we’re firing you,’ but ‘Hey, it turns out we’ve identified some set of problems around communication, or management structure or organizational design, which inhibits the kind of progress we want to make, and therefore we’re going to rectify them,’ that’s a good thing,” he said.




This story is part of How We’ll Win, a project exploring the fight for gender equality at work. Read more stories here.

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