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How Do Developers Handle Moral Dilemmas?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the tough-choices dept.

Businesses 268

DwightFagen asks: "I'm curious to know how developers in the Slashdot community handle situations in which they are given a project that rubs against their moral borders. I was recently hired as a Flash developer for a design and development company and am just beginning my second project. This particular assignment is to build the video portion of an online magazine. This magazine deals with various topics and is by no means a pornographic site (although some content may border on that), but it seems one of its key tenets is to be untethered by social moral values. Though I do not believe such things should in any way be censored or banned from the internet, I do not wish to actively support something I believe to be an exploitation of human beings. What would you in the Slashdot community do in such a situation? Have any of you dealt with something like this before?"

"For the sake of clarity, I'd like to mention that I'm all for the freedom of expression on the internet and that I do not in any way judge people based on the media they choose to consume.

If this were a clear cut case of pornography, my choice would be simple; but that is not the case. I do still hold myself to certain standards and believe in the value of integrity and I would also like to do work that my family and friends can be proud of (or at least work that I could show them). However, I would also like to keep my job and would not want to put my small company of very nice people in a difficult position (as the deadline is not so far off)."

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268 comments

Simple (5, Insightful)

arb (452787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012748)

If you are uncomfortable with the work you are being required to do, state so clearly to your boss and request that you not be placed on this project. Talk it through with your boss and see what can be done. If you feel strongly enough about it, find another job where such issues are not likely to arise.

Re:Simple (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012888)

> If you feel strongly enough about it, find another
> job where such issues are not likely to arise.

That's the crux of the matter. There are approximately one slew of jobs out there that won't be morally questionable, and you'll sleep better at night knowing that you're not enabling nasty behavior. It's a small victory but an important one.

Also, for Flash UI goodness, try ActionStep [actionstep.org] . It's an open source, BSD licensed UI framework for Flash. We use it in indi [getindi.com] and it's good stuff.

Re:Simple (4, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013150)

>> If you feel strongly enough about it, find another
>> job where such issues are not likely to arise.

> That's the crux of the matter. There are approximately one slew of jobs out there that won't be
> morally questionable, and you'll sleep better at night knowing that you're not enabling nasty
> behavior. It's a small victory but an important one.

If, that is, the project is indeed just about to begin - the OP seems to imply that is not the case. If it's the case that you've already spent months working on the project, and you're weeks from finishing, I would say you made your choice when you started your willing participation. You took on the job and now have a duty to see it through. This goes double if it, as the OP says, is a small company that will be hurt badly by a late defection.

If you're already deep in the project, finish the job as best you know how - you've already done most of the job, and your fellow workers depend on you to finish what you agreed to do. Then, _after_ the delivery, talk with your boss. Tell him that the latest job made you seriously uncomfortable, and that you are not prepared to do a similar job again. You saw it through because you'd promised to, but you will not repeat the experience.

One of two things will happen: he'll tell you that there's no such job again on the horizon, and he'll keep this in mind if he needs to assign people t o another such thing; or he'll say this is part of the business and you need to accept doing the job to continue working there.

Re:Simple (1)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012896)

There's a small caveat there - if your boss is a dick (on the off chance), if you state your moral objection, he might perceive you as a primma donna. Depending on your boss' tenure/reputation in the company (you DID keep your eyes open to notice this up to this point, right?), at that point you will have two choices - leave or stay. Depending on what the moral of the story you tell yourself is as a result of your boss' inability to yield to your objection, you will then again be left with one of two "feelings" (notice the binary pattern in choices - do or don't) - one of moral superiority, followed by resentment and unhappiness (or a few other choice words that you will use to describe the 'feelings' that will follow the rejection), or another, less likely "feeling" - of "who gives a shit, let's move on and see things his way."

It is at that point where the boys get separated from the men, as they say in the army. And, no, I'm not an army person. I'm an experienced senior software engineer, with a CS degree and 10 years of software engineering experience.

Good day now.

p.s. if you think finding another job will vindicate you - think again.

Re:Simple (5, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013096)

There's a small caveat there - if your boss is a dick (on the off chance), if you state your moral objection, he might perceive you as a primma donna.

I was caught in that situation at a video game company. The company had a Team Day T-shirt design contest for the employees that my supervisor managed to win. Since my co-workers were upset that someone in management won the contest with a blatent rip off of the XBox logo and I was taking a business ethics class at the time, I notified HR that they mismanaged the contest. HR dropped the T-shirt design and asked marketing to come up with a design based on recent titles being released for that year. My supervisor was not a happy camper when the shirts were handed out and his team was overwhelmly defeated at the Team Day events (he blamed HR for stacking his team with all the women -- that's because the women didn't hate him as much as everyone else). The next day I got a verbal warning for not being devoted to the job (i.e., the business ethics class), a verbal warning for insubordination when I documented a disagreement with him concerning my project (which got the previous supervisor in trouble because I document everything), and a prep talk about doing the job his way or taking the highway. Since my mom died of breast cancer three months before and I was alreay making a career transition, I had no problem handing in my three-week notice to complete my project before leaving. My supervisor went on to sack the two lead testers that I trained since they documented everything as well. The company is now on the verge of bankruptcy and I'm a lot happier making more money working as a help desk specialist for only 40 hours a week. Who says ethics doesn't pay?

Re:Simple (0, Troll)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013236)

If you PayPal me $100 dollars right now, I will tell you (in an email dialogue) a different way of how you could've handled the issue differently and not only hold onto your last job at the game company, but actually switch to a different position in the same company, where you would've worked 40 hours a week, just as you do now.

Anything short of that, I congratulate you on your ascetic experience in ethics, little Buddha.

Here's a spoiler for you: before you can preach ethics, you have to master other things, like communication and language. They don't teach much of that in business ethics, do they? All they teach you there is how to apply some rules, in a black or white manner, without previously weighing in the risks of your actions properly, and without due self reflection before you open your mouth. Could it be that you were unduly influenced by your ethics class that swayed your judgment about the T-Shirt design contest? Was the logo a _straight rip_ (e.g. show me a URL with the image of both logos) or was it "look&feel" type of rip?

More to follow once you pay up.

Re:Simple (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013404)

If you PayPal me $100 dollars right now, I will tell you (in an email dialogue) a different way of how you could've handled the issue differently and not only hold onto your last job at the game company, but actually switch to a different position in the same company, where you would've worked 40 hours a week, just as you do now.

Why would I want to work for a company that was already heading into bankruptcy? I could've accept another position in the company by moving to a different state and then get canned six months when the company closed down the studios. A lot of QA testers got burned that way.

All they teach you there is how to apply some rules, in a black or white manner, without previously weighing in the risks of your actions properly, and without due self reflection before you open your mouth. Could it be that you were unduly influenced by your ethics class that swayed your judgment about the T-Shirt design contest? Was the logo a _straight rip_ (e.g. show me a URL with the image of both logos) or was it "look&feel" type of rip?

The business ethics class I took covered all the issues you mentioned and more. I been preparing for a career transition for three years (I worked at the company for six years), so I had thought long and hard on what I wanted with my career and the video game industry was not cutting it. My supervisor just gave me the motivation to do what I thought was right. As for the logo itself, I provided direct links to the Microsoft website of the logo that was used on the T-shirt and quoted the Microsoft XBox standards on logo usage. It was a clear violation that HR immediately dropped it.

Re:Simple (0, Troll)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013542)

Ok.. those who have money to start a company solvent enough to pay you came up with that money once, and can probably come up with it again, even after foreclosing their business.

Can you guess what my next statement will be after you've mastered communication and language around other? Ready to pony up?

Read my sig, bitch.

Your Ideas (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012926)

Your ideas intrigue me, sir and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Simple (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012992)

Request that you not be placed on this project.

I believe that to be a cop-out.

Unless you are of rare talent, your labor is fungible within the company. If you go to another project for the same company, then another engineer who would have worked on that project can now do the work you found to be distasteful. But you are still enabling the company to produce the distasteful work.

Either you are OK with being a contributor to the work product that you find distasteful or not. You can quit, or you could do a wholly different task within the company (like move from developer to marketing) so that you don't 'free up' someone else to do the work. But otherwise, you might as well just do it yourself and see if you might be able to influence it to be less distasteful than originally planned.

Re:Simple (1)

testadicazzo (567430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013256)

Either you are OK with being a contributor to the work product that you find distasteful or not. You can quit, or you could do a wholly different task within the company (like move from developer to marketing) so that you don't 'free up' someone else to do the work. But otherwise, you might as well just do it yourself and see if you might be able to influence it to be less distasteful than originally planned.

Boy, I just want to say, and I suppose this is opinion, that there just isn't a less ethically sound job than marketing. Marketing is really the root of all evil. If all the marketers in the world commited mass suicide, the world would be a much better place.

I'm not exagerating my views here. What do marketers do? They convince people to want or need things that they otherwise don't want or need. It's one of the roots of the wasteful consumer culture that's consuming the planet and our souls. Thanks to the constant bombardment of advertising (in obvious and hidden forms) it takes tremendous amounts of effort not to get sucked into the "if I can just have that, or if I can just make that much more money... then I'll be happy". Wealth wealth above all else!

Not only that, but marketing is the fly in the free market theory ointment. Free market theory, which so many people in Slashdot like to comment on off-topic and ad nauseum, relies on the assumption of a well informed marketplace, where the market purchases the best products based on complete information. But marketing is exactly the opposite of informing your consumer. Marketing is the art of lying to the consumer, of illiciting a non rational emotional response from the consumer in order to override the consumers rational thought and purchase a certain product, regardless of pre-existing need, use, desire, or the existance of a better solution. Pick the first ad you see... how much real information is in there, and how much exploitation of human foibles? Marketing is one of the primary forces keeping us from evolving as a society.

Porn on the other hand helps deal with sexual frustration, is fun, and can (when done well) be a positive celebration of human sexuality. Really great porn can give you and your sexual partner(s) fun ideas. Ok, I agree, a good chunk of porn is kinda creepy, but the solution is to try to buy and make good fun porn. So if you want to make the world a better place, quit your marketing job and get into porn! Chant the mantra: "porn good, marketing bad. porn good, marketing bad... "

Marketing porn is also evil.

Re:Simple (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013310)

Marketing porn is also evil.

What's marketing porn? Is that like Bill Gates[1] stripping?

[1] former head of the largest marketing company in the world

It comes down to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012750)

It comes down to being able to pay the bills, or not have a guilty conciense. I was in a similar situation once, the company had me writing software that basically skewed the results, so that our service looked like the client got way more than they really did. Seeing as I had a wife, and two kids, I couldn't just up and quit.

However, I did spend a lot of time looking for another job, so I could get out of that situation as quickly as I could.

Morals versus Flash development? (4, Funny)

KNicolson (147698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012764)

I think by choosing the career of a Flash designer you have already proven yourself morally bankrupt. I bet you also produce "Best Viewed with Internet Explorer" sites.

PS: Links to the boobies plz!

Re:Morals versus Flash development? (0, Flamebait)

c0d39uru (532364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012796)

You're an asshole.

Re:Morals versus Flash development? (1)

wesw02 (846056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012894)

*bump for the link*

Well, for those of us who care about REAL morals (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012782)

like, ya know, freedom and human rights and such, instead of "ooh, boobs!" We tend to deal with it by doing more good than harm, but in this industry it aint really possible to not also do harm (unless you wanna end up like RMS).

Sucks, but its so.

Re:Well, for those of us who care about REAL moral (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012794)

Your grammatical constructus cause pain in my crainial. Ow the brainhurt.
Negative double unallowed bad.

Re:Well, for those of us who care about REAL moral (-1, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012922)

Why do you feel the need to post shit like this? How does it contribute to the conversation? Go away.

Re:Well, for those of us who care about REAL moral (1, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012936)

Indeed, the submitter is incredibly vague about just what the heck it is he finds objectionable about the assignment, which leads me to suspect some idiot puritan nonsense instead of a real moral issue.

As an aside, "ending up like RMS" would hardly be anything to be ashamed of. The world would be a lot better off if more of us had the courage to take his route.

Re:Well, for those of us who care about REAL moral (1, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012988)

Yeah, and we could all have a pony if only enough of us had more love to share.

Re:Well, for those of us who care about REAL moral (1)

X-treme-LLama (178013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013462)

No, but we probably COULD all have a pony if the ponies had more love to share. After all, if they're as common as dogs, everyone can have one.

If you want a pony, get 'em to start mating!

Re:Well, for those of us who care about REAL moral (5, Insightful)

namespan (225296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013078)

Well, for those of us who care about REAL morals like, ya know, freedom and human rights and such, instead of "ooh, boobs!"

There are worse things than nudity, obviously. Including twits who've boiled a fairly nuanced area worthy of concern down to a false dichotomy featuring a vague glittering good and a gross oversimplification.

The OP took some care to show that he doesn't expect everyone else to share his particular standards and he's willing to respect the rights of others to produce and publish things he doesn't want to be involved in. His question isn't about whether YOU think porn is good or evil, it isn't about whether YOU think it's more important to write letters for Amnesty International or keep adult vids out of the hands of local kids. His question is about how to handle things when your employer wants you to participate in a project that crosses whatever your ethical boundaries may be. Maybe that's making a porn directory, maybe it's writing marketing copy for Exxon. If you want to contribute to the discussion, stepping up the ladder of abstraction and providing some advice on grappling with the situation would be a better alternative to criticizing the OP's or anyone else's particular moral values.

Re:Well, for those of us who care about REAL moral (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013102)

Or maybe the OP needs to grow the fuck up and realize that softcore porn isn't a "moral dilemma"? Some people waste their times concerned about the most idiotic things. Really, if producing a site that helps deliver soft porn is a morally grey area for someone, he needs to get out more.

It's easy, first take the money (3, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012798)

Then design the site such that it makes a mockery of what it purports to represent.

Behold: http://newbirth.org/ [newbirth.org]

Re:It's easy, first take the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013014)

LOL! The flash intro is priceless.

Watch out for H-1Bs (2, Interesting)

DrRevotron (994894) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012810)

Be glad you still have a job in that type of position. What you're doing is something that an H-1B (Foreign-born worker) could do, probably for less than you. But anyway, you're probably not making much if all your job is is Flash development. So, frankly, you should be grateful that you're getting to stay in that line of work. :/ Not to say the pay sucks, but beggars can't be choosers, especially when you've got some major competition coming in from overseas (Let's thank the U.S. Congress for that.)

Re:Watch out for H-1Bs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013224)

That's the free market, sunshine. Take it or leave it.

Re:Watch out for H-1Bs (4, Interesting)

Garridan (597129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013294)

Depends. I was the lead of a small number of developers working full-time for a company, and my boss wanted me to some things that I disagreed with; primarily putting popup ads on the site, and spamming. I told him that I wouldn't do it. Once or twice, he said he'd pay some Russians to do it. I told him that if he did so, I'd never touch their code, so if he wanted it to continue working on the site, he'd have to regularly solicit their help. He asked me why I was being such a hardass, so I explained why I felt the way that I did about the spam/popups, and launched into a bit of a tirade about why outsourcing programming work was detrimental to the economy that his business depended on.

In the end, I convinced him that what he was asking me to do was dumb, and that outsourcing sucks in the long term. (I couldn't ply to morality, the man had none, but he'd listen to reason)

What? (3, Interesting)

diskis (221264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012824)

I cannot possibly imagine what they want you to work on.
Apparently they are not breaking laws of any kind, so what really is the problem?
Is your morale really that much tighter than the rules imposed on you by one of the tightest legal systems in the world?

And exploitation? What?
All people involved in whatever you are doing, have made their own choise whether to participate or not. And they probably even get paid for it. Don't impose your values on everyone. If the rest is okay with what is happening, why can't you simply accept it?

Re:What? (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012932)

>>>"I cannot possibly imagine what they want you to work on.

But it does sound like he has access to copious amounts of softcore at work.... so what is his problem again?

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

zoeblade (600058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012980)

Apparently they are not breaking laws of any kind, so what really is the problem? Is your morale really that much tighter than the rules imposed on you by one of the tightest legal systems in the world?

Wow, what a way to avoid answering an honest question... you know, it is possible to disagree with the law sometimes, as flawless as it might seem. Say, for argument's sake, you've been asked to work on a web site that praises the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp [wikipedia.org] for being so humane. Is it not possible someone may object to such an assignment? What would you tell them?

Re:What? (5, Informative)

freemywrld (821105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013204)

Great point there, zoeblade.

And now on to my advice to the questioner. A couple of years ago I accepted a job doing web work for a porn company. Now there are two mindsets that came crashing into conflict for me - that porn inherently is harmful to participants (namely, the women participants) and women in general (encouraging objectification, use as sexual objects, etc. etc.) versus the idea that those who get involved willingly and knowledgably accept and agree to what they are about to get paid for.
What did I do?

I did my job, and accepted that while I would certainly never choose to participate, at least all of the work that we produced was of (relatively) good taste, everyone was verified to be of legal age, and generally, everyone seemed to be having fun. So, I set aside my judgements and decided that everyone has a right to choose what they do in their life, what they consume, and what morals they uphold. I found that the work didn't bother me, and I never felt that my own morals where being compromised. Objectification is everywhere, in everything we do. If you can honestly say that you consume no product or service that exploits other humans in any way (sex appeal, sweatshops, whatever the case may be - exploitation comes in many forms), then maybe you can ride away from this project or your job on a high horse. Not to be harsh, but seriously, I really think you just need to relax a bit. The world is a crazy place, and some people are quite proud to bare their bodies for art, sex, or science.

Talk to them (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013338)

Good points, and you actually have some real experience -- I don't. I'm just going to throw out one piece of advice to the questioner:

I would suggest that the easiest way to get some perspective would be to talk to the pornstars. Find out if they like what they do, what kind of other choices they have if they don't... Ask them if they have any moral issues. Ask them what they think you should do.

Personally, I find the Flash more offensive. Even pornography can be done tastefully and ethically, but Flash is neither. If you have the technical skills to do so, I'd suggest you try to find a way to replace all of your flash work with actual web standards -- DHTML (now called AJAX), animated GIFs/PNGs, maybe some embedded mpegs. You can at least feel better for putting together a decent proposal, even if nothing changes by the end of the day.

Re:What? (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013610)

And exploitation? What? All people involved in whatever you are doing, have made their own choise whether to participate or not.
This could be something like the paparazzi who follow around celebrities and intrude upon their lives, photographing and taking videos of their every moment not allowing them any semblance of privacy. Certainly not illegal (unfortunately) but those people all too often have not made their own choice about whether or not to participate. In my books, that qualifies as exploitation.
 

Christ on a stick. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012830)



I do not wish to actively support something I believe to be an exploitation of human beings.

Well, then. You just answered your own question, Clyde.

You believe it exploits. You don't want to support exploits. You're done.

Unless, of course, you want someone to tell you it isn't exploitation. Which I would probably do if you were my friend. Screw Jesus and Screw Andrea Dworkin, we all gotta eat somehow, not to mention get our plumbing cleaned out somehow.

So don't be such a hand-wringing Nellie. Do your job, bank your pay, shut your mouth, and keep a weather eye out for something better. That's what everyone does. All the time. Welcome to the NFL.

I quit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012834)

After a year of unemployment, I got a job at a firm a while ago whose main (but not only product) was a sort of distributed spamming system, where companies paid to arrange online competitions. End users got points and could win prizes by scoring well in the competition, but they got even more points by sending out invites and getting friends to click on links.

Even though I finally had a job, I felt miserable. Luckily, I got another job offer after a while, with 20% less pay but much more rewarding tasks. It is at a medical university, so now I feel I work for mankind instead of against it. It also helped that the first place had code that was eminently qualified to appear on The Daily WTF site.

Moo (5, Insightful)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012842)

I do not wish to actively support something I believe to be an exploitation of human beings.

Unfortunately for the logic based sector of society, they lack basic skills in value judgements.

Value judgements have three outcomes (unlike logic's two), they are "greater than", "less than", and "equal to".

Assign a weight to you're self-appointed moral. Call that x. Now, assign a value to having a job. Call that y.

1) x > y
2) x < y
3) x = y

1) If x > y, quit. Pure and simple.
2) If x < y, deal with it. We can't have everything.
3) If x = y, keep the status quo. Don't accept a new job of this, but keep any current ones.

With practice these jusdgements become easier (and more refined), and so does assigning values. But, unlike logic, these are not objective facts agreed upon by all logical people, these are subjective values that change by the person. And rightly so.

Oh yeah, let me be the first to welcome your to the real world. It takes a little trying, but i think you'll like it here. You've made a good first step.

Ask Slashdot: I am a spineless wimp (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012846)

I work in a job that disagrees with my morals, yet I am so in fear of not having a job I can't quit. Oh please Slashbots, guide me. And by guide me, I mean please justify me keeping my job for me. I am too weak to do it myself.

Serioulsy - what the fuck is the problem here? You dance around a moral argument and try to weaken in hopes that people will convince you to stay? How about this: I work for a company that develops missile guidance systems. The one and true purpose of this guidence system is to kill people effectively. I am against killing people in all forms. So Slashdot, should I stay or should I quit?

Re:Ask Slashdot: I am a spineless wimp (1)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012994)

I think you should visit playboy.com, subscribe, and relieve yourself of all that pent-up hostility from the moral dilemmas you're facing on a daily basis.

By the way, I just got my US citizenship this January, do you guys hire experienced software engineers with expert knowledge of C, C++, Java, some perl, some php and some ruby, and a lifetime of UNIX (or UNIX-clone) based development? :) I love my current job, we develop OCR software for a major entity in the U.S.A., and about the only thing cooler than that would probably be developing embedded real-time software for missile guidance. That'd top playboy.com in terms of excitement.

Re:Ask Slashdot: I am a spineless wimp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013044)

In what universe do you expect to be given any security clearance? Surely not this one?

Re:Ask Slashdot: I am a spineless wimp (1)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013058)

I don't get it - are you saying _naturalized_ U.S. citizens are not to be given security clearance? That's the first I hear of it, unless this is a recent policy change. I've been in this country since I was 16 years old.

Re:Ask Slashdot: I am a spineless wimp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013630)

It's harder than you might think, although getting your citizenship is a big step. There's still a background check in there, and the fact that you weren't born here will unfortunately work against you. I do wish you luck if you go through one though. I've seen people fail background checks who were born here, and pass who weren't, but the odds aren't in your favor.

If you don't like what you are doing (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012852)

don't do it. When you find another job, take it and tell your former boss why you left.

How to handle moral delimmas? (5, Funny)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012854)

Simple: have no morals.

Re:How to handle moral delimmas? (5, Funny)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012970)

I have morals: Very strict ones actually. For starters I find it very unethical that women between 16 and 30 cover up their breasts. Not to mention I have huge moral issues with the lack of nudity and explicit sex on TV. If the world doesn't change, We'll go to hell, I tell you! God created the human body, now admire His work. How do you think an artist would feel if you came in his workspace and put up blankets over his work to claim it's better that way?

Re:How to handle moral delimmas? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013554)

Not to mention I have huge moral issues with the lack of nudity and explicit sex on TV.

You don't have HBO?

Oh oh oh I know this one! (0)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012872)

Quit ot write your assessment, including any objections you have or see others having. Ask to have it in writing and go do it.

Question yourself (5, Insightful)

SillyPerson (920121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012874)

I'm approaching 40, so I guess I can enter wise-old-man-mode:

Due to a traumatic event I witnessed as a child, I promised myself always to follow my moral principles. This turned out to be a surprisingly good strategy in all situations of my life. One thing however is absolutely essential: that you question those moral principles. They might be wrong. Some of them are wrong. Find them, weed them out.

Re:Question yourself (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012898)

Can I question the principle of questioning my moral principles?

Re:Question yourself (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012902)

I'm approaching 40, so I guess I can enter wise-old-man-mode

Oh, man. Thanks. I haven't had a laugh that good in weeks.

Re:Question yourself (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013470)

I'm approaching 40, so I guess I can enter wise-old-man-mode:
Well, I'm approaching 60, so I guess I'm a wiser-older-man. (still have 30 years to get there, though).

Talk to your boss? (1)

Blackknight (25168) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012886)

Seriously, stop being such a pansy and see if there's another project you can do. If the boss says no then suck it up and do what you're paid to do. Unless you own the company you don't get to pick and choose what assignments you get.

To borrow from Clerks... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012910)

RANDAL
A construction job of that magnitude would require a helluva lot more manpower than the Imperial army had to offer. I'll bet there were independent contractors working on that thing: plumbers, aluminum siders, roofers.

DANTE
Not just Imperials, is what you're getting at.

RANDAL
Exactly. In order to get it built quickly and quietly they'd hire anybody who could do the job. Do you think the average storm trooper knows how to install a toilet main? All they know is killing and white uniforms.

DANTE
All right, so even if independent contractors are working on the Death Star, why are you uneasy with its destruction?

RANDAL
All those innocent contractors hired to do a job were killed- casualties of a war they had nothing to do with. (notices Dante's confusion) All right, look-you're a roofer, and some juicy government contract comes your way; you got the wife
and kids and the two-story in suburbia-this is a government contract, which means all sorts of benefits. All of a sudden these left-wing militants blast you with lasers and wipe out everyone within a three-mile radius. You didn't ask for that. You have no personal politics. You're just trying to scrape out a living.

Um so yeah, you can choose to do or not do a project...based on personal politics. Especially if it involves working for the Empire.

Oh for Pete's sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012928)

Maybe you should wonder why your moral dilemmas center around the PG-13 content of a website, when there are perfectly good defense contractors out there for you to be hired by that could really give you some gray areas to operate in.

"Wah wah wah, I don't want to develop for a website that does things I don't like." Quit. Don't want to quit? Man it up. Why would you ask us to make your moral decisions for you? You already have some idea what you want to do, and don't really care what we think, right? That is unless you're just some wanker performing a survey.

Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012940)

I realize it's probably against your religion to read these two philosophers, but I encourage you to sneak a peek while your God isn't paying attention.

You can't live by axioms alone. Thou shalt not bear false witness, sayeth God. But would you then turn Anne Frank over to the authorities when the Gestapo comes knocking? Thou shalt keep the Sabbath. A hungry baby knows nothing of why you won't buy milk on Saturday.

Sartre gets to the heart of the axiom problem. There are simply too many variables to declare some certain action (a categorical imperative) to be the Right Thing. You eventually get to the point where you are now, confused about how to proceed.

Maybe there isn't anything inherently good or evil. That's Nietzche's point. Blessed are the meek, we hear. But aren't they simply damned in this lifetime? Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness. To what end? Strength, pride, and a burning desire to do something are the hallmarks of Nietzche's 'Superman'.

You sit here twiddling your thumbs hoping that someone will bust down your morals and help you see the light. That's sadly pathetic. If you don't want to do the job because you find it disagreeable, then don't do it. If you think you can live with yourself and your misgivings, then do it. Asking others for help in this situation only makes us culpable when you end up violating your own morals and feel guilty about it. I'm not sure we want to be your serpent to your Eve.

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013010)

Just because many common axioms are flawed doesn't mean they all are.

'Don't murder' works pretty well.

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (1)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013052)

"Death solves all problems: no man, no problem." - Joseph Stalin

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013112)

"Death solves all problems: no man, no problem." - Joseph Stalin -- 'A lie if repeated often enough, becomes the truth.' - Goebbels

Wonderful axioms if you wish to emulate sociopaths.

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (1)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013152)

You know, it all starts with a noble idea.... Stalin was probably a very noble man with some very cool ideas... and I understand your concern about balance, not turning into a sociopath... but it ain't that easy walking in the middle. So unless you're mother Theresa or something, I can't see what your problem is with my quote.

I understand morality from just about every angle imaginable. Notice, I'm honest,and I only say I _understand_ rather than believe in it. I actually doubt you believe in morality too, and it's easy to look good by poking holes in my argument. But I didn't really want to look good. All I wanted is to save this poor sap's job, and possibly prevent him from making future moral-based decisions until he is in a position to do so.

How's this one for a quote - "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". Spin it against me please.

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013340)

You know, it all starts with a noble idea.... Stalin was probably a very noble man with some very cool ideas

Not at all. He pursued flawed axioms to their inevitable conclusions. A good illustration of why it's so important to examine any proposed axiom thoroughly.

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (0, Troll)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013492)

You know, I totally dig libertarianism, which obviously you are (or else you wouldn't be pointing to antiwar.com as your freakin' home page), but the problem is, it doesn't work. Just like communism will never work. I think pure libertarianism is as bad as communism actually, but then again, that's just my view. It's kind of like saying, let's all rely on people's good will and conscicentiousness that they will never infringe on the freedom of others, and that we can always talk someone into action....

Well, it doesn't work like that. Your inflated ego won't let you see my point of view, therefore, by virtually talking to you and providing arguments, regardless of how logical they are and backed by educated opinions from others, I'm betting I still won't be able to convince you into my point of view. That's because however you arrived to the point of having 'antiwar.com' as your home page, has probably indoctrinated you enough to think that every republican in congress is a rotten swine and wants to bury America, and now the Democrats are probably out to sell us out too, right? Wrong.

From this keyboard, I am the next Chinese tzar. From up there, you only get to fuck up once, and people crucify you mercilessley.

So... master Yoda of the Liberal species... unless you have a way of enforcing libertarian policies on 300 million people... or better yet, I'll make that 6 billion people, and you can bring them all to understand concepts of economics, free will, psychology, pragmatism, enlightement, verbal onanisms, immortal ideologies, pure thoughts, fragile sensibilities, better doctrines, philosophy, nirvana, etc etc etc - please, lay off the keyboard.

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (2, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013546)

You know, I totally dig libertarianism,

Glad to hear it.

but the problem is, it doesn't work.

I think you've got that backwards - it's restrictivism that doesn't work.

Think about it. The least restricted areas are always the most productive, whether by area we're talking about a neighborhood, a country, or an industrial sector. The polities that most thouroughly purge libertarian principles - the soviet union being a prominent example - collapse under their own inability to work.

It's kind of like saying, let's all rely on people's good will and conscicentiousness that they will never infringe on the freedom of others, and that we can always talk someone into action....

Not at all. That's so frightfully far from libertarianism I must say it sounds like you've confused it with it's polar opposite.

Well, it doesn't work like that. Your inflated ego won't let you see my point of view,

Oh, it all makes sense now. Shoo troll.

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013124)

You're putting a value weight on 'kill' when you use the word murder. Is it murder to lie in wait for a burglar and kill him when he enters your home? How about if you set up a trap to electrocute him when he comes in through the vents?

Is it murder to kill an enemy in battle? What if he is unarmed? What if he is unaware of you? How does the fact that you are both soldiers change the fact that you are killing him pre-meditatively? How is that different from murder?

In samurai culture, it was tradition that one samurai would cut the head off of another samurai in order to ease the sufferring of the dying person. Is that different from pulling the plug on Terri Schiavo? Or is it different from what Kevorkian was doing with his patients?

I'm not asking this because I think that killing is bad or am trying to find some way to weasel out of addressing your point. The simple use of the word 'murder' connotates many things that are not so simply or universally understood. You would have a point if you had said "Don't kill", leaving out any value judgements. However that, in itself, is problematic for all the reasons I mentioned above.

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (1)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013334)

> Is it murder to lie in wait for a burglar and kill him when he enters your home?

No. But you just re-framed the argument. And I don't think most people here think in relatives but in absolutes when they hear "morality" ejected out in the cold.

Just like when they hear "Britney Spears", all they think is blonde dumb bimbo, "not-a-virgin" fraudster, stupid hick - but when they hear "Britney Spears dumps K-Fed", they think "blonde angel", "clever girl", or when they hear "Britney Spears pre-empts K-Fed by giving away 90 minute (or 4 hours, whicheve) porn tapes for free", now they even think "KILLER MOVE, BUSINESS WOMAN, etc etc".

Shit - what happened to blonde bimbo and stupid hick? :)

Now, anyone else want to read some Nietszche or Sartre for me? :)

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013434)

That isn't what I did at all. By using a word that is already loaded (murder), the debate cannot be made at all.

His axiom basically boils down to "Don't do immoral things". No kidding! I shouldn't do immoral things? Thanks for the heads up.

But it calls into question what 'immoral' means and what actions are immoral. Murder is an immoral form of killing, but how can we decide what types of killing are moral and what types are immoral? Kant can't help us here.

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (1)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013530)

In case you missed it, I was in violent agreement with you and I explained why your point of view was as correct as the opposing one, from different perspectives, in different contexts.

It is precisely that "meaning" I was talking about. The meaning is assigned in context, not out of context. And it is assigned by you. And you as different in the way you assign meaning than the 6 billion others walking the planet, as you are physiologically identical to all other 6 billion people.

Dig it?

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013552)

I did miss it. I took the reframing comment as a criticism rather than a acknowledgement. Nuance is a hard thing to convey, and much harder to catch.

Dug.

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013448)

You're absolutely correct. 'Don't murder' isn't a perfect axiom, but it's a good counterexample to the original argument. A better axiom would be more general, and allow 'don't murder' - along with a usable definition of murder as opposed to merely kill - to follow from implication.

'Do not initiate force' seems to fit that bill rather well. It's a basic principle understood across cultures, across social strata, by children, adults, and the aged. In simple terms, don't start shit.

From that axiom your questions may be answered with a fair degree of certainty. There's always room for different interpretations of corner cases, but it settles the majority very easily when applied in good faith.

A burglar has initiated force, and so this axiom does not prohibit killing him. That doesn't necessarily mean that there may not be other reasons not to do so, and it doesn't mean you can't construct a corner case where you can define someone as a burglar without them initiating force.

Scenarios involving war and soldiers are subject to a number of complications, and the soldiers on both sides can often claim that force was initiated against them. Wars are evil things, and certainly anyone that values humanity should make every effort to avoid them - but the non coërcion principle does not prohibit a soldier from killing an armed enemy on the battlefield - rather it urges him to avoid being put in that situation, and condemns the political leaders who so love to put them there.

Suicide is not an initiation of force, assisted or not. Therefore nonaggression does not prohibit it, though again there may be other reasons to refrain from it. I would personally classify kevorkian and the samurai together, but separate entirely from Schiavo, who according to all medical testimony was already dead and simply being artificially animated and preserved, but if you disbelieve that medical data as some do then you would doubtless have a different view as a result...

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (4, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013472)

Wars are evil things

With the following exceptions of the American Revolution, World War II, and the Star Wars Trilogy.

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013508)

You can't live by axioms alone. Thou shalt not bear false witness, sayeth God. But would you then turn Anne Frank over to the authorities when the Gestapo comes knocking? Thou shalt keep the Sabbath. A hungry baby knows nothing of why you won't buy milk on Saturday.

Sartre gets to the heart of the axiom problem. There are simply too many variables to declare some certain action (a categorical imperative) to be the Right Thing. You eventually get to the point where you are now, confused about how to proceed.

It sounds like you are assuming that not turning over Anne Frank to the Gestapo is the Right Thing, even if it means breaking a religious commandment. It sounds like you are also assuming that feeding a hungry baby is the Right Thing, even if it assumes breaking another religious commandment.

Now, personally, I wouldn't turn people over to the Gestapo, and I'd feed a starving baby, but that's my personal philosophy. My morals are based on my experience and what world I want to live in. I don't want to be dragged out of my house by the secret police for who I am, therefore, in my personal philosophy, I consider ratting out your neighbors based on race to be a bad thing. But I'll admit that my philosophy can be considered extremely self-serving.

But perhaps you can live by simple, unbreakable commandments. And perhaps that is the Right Thing to do, and it leads to Goodness. I don't agree, but 'Right Thing' and 'Good' tend to be rather subjective when it comes to definitions.

PS: Who are you replying to? You mention God, but I see no parent poster mentioning God or religion...

Re:Go read some Nietzche and Sartre (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013572)

You do see, then. What I'm saying is that the decision to take the job or shove it depends on Dwight's morality. And what a sad morality it is that it is so fungible as to be swayed by the opinions of the Slashdot crowd.

We each have our own morality. BalkanBoy mentioned this in another post in this thread. When we make a decision to live by that morality, that's great, even if the results are not great. But to turn over that decision to others is to make them complicit in whatever harm or guilt comes later. That's not very nice, no matter what your personal morality is.

thats easy. (2, Interesting)

dartarrow (930250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012962)

Sell Fish [thedailywtf.com]

Grow some balls (5, Insightful)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012964)

and quit.

Seriously. If you're not going to stand up for your beliefs, why bother having them?

Re:Grow some balls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013024)

Grow some balls
I had a similar suggestion because of this in the original:

I do not wish to actively support something I believe to be an exploitation of human beings. What would you in the Slashdot community do in such a situation?
My guess is that this guy/gal works for Maxim or Stuff or something. Either grow a penis or realize that these women do this with their own free will, and probably get paid more than you do, or quit and get paid less than you currently do.

One of these choices has a future... and let me add that "quitting because of a moral choice" doesn't look good on a resume or in an interview if the topic is as tame as soft porn.

Nowhere is this so clearly illustrated... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012978)

How Do Developers Handle Moral Dilemmas? 12 of 8 comments

In related news, 18 out of 12 slashcode developers believe the fundamental axioms of mathematics are oppressive and immoral.

Pornography isn't allways imoral (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013000)

There are a lot of representatives of both genders actively involved in producing and/or enjoying pornography on a voluntarly and fun basis.

My two cents... (2, Interesting)

sirgoran (221190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013038)

My gut reaction is one of, "Shut up, suck it up, and do the job. Morals have no business in the workplace. You are a paid employee/droid that is given a task to complete. So do it. Have your morals on your time not the company's."

On the other hand, when I found myself in a moral dilemma seeing one account executive stealing supplies, software, and property from the company, an account supervisor rigging a winning spot in a contest for her niece that our company ran for a large restaurant chain, I made the choice to stand up and speak out. While they thanked me for speaking up, and "looked into the matter", it became clear that I wasted my breath.

That is until I was "downsized", and a couple of months later so was the thief. The account supervisor got her hands slapped and was taken off that account.

So it's really your choice. For me, I'd love to go back and tell myself to STFU and keep my head down.

That's my two cents.

-Goran

Re:My two cents... (2, Interesting)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013146)

My gut reaction is one of, "Shut up, suck it up, and do the job. Morals have no business in the workplace. You are a paid employee/droid that is given a task to complete. So do it. Have your morals on your time not the company's."
Most people have a threshold though. What about working on weapons? What about being the pilot on route to drop a nuke on a major city? By your argument a job is a job after all - should we not think about our actions?

Re: job is a job (1)

hany (3601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013568)

job is a job

That looks like an interesting idea, to just "do the job" and (presumably) "leave the responsibility and conscience to the boss". If the boss is moraly consistent (and compatible with his employees) and he is also responsible, than such job attitude may work.

Problem is, some bosses are neither responsible (they ussusaly are but only to themselves) nor moraly sound. And if employees "just do the job" for such boss, this one boss drags a lot of such employees down with him to the level, where those employees would not want to be.

So yes:

Most people have a threshold though.

And they should enforce it for the sake of preserving their own self (or soul or whatever you call it). Otherwise their own self cease to exist and their ideas and world-view will be replaced by that of their boss.

Re:My two cents... (1)

dscho (819239) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013176)

"Morals have no business in the workplace."

That's exactly what makes people burn your flag, and eventually fly your planes. If you do not know what I am talking about, then think very long and hard about why people do have morals at all.

Re:My two cents... (1)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013290)

What makes people burn your flag and fly your planes is leaders of countries, religious preachers, and biblical instruments who preach that it is moral to kill infidels by flying planes and express resentment by burning flags.

Morality is a fluid concept. Economics isn't. The two concept though can certainly co-exist and co-operate. Why won't those who understand neither take a hint from someone that understands both?

Can you please define what you meant by morals now, in your worldview?

Re:My two cents... (1)

dscho (819239) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013514)

"Can you please define what you meant by morals now, in your worldview?"

I thought it was evident: it is a common standard between people. In the ideal it is a promise not to do something to others that you don't want them to do to you. By that, lawsuits and killing other people could be avoided (raising your fitness for survival).

"Morality is a fluid concept. Economics isn't."

Right on the first account, wrong on the second (just look around in the world, not just the "Western" part).

Re:My two cents... (1)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013656)

> I thought it was evident: it is a common standard between people.

Hm, I beg to differ. It is not evident to me at all. We, savages from the Balkans, think women should know how to cook and that women should be virgins before they get married (ok, I lucked out on both counts, but that's God's hand, not by choice).

Now, suppose this is a moral standard by my people. So, what happens when someone doesn't share that standard with me, and not only that, he is ready to DIE for it, and fight for HIS convictions to death, and argue HIS convictions at the top of his lungs. Let's put that "common standard" to test. What do you think will happen when I show up and argue my moral standards in front of those that disagree with me, and there are millions bound to disagree with me on this one? You can flip that around, as in, I consider it a moral standard for women to have been sluts before marriage and can't cook a burger... and argue that in Sharia countries....

> Right on the first account, wrong on the second (just look around in the world, not just the "Western" part).

I'll say right on both accounts, but before you disagree with me, you certainly need to provide what you mean by look around the world, not just the western part, as relating to economics being a fluid concept. Did you mean that living conditions aren't the same around the planet, as in living conditions in the West aren't the same as in the Palestine or Rwanda?

That's a tough one, but I'll give it a shot (1)

namespan (225296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013474)

"Why shouldn't I work for the N.S.A.? That's a tough one, but I'll give it a shot. Say I'm working at N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. So I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I'm real happy with myself, 'cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never had a problem with get killed. Now the politicians are sayin', "Send in the marines to secure the area" 'cause they don't give a shit. It won't be their kid over there, gettin' shot. Just like it wasn't them when their number was called, 'cause they were pullin' a tour in the National Guard. It'll be some guy from Southie takin' shrapnel in the ass. And he comes home to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, 'cause he'll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile my buddy from Southie realizes the only reason he was over there was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies used the skirmish to scare up oil prices so they could turn a quick buck. A cute little ancillary benefit for them but it ain't helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. And naturally they're takin' their sweet time bringin' the oil back, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain't too long 'til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So my buddy's out of work and he can't afford to drive, so he's got to walk to the job interviews, which sucks 'cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin' him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he's starvin' 'cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat the only blue plate special they're servin' is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what do I think? I'm holdin' out for somethin' better. Why not just shoot my buddy, take his job and give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president. "

By posting access passwords on slashdot (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013084)

to you know....um...stick it to the man! Yeah, thats it!

Theories of ethics (3, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013094)

Contractual: you must honor commitments. If you've promised God to pray five times a day, if you're promised your wife to stay with her, then those are moral obligations. On this theory, ask whether you've promised to work on the project yet.

Textual: you follow what your holy book says. There has just got to be some Bible verse against Flash.

Compassionate: you ask whether people are hurt or helped by your actions. Will the company be better off? The customer? The customer's customers? Start thinking about those last and you have a reason not to work on tobacco ads, for example.

Reciprocal: you follow the Golden Rule. What would you hope for if you were one of the parties affected by your decision?

Foreseeable consequences: what will follow from your actions?

Arbitrary crap: you grew up around people who thought something was immoral, like say interracial marriage, and you've never checked the idea against any kind of principle. This is the most common approach.

Whatever standard you use, there has to be a set of priorities to go with it. You're using the job to support your family. You'd have to quit if the place were kidnapping the homeless and turning them into Soylent Green, but for much else you have to balance against your family's well being. You have talked this over with your wife??

Re:Theories of ethics (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013164)

You'd have to quit if the place were kidnapping the homeless and turning them into Soylent Green

Whoa, whoa. How else do you think you're going to make Soylent Green?

Are these formal at all? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013466)

Because they look easy to simplify.

Textual is Arbitrary Crap. How many people quote the Bible where it supports their beliefs, but ignore it where it contradicts them? How many people who deeply believe in the Bible have ever questioned it?

Compassionate is a function of Reciprocal. Or possibly vice versa, but this one's easy to figure out. You want people to be helped, not hurt, because as a person, you'd want to be helped (not hurt).

Reciprocal is a function of Forseeable consequences, as well as pure hedonism. Follow the Golden Rule and, aside from simply feeling better, it also simply works better. The forseeable consequences of being a bastard, for instance, means people will treat you much worse than if you were friendly and respectful.

Forseeable consequences is actually not so much morality as it is a fact of life, so in the above paragraph, it's the hedonism that matters -- move towards pleasure and away from pain, but for the long term. You care about forseeable consequences because you want pleasure in the future. You make decisions based on your own wants, checking one against the other -- is it worth getting yelled at later (pain) to steal cookies from the cookie jar now (pleasure)?

So, it really comes down to intelligent hedonism, once you eliminate the arbitrary crap. And really, the intelligent hedonism is just more arbitrary crap -- you could just as easily make yourself completely miserable, and some people seem to enjoy that so much they spend their whole lives almost intentionally making themselves miserable so they have something to bitch about.

More information? (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013132)

Without some more specific details, I don't see how we could form an opinion on this.

In general, though... You have to live with yourself a lot longer than you'll be at any given job, in general.

How easy is it for you to find work? (2, Insightful)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013270)

If it is easy for you to find work at similar compensation levels that do not compromise your morals there is no reason for you to continue to do this work. They are your morals and you are more than welcome to them so long as you are not forcing them on others. If you are concerned about the well being of your co-workers simply offer to help transition to the new person. Who knows, maybe other people in your company involved in the project have similar moral objections but are afraid to speak out. If leaving this place of employment is not a problem, go ahead and speak your mind in a calm, reasonable matter. But bear in mind there is not legal protection for employment based on morals when no laws matters prohibit such activities. Nor should you expect your company & coworkers to bend down to the lowest common denominator of the most stringent set of morals in the company.

However, if you don't think that you can find equitable work else where and are not willing to take a cut in pay, I strongly suggest you do what the rest of us do and play ball until such a time comes when you can afford to move on.

What is the size of the company? (1)

Megaport (42937) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013328)

If you are at a small company, then maybe you should simply seek work elsewhere. If they are small, then you will have to participate in pretty much most projects, and they have already shown that they will take work that is of dubious moral character (in relation to your personal standards).

If it is a large company, let them get to know you better. When you are sure that your manager knows you well enough to know that you are not a nutcase, simply tell them that you are sometimes uncomfortable with certain aspects of your work on particular types of projects, and that you'd appreciate it if they can use their awesome management power to help you out. Negotiate with managers in the same manner that police negotiate with bank robbers, "Yes, only you have the power to let the women and children go... Show us how powerful you are by letting a few go right now..."

I work in a medium sized company, and everyone knows I'm a Christian so on the very rare occasion that we work for a client from an industry that is legal but not particularly moral, some sort of magic portal opens and I'm transported in the opposite direction from that project team.

I find that people respect your beliefs if you give them the opportunity. Just avoid situations where it might be percieved as being demanding or intolerant.

-M

Professionalism vs Craftsmanship (2, Interesting)

bug1 (96678) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013348)

I myself have been in a similar situation to you (though not related to pornography), the conclusion i came up with is...

If your a professional you wont let your beliefs get in the way of your work.

I get into programming about 20 years ago, i love programming, i expect to always have a project on the go (and maybe one day i will finish one), but its taken me this long to understand that i dont want to be a professional programmer.

Professionalism means that you have to be prepared to compromise your own goals so the teams goals are achieved.

Im way too passionate about programming to be a professional, i hate it when im expected to "finish" a project and move on, to have to give up on all the ideas i have floating around in my head... i care about quality.

I now consider myself to be a craftsman, and i suspect a lot of open source programmers are this way inclined.

If open source was about professionalism, programmers wouldnt care about peer review, they wouldnt argue about coding style, or languages, they would just care about adding the next feature.

A craftsman/artist wants perfection, a professional just wants to finish...

Your first mistake... (4, Insightful)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013446)

Your first mistake was taking a job that would put you in this position. For future reference, I suggest telling prospective employers that you have personal reasons for not working on so-called "adult-oriented" content like this. You need to say this up front or you will end up surprising them (and not in a good way) when it comes up later. Admittedly, if you say this in a job interview, you are likely to lose some possible opportunities, but your convictions are nothing more than vapor if you don't actually stand by them.

Oh, the other thing about convictions: if you are plagued with regret after you make a decision based on your convictions, there is a chance that they weren't really convictions after all, but simply some kind of moral costume you put on to help yourself feel better. Test and refine your convictions as time passes, but don't regret them: you have to believe them fully.

I was recently offered more than five times my current hourly rate to be the lead developer on a big Flash and video-intensive web site for a new casino. I have moral objections to casinos, so I turned it down. The money would have been very handy, but I still have to live with my own conscience. I'm sure someone else has picked up the job. I have zero regrets about my decision. I simply refuse to be associated with casinos and all the social problems they lead to (dramatically increased bankruptcy rates, violent crime, auto thefts, larceny, substance abuse, suicide rates, etc.).

Re:Your first mistake... (1)

dolphino (166844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013498)

I simply refuse to be associated with casinos and all the social problems they lead to (dramatically increased bankruptcy rates, violent crime, auto thefts, larceny, substance abuse, suicide rates, etc.).

If by casinos you meant the public school system then yes, i totally agree.

Donate (1)

wizrd_nml (661928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013460)

I am sometimes faced with similar situations in my work where my employer requests that I work with clients that are in industries that operate against my beliefs. I am a Muslim and so this would include for example doing work for a brewery (which I had to do at one point). I do believe in standing for one's beliefs and morals and I found things like this extremely tough to handle, but we live in difficult times and it's not exactly easy to just quit.

I find that the best solution (and one that lets me sleep well at night) is this:
1) Donate the part of my income that accrued from this job (for example if I work two weeks on the brewery, I would donate two weeks out of my annual income). This way I personally do not benefit from this work, and some good is done in society.
2) Obviously part two is to minimise the amount of work done where I have to give my money away (after all I'm not working in order donate everything I make). This means you have to sit down with your employer and explain to him/her how you stand on certain issues.

I hope this helps!

Don't exploit yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013484)

I do not wish to actively support something I believe to be an exploitation of human beings.

If you really believe this, then why would you exploit yourself by working on the project?

Tell your boss you don't want to work on the project, and don't explain why unless asked. If that doesn't work, quit. Even if that causes short term pain, you'll thank yourself later. If you have an abundance mentality as I do, something better will come along and everything will turn out for the best.

working for a scumbag (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013662)

I worked for a guy, and the longer I did and the more I learnt about him the more disgusted I got. I wanted to jump ship, but there just wasn't anything around in my line, and having a wife and a toddler made me less cavalier about walking out. But I did protest; and refused to participate in the worst abuses. Such as he never paid our casual workers on time, usually months late after many, many broken promises. So when I had a project that needed such people I just stopped and did something else. He would yell at me to get it done, but when I asked him to guarantee that work I commissioned would be paid, he just changed tack and abused me. Eventually I did find an alternative employer and was glad to be able to leave, but even though I'd blunted some of his abuses I still felt culpable.

Moral? What morals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17013670)

That's essentially the spirit.

You get money to do stuff. As long as this stuff isn't illegal, do it.

Morals are way out of place at your work place. It's the company board that decides what is good for the company, and what is bad, not you. Take your petty problems elsewhere, and start to do your job, or risk getting fired.

Most people have an arbitrary stupid set of morals which stops them from doing the right thing in a capitalistic society (making money).

--Working for a web hosting company which hosts several child modeling sites

You talk about porn.. (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013706)

like it's a bad thing.
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