UPDATE, August 14, 2020: Effective August 17, I’m migrating the Alphabetworkers email list from Google Groups to Substack. I covered the reasoning behind this migration in a list post made today. Subscriptions remain free, and everybody who was signed up for the Groups version should in theory already be migrated to the new Substack list. You can sign up to receive Alphabetworkers in your inbox on the Substack page, here.
As of February 20, 2020, Bruce (the administrator of this web site) is launching a new low-traffic, one-way information email list called Alphabetworkers that seeks to provide useful news article extracts and occasional event notices to people concerned with Alphabet’s business practices.
You can sign up here!
This is a FAQ document about the email list.
Q: What’s the Alphabetworkers email list about?
A: Here’s the description text from the email list as of its launch: “An open, low-traffic read-only list of news extracts and commentary relevant to Alphabet workers and the Google reform movement. The emphasis is on labor and tech ethics. The posts to this list are selected and shared by former Google employee Bruce Hahne. Maximum 1 post per day.“
The intent of Alphabetworkers is to replicate some of the public information-sharing that Bruce was doing on various internal corporate Google email lists prior to his departure in early February 2020. Posts to Alphabetworkers will often be similar to the type of content that Bruce was sharing to groups such as womens-walk, transparency-and-ethics, and issue-specific forums such as climate-action.
Q: How do I sign up?
A: (UPDATED August 14 for Substack migration): Go to alphabetworkers.substack.com and click the red “Subscribe” button in the upper-right corner of the page.
Q: Who can subscribe and how can I read the posts?
A: Anybody can subscribe – the list is open and free. In particular, you don’t need to be a current Alphabet employee, and you don’t need to subscribe from a google.com email address. The list content will hopefully also be be readable directly on Substack in a blog-like interface, with no need to actually subscribe to the email version.
Q: How much email will I receive if I subscribe?
A: A maximum of one email per day, unless there’s some sort of huge breaking news that might merit an update later in the day. In many cases, it might only be one email per week – it depends on how newsy the particular week is. Note that for the most part if you want breaking news about Google, labor, and tech ethics, it would be better to read primary news sources.
Q: Is there a geographic focus to the content?
A: Bruce is based in the U.S. and tends to follow developments in U.S. labor law and U.S. policy, so there will likely be a U.S. focus to the content that appears on Alphabetworkers. However this won’t always be the case – sometimes I see interesting articles about what’s happening elsewhere.
Q: Will the list also announce events?
A: Occasionally there will be posts about one or more events of high relevance to Alphabetworkers in a particular city or cities. In general I’ll bundle these event notices at the end of a larger email. However, I’m going to strongly resist the tendency to turn the list into an “event announcement” newsletter, since there are far too many events to track and compile.
Q: Is this an attempt to create a new organization?
A: No, it’s just an email list. Note also that the alphabetworkers.net web site itself is only a proof-of-concept web site, not an actual organization.
Q: Is this an attempt to create a pay-for-subscription list?
A: No, I have no plans to turn this into a subscription list.
Q: How can I post to the list?
A: You can’t — it’s a one-way curated news list. If you want to point Bruce to an article that you think is worth sharing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What’s your policy on sharing email addresses of subscribers?
A: I don’t share email addresses with anyone else or any organization. If you’re concerned about providing an email address, you’re always welcome to view the list content externally on the web.
Q: Is this an attempt to replace the daily news roundup list, which was cancelled at Google in late 2019?
A: No. Google’s internal daily news roundup contained many articles, often 20 or more, and focused on breadth rather than depth. Alphabetworkers is more likely to point people to one article at a time.
Q: If I previously put my email address into the “Sign up to receive future announcements” signup form at alphabetworkers.org, am I on the Alphabetworkers email list?
A: No – the email sidebar form that used to be at alphabetworkers.org was decoupled from the Substack list.
Q: I have a news story to tell or share, how can I get that to the Alphabetworkers list?
A: If you mean “I want to talk to a reporter”, please feel free to reach out to any appropriate tech journalist. Most major news publications have at least one person assigned who covers “Silicon Valley”, and many have a reporter specifically assigned to cover Alphabet/Google. The Alphabetworkers email list doesn’t write or produce original news content – it just redistributes fair-use extracts and invites people to read the entire article.