This post is a collection of links about John De Goes that show some clear patterns of behavior:
- De Goes defending white supremacists and misogynists.
- De Goes attacking critics and accusing them (especially women) of lying.
- De Goes engaging in targeted harassment, either directly (@druconfessions) or indirectly (e.g. via ClarkHat, a LambdaConf sponsor).
Despite all of the information in this post being publicly available and widely known, De Goes is frequently invited to Scala conferences to speak. The following are a few of his conference appearances in 2019:
I know that the Scala Exchange organizers are aware of the information in this post, because I shared much of it with them when I declined a keynote invitation in February. I also know of other cases of people in the Scala community declining invitations from conferences on this list and providing similar reasons. The organizers of these conferences aren't choosing to give De Goes a platform because they don't know about his history of abuse, accusing women of lying, etc.—they just don't care.
Update: the Scala Exchange organizers have posted a statement on the matter.
Note that many of the links below are to web archives, because some of the people involved here have a tendency to delete things they write online (or to have the things they write online get deleted when they're banned for abuse). If you notice factual inaccuracies or broken links in this post, or if you have other information that you feel should be included, please open an issue or pull request.
In 2016 De Goes invited Curtis Yarvin to speak at LambdaConf, despite hundreds of people in the functional programming community formally criticizing this invitation on the basis that Yarvin is best known for his racist views and his role in the creation of the neoreactionary movement, a right-wing, white supremacist ideology that's closely related to the alt-right.
De Goes has repeatedly defended this decision, and argued that the neoreactionary movement is not white supremacist:
When you conflate NRx with white supremacy, it discredits you.
When most of the 2016 LambdaConf sponsors withdrew support, a right-wing blog called Status 451 raised money to help fund the conference. This effort was driven by "ClarkHat", an individual who finally got kicked off of Twitter in 2018 after years of coordinating harassment and doing things like tweeting "Blacks have lower average IQs. Your move." at prominent black scientists.
De Goes also repeatedly defended ClarkHat (who was after all funding his conference):
I believe people lie all the time; you know it when you have evidence. I still have no evidence Clark is alt-right.
Which @Status451Blog blogger is "openly alt-right"? Quote or you're lying. They're all anarchists & libertarians.
When one of the people he was accusing of lying made the following request:
i have previously asked you not to retweet that dangerous person who has previously harassed me into my mentions. PLEASE DO NOT
This was his response:
OK, I won't tag them (though they're not dangerous). You provide me one quote proving Clark is alt-right. Just one.
(For the record, ClarkHat has self-identified as alt-right many times.)
At the following year's LambdaConf, De Goes invited Ed Latimore, a self-described "red-piller" and mens' rights activist with a long history of saying misogynistic things on Twitter (e.g. "I'm against hitting women because they're much smaller than me. But let a 6'5 chick try to beat my ass and I'll turn into Ike Turner.") and elsewhere. When an attendee criticized this invitation, De Goes publicly accused her of lying, and his responses contributed to her being targeted for months by right-wing hate mobs. This attendee has written a detailed account of the sitation—please read it, even if you don't read any of the other links in this post.
Also in 2017, De Goes was one of the operators of a satirical and abusive Twitter account named "@druconfessions" that was focused on attacking Drupal community leadership for what De Goes described as their "social justice" agenda. I’ve never been a part of the Drupal community and don’t personally have much context about this situation, but it notably involves a lot of harassment directed by @druconfessions at one particular Drupal developer, calling her a "Psychotic intersectionalist Marxist", an extremist, etc.
The language of the account is frequently hostile or violent, sometimes in a way that seems inadvertently ridiculous ("There's a time for peace, and a time for war. The time for peace has ended."). It also included a lot of inspirational platitudes ("Never start a fight, but always finish it") that will probably sound familiar to anyone who's ever looked at De Goes's Twitter feed.
When his @druconfessions collaborators decided it was time to take a less abusive approach, De Goes disagreed:
Many have access to the Twitter. We (cordially) parted ways over disagreements about next steps. DC wants healing. I want truth.
If I can't help with reform (and I hope I can), I can at least help ensure the crater scares other communities away from the same decisions.
Please read this post by Christie Koehler for more information about the situation and De Goes's involvement.
FCOP protects professionals from being purged from tech communities for expressing beliefs in other communities.
The FCoP was developed specifically in response to the 2016 LambdaConf controversy, and it's clearly designed to protect white supremacists like Yarvin. De Goes tried (and failed) to get the FCoP approved for use in Typelevel projects, a move that many people thought was not made in good faith.
In advocating for the FCoP, De Goes often relies on right-wing tropes about the persecution of conservatives:
Rather, all the real world cases are programmers being excluded for being conservative…
He echoes TERF rhetoric about people being attacked for "questioning whether 4 year olds should transition", and specifies that he intends for the FCoP to protect advocates of race science and people who complain that they're expected to respect other people's pronouns:
People who have expressed concerns about the unbounded growth of gender pronouns have been accused of denying basic human rights to non-binary gendered individuals. People who believe there might be small differences in the distribution of IQ across sex or "race" have been labeled misogynists or racists.
Lastly, De Goes's followers include a group (mostly men) who routinely harass people he criticizes on his Twitter feed, often with ableist abuse, as for example during a recent situation where ZIO was removed from the Lightbend community build, or in response to some of his tweets about me last week. While he's not personally responsible for comments by his followers, this happens a lot, and in the context of all of the history above it doesn't seem unintentional.
Why this matters
The fact that the Scala community continues to embrace De Goes affects how people outside the community see us. For example:
- "As an outsider, it feels like Scala's community leaders are intently focused on "keeping politics out of our technical discussion", and hoping that the involvement of racist, misogynist, and transphobic people will somehow remain at the periphery, rather than pushing people away."
- "dang maybe the problem isn't people who annoy others it's misogynists, transphobes, white supremacists and the like. De Goes is a fairly good example of somebody who not only tolerates them, but invites them to speak."
- "by the way, if you fav'd the "we're doing our best" tweets from typelevel and not any of the very real criticism that lead to this, I fucking see you, and you're complicit"
- "John de Goes is an incredibly bad person, but he's also being both ignorant and arrogant in this particular case."
- "Also it's shocking to me that people who follow the Scala community wouldn't know about this yet????"
These are just a few examples from people who feel comfortable speaking up—there are undoubtedly many, many others who have left or avoided the Scala community because of its insistence on harboring abusers like De Goes.