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Email from John De Goes to Typelevel organizers on 22 March 2016

Mar 22, 2016, 11:07 PM
subject: Re: Urbit at LambdaConf

Hi Lars,

Please continue to keep this information confidential until we issue our public statement.

We’ve summarized feedback and sent it to minority group speakers, together with our policy changes.

Briefly: the majority of minority group speakers are in favor of keeping the pledge focused on behavior at the event, regardless of whatever potentially offensive beliefs might be held by speakers or attendees. Some have quite strong opinions on this matter, and others are more middle of the road.

As a result of this feedback and our own personal convictions, we will not extend the pledge to cover more than behavior at the conference, and we will not bias against any belief systems, political or otherwise.

There are two exceptions we’ve decided to make to this policy: a safety exception, which says if we feel someone might reasonably feel unsafe in the presence of a speaker or attendee, then we will ban the person from the conference; and a trust exception, which says if we feel someone will not uphold the pledge (despite claiming otherwise), then we will ban the person from the conference.

In the specific case of Curtis, a staff member reviewed nearly all of his writings and videos and could find no evidence he advocates violence toward any group. We didn’t think that was enough, so we obtained a public statement in which Curtis condemns violence of any kind, and condemns any so-called “follower” who advocates violence.

In addition, we found Curtis attended a programming conference, and stayed on topic, with no incident.

So currently, we have no reason to think Curtis poses a safety threat for anyone or that he will break the pledge, no matter how offensive his political views. Although if new evidence comes to light, for Curtis or anyone else attending or speaking at the conference, we will of course make new decisions in light of that evidence.

So far, the vast majority of minority group speakers have confirmed they will be speaking at the conference. We wait a few last confirmations. We do expect Bodil and at least one other speaker to opt out.

There is no easy answer here. We believe everyone has reasoned and thoughtful perspectives on this issue. We refuse to vilify anyone, including Bodil or other speakers who choose not to attend, as good people will come to very different conclusions on this issue (as demonstrated quite ably by our minority group speakers).

While I still maintain the Typelevel Summit is independent of LambdaConf and has always been positioned as such, if you would like to cancel the summit, just let me know. We’ll support you 100% either way.

If you’re on the fence, then regardless of what you believe about these policy changes, I’d suggest standing with us and the majority of minority group speakers.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of this, it’s that we don’t have to agree to get along, so long as we can treat each other with respect… a thought echoed in many of the truly remarkable anonymous comments from speakers that we will be quoting in our public statement.


John A. De Goes
Follow me on Twitter @jdegoes

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