This document (originally published on GitHub) contains additional supporting material for the claims in this post (published 1 September 2019), in response to a cease and desist letter from John A. De Goes that I received on 6 July 2020.
Table of contents🔗
- The complaints
- Response to complaint 1
- Response to complaint 2
- Response to complaint 3
- Response to complaint 4
- Support for the post and its ideas
- Evidence that De Goes read the post in September 2019
- "Our client has never defended any white supremacists or misogynists."
- "Our client does not single out women and accuses [sic] them of lying"
- "Our client has never engaged in any targeted harassment."
- "The FCoP is clearly not designed to protect white supremacists."
Response to complaint 1🔗
"Our client has never defended any white supremacists or misogynists. Our client does not believe in false concepts like white supremacy."
The following sections focus on three individuals, providing evidence that John De Goes defended them, and that they are widely considered to be white supremacists or misogynists:
- Curtis Yarvin, who often writes under the name Mencius Moldbug, and who spoke at LambdaConf 2016, a conference organized by John De Goes.
- ClarkHat, the pseudonym of an individual who wrote for Status 451, a blog that sponsored and raised funds for LambdaConf 2016.
- Ed Latimore, a retired boxer associated with the Red Pill movement who was invited by De Goes to speak at LambdaConf 2017.
Note that the post does not make any claims about whether or not De Goes "believes in" white supremacy; it only argues that he has helped to create an environment that is friendly to white supremacists by defending individuals like Yarvin and ClarkHat.
De Goes defending Curtis Yarvin, ClarkHat, and the Neoreactionary movement🔗
- In communication with LambdaConf speakers in 2016, in reference to Yarvin: "He has never written any hate speech or resorted to insulting or vulgar language (except as a literary device)…"
- In communication with Typelevel: "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 have no reason to think Curtis poses a safety threat for anyone…"
- On GitHub (archived): "Moreover, there is no even remotely plausible of 'Nazi' in which, say, Curtis Yarvin is a Nazi. So if you ban Nazis, you'll still end up with lots of people like Curtis Yarvin, who believe that, while individual differences trump everything else, the mean of IQ test scores differs by 'race'."
- On GitHub (archived): "Second, if you were to create a COC that banned 'white supremacists', it would have to allow [Yarvin] to participate, since he is not a white supremacist"
- On Twitter (archived): "When you conflate NRx [the Neoreactionary movement] with white supremacy, it discredits you."
- In response to a woman who had criticized ClarkHat: "I believe people lie all the time; you know it when you have evidence. I still have no evidence Clark is alt-right."
- Also on ClarkHat: "OK, I won't tag them (though they're not dangerous). You provide me one quote proving Clark is alt-right. Just one."
- In series of blog posts (see here, here, and here) about the decision to keep Yarvin on the program: "In addition, we could not find any evidence the speaker would engage in verbal abuse. … Some people have claimed that a policy which allows a neo-reactionary to speak at the conference will produce a conference dominated by neo-reactionaries. However, I believe this is incoherent…"
- Amar Shah wrote the following about private communication from De Goes in 2016: "What I found unsettling was how generous this appraisal felt – as if to convince us that Yarvin isn't a bad guy, just somehow misunderstood. The entire letter reads this way."
De Goes made similar comments about Yarvin in other discussion threads in the FCoP repository on GitHub, but he deleted the entire project shortly before sending the cease and desist letter (see this post for details), and so far I've only been able to recover 18 of over 100 threads (including the two quoted above).
De Goes defending Ed Latimore🔗
- De Goes in a long thread on Twitter: "In 2017, @edlatimore delivered a heartfelt, vulnerable, and inspiring keynote on facing fear (a major impediment to learning). He was unpaid, & freely volunteered his time. 2/22"
- De Goes quoted in Breitbart: "I don't agree with Ed on everything, but he's a source of endless insight and inspiration, and I'm upset at the way people are lying about him and trying to smear his reputation."
- Allum Bokhari in Breitbart, about De Goes: "John De Goes, the principal organizer of LambaConf, has publicly defended Latimore."
- De Goes on Twitter: "[LambdaConf] will not ban people over politics regardless of Twitter insanity."
- De Goes on Twitter: "People will regret lying about him."
- De Goes on Reddit: "It's a mistake to call Latimer a misogynist (sexist would be more accurate, since he believes in sex-based differences between men and women)."
Racist or misogynistic statements by Yarvin and ClarkHat🔗
- Yarvin in 2007 on white nationalism: "I am not a white nationalist, but I do read white-nationalist blogs, and I'm not afraid to link to them. … It should be obvious that, although I am not a white nationalist, I am not exactly allergic to the stuff."
- Yarvin in 2008: "Our goal, in short, is a humane alternative to genocide. That is: the ideal solution achieves the same result as mass murder (the removal of undesirable elements from society), but without any of the moral stigma. Perfection cannot be achieved on both these counts, but we can get closer than most might think."
- Yarvin in 2009 on race and slavery: "Not all humans are born the same, of course, and the innate character and intelligence of some is more suited to mastery than slavery. For others, it is more suited to slavery. … Thus, Spaniards and Englishmen in the Americas in the 17th and earlier centuries, whose sense of political correctness was negligible, found that Africans tended to make good slaves and Indians did not."
- Yarvin in 2010 on racial privilege: "It's a reality of modern American life that race confers privilege. As a reactionary, how can I possibly object? A society without hereditary privilege is like a cheeseburger without cheese."
- Yarvin in 2010 on Hitler: "Cannot we marvel at what the Third Reich achieved, with the knowledge that it was run by a maniac? In the hands of a non-maniac, what might it have done? In the hands of an Augustus, for instance? Well, somewhere in Germany in 1933, there might have been an Augustus or two. Or even three. But Germany in 1933 was a democracy."
- Yarvin in 2011: "If you ask me to condemn Anders Breivik, but adore Nelson Mandela, perhaps you have a mother you’d like to fuck…"
- ClarkHat in 2015 on Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian far-right terrorist: "I wonder how long until the first statues of Breivik go up? 30 years? 20? 10?"
- ClarkHat in 2015 to Neil deGrasse Tyson, a prominent Black American scientist: "Blacks have lower average IQs. Your move."
- ClarkHat in January 2016 on Breivik: "Breivik was guilty of poor timing."
- ClarkHat in April 2016 on women "I don't have anything against felons. It's just that - like non-property owners, and also women - they make bad decisions when voting."
- ClarkHat on Islam: "Islam is filth. It's a disgusting totalitarian ideology that punishes the weak. And it needs to be destroyed. … yeah, I'm about THIS FAR (holds fingers 1 nanometer apart) from endorsing a targeted plague. Kill all 1B of them."
Other perspectives on Yarvin, ClarkHat, and the Neoreactionary movement🔗
Many people have described Curtis Yarvin, ClarkHat, and the Neoreactionary movement as racist, bigoted, and white supremacist:
- John Chandler Burnham, who co-founded the Tlon Corporation with Yarvin: "Yarvin is a white supremacist and Nazi admirer: he believes people of color are subhuman, that they pose a 'dire problem' to be solved by what he describes as a 'humane alternative to genocide'."
- Tess Townsend, Staff Reporter, Inc.co, in an article about LambdaConf 2016 on Inc.com: "Yarvin's online writings, many under his pseudonym Mencius Moldbug, convey blatantly racist views."
- Tess Townsend in another Inc.com article: "After a backlash against a speaker's racist views cost LamdbaConf several sponsors, allies responded with a surge of crowdfunding support. … Neoreactionism is an ultra-conservative authoritarian anti-democratic movement associated with white supremacy. Media reports describe Yarvin as a central figure among neoreactionaries."
- Tess Townsend on ClarkHat: "ClarkHat responded to a request for confirmation they had written the Status:451 post and a question about their real name with a series of tweets insulting the reporter."
- Rosie Gray in The Atlantic: "Yarvin's ideas, along with those of the English philosopher Nick Land, have provided a structure of political theory for parts of the white-nationalist movement calling itself the alt-right."
- Dylan Matthews in a Vox article that focuses on Yarvin: "The alt-right is more than warmed-over white supremacy. It's that, but way way weirder."
- The CATO Institute on Curtis Yarvin (a.k.a. Mencius Moldbug): "But it would be a mistake to dismiss the views advanced by Mencius Moldbug and his followers as inconsequential, if quirky."
- Corey Pein in The Baffler magazine: "By so doing, Moldbug [Curtis Yarvin] has been able to an attract an audience that welcomes the usual teeth-gnashing white supremacists who haunt the web while also leaving room for a more socially acceptable assortment of “men’s rights” advocates, gun nuts, transhumanist libertarians, disillusioned Occupiers and well-credentialed Silicon Valley entrepreneurs."
- RationalWiki on the alt-right, in an article on the Neoreactionary movement that discusses Yarvin in detail: "The term has come to be more generally be used for Trump supporters who think swastikas are good; in this context, it's just a hip name for white supremacists."
- Hundreds of signatories to a statement on LambdaConf 2016: "Yarvin's selection as a speaker says to marginalized people that their humanity is considered merely another matter for debate."
- The organizers of a LambdaConf 2016 workshop, in a public statement: "Yarvin is an unapologetic proponent of bigotry."
- Moishe Lettvin on De Goes's reaction to criticism of Yarvin: "…watching the justification/rationalization of the organization for inviting this guy has filled me with sadness and a sense of shame… I would like to contrast this with the rationalizations — because they are simply rationalizations, without nuance, without depth — used by LambdaConf. The organizers claim to be acting amorally and apolitically. They equate racist writing with 'opinions'."
- Jon Sterling, PrlConf program chair, on De Goes, LambdaConf, and Yarvin: "It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that PrlConf 2016 is cancelled, in light of LambdaConf's decision to include an outspoken advocate for slavery as a technical speaker. The program committee feel that we cannot possibly organize a workshop under the umbrella of a conference that values the free expression of racist and fascist views over the physical and emotional safety of its attendees and speakers. Our first priority is to act in solidarity with the many people who have been negatively affected by this decision."
- Gabriel Gonzalez on De Goes, LambdaConf, and Yarvin: "Neoreactionaries like Curtis are not underdogs; they (unfortunately) have a loud and influential voice in our society… However, his presence is driving away underrepresented people…"
More specifically, many people have criticized De Goes in exactly the same terms as the post:
- Erica Baker on De Goes, LambdaConf, and white supremacy, quoted in Inc.: "There are many people with a vested interest in ensuring there is space in our culture (not just tech, but beyond) to continuing debating white supremacy and to continue coddling white supremacists, I fully expect LambdaConf to continue getting money, not because they need it, but because white supremacists want to reward them for their decision to include a white supremacist in their space."
- Andi McClure on De Goes, LambdaConf, and white supremacy: "@jdegoes: You must understand. You are working with white supremacists. You invited a leader in an organized movement. @lambda_conf"
- Harry Garrood on De Goes, LambdaConf, and white supremacy: "I wish people would just say, look, you used MLK quotes to moralise to people who complained about you welcoming a white supremacist…"
- Rich Felker in response to De Goes: "Neither. Curtis Yarvin is quite obviously a white supremacist. Read his own words."
- Jack Aponte on De Goes, LambdaConf, and white supremacy: "Don't let de Goes talk to you about how bad chattel slavery is. That's not his battle. He battles on behalf of white supremacists & sexists."
Misogynistic statements by Ed Latimore🔗
- From Twitter: “The female seems crazy, mostly because it's not male. Every man has a range for sanity, but if you want logic and reason you want a boyfriend"
- "Women are like fire. How they're used in your life decides whether you have a warm cozy home or one that's burned to the ground."
- "Humans get together to mate. For guys, most of the information used to make a mating decision is displayed in a girl's physical appearance. It's why we really don't care about a girl's personality. It has no bearing on her reproductive abilities. Girls and looking for security because not only are they physically weaker, but that pregnancy thing makes a girl unable to fend off attacks."
- "Have always went out of my way to avoid crazy women. But then again I barely like hanging around sane girls to start"
- Latimore has made several videos supporting the "Red Pill" movement, a misogynistic collection of ideas that e.g. Business Insider calls "The Weird New Cult For Men Who Don’t Understand Women".
Response to complaint 2🔗
"Our client does not single out women and accuses [sic] them of lying"
Note that the post does not claim that De Goes "singles out women". It does observe that there seems to be more evidence of De Goes accusing women (in particular Sonia Gupta, Christie Koehler, and Adrienne Leigh) of lying than others.
De Goes accusing women of lying🔗
In the cases below we have archived pages or screenshots showing De Goes accusing women of lying. He has deleted all of these comments except for one of the tweets from February 2018 attacking Sonia Gupta.
- De Goes to Adrienne Leigh on Twitter (8 March 2017): "Which @Status451Blog blogger is "openly alt-right"? Quote or you're lying."
- De Goes to Adrienne Leigh on Twitter in a different thread (8 March 2017): "I believe people lie all the time; you know it when you have evidence. I still have no evidence Clark is alt-right."
- De Goes referring to Adrienne Leigh on Twitter (13 March 2017): "Yeah, I decided to start calling out liars. If they don't like it, they can always stop lying. We all have choices."
- De Goes responding to Sonia Gupta's criticism of Ed Latimore on Twitter: "People will regret lying about him."
- De Goes to Sonia Gupta on Twitter: "Quote or you're lying. I think we both know which one it is."
- De Goes in a thread about Sonia Gupta's complaint: "Don't become bitter just because you disagree, & spread lies and misinformation, since that only discredits you when the truth comes to light—& it always comes to light. 21/22"
- Sonia Gupta, in a public article about LambdaConf 2017: "Mr. De Goes has called me a liar."
- De Goes on Twitter, screenshotting discussion of a blog post by Christie Koehler: "After you read it, please take the time to correct the misperceptions or lies of your colleagues that put this smear campaign in motion."
- De Goes on Twitter, referring to an article by Christie Koehler as "bogus": "You're the one who endorsed a bogus critique based on a dead version of FCOP. Name a single issue with the current FCOP, or admit you're lying."
- Christie Koehler in a blog post, referring to now-deleted comments by John De Goes: "One of the primary authors of the FCOP is going around asserting I am a liar".
- De Goes's brother Matthew T. De Goes, in response to Christie Koehler: "Maybe if you asked us about FCOP you wouldn't have to lie about it? Just a suggestion."
- De Goes's brother Matthew T. De Goes in response to Christie Koehler: "Just a reminder that this is a totally false statement."
- From the "Drupal Confessions" Twitter account, which De Goes helped to run, about Christie Koehler: "In this illiberal authoritarian rant, @christi3k, who has done severe harm to Drupal, implies Crell is an abuser and master manipulator. She later admitted she based her accusations purely on 'gut feeling', which she argues is enough because 'this is not a court'."
There are also many reports of other cases where he's made comments like these but deleted them before they were archived. For example:
- Aimee Maree on Twitter: "[De Goes] impacted my life in ways too hard for me to discuss, last two jobs in Drupal community had his so called followers and Crell supporters in Australia go on a war path against me…"
- From private communication: "I tweeted something mild about why I wasn't going. John called me a liar on at least two platforms, but of course he has deleted those tweets."
De Goes has not stopped engaging in this behavior, even after sending the cease and desist letter where he denies it. For example:
- In response to @Felienne (5 August 2020): "I see you're still upset Yarvin spoke at LC years ago, but there are more constructive ways to improve the world than insulting or lying about me."
De Goes accusing others of lying🔗
I was able to find one example of De Goes accusing a man of lying, while not using that word, and with reference to a blog post by a woman (Christie Koehler):
- To Damien McKenna on Twitter: "So fess up, you & your friends launch a coordinated smear attack with blatant disregard for facts? … Your statement is false…"
(He has also called me a liar many times, of course.)
Response to complaint 3🔗
"Our client has never engaged in any targeted harassment. Harassing other persons would be illegal. Our client conducts himself professionally and treats other people with respect."
The following three sections below outline several cases in which John De Goes participated in behavior that was described by many people as "harassment", "abuse", "aggressive", "combative", and "trolling". Note that the post makes no claims about whether De Goes's actions were illegal, and that the word "harassment" is often used to refer to behavior that may not be illegal in some places.
In April 2017 John De Goes publicly stated that he had helped to organize an activist effort named "Drupal Confessions" (which included the Twitter account @druconfessions):
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.
Oh, if it were up to me, the letter would never come down. Not until there was a commitment to real reform. DC took the easy way out.
De Goes was also quoted commenting on the controversy in similar terms in an article in Inc.:
De Goes added, "There will be more, and it will probably get a lot worse before it gets better."
De Goes was also observed accidentally tweeting from the wrong Twitter account (i.e. using @druconfessions when he meant to use @jdegoes):
Remember that time he accidentally tweeted from the wrong account? Quickest delete twitter has ever seen
Um...wait a second, did jdegoes just tweet from the @druconfessions account? Tweet got deleted REAL quick! #DrupalConfessions cc @heyrocker
There are many other examples of people in the community identifying De Goes as a leader of the effort:
- Because of conversations with media: "Interesting how jdegoes has been shaping the media narrative around Crell & #DrupalConfessions from jump, as per @sonyaellenmann 's tweets."
- Because of retweets: "de Goes sure does love retweeting RTs of his sockpuppet accounts (@druconfessions, now @drupalinclusion?) from his real account! #egostroke"
- With respect to similar accounts: "Took a look at how the imposter @drupalinclusion account is making an ass of themselves today. I'd bet good money it's de Goes yet again."
Some people in the Drupal community believed that De Goes could be operating the Drupal Confessions Twitter account alone, including Helena McCabe:
I don't think your multiple personalities count as 'many people', John. … I do believe that there could be others, but I think it's a smaller group than he's presenting.
The activities of the Drupal Confessions account were widely considered to be harassment. For example, the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion working group wrote the following:
Like the rest of the #Drupal community, we (leaders of the Drupal Diversity & Inclusion) are disgusted by the “Drupal Confessions” nonsense. … Regardless of one’s position on LG & the DA’s actions, Drupal Confessions is toxic and dangerous for the #drupal community. … Drupal Confessions divides community members and pollutes public ideas about what the #drupal community is. … We can’t simply dismiss Drupal Leaks as insane nonsense - they are attacking and doxxing community members.
Many community members agreed:
- An anonymous operator of the @druconfessions account after De Goes left the group: "Drupal Confessions became a tool for harassment. It is defunct. Please report any related accounts you see carrying out targeted harassment."
- Damien McKenna in a response to De Goes and @druconfessions: "Please stop this harassment. Cc @drupalcommunity, @DrupalAssoc."
- Ruby Sinreich on Medium: "John De Goes was also one of the founders of an effort called “Drupal Confessions” which called to reinstate a white male community member who had been removed from leadership positions for unprofessional conduct at Drupal events. That’s why De Goes and LambdaConf were already on the radar for some of us. DrupalConfessions then renamed itself DrupalLeaks and morphed into an alt-right attack organ which has attempted to intimidate diversity advocates in the Drupal community."
- Ruby Sinreich on Twitter: "DC promoted conspiracy theories, cultivated anonymous attacks, welcomed alt-right & GG types, then gave them the keys to yr account."
- Manning Peterson: "DC also provided the alt-right people with videos, personal info (names of family members, ??) and continues to protect these abusers' IDs"
- Laura S: "So now we get threats? How does this help anything? https://twitter.com/druconfessions/status/855030372538691585 … I would add that behavior that constitutes harassment can all too often be dismissed by (frankly mostly) men as overstated or nonexistent 6/"
- Aimee Maree: "[De Goes] impacted my life in ways too hard for me to discuss, last two jobs in Drupal community had his so called followers and Crell supporters in Australia go on a war path against me…"
- John Albin Wilkins: "Others reasonably think you're a white supremacist trolling #drupal community. @DruConfessions, it is time for you to declare which it is!"
- Jack Aponte: "[the] two of you conveniently forgot the 'with an agenda like de Goes' part. You know, the white supremacist & sexist protecting agenda."
- Jack Aponte: "Which you are doing nothing you help. You're working against efforts to include UNDERREPRESENTED MARGINALIZED people in Drupal."
- Shanley Kane: "Welp looks like @druconfessions got a huge endorsement by Nazi/fascist hate site B***itbarf https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/04/14/techies-in-uproar-over-drupal-developers-expulsion-over-bdsm-kinks/ … When B***itbarf is literally applauding your 'diversity' efforts you know you really got it wrong. B***itbarf literally built itself by harassing women + spreading fascist, racist, misogynist ideology. They think you're doing a great job"
- @yched: "But had I known a non-community agent with an agenda like degoes' was co-organizing, I sure wouldn't have considered it the same"
- Renée Stephen: "Well, you may alas find you've taken this stand on quicksand; De Goes is willing to 'crater' our community. Is not about the good of Drupal."
Psychotic intersectionalist Marxist @christi3k rants on how trawling through 10 years of someone's life to build a political dossier is 👌
Extremist @christi3k hates Gor, wants to expel all wrongthink. … In this illiberal authoritarian rant, @christi3k, who has done severe harm to Drupal, implies Crell is an abuser and master manipulator.
Christie Koehler responded to De Goes and Drupal Confessions in several instances:
- Koehler characterized De Goes's behavior as follows: "Ah, I see Mr de Goes is defending his conference (LambdaConf) and his code of conduct (FCOP) again and implying that those who disagree with him are liars. Tell me again how that's professional conduct?"
- Koehler also repeatedly asked De Goes to stop contacting her on Twitter, over the course of over a month: "Get out of my mentions. … I have zero desire to interact with you about this or anything else. Don't @ me. (Second request.)",
- Koehler also repeatedly asked De Goes to remove a statement he had published that implied that she had voluntarily contributed to the writing of the FCoP (as of 10 July 2020 he has not removed it): "Take my name off the 'special thanks' in your post. You do not have my permission to intimate I have collaborated with you in any capacity whatsoever on the FCOP."
In September 2019, the Typelevel organization banned John De Goes from participation in all Typelevel projects, project channels, and events, citing his "aggressive" behavior:
The cause is John’s combative style of interaction in Typelevel channels. His interactions when in agreement are always cordial, but when he disagrees with something or someone, the results are inevitably drawn out, intensely aggressive, and stressful. We have tried for the past three years, via one-on-one discussions and multiple warnings, to arrive at a style of respectful collaboration that we can all live with. These attempts have consistently failed, despite considerable time-consuming effort.
A more detailed explanation of the situation was later published by one of the ten members of the Typelevel Steering Committee who had decided on the ban:
In an attempt to adjust for this bias, several third-parties (non-programmers, entirely outside the Scala and even broader tech ecosystems) were consulted. … Each such individual came back with the same conclusion: John should be banned. In some cases, the judgments were even harsher; "he's a troll", was a common refrain, as was "he's just thriving on the attention". The fact that third parties, having no prior knowledge of the history or individuals involved, came to this kind of unambiguous and blunt conclusion, is very telling.
There are many other cases where people in the community have discussed being targeted with harassment by De Goes or as a direct result of his actions:
- When asked about the description of De Goes as "an abuser", Julie Moronuki wrote "i think it's an accurate enough description of my experience of him, and i believe it of the experiences some women Travis mentions by name have had, as well as the experience of a woman i am acquainted with in the Drupal community."
- De Goes on Twitter in response to Adrienne Leigh, who had been targeted by ClarkHat and had asked De Goes not to attract his attention to her: "Umm, let's just ask. Hey @clarkhat, are you alt-right?" In response Leigh wrote, "i have previously asked you not to retweet that dangerous person who has previously harassed me into my mentions. PLEASE DO NOT".
- From Andi McClure: "However, I criticized @lambda_conf in public, and now I am targeted for harassment by white supremacists. This is real harm. … @jdegoes Groups aligned w/this wiki hve run successful smear campaigns to get women fired recently,so this is a credible threat. @lambda_conf @jdegoes … If white supremacist harassment groups are investigating me, the harm done on @lambda_conf's behalf could even be harm to my person. … .@jdegoes: You must understand. You are working with white supremacists. You invited a leader in an organized movement. … .@jdegoes: You have created a situation where @lambda_conf is a safe space for those comfortable with white supremacy&unsafe for all others."
- From Sonia Gupta: "I had already received considerable harassment on Twitter due to my speaking up about the event, but shortly before I was due to publish my response, Breitbart picked up the story, and the harassment became worse. I was afraid for my safety and I chose not to share my response with the world."
- From The Daily Camera, a newspaper in Boulder, Colorado: "A lawyer-turned-software-developer new to the field says she has been the subject of online harassment after she confronted organizers of Boulder’s LambdaConf programming conference for hosting a keynote speaker that she says is a misogynist."
In April 2016 a group of De Goes supporters published a list of "SJWs" ("social justice warriors"), based on the list of signatories to a statement criticizing LambdaConf, with the goal of inciting harassment. This list was widely criticized:
While the list is supposedly a resource for companies who want to hire or fire compatible employees, it's being interpreted as an online blacklist for social justice advocates to be harassed or doxed.
De Goes seems to have declined to comment on the list at the time (he is not quoted in journalist Beth Elderkin's article on the topic, for example, although she had reached out to him on Twitter. In September 2019 he acknowledged not having stood up to the harassment that had been done by his supporters three years earlier:
The SJW list was terrible, and while I had no part of that, I deeply regret not standing up to them.
Many people have pointed out other cases where De Goes seemed to invite and welcome support from hate groups and movements like Gamergate (which was known for harassment):
- Kelly Ellis referring to Status 451, a LambdaConf sponsor: ".@jdegoes @tangled_zans You know... The blog that lambdaconf.us is driving traffic to? It calls for harassment. So. … Wrong. Thinly veiled call to harass someone's employer for employee tweets. … John, their blog does have posts calling for harassment of women in tech."
- Bodil Stokke referring to Trump supporters: "Can also confirm I've already had maga trolls sniffing round my Twitter feed, starting when JdG tweeted the above."
- Harry Garrood, quoting a reply from the LambdaConf account to ClarkHat and a Gamergate supporter: "Really hope LC isn't about to start taking advice from GGers about how to write a CoC."
- @freiksenet: "Slippery slope they said, inclusion they said. Well slippery slope backfired in their face, with practically GG behind LambdaConf now."
Response to complaint 4🔗
"The FCoP is clearly not designed to protect white supremacists."
This section provides evidence that early discussions of the Fantasyland Code of Professionalism (abbreviated "FCOP" or "FCoP") focused on Curtis Yarvin, who is widely considered to be a white supremacist (see above), and that De Goes has explicitly and repeatedly compared the FCoP to the defense of white supremacists (specifically Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members) by organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union.
The FCoP was developed in 2017 after the controversy surrounding LambdaConf 2016 and Curtis Yarvin, and was summarized by De Goes's organization like this (archived): "FCOP protects professionals from being purged from tech communities for expressing beliefs in other communities." That it was designed with the Yarvin case in mind is unquestionable and widely acknowledged. See the analyses of Christie Koehler and Matthew Garrett for more detail about issues that many people have with the document. For example, Garrett described the FCoP in February 2017 as "an abuser's fantasy", and wrote the following:
The Fantasyland Institute of Learning is the organisation behind Lambdaconf, a functional programming conference perhaps best known for standing behind a racist they had invited as a speaker. The fallout of that has resulted in them trying to band together events in order to reduce disruption caused by sponsors or speakers declining to be associated with conferences that think inviting racists is more important than the comfort of non-racists, which is weird in all sorts of ways but not what I'm talking about here because they've also written a "Code of Professionalism" which is like a Code of Conduct except it protects abusers rather than minorities and no really it is genuinely as bad as it sounds.
The FCoP was developed and promoted by the Fantasyland Alliance of Technical Events (FATE), an organization founded by John De Goes. FATE's original statement of purpose explicitly referred to the controversy around Yarvin's talk at LambdaConf 2016 as the reason for its existence:
In April 2016, FIOL’s own LambdaConf event was attacked for refusing to ban a speaker with unpopular political views, whose anonymized proposal had been accepted by a blind committee. Activists attempted to shut down the conference by pressuring speakers and sponsors to withdraw, organizing protest petitions, and otherwise working behind the scenes to harm attendance.
Until the LambdaConf controversy, most conferences attacked for similar reasons were either destroyed (due to insufficient funds) or they caved to demands made on social media. LambdaConf staunchly refused to alter its position and was prepared to accept any consequences of this decision.
With the help of Status 451 (a free speech advocacy blog), a fundraiser was launched to support LambdaConf. LambdaConf ended up raising $40,000 with this campaign. Dozens of speakers volunteered to take the place of those who backed out, and new sponsors came in to help cover the costs for the event.
After successfully weathering the LambdaConf controversy, we at FIOL decided that we would use our experience to support other organizations who wish to take a stand in refusing to impose ideological purity tests on speakers and attendees. The result of this effort is FATE.
The GitHub repository for the FCoP project has been deleted (since May 2020, according to Google search results), but in early discussion threads, De Goes repeatedly made reference to Curtis Yarvin:
- February 2017 (archived): "Second, if you were to create a COC that banned 'white supremacists', it would have to allow CY to participate, since he is not a white supremacist"
- March 2017 (archived): "Moreover, there is no even remotely plausible of 'Nazi' in which, say, Curtis Yarvin is a Nazi. So if you ban Nazis, you'll still end up with lots of people like Curtis Yarvin, who believe that, while individual differences trump everything else, the mean of IQ test scores differs by 'race'."
Do you understand why the ACLU defends the rights of Nazis to speak? It's not because they endorse the views of Nazis; rather, they find them repugnant. It's because if Nazis are denied the right to speak, then there will be another group which follows them (to say nothing of the warfare of disingenuously casting one's opponents as "literal Nazis", as has been done with Charles Murray and many others, for example); and so on, until what one is allowed to speak about and how one must speak about it is determined entirely by a fickle authoritarian government.
Similarly, FCOP allows participation by people you might find morally repugnant, so long as they behave themselves in the context of the community.
In this same thread, Matthew Garrett, a software developer at Google, asked De Goes the following question:
If community member A is a KKK leader, and community member B informs A's employers of this resulting in A being fired, this appears to meet the current definition of professional sabotage. Is this considered desirable?
De Goes responded:
This depends on whether or not being a "KKK leader" has implications on the performance of the professional duties of A, which it arguably could have depending on specifics.
This response indicates that the FCoP is designed to defend a Ku Klux Klan member against professional consequences for their involvement with a white supremacist organization, as long as it does not affect their professional duties.
In a proposal nominating the FCoP for Typelevel approval in May 2017, De Goes wrote that the FCoP was designed to protect e.g. advocates of scientific racism:
Things like vilification of Jews (use of the ((())) annonation on Twitter), nazi-ism, constant streams of rape threats to women on Twitter, etc...
As far as I am aware, there are exactly zero Scala programmers in the world who vilify Jews, promote national socialism, or engage in rape threats to women (all of which are illegal somewhere, and most of which are illegal everywhere, and are already extensively covered by FCOP).
Rather, all the real world cases are programmers being excluded for being conservative (including being banned from multiple tech communities), programmers being excluded for being Gorean, programmers being persecuted for questioning whether 4 year olds should transition, and similar.
These are the actual issues facing programmers, not the imaginary ones that you list.
I'm not saying FCOP is doing that, and maybe it can even be improved to address such exclusions.
Any community could layer on restrictions on participation in FCOP; they just have to be transparent about it, which is all that is being asked for by concerned parties. Want to ban nazis, slavery apologists, and so forth? Fine, then just be explicit about it, rather than hiding behind a vague COC.
These restrictions need to be clear on what they mean. Goreans have been accused of being "misogynists" and "slavery apologists", though everything in Gor culture is consensual. Neo-reactionaries have been accused of being "Nazis". 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.
Support for the post and its ideas🔗
Statements specifically supporting or endorsing the post:
- Jamie Allen (author of Effective Akka): "I'm glad to hear that. Have you read Travis Brown's post about John's impact to the community over the years https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/ Many of us have worked hard dealing with the results of these acts, & the people that were hurt. I know John myself. I get no joy from this."
- Julie Moronuki: "i have also been -- deeply, to my everlasting regret -- involved in a lot of this and Travis Brown's account is basically accurate. it is important to acknowledge when things are true."
- Julie Moronuki in response to the question "Travis labels John an 'abuser' in his post, would you say that's accurate in your opinion?": "i think it's an accurate enough description of my experience of him, and i believe it of the experiences some women Travis mentions by name have had, as well as the experience of a woman i am acquainted with in the Drupal community."
- Bodil Stokke in response to a tweet about the post: "If you were wondering why I've declined invitations to speak again at @skillsmatter's conferences this year, it's because this is their much promoted keynote speaker for this year's Scala Exchange. They've been made aware by me and others, but they don't seem to care."
- Rob Rix: "This is the most complete overview I’m aware of: https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/ Resonates quite strongly with my personal observations of his behaviour as well."
- Harry Garrood: "A few days ago, @travisbrown wrote this post detailing John de Goes’ tendencies of courting the far right and working against inclusive FP communities https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/ … Now, JDG and his supporters are arguing that the post is baseless and defamatory, despite not being able to name any specific examples of claims which are untrue. … I was involved in a few of the shitstorms surrounding the events Travis describes - eg I was quoted in a Breitbart hit piece around the time of lambdaconf 2017 - and I can vouch for the accuracy of Travis’ account of them."
- Harry Garrood: "JDG is not merely associated with intolerance, he is actively involved with it. See https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/"
- Aaron Levin: "(for those who aren't familiar with the Scala community: someone did all those things (and more: https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/) and is shocked (shocked!) they were uninvited to give a keynote at a conference)"
- Adriaan Moors: "I fully support @skillsmatter's decision. Thankful that they put the health of the #scala community first. Can imagine it's not easy for a conf, and mentions won't be a pleasant place today in the face of some "immutable" opinions, but this is necessary. (https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/)"
- Adriaan Moors: "Absence of proof is not proof of absence. I don't even care whether he's "nice" or not -- this stuff is waaaaay beyond nice/not nice: https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/"
- Shaun Mahood: "I don’t think it has anything to do with respectful words - https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/ - if a community or conference knowingly wants to promote someone with a track record like his, it becomes an unsafe space for a huge number of people that are important to me."
- Ruby Sinreich: It's pretty well detailed here https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/"
- Erik Osheim: "broadly-speaking i agree with the write-up here: https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/ he is a complicated figure some of whose impact is positive, but for me this doesn't outweigh the negative."
- Hannah Howard: "Somebody dropped by my page this morning to yell at me for a LambdaConf tweet from 2016. I get drive by harassers frequently but this was a weirdly out of date vector. Now I know why: John DeGoes is apparently ruining yet another community. https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/"
- Michael Pilquist: "I'm happy that a lot of folks are discovering the benefits of FP while saddened by their introduction being *IO where *=Z. Can we please not forget the following? https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/"
- Adam Rosien: "there are no inflamed mobs. there are people and organizations making ethical choices. https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/"
- Stephen Judkins: "Most of the stuff in this post is fully corroborated. https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/"
- Benjamin Reitzammer: "I don’t have a personal crusade with De Goes. But judging from his actions (some of them documented at https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/) he may be a technical expert but at the same time an abuser, MRA, racist and other things that are incompatible with inclusive events."
- Ryan Peters: "I've noticed a lot of these things myself, but @travisbrown says it a lot better than I ever could, and all in one place. We need more devs in every community who are willing to stand up for social justice, and I fully support @skillsmatter's decisions in light of this posting."
- Mirjam Diala: "There should be no room for anything or anyone alt-right on stages, in our tech community and community in general. Thanks for standing up and making a stand on that, @skillsmatter … Read this tweet and document for more info. https://twitter.com/travisbrown/status/1168419834775912448"
- Jared Hirsch: "This is unbelievable. Apparently Lambdaconf and the Scala community generally are cool with conf speakers who are virulent misogynists and white supremacists? We need to bring the “nazi punks fuck off” attitude into tech, push these assholes out and keep them out"
- Cody Konior: "I read that and then this to get context on who that was https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/ IMHO uninviting them was the right thing to do. There’s room in tech for... personality. Opinions. And disagreements. But never for misogyny and white supremacy"
- Nedda Amini: "Essentially John De Goes keeps inviting objectively terrible people to his conferences, and other things. The liked post in this tweet explains a lot."
- William Light: "the message paul has sent is that the problem is the activists, not the behaviour they have a problem with. i mean, i've read through most of https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/ and it's not great"
- Thomas Bracher: "What about the Drupal confession thing? https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/ He didn't "make a distinction between person and work", he actively participate in the harassment with said people. Seems very opinionated "rational" behavior to me."
- Damien McKenna: "Community codes of conduct matter: https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/"
- Heath Borders: "I'm glad I haven't heard about people like this in the iOS, Android communities. I'm sure they exist, but I hope they don't have much prominence. https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/"
- Christie Koehler: "TY for putting this together!"
- Tobias Goeschel: "This is a very prominent example: https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/ Many of the issues aren't limited to Scala, but are present in FP in general - nevertheless an overall exclusionary feel, and esp. the "you're doing it wrong" attitude towards newbies was enough to drive me out."
- Ed Kmett: "I somehow missed the bottom half of that post. Out of that, what strikes me as most damning is the Drupal Confessions stuff…"
- Aaron Crane: "Suddenly feeling better about my recent difficult decision to turn down a great job offer at a company that’s using a lot of Scala"
- Pierre Darragh: "Actually here's a link about that guy: https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/ Tech has issues."
- Alan Johnson: "As many know, @travisbrown wrote a comprehensive recap https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/. I've seen this piece disputed as "defamation", but I have not seen the specifics debunked. /7 … I find the behavior outlined disturbing, especially in 2016 and 2017. /8"
- @SrPablo: "sorry, context: Scala has a Mr. Clean-looking guy who desperately seeks the approval of racists and dipshits, insists he's not got problems so it's just so CHOICE that his project is named a genetic thing white supremacists are obsessed with, glorify https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/"
- @SergiGP: Parece que uno de los lideres de la comunidad de FP es un fascista. Con el culo torcido me que quedado. https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/"
- @chordowl: "can't vouch for every detail of this account, and I'm not in the communities this related to, but this mirrors what I've heard over the years https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/"
- @derMicha: @ZalandoTech @Zalando from my perspective it is not acceptable to give @jdegoes a stage? As I know there was internal discussion which results in not discharging him. Why? https://typelevel.org/blog/2019/09/05/jdg.html https://meta.plasm.us/posts/2019/09/01/jdg-and-the-fp-community/"
General criticism of John De Goes and LambdaConf on Twitter:
- Julie Moronuki: "people sometimes ask me why i have distanced myself from LambdaConf. i may write about that at some point. for now, i wish to state my support of @soniagupta504 and my opposition to the tactics De Goes employs in responding to people who criticize him."
- Gabriel Gonzalez: "I'd like to address some fallacies I see people make when defending the behavior of people like John De Goes Fallacy 1: "The accused person was nice to me, therefore they couldn't have treated others poorly" I believe this first fallacy is self-explanatory (1/4) … Fallacy 2: "The accused person has volunteered, donated, or otherwise helped people in noble ways, therefore these charges must be baseless" … This generalizes the previous fallacy. Evidence of good deeds or good intentions is not evidence of the absence of harm (2/4) … Fallacy 3: "You can't claim to promote tolerance while excluding people like the accused" This is addressed by the "Paradox of Tolerance": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox" … Fallacy 4: "We can overlook people's political views and communities. All that matters are their technical contributions" This is the modern day version of: "Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?" The communities we build around technology matter (4/4)"
- Harry Garrood to John De Goes: "I wish people would just say, look, you used MLK quotes to moralise to people who complained about you welcoming a white supremacist, you have spent almost a year snarkily quote tweeting anyone who criticises fcop and generally just being a dick about it on twitter, You have said that you hope the 'crater' left by the drupal community 'scares others away from making the same decisions', Clearly our community has nothing to gain from listening to you, so go away. … tbh at this point, many people's reaction when they see an FCOP community is going to be 'these people side with racists'."
- Justin Leitgeb: "This year's #lambdaconf has proven that by claiming to be neutral, it's easy to wind up reinforcing pre-existing systems of discrimination."
- Sarah Mei: "WAR IS PEACE SLAVERY IS FREEDOM IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH A PRO-SLAVERY BIGOT SPEAKING AT YOUR CONFERENCE IS INCLUSION … tl;dr - @lambda_conf is allowing a man who believes white people should rule over brown people to give a talk, & calling that "diversity." Here's their tortured explanation, complete with bad survey design & selective data highlighting: http://degoes.net/articles/lambdaconf-inclusion"
- Sarah Jeong: "Curtis Yarvin / Mencius Moldbug, the center of the Lambdaconf shitstorm last year, is buds with both Milo and Thiel"
- Sarah Jeong: "Wait, didn't the Lambdaconf from hell come and go? This is a new year, a new Lambdaconf right?"
- Matthew Garrett: "Ha ha holy fuck the Lambdaconf keynote speaker is a literal Red Piller https://twitter.com/EdLatimore/status/867344731008839681"
- Tatu Saloranta: "Thinking of attending LambdaConf? Read this first https://medium.com/@soniagupta504/bigotry-and-its-amplifiers-a-response-to-lambdaconf-e30577b396c"
- Kyle Kingsbury: "Cool so the silver sponsor of Lambdaconf is Status451, which is written by folks like Clarkhat, seen here... fuck it"
- Kyle Kingsbury: "Folks are getting mad that speakers have pulled out of LambdaConf as if there's some kind of moral obligation to speak alongside Yarvin."
- Kyle Kingsbury: "You can say, like DeGoes has done in the annual LambdaConf fiasco: "well, we're amoral; if people who advocate slavery can conduct themselves professionally in the scope of this conference or project, they're allowed to stay". Or "we only care about code. Politics elsewhere". … But as @kf and @esten have pointed out, "apolitical" isn't a neutral stance. People talk about misogynistic behavior. They quietly move away from the community--or they speak up, and when they raise the issue, that conversation comes into conflict with the apolitical code."
- David Nolen: "Wow LambdaConf is now on my list of conferences to NEVER attend http://degoes.net/articles/lambdaconf-inclusion #moldbug"
- @KirinDave: "Please stop making LambdaConf a friendly environment for harassment. https://twitter.com/mtdegoes/status/833830785551577090"
- Zach Tellman: "I cancelled my talk at LambdaConf two years ago because of Yarvin's invitation. The only static I got was one guy asking if I was "virtue signaling." Stories like this are infuriating, but also prove how utterly wrong-minded the LambdaConf CoC is. https://twitter.com/soniagupta504/status/960501048388366336"
- Joshua Hollander: "Listening to those people is different than giving them a platform. We can not tolerate the intolerant, be it racist, misogynist or bigot. Giving them a platform, tech or not, is tolerating them. It's so naive to cry 'free speech' when an intolerant voice is silenced. … Go ahead read all of Yarvin's crap. Be best friends with him for all we care. Inviting him to your conference is a tacit endorsement of his horrible views."
- Thomas Lockney in response to a tweet quoting Desmond Tutu: "@lambda_conf Sorry, but choosing that quote in the given situation is just disgusting. I'm appalled by this."
- Hannah Howard: "@lambda_conf little PR help here -- don't quote a famous black thinker while your conference is under fire for inviting a slavery apologist"
Evidence that De Goes read the post in September 2019🔗
De Goes referred to the post three times on 3 and 4 September 2019 (indirectly but clearly; Skills Matter's decision was based at least in part on the post, and when De Goes writes "a defamatory hit piece", he is referring to the post):
- 3 September 12:53 PM: "I have been no-platformed at Scala eXchange by people making baseless character smears. I respect the right of @skillsmatter to make the decision they feel is best. I respect the right of every potential speaker & attendee to respectfully write, tweet, & blog their response."
- 4 September 4:09 AM: "No one who supports my ability to speak at tech conferences supports everything I've ever said or done. (Heck, not even I support everything I've ever said or done!) They're just saying that no-platforming me based on a defamatory smear campaign is unjustifiable."
- 4 September 4:50 AM: "I am being no-platformed not for any of my (liberal) values, not for the way I treat people (with kindness), and not for my (positive) impact on people. But because of a defamatory hit piece by someone shunned from the Scala community for abuse and toxicity. Think about that."
There are also many people who specifically replied to his Twitter account with a link to the post, starting on 2 September 2019 (the day it was published). The following are just a few examples:
Note in particular that De Goes "liked" the first tweet above, indicating that he definitely saw the link.