Earlier this week, we reported on the social justice warrior-led backlash against LambdaConf over their refusal to ban Curtis Yarvin, developer of the Urbit programming environment, over his “neoreactionary” political writing.
In the wake of LambdaConf’s decision and statement in defense of political diversity, pressure from social justice warriors caused many of the conference’s sponsors to pull out. At one point, LambdaConf’s list of sponsors was reduced to just one.
In response, the political and tech blog Status 451, edited by computer scientist Meredith L. Patterson, set up an online fundraiser to help recoup LambdaConf’s sponsorship losses. Writing on their fundraiser page, the organisers said:
No conference can be all things for all people. Some spaces are political, and people should be free to choose to enter those spaces, or not. But other spaces, especially professional spaces where we earn our livings or advance the state of our arts, should be allowed to check politics at the door. We oppose the ideological crusade of these activists to force all conferences to cater to their agenda or be de-funded.
At the time of this story’s publishing, the campaign had raised over $16,000, exceeding the initial goal of $15,000. In addition to the fundraiser, Status 451 are also officially sponsoring LambdaConf with their own donation of $3,000.
Christopher Allen and Julie Moronuki, co-author of Haskell Programming From First Principles, also decided to buck the trend and continue sponsoring LambdaConf. In a blog post on her personal website, Moronuki wrote that she made her decision after seeing women and minorities come under fire from white SJWs for supporting LambdaConf.
I know from past experience that members of marginalized groups tend to get the most flak for taking unpopular stances, for deviating from what the rest of their “group” thinks. I have too many gay (and also women, and black, and Hispanic) conservative friends who are ostracized by the gay (or feminist, black, Hispanic) community for voting Republican to not understand this. So I wanted to take my stand publicly and show solidarity with them now, not just at the conference.
(If you’re asking how I can be friends with people who vote Republican, maybe you should come back to this post after you get out of your bubble and rehumanize yourself.)
LambdaConf’s sponsorship page has also been updated with two new sponsors, data visualisation company SlamData and custom software creators SoftwareMill. These sponsors were announced after the controversy over Curtis Yarvin erupted, although it’s unclear if their sponsorships constitute a specific endorsement of LambdaConf’s position on political diversity, as Status 451’s does.
Nevertheless, the money pouring in to Status 451’s crowdfunder is a sign that many in the world of tech are quietly supportive of LambdaConf’s stance.