Sep. 16th, 2014

tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)

Make Functional Programming Better by Supporting the Ada Initiative and Petitioning the ACM

Edited to add: we reached our initial $4096 goal in just 5 hours! Can you help us raise it to $8192 and double what we hoped to raise? Edited again to add: We've now exceeded our goal of $8192, six hours before the end of the challenge! Can you help us bring it up to $10,000?

Donation button
Donate to the Ada Initiative

Clément Delafargue, Adam Foltzer, Eric Merritt, Chung-chieh (Ken) Shan, and I are orchestrating a community challenge to both raise money for the Ada Initiative, and make computer science conferences (specifically, the many technical conferences that the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) organizes) better. We are challenging anybody who identifies as a member of the functional programming community to do two things:

  1. Donate to the Ada Initiative, a nonprofit organization that is working hard to make it broadly possible for women and people in a variety of other marginalized groups to work in technology.
  2. Call on the ACM to consistently publicize their own anti-harassment policy for all its conferences. That is, I'm asking that those -- at least those of you who use Twitter -- tweet a statement like the following one (use your own words, just include the #lambda4ada hashtag and try to include the donation link):

    I donated to @adainitiative b/c I want @TheOfficialACM events to announce their anti-harassment policy. #lambda4ada

Our goal is to raise $4096 $8192 $10,000 for the Ada Initiative by 5:00 PM Pacific time on Friday, September 19. If you use the URL, your donation will count towards the functional programming community challenge and help us reach the $4096 $8192$10,000 goal. I have personally matched the first $1024 of funds raised -- that is to say, I already donate $80 per month to TAI, so over a year, my contributions will add up to $960. On Tuesday, Sept. 16, I donated an additional $64 to round the amount up to $1024. I've spent the past couple years struggling to pay off student loans and medical bills despite being generously compensated for my work -- nevertheless, I support TAI every month because I see it as an investment in my continued ability to work. I hope that my example inspires those who have a bit more financial freedom than I do to donate accordingly.

If you are reading this and you have benefited from your involvement, past or present, with any part of the functional programming community, we need your support. It is up to you how much to give, but we ask that you consider how much you have gained -- materially, intellectually, socially, perhaps even spiritually -- from what you have learned from functional programming and from the people who love it. Particularly if you are currently making your livelihood in a way that would be impossible without the work of many people who have and are making functional programming languages great, consider giving an amount that is commensurate with the gift you have received from the community. If you need a suggested amount and are employed full-time in industry who is using functional programming or doing work that wouldn't be possible if not for the foundations laid by the FP community, $128 seems pretty reasonable to me -- and at that rate, we would just need a total of 32 people to donate in order to reach the goal. I think there are far more people than that who do FP for a living!

If anybody assumed that Clément, Adam, Eric, or Ken endorsed anything in the remainder of this blog post, that assumption would likely be wrong. In what follows, I am speaking only as myself and for myself. I am an employee of Heroku, a Salesforce company, but neither Heroku nor Salesforce endorses any of the following content either. Likewise, I don't necessarily agree with everything that Ken, Eric, Adam, or Clément might say in support of this challenge; we are all individuals who may disagree with each other about many things, but agree on our common goals of supporting the Ada Initiative and raising awareness about the ACM anti-harassment policy.

If you've already gone ahead and made a donation as well as tweeting your support under #lambda4ada, great! You can stop reading here. If you're not sure yet, though, please read further.

Why ICFP Is Fun... For Some

  • Young man, there's no need to feel down
  • I said young man, put that old journal down
  • And come publish at... I - C - F - P
  • It's fun to publish at... I - C - F - P
  • When your lambda is tight, and your theorems allright
  • You can come, on, down, and publish at... I - C - F - P
  • You know I'm talking 'bout... I - C - F - P
  • There's a place you can go, and lots of friends that you know, at the I, C, F, P.

          -- Nathan Whitehead, paying homage to The Village People

ICFP, functional programmers' annual "family reunion" (to borrow a phrase from one of the organizer's of this year's ICFP, which took place two weeks ago) feels to me like more than just an academic conference. The lone academic publication that I can claim (second) authorship for appeared in ICFP, but it's more than just the opportunity to hear about new results or share my own that keeps me coming back. Maybe that has something to do with the affiliated annual programming contest, or the copious number of co-located workshops revolving around different language communities, or maybe it's just about folks who know how to keep the "fun" in functional programming. It's a serious academic conference that occasionally features cosplay and [PDF link] once had an accepted paper that was written in the form of a theatrical play.

Putting The Fun Back in Functional Programming and How the Ada Initiative Is Helping Us Do It )

tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
The following is a guest post from Adam Foltzer ([ profile] acfoltzer).

Our Challenge

Donation button
Donate to the Ada Initiative

This fall, I'm joining with Tim Chevalier, Clément Delafargue, Eric Merritt, and Chung-chieh (Ken) Shan to challenge the functional programming community to help make computer science conferences more welcoming to more people. We have two goals:

  1. Support the work of the Ada Initiative by donating $4096 $8192 by 5pm Pacific time on Friday, September 19th. Use and share the URL so that we functional programmers may be counted!

    (Edited to add: We reached our initial $4096 goal at 1:15 PM Pacific time on Tuesday the 16th, so we are now aiming to raise $8192 by Friday!)
  2. Call on the ACM to definitively support and publicize their anti-harassment policy for their conferences. If you're on Twitter, tweet @TheOfficialACM with the hashtag #lambda4ada with something like:

I donated to @adainitiative because I want @TheOfficialACM to stand behind their anti-harassment policy #lambda4ada

Being part of the functional programming community has been an incredibly valuable and rewarding part of my life. Much as Tim says in his post, conferences like ICFP offer a wonderful recurring dose of friendship, support, and belonging.

However, conferences like this are not necessarily as welcoming to folks who aren't white, cis, hetero, well-off men like me. This isn't usually due to any overtly toxic behaviors as in other communities (hi, fellow atheist gamers!), but due to a combination of incidental condescension, microaggressions, and other subtle ways that often well-meaning people can exclude those who aren't already part of the in-crowd. We can push back against these exclusions by supporting the work of the Ada Initiative and making sure ACM stands behind their anti-harassment policy.

In the last year I have become a member of the committee, donating my time to help improve our community, but I am under no illusions that the balance is equal. Because of functional programming, I have a career so cool I could not have imagined it, I have friendships of great depth and strength, and I have the privilege of constant learning as we discover and invent together every day. Laying down this challenge is part of what I can do to repay this debt, and I hope you will do the same.

The Ada Initiative does important work supporting women in a broad range of technology fields through the development of codes of conduct, anti-harassment policies, advocacy, and education. Their model anti-harassment policy is the basis for the ACM's, and their work informs much of what we are working on in the committee to improve the inclusiveness of Haskell specifically.

The Ada Initiative does valuable work worth supporting. Every month I donate $32, and for this challenge will be donating an additional $128. Join me in reaching for that $4096$8192 goal (powers of two, y'all!):

The ACM has done well to adopt an anti-harassment policy, but to have impact it must be consistently supported and publicized along with their conferences. Join me in calling on them to do so:

I donated to @adainitiative because I want @TheOfficialACM to stand behind their anti-harassment policy #lambda4ada

And finally, as a functional programmer, you probably know at least 5 other people who have benefited from being part of such a weird and delightful community. Pass this challenge along to them and give them the chance to help us reach our goals. Let's make it happen!

tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
I'm happy to report that the community challenge has raised $4394 for the Ada Initiative as of this writing, passing the $4096 mark just five hours after the first blog post. Thanks to Adam, Clément, Ken, and everyone who has donated so far!

Since leaving our friends who were just getting ready for bed when the original blog post went live wouldn't be nice, we're increasing the goal to $8192. If we raised more than $4096 on the first day, can we raise a little less than that with three days to go? I think so!

[Edited to add: With 6 hours left, we've raised $8678 and are aiming for $10,000!]

Donation button

Donate to the Ada Initiative
But that's not all! We're adding a stretch goal: if we raise $16,384, then Adam, Clément, Ken, and I will record Ken's classic filk "There's No Type Class Like Show Type Class" and post the recording on YouTube (or another video sharing site of our choice), illustrated by some informative graphics explaining topics like "polymorphic recursion" that the song mentions. We are putting our mouths where your money is. Tell your friends! Tell your colleagues! Tell everyone who doesn't wish you any specific harm!

Remember: donate, then tweet:

I donated to @adainitiative b/c I want @TheOfficialACM events to announce their anti-harassment policy. #lambda4ada

I'd love to link to more blog posts from folks writing about why the Ada Initiative's work is needed, and why our conferences need strong and clearly advertised anti-harassment policies. Just drop me a line (full contact details in my original post).

Still no response (as of this writing) from [ profile] TheOfficialACM after 15 mentions -- maybe 15 more will do the trick?


tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

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