Jacob Kaplan-Moss

Python Programmers Support the Ada Initiative

I wrote this post in 2014, more than 9 years ago. It may be very out of date, partially or totally incorrect. I may even no longer agree with this, or might approach things differently if I wrote this post today. I rarely edit posts after writing them, but if I have there'll be a note at the bottom about what I changed and why. If something in this post is actively harmful or dangerous please get in touch and I'll fix it.

Please join me in helping making the Python community better by supporting the Ada Initiative.

Last year, the Python community raised $10,000 for the Ada Initiative. This year I am betting we can beat that record and raise $20,000! Carl Meyer, Alex Gaynor, Jim Meyer, and I are pledging to match up to $10,000 in donations from the Python community; please join us in donating!


Update: Minutes after we annonunced this, Jim Meyer offered an additional $2,500, bringing the match total to $10,000! Thanks, Jim!

I was thrilled to see the response from our drive last year: together, we raised over $10,000 and demonstrated the Python community’s commitment to inclusiveness. However, The struggle to build a diverse community is a long game, and the Ada Initiative needs our continued support.

I wrote last year about why the work that the Ada Initiative is doing is so important to me:

I’ve been incredibly successful making a life out of open source, but I’m playing on the lowest difficulty setting there is.

This needs to change. I want to be part of a community that’s truly accessible to anyone, not one that just pays it lip service. I want to part of a diverse, vibrant community, one that reflects my values rather than contradicts them.

As I reflect on the year since I wrote that, I’m thrilled to say that I’ve seen our community moving in that direction. PyCon North America 2014 was a perfect case in point:


That’s right: a full third of the speakers (and roughly 20% of the attendees) were women. That’s a big accomplishment, one with many factors contributing to that success. But a big factor certainly has been PyCon’s strong stance of adopting and enforcing its Code of Conduct – work inspired and supported by the Ada Inititive.

In general, the last year has seen an increasing recognition that Codes of Conduct are table stakes for conferences – more and more, people are refusing to attended conferences that don’t publish them and holding conferences accountable when they don’t enforce them. Closer to home, I’m incredibly proud to have helped Heroku adopt a policy of only supporting conferences with strong anti-harassment policies, and to see Dreamforce, one of the largest conferences in the country, adopt a Code of Conduct as well. The industry seems to coming to the understanding the Codes of Conduct are an important step in ensuring attendee safety. The Ada Initiative has long led this push, and it’s thrilling to see it work.

However, this fight often feels like it’s one step forward, two steps back, and this last year seen a worrying backlash against diversity. We saw a first example of this earlier this year with the so-called C Plus Equality project. This project, masquerading as satire of feminism, was actually a carefully planned and plotted “operation” by a group of anti-feminists. They created this project as a deliberate troll, waited to see who would respond, and then targeted those people for harassment. I got several death threats (and a half- assed effort to get me fired); women who spoke out faced an even more concerted compaign of harassment.

You can see this even more dramatically in campaign of harassment known as #GamerGate. We now know that the ongoing harassment of Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, and others has, in fact, been a carefully plotted and organized compaign of harassment, doxxing, sockpuppetry, and the like (TW on that link for sexism, racism, homophobia and pretty much every other kind of shitty language you can imagine).

Opponents of equality in tech are increasingly organized, increasingly radical, and increasingly dangerous. This level of organization is scary: we’re not just seeing harassment from individuals, but from teams and groups fighting against diversity in tech. Right now it’s gaming that’s facing this attack; I sometimes fear we’ll be next.

So, I’m eager see the Python community step up and support the Ada Initiative. By donating, you’ll accomplish two things:

  1. You’ll prove that the Python community stands for equality and inclusiveness, and against harassment, abuse, and hate.
  2. Your financial support will arm an organization dedicated to inclusiveness, and one that’s having steady, measurable success.

So, once again, I hope you’ll join me in supporting the Ada Initiative: