My trans daughter came out to me at a Haskell workshop. At the time, I thought I was tech support but, in retrospect, she was locating a safe space for both of us to digest the news. I helped with installs, practiced my pronouns and had a blast.
It can be very difficult to see the diversity in our community. We are sparse; there are maybe 200k active GHC installs in the world, but we are also flexible, global and accessible. Maybe 5% of those installs are due to tidal, and more to other projects like it, that didn’t quite fit anywhere else, and the opportunities they provide to create art (or code as art) on a budget.
Our family now has three Haskell coders (they are best bred). One, that I mentioned, is now a harsh noise artist. I watch code on the screen with a good set of ear plugs, looking for useful refactorings and recursions to follow up on, in less frentic contexts. Audiences heckle applicatives “oh no, its less than, star, greater than.” Another is a roboticist in training. I’ve witnessed the state of robotics software and I’m worried for the robots more than anything. As the trans-human attain rights, one of the first will be a GHC install in their cores. And, me, I do tech support.
We recognize that the Haskell community, echoing the technology industry more generally, skews white and male. We see it as our duty and honour to spread the joy of Haskell widely and to broaden the patterns of participation, in the hopes that, one day, we will no longer be askew. ~ GRC
Not a bad definition of tech support.
This will come as no surprise to insiders, but within the very small circle of Haskell coders I know, the community is reknown as a safe space for the gender queer and neuro-diverse. We don’t like to brag, but tech support in Haskell has improved of late. Diversity is visible and being amplified.
Within this context of community and respect for diversity, there has been some recent active defense against gender and race baiting on fp slack. Some of our community has left, and some of us never arrived because it has never been a particularly safe space for them. Recent posts are trolling, exclusionary and cheap, and I hope we can find a better spot to chat about technicals.
Can we please think about this communication channel in light of the GCR? Given our makeup, these memetic viral loads coming in can pack a punch, and we need to develop strong and automatic immune responses.