Call for corporate transparency in community building

A couple years back, I was taken by surprise when @seancorfield called me a shrill and accused me of accepting money from @cnuernber when I was promoting his techascent libraries as part of an effort to gain visibility for scicloj.

Now, having been in the Clojure for a while and through reaching out to various individuals both in and out of the clojureverse for my own company -, I’ve realised that there is indeed a network of payments going on between Cognitect and various upstanding individuals of the clojure world.

It seems that one company is dominating the brand and not allowing others to rise. I hope that this is just the conspiracist in me talking but I’m just going to put it out there as I don’t believe this leads to healthy innovation.

Don’t worry guys, I’m not going to out you as I know I’ll be working closely with many of you in the years to come. However, it would be great if people receiving a stipend from Cognitect can willingly raise their hands so that there is at least some transparency into corporate interests affecting this awesome language and community.

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Are you referring to this:


Sorry to leave you hanging, but I couldn’t care less about this kind of stuff. Clojure(Script) is a great pleasure in my life, the best programming language I have ever found. Shall I let you demean it for me? Shall I start to think, Oh yes but there are bad things going on under the surface?

I am an advocate of forgiveness… like radical forgiveness. If there is some wrongdoing that you are glimpsing, then (a) does it serve others to be brought down to that level, and (b) wouldn’t it serve you best to forgive it?

Sorry now for how opinionated this sounds. I… I know how to be angry, and how to think something is unfair… and I know, at least for myself, how unhealthy it is to harbour those emotions. zcaudate, I’m certainly not speaking against you; I daresay I’m speaking with you. This stuff… doesn’t matter. Let’s just attend to the beauty of this craft, this art.

No rosebush was ever dimished because of the political climate in which it grew.

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This page – which is visible without logging into GitHub – shows the 37 organizations/individuals that Nubank is currently sponsoring: Sponsoring · nubank ( I’m on page 2 and they’ve been sponsoring me for nearly two years, along with lots of other people, which was when they first started doing this.

Here’s my full list of current sponsors (also visible without logging into GitHub): Sponsor @seancorfield on GitHub Sponsors · GitHub – only one is private, but you can see Toyokumo (Japan) and Flexiana (EU) amongst them as corporate sponsors, in addition to Nubank.

Clojurists Together is another organization that is, effectively, sponsoring developers: Clojurists Together | Clojurists Together Long-Term Funding for 2022-2023 – Flexiana, Nubank, and Toyokumo are among many of the companies who help fund that organization so that it can, in turn, provide grants to projects and stipends to developers.

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Thank you Sean. Now I know where I might be able to poach from the best and the brightest :nerd_face:

@didibus: I don’t see you on the list.

@rmschindler: you know something… I truly value freedom of speech right now so feel free to call me an idiot and maybe expect me to say something back in return. All I can say is, we are all very lucky to be doing what we do.

Why would anyone be upset that some of the people working on shared infrastructure within the community receive financial support? :thinking:


I’m not. I was upset at the possibility that I was being censored. It may just be a complete coincidence. I was censored before so I know what it feels like.

There also tends to also be a self censorship with certain topics when one stands to have a financial gain. Sometimes things that may need to said go unsaid.

I’ve always wished everyone to be making more money and for the community to grow. However, when one entity dominates, there can be problems.

Traditionally the period when China split up into multiple states was called the Warring Period. Ironically, it was this period gave us Confucious, Lao Tze, Sun Tze and Meng Tze, some of the best philosophers and men of all time. When there is balance of power, the leaders have to be good to their best people, in case they run away to a rival country. When the leaders cannot make the people submit, they must learn then to attract the best talents. When talent has been given a choice, they blossom.

Why would it be in the creators of Clojure’s interest to be the only dominating player?
It sounds weird to me and indeed like a conspiracy theory. If they wanted to be the only dominating player in the Clojure brand, they likely wouldn’t have open sourced it in the first place?

What I’m going to write below may upset you, but could also be helpful, maybe… so bear with me :pray:

People may still remember your “F Clojure” blog article that was called out by Rich and this may have left a bad aftertaste with some people in the community. Personally I think it would have helped the situation if there were some apologies made for said blog post. You don’t owe anyone anything, but maybe it’s something to reflect on :thinking:.

Posting stuff like the above doesn’t make it any better. I think everyone deserves a second chance, but the right attitude would help. Insisting on free speech doesn’t mean you get to accuse people and then expect them to be nice to you. :joy:

I’m not saying this because I get sponsored by Cognitect (I am) and they’re paying me to write this, just to be clear. Just my 2cts. Best of luck with your company and projects.


you know… I still have the blog on my desktop as I had wanted to migrate it to a static site.

I actually forgot about the F Clojure line until you mentioned it. Yes, I remember the article. I just forgot that I wrote the line because it wasn’t the point that I was trying to make. So here is the first paragraph:

…F Clojure.

There I’ve said it and God it feels good.

I say it with much admiration and respect to all the members of community. I’ve learnt so much from being in this microcosm of dynamism, ideas and learning over the past 8 years. Clojure has allowed me to get to know so many amazing people, to travel to a whole bunch of places and to do things that I had never thought possible.

I’ll get back to restoring the blog at some stage. but in the mean time, I wrote it with no malintent and so no, I’m not sorry. It’s everyone else that has created the narrative around it and then playing hurt victim.

I’m sorry. I’m not buying that.

I don’t recall the exact content of the article but I do remember the drama that followed

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Thanks @seancorfield for opening this up.

Boy do I feel like an idiot. However, an explanation is given here:

About Brand Ambassadorship. Let’s make it more like Academia - both to honour tradition and to impart a bit of prestige.

Lets have the Anthony Grimes Fellow sponsored by Cognitect

Lets have the Hickey Scholar sponsored by NuBank

Lets have the Holloway Prize brought to you by Pfizer

Let’s have the Sierra Medal brought to you by Walmart

Let’s have the Emerick Prize and the Marick Prize in tribute to the ones that left and may still come back.

I can keep going with this for a very long time. I think we should install a bit of tradition and pride in the history of this language. Also, let’s have the community shoulder the burden of bringing up the next generation, instead of waiting for handouts from Cognitect.

I think @BrunoBonacci could reach out to Apple to see if they want to give out free stuff to devs.

I think the Grammerly people could react out to Grammerly if they wanted to do mentorship to hire the best and the brightest.

Lets poach the best people from Common Lisp. Let’s poach the best people from Emacs. Cheap thrills.

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Correct, no sponsorship for me. I haven’t produced much open source, and what I did I don’t actively maintain :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I have a lot of almost ready stuff in my private repos though, but then I start another instead of finishing the ones I’m almost done with haha.

I try to help the community by promoting/helping in forums and such instead.


Great, maybe the community could nominate you for an award, and a stipend.

I’m all for self promotion. If there were a clear term sheet outlining the value you bring as an ambassador/influencer, it would be a great model for open source activism.

I’m not sure I fully understand what this discussion is about, but here is a data point. I run a business that owes its existence to Clojure and ClojureScript (e.g. it would not have been possible for me to build it alone without these tools). I want the ecosystem to be healthy and I’m very worried about the lack of marketing, Clojure not being fashionable, and the resulting stagnation in libraries.

Therefore, I sponsor a number of developers and organizations. Small amounts, but I intend to eventually make it a regular significant percentage of business revenue.

I strongly believe that every business that uses Clojure and ClojureScript should be doing the same, for the health of the ecosystem.


This is something that I’m quite worried about as well. I see a lot of unmaintained/dying libraries and the answer given is usually… that’s just because it’s stable. The proliferation of hip names for libraries of < 300 loc gets really annoying really quick and for me seems to stem from a braggadocious ‘look what I can do’ or ‘look what I’ve come up with’, first to publish culture.

My point is to just raise awareness. I think that whilst supporting open source maintainers is great, the more crucial step is to be creating opportunities for devs in real world projects.

For me, I feel that there is a bit of a disconnect between the decision makers within organisations that may be able to afford a couple of interns for a small project and the pool of devs wanting to get a foothold into the language. I think it’s possible to bridge that gap through some sort of sponsored internship program at a very small, grass roots level where some interns may be paired up with an experienced dev so that companies at least have some trust that they are getting bang for their buck and people with limited clojure experience can then be able to get their foot in the door.

Given the state of the economy, everybody wants value. So potentially, it would be great to go to a company and say → this is what you’re going to get for $500 a month. It’s not going to affect the bottom line of the big consultancies who would not take on these smaller projects anyway but it would help create opportunities for those in need of them and the small wins may then turn out into big ones.

There doesn’t seem to be anything particularly opaque about how Cognitect or Nubank have approached Clojure community building and advocacy, from my perspective at least. It would frankly be irresponsible for the creators of the language not to support it after it was created.

If anything, it’s a refreshing approach to see community members (individuals) getting support through sponsorships, instead of the language only being supported by massive corporations.

I disagree with your premise @zcaudate1. I’m no Clojure community insider, but I don’t see any conspiracy here.

I’m writing again.