# Manish's statement on the retraction of JeanHeyd's keynote
(Context: [JeanHeyd retracting their talk from RustConf](https://thephd.dev/i-am-no-longer-speaking-at-rustconf-2023), [statement from Rust Leadership](https://blog.rust-lang.org/2023/05/29/RustConf.html), [statement from RustConf](https://twitter.com/rustconf/status/1663317140550860800), [statement from Josh Triplett](https://hackmd.io/@joshtriplett/Hyd7SGX82), [statement from Josh Gould](https://twitter.com/_joshgould/status/1663594940197228544), [statement from Sage Griffin](https://twitter.com/sgrif/status/1662962968940929024))
- I nominated JeanHeyd for the keynote, and it was accepted
- Some people later brought up objections. I pushed back, but I also said that the talk wasn't quite a great fit for a keynote (because I don't think technical deep dives work as well). Unfortunately this was picked up as a signal, which I regret.
- In the future I plan to be more careful about my wording in situations like this
- Overall I think this was handled in a way extremely disrespectful to JeanHeyd and we need to be better than this.
For many years, RustConf has had multiple keynotes. one from the team, and one typically "closing" keynote that we *tried* to have be a different perspective. can be someone outside the community, or someone in the community who we expect to have a different perspective
We've had a talk from someone working on other safe programming languages. We've had a talk from someone exploring a new area of Rust. We've done all kinds of things here.
My absolute favorite RustConf talk, [Catherine West's gamedev one from RustConf 2018](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKLntZcp27M), is one of these.
When people were soliciting nominations for keynotes, I immediately thought of JeanHeyd, because he's got a perspective from the C/C++ community, and has been bringing it to Rust in the form of his reflection work.
Both JT and I advocated for him, and everyone seemed positive. The nomination was very much in the context of a "potentially heterodox keynote", with me having reminded people of the history of these keynotes. The nomination went through with no apparent objections.
JeanHeyd and I are friends, and when I got confirmation he had been invited I reached out and mentioned that I was partly responsible, offering to help bounce ideas around.
At the time while I did really like the idea of the reflection talk I was also of the general opinion that technical deep dives aren't the *best* for keynotes. I expressed some variant of this opinion to JeanHeyd when weighing topics.
He eventually picked reflection as a topic and accepted the invite. I was quite excited. I've wanted to see more exploration of reflection in Rust, and hoped a talk would start the right conversations.
Fast forward a couple weeks later when I check Zulip in the morning and notice that multiple people have posted some strong opinions about whether the talk should be in the program, relaying the result of a discussion I was not a party to.
I pushed back: I questioned the premise of the objections, and also reminded people that keynotes have been heterodox in the past. I was frankly quite bewildered and annoyed this was even being considered.
I also mentioned, off the cuff, that "I do think that a talk on reflection is not a great fit for a keynote (it's decent for an invited talk)", with the unstated reasoning about technical deep dives and keynotes.
(As I said before, I have expressed a variant of this opinion to JeanHeyd directly before and did not feel qualms about saying it there.)
The reason I said it was more because I thought that for future years if we wanted to filter for certain *kinds* of keynotes we can produce a set of constraints and tips for speakers when they are invited. Not later.
This was regrettably picked up as a signal. I did not intend for it to be, it was an off-the-cuff remark in the context of me pushing back, and I certainly did not intend to imply anything should *change*.
I was also volunteering in the mountains doing trailwork that week, [quite literally "logging off"](https://twitter.com/ManishEarth/status/1659930768834191360), and had limited internet, only in the mornings and evenings.
As such, I did not have time to post a nuanced take. It was six in the morning, I had just gotten up, and needed to prep for a long day of work.
In retrospect, I should have pushed back much more strongly and been careful about how my statement might be interpreted, which I could have done even within my internet constraints. In the future I definitely shall try to pay more attention to my wording in cases like this.
Last Friday I apologized directly to JeanHeyd about this because I felt I had potentially contributed to the problem. I now know that my statement did in fact contribute, unfortunately.
When I got back in the evening I noticed two things: apparently a decision had been communicated to RustConf (by Josh, who has apologized for this and more [here](https://hackmd.io/@joshtriplett/Hyd7SGX82)), and JT had already pushed back strongly in many more words.
I didn't have the time, energy, or internet juice to say what I wanted to, so I mostly DM'd JT to thank them for doing what I couldn't. I was quite angry.
When I got back home the next week I started drafting up a broader post expressing my disappointment in the process. I was under the impression that the talk downgrade was already a done deal (it wasn't) and I ended up posting it to the chat Friday morning.
In retrospect I really should have posted it immediately instead of waiting to polish it up, because I think we might have been able to avoid some of this mess.
Anyway, since some people have been taking personal responsibility for the problems caused here, I mostly wanted to be clear that I was also a little bit at fault too (and how).
I want to be 100% clear that I share [JT's opinion](https://twitter.com/jntrnr/status/1663638058007420928) that this overall issue was handled in an extremely disrespectful way and should never have gotten to this point. We need to be better than this.
While I have been avoiding cross-project leadership work in general since I [left core](https://blog.rust-lang.org/2021/09/27/Core-team-membership-updates.html), I do hope to still keep an eye out for systemic ways in which we can prevent problems like this in the future, and am hopeful of some of the future steps the [project](https://github.com/rust-lang/rfcs/pull/3392) and [RustConf](https://www.reddit.com/r/rust/comments/13vbd9v/on_the_rustconf_keynote_rust_blog/jm8jlt2/) are planning. There's still a lot of work to be done.
-- Manish Goregaokar ([@Manishearth](https://github.com/manishearth))