Drupal Association

A new statement on this topic was posted on July 14, 2017 and can be found here.

We understand that there is uncertainty and concern in the Drupal community about project founder, Dries Buytaert, asking Larry Garfield to leave the Drupal community, and about the Drupal Association removing Larry's DrupalCon sessions and ending his term as track chair.

We want to be clear that the decision to remove Larry's DrupalCon session and track chair role was not because of his private life or personal beliefs. The Drupal Association stands by our values of inclusivity. Our decision was based on confidential information conveyed in private by many sources. Due to the confidential nature of the situation we cannot and will not disclose any information that may harm any members of our community, including Larry.

This decision followed our established process. As the Executive Director, charged with safekeeping the goodwill of the organization, I made this decision after considering input from various sources including the Community Working Group (CWG) and Drupal Project Lead, Dries Buytaert. Upon Larry’s request for an appeal, the full board reviewed the situation, all the evidence, and statements provided by Larry. After reviewing the entirety of the information available (including information not in the public view) the decision was upheld.

In order to protect everyone involved we cannot comment more, and trust that the community will be understanding.  

We do see that there are many feelings and questions around this DrupalCon decision and we empathize with those community members. We will continue to monitor comments. We are listening.

Update: 29 Mar 2017

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, concerns, and questions. I wanted to reach back out and reaffirm that we are listening. In addition to watching the comments here, we are also listening in other places like the Drupal community Slack, IRC, and the community blog posts that have come to our attention. Your comments are being heard and they are helping us to be thoughtful about our next steps.

Comments

davidhernandez’s picture

What people find really confusing is the CWG indicated they found no CoC violations. Did the DA receive evidence/complaints that the CWG did not?

rj’s picture

rj’s picture

Hi Megan, here's what I've gathered of the situation so far, in order:

  1. <gossip gossip guess what about Larry>
  2. The CWG does an investigation, finds Larry did not violate Codes of Conduct but that some issues "needed to be escalated to Dries"
  3. Dries removes him from the project
  4. Megan (you) removes his session and track chair seat
  5. Larry files an appeal and there was a "full board review" of the situation.
  6. After the review the decision was upheld.

My questions:

  • Did the board vote on removing Larry before you and Dries removed him?
  • Was there a vote after the "full board review"?
  • Please describe how votes were cast and tallied each time there was a vote. I'm interested in how many votes were actually/physically cast vs. how many voted by proxy/automatic approval/absent/absentee/etc....

Thanks. 

Edit: Please read this article from Inc. and this article from Tech Crunch if you're just hearing about the situation. 

--rj

EclipseGc’s picture

You know, I've been a member of the community for more than the last decade and am totally ignorant of what the answers to these questions would be. Could we please get a technical run down of how it's setup and what the mechanics of this particular situation were?

Thanks

Eclipse
Technical Specialist

hansrossel’s picture

We should also take note that the CWG that voted on this are just 3 people, and that

"CWG members are selected from the Drupal community by Dries Buytaert"
See https://www.drupal.org/governance/community-working-group

So with just 3 people selected by Dries the "voting" will be quite limited and not necessary independent. Is the voting unanymous or by majority (=2 people)?

Not sure how many people of the DA vote and how (unanymous or majority) and what their relationship is to Dries/Acquia.

There really does not seem to be any independent organisation here to make an end to this abuse of power and secret decisions behind the back of the community.

Dries and the DA should revert their decision as soon as possible to avoid any further damage to the community. It's really very bad they stay silent just now when answers and actions are urgently needed.

DHW’s picture

All the evidence and even the nature of the crime is secret (to "protect everybody involved," except for the defendant, apparently, who has had his name and reputation dragged through the mud) and we're just supposed to believe you? Sorry, you're going to have to do better than that.

bonked’s picture

Don't worry, they held secret court to convict him of secret crimes - that strengthens trust and understanding in the community. Anything less would be double plus ungood.

---
"If you are thinking, you are winning. Resistance is victory"

cweagans’s picture

You're removing him from public involvement in the project for information not publicly available? Almost seems like it wouldn't impact the community at all - you know, with it not being publicly available.

This is ridiculous.

xjm’s picture

Please, for those commenting, consider that there are others involved whose privacy should be protected, as well as Larry's privacy for that matter. Larry (bravely) chose to share a lot of information personally, but it's also a one-sided picture.

Please respect people's privacy. This community has always been caring about respecting my privacy; please extend that courtesy to others who are impacted that you or we are not aware of.

mikey_p’s picture

The problem that a lot of people have with this approach is that they don't have an issue with Larry's private practices (Dries says this as well in his post), but Dries and DA say there is something else that is a problem. 

There are very likely to be other people in the Drupal community with similar beliefs or other beliefs that are unpopular or controversial, who now aren't sure if they are safe in the Drupal community, or if Klaus or someone like him can out them to Dries, and get them kicked out of the community.

That's why the details matter to a lot of people because they don't know if they're going to be treated the same way.

westie’s picture

Exactly ^^ 

CTI Digital

darksnow’s picture

On a related note I've not seen anything about Klaus. It seems clear that he has violated the code of conduct by not being considerate or respectful. If he was targeting another Drupal contributor who he disagrees with, and ultimately confronting him in person, has he had any sanctions taken against him by the CWG or DA?

Freelancer at http://www.darksnow.net

rszrama’s picture

Dries did not name Klaus, but putting his post and update together with Larry's, we can assume Klaus's involvement is still being addressed per: "Larry accurately pointed out that some of the evidence was brought forth in a manner that is not in alignment with Drupal values. This manner is being addressed with the CWG."

mikey_p’s picture

There is no way that this is acceptable, because even if Klaus is removed from Drupalcon and becomes a "persona non grata" the bottom line is that bullying is an effective way to achieve your goals. 

japerry’s picture

Acknowledging that the evidence was received on shaky grounds, but not dealing with it before dismissing Larry was a huge mistake. It undermines the trust that we put into those who lead the project.

halstead’s picture

Acting on suspect evidence is a mistake. Acting before they've even figured out what the infraction was or will be is nigh inexcusable.

John_B’s picture

There is no doubt that it is difficult and painful for witnesses, especially witnesses who may also be victims, to come forward publicly in many situations. It takes extraordinary courage and sometimes they will choose not to do so. However, when someone is to be punished, unless he or she accepts responsibility for what they are accused of, this is the price of justice. It does mean that wrongs sometimes go unpunished, and that is unfortunate. The alternative, though, is worse: justice needs to be done in public and with visible fairness to ensure, first, that no one is punished unjustly; and second, that the wider community do not lose confidence in the fairness of the process and the system, as is happening here.

richard.c.allen2386’s picture

PII may be redacted and responsiblly released. Putting a person's careers in jeopardy with no details other than, 'No rules were broken but we have secret information.' Is irresponsible.

DHW’s picture

You can't use "privacy" as an excuse to arbitrarily punish someone for unspecified crimes. That's not how justice works, and you should be ashamed of yourself for even entertaining the concept for a moment.

hansrossel’s picture

Nobody asks to name publicly "the others involved whose privacy should be protected", just use "person x", but at least explain what Larry has done wrong. With everything I read now on all blogs and Twitter I can only feel extremely sad, angry and dissapointed with Dries and the "Drupal governance", just like everybody else in the Drupal community. Only the Acquia people seem to support this decision. Maybe some large clients of Acquia were unhappy. It's all about the money nowadays in Drupal.

Donnyboypony’s picture

This was handled so poorly by Drupal leadership that it's disgusting. I don't want to be part of a community where a man's private life can be paraded into the spotlight against his will. As stated in Dries' post, you most certainly have asked Larry to leave because of his personal/private beliefs. We as a community need confirmation that Larry acted inappropriately if this is to stand.

Women and others that live alternative lifestyles are commenting in support of Larry anonymously because they are afraid of you. We cannot foster and support this kind of fear. So far, the only thing we know is that you don't like what he does in the bedroom and that's not ok. The people who cyber stalked Larry have committed a far worse offence and frankly scare me. Today, I'm ashamed to be a Drupaler.

I will not be contributing patches until the matter is settled.

sinasalek’s picture

You may not be able to share all the information, but you could share the process and the votes in detail. this is only one of the reasons that Dries' and your announcement caused such a confusion and mistrust. This is a delegate situation and saying trust us is not going to help at all. The fact that you did not feel you need to properly explain your decision to community is unsettling.

Also i'm waiting to see what happens to those people that publicly stalked Larry and violated his privacy. People should be judged by their actions not by their personal beliefs, i sincerely hope Larry's personal belief did not play role in the outcome decision.

sina.salek.ws, Software Manager & Lead developer
Feel freedom with open source softwares

tgeller’s picture

Your self-justifications are ridiculous. Are you unable to tell fantasy from reality? Will you now be jettisoning Jews and Christians for claiming the identical beliefs that Larry is "guilty" of?

We see the answer is No.

More importantly: Do you weigh private hobbies heavier than a long record of positive, respectful public service that Larry has given?

We see the answer is Yes.

This should chill anyone connected with the Drupal project.

---
Tom Geller * tomgeller.com * Oberlin, Ohio
See my lynda.com videos about Drupal

jonathanshaw’s picture

I wonder if it might be possible, even within the confidentiality constraints, to provide more clarity. It seems there are 2 different lines of reasoning at work:

1) Dries "privately" asked Larry to "leave the Drupal project" because he "holds views that are in opposition with the values of the Drupal project", views that the "actively promotes" in "public", without maintaining enough of a firewall to avoid having "entwined his private and professional online identities".

2) The DA acted "not because of his private life or personal beliefs" but because of "confidential information conveyed in private". From which we can only infer that it was not the public speech or promotion of views that the DA objected to (unlike Dries), but some kind of non-public (hence potentially confidential) behaviour in a sphere other than his "private life" - presumably his work in the PHP and Drupal communities. 

Which leaves an uninformed observer like me with a few questions:

1) When Dries asked Larry "privately" to "leave the Drupal project", in what role, to what degree and with what power was he asking. Was he making a personal request of the form "please do me a favour and spare my Drupal baby pain by backing off", or was he using authority as benevolent dictator for life or "Drupal project lead"? If the latter, a link to something outlining the scope and nature of that authority would seem helpful.

2) The boundaries of "leave the Drupal project" have not been clarified. His planned sessions have been cancelled and track chairmanship removed. Are these just for the next conference or indefinitely? Is he allowed to even attend? Is he allowed to participate in working groups? Is he allowed to post on Drupal.org?

3) What did rule or principle did Larry violate in the DA's eyes? It's not obvious how the confidentiality of the details requires that you not state what principle or rule was broken. You've said what it was not ("personal beliefs" and "private life"), but not what it was.

saitanay’s picture

I have put my thoughts in more detail here.

In short, here are a couple of ways, I believe, in which DA can restore the faith of the community on the association and CWG:

1) Release the evidence, withholding any personal details of any of the personnel who provided the evidence, masking any data that could either directly or indirectly lead to any specific individuals from being recognized.

2) If the evidence has such personal information scattered all over, making it difficult for DA to make the evidence public, DA could invite a panel of five prominent leaders from Drupal or other Opensource communities all over, who have publicly expressed their disapproval of DA’s decision. DA can then share the evidence with the panel, who could then review the decision and express their opinion about if DA’s decision to ask Larry to step down was reasonable, considering the evidence. The panel members, before being able to access the evidence, should agree to ensure they will keep all evidence shared with them extremely confidential, and will not disclose anything from the evidence, except their opinion about whether the decision taken by DA was reasonable.

DA/CWG still has my confidence and trust. However, with the data available in front of me, I am inclined to believe that the decision taken by DA was not reasonable or justified. Although I still believe this is because DA hasn’t made public, their perspective of things and events. Would love to see DA go the extra mile to restore everyone’s confidence on the association.

Tanay

marcvangend’s picture

Thank you, your option 2 is exactly what I was thinking as well. At the moment, no one is able to judge if the decision was the right one, but it is clear that the public communication should have been handled better. As a result, we have a problem of trust.

An independent panel of respected, critical-yet-unbiased people from inside and outside our community could help restore trust. To form a second opinion, they should be able to review the evidence, the arguments in defense, and the followed procedure.

If the second opinion would support the previous decisions, it would be easier for the community to accept the decisions and start looking forward. If not, I hope the DA / CWG / BDFL would be willing to re-think their options.

mikeytown2’s picture

Jury of your peers

fuzzy76’s picture

And as in every judicial system on earth – state which principle has been broken.

Imagine police being able to throw people in jail without citing any law, "because of the privacy of the witnesses".

Rene Bakx’s picture

I do respect the privacy, but the 'official' D.A statement above is as hollow and empty as the space between the stars. Why can't the real elephant in the room be named?

I really don't care about the names of people involved, those involved know who they are and do not need the scapegoating of and in the community. 

But I do care about the real facts that lead to the events mentioned.  You can not 'protect' people with silence and empty statements like this one, This will only feed more speculation about what really happened here. Speculation will lead to more people feeling the need to start a witch-hunt, tracking the behaviours of the people who are known to be involved. The outcome will not be pretty and will divide the community even more. That can't be the goal of the D.A?

So i plead again, Dear Megan, D.A.  

Be transparent about the real facts, protect those who need that protection but be transparent about the facts. That's all we ask, and ever asked of you.

slashrsm’s picture

This. A lot of allegations have been made without providing any concrete proof. If there are any they should be presented in a way that protects identity and integrity of anyone involved.

I am loosing my trust in Drupal's leadership and so are many other members of the community it seems. Decisions need to be clarified or people responsible for them need to step down.

--
JAnez

Anonymous’s picture

Among the facts… or evidence… that the DA considered, was there any allegation that Larry victimized or harmed someone? Did someone tell the Drupal Association that Larry harmed them or someone they love?

The lack of clarity around this turns into dissembling. Nothing I've read so far includes any mention of harm other than how information about Larry's private life harmed the moral sensibilities of Dries and the Drupal Association.

Please stop talking about evidence and tell us about the harm. Are you protecting victims in this specific case?

Without an answer to this question, I see the Drupal Association endorsing a harassment campaign that will probably limit the choices Larry has for the rest of his career. By dancing around the question of specific harm, the Drupal Association inspires zero confidence that it could protect anyone else — a person of color, a queer or trans person, a woman, a young person —  from a similar campaign against them.

bwoods’s picture

I understand the need for confidentiality, but this is what needs to be answered. Larry has made his side public, but I haven't seen any indication from him that anyone was directly harmed, let alone someone in the Drupal community. A statement from the Drupal Association addressing this is necessary to move forward. I don't expect to have every detail, but there needs to be more information for the rest of us to understand the motivation. I want to be proud of the Drupal community and trust those running it, but a "no comment" in this case is not sufficient.

Anonymous’s picture

I still have these questions, but in the last day, I've thought more and read more about this situation. I could believe in good faith that the actions being taken are correct, however the communication about the actions (which was probably done under time pressure) has been pretty shoddy.

I have been a contributor to Drupal and a participant and speaker at conferences, but I've withdrawn mostly silently in recent years. Drupal was a great opportunity to learn and grow in my profession, but I also witnessed and experienced exclusion too. For example, community leaders have told me that I'm unemployable for my beliefs, which could be generally described as radical, leftist, anti-imperialist, etc.

My political beliefs made me sensitive to grave moral problems in what this community has celebrated in the past: war profiteering, working for repressive regimes, and extracting unpaid labor under the false promise of paid employment later.

I don't need include the allegations of scandalously sexist or worker-exploitative cultures at some Drupal shops or the oppressive behavior and even assaults against women, transgender and non-gender conforming people that have happened in community events and spaces (virtual and not). These are all well-known, and there is far less complicity about those disgusting problems within and outside the community. That's great!

As for the problems that fewer members of the community acknowledged (the former list above), the community encouraged me to put those aside and focus on learning and developing the project. But the expulsion of Larry Garfield demonstrates again that there's a limit to the community's ability to construct a container that somehow isolates their contributions to the project from their personal life and beliefs.

There needs to be a more honest expression of what it means to be part of this community. Mainstreaming and profit are also core values here. The idea that it's just our contributions that matter is not true, and even that can be deeply alienating.

drunken monkey’s picture

Aside from all the talk about "protecting the involved", all I would be interested in is: Was there any allegation of an actual harm done to a Drupal community member?

All I can see right now is references to his personal lifestyle (which should be none of our business, as long as it's legal) and countless women coming forward saying they support Larry, that they've experienced him as examplary regarding gender issues, and that they felt more respected by him than by most other men.

I think the minimum statement to make here would be: "Among the non-public information are allegations of actual misconduct/CoC violations by N community members."

Or, alternately of course: "There were no allegations of actual misconduct, all the information on which we based our decision was things he posted on the internet."

I don't see any possible reason why making such a statement would violate anyone's privacy. (Except Larry's, minimally, but he's already publicly consented to that.)

Secret convictions (Huge thanks to Larry for even making this public!) in secret courts for secret crimes? Really no good style. Any answer would be nice at this point, even "We're drafting an answer, please be patient!"

With that being said, I still find it important to say that I'd generally be inclined to trust that all involved parties tried to act in the Drupal community's best interests. But you know what they say about good intentions … Seeing the discussions going on, I think we can agree that this didn't turn out best for the community.

KibbleQueen’s picture

That which I have read so far seems to indicate (among whatever else happened) that there has been public harassment, threats and insults at some point.  I have seen no information to confirm or deny it. Nor have I seen any information indicating that if it did happen what actions have been taken against "the other party(ies)" to prevent it from happening to someone else.

Confidentiality is understandable and laudable. However, it appears to be misapplied and selectively applied in this current situation. Not good.  

Will there be any further statement(s) or clarification about this aspect of the situation? 

darksnow’s picture

What concerns me about this situation is the question of context.

If Larry has caused some sort of harm in his Drupal position or in some other Drupal related way then, as stated above, some more evidence to support the decision taken would be appreciated and alleviate the communities concern over this secret decision.

If he's done nothing wrong in his strictly professional Drupal life, then it's irrelevant and should have no baring on the decision.

Some more clarity is needed here.

Freelancer at http://www.darksnow.net

Jaypan’s picture

More context can be found from Larry himself: https://www.garfieldtech.com/blog/tmi-outing


Checkout my Japan podcasts.
westie’s picture

Is this evidence based on Larrys views or actions?

I'd like to know if the thought police are going to ostracise me

CTI Digital

KibbleQueen’s picture

Reading these comments I have realized something. I am very new to this community. I am very new to Drupal (albeit not CMS/PHP). Nobody here knows me. I know nobody here. Am I welcome? I do not speak of my political or religious beliefs. I do not speak of my gender, family lifestyle or world views. They are mine and mine alone. 

If this fellow did not impact the code of conduct, then why was he "fired?"  Why say he resigned when it seems obvious he does not want to leave? What about the other fellow who apparently harrassed and insulted him publicly? How much of all of this data is factual or not, especially that which is "official" statements?

The mystery surrounding the response to the "situation" confuses and concerns me.

One dickens of a quandary for someone who simply wants to learn the art of Drupal from those with experience.  

Like the old classic rock song says, "Do I stay or do I go?"

marcvangend’s picture

I can answer that! Yes. You are very welcome. I have gotten to know the Drupal community as respectful and welcoming. It is okay to speak about your opinion, identity and life style, as long as you respect others who may be (or probably are) different.

The lack of clarity about the facts and the process worries me too, and I hope that we will find a way to restore trust while protecting privacy. That said, this specific case is an exception. I believe that we will get through this as a community. There is a lot to stay for.

KibbleQueen’s picture

Thanks very much. That is greatly encouraging for me.  

I confess I am still concerned over how poorly this situation seems to be handled.

jp.stacey’s picture

Notwithstanding my opinions on this specific situation, then I think a DA committed to the spirit of what it has stated regarding community, diversity and safety really needs to recover trust in the process (even if that process can't be 100% transparent, in order to protect some of the parties involved.)

A big problem is that, as our community has adopted some HR-like processes, we have begun to blur the lines between a culture of 100% openness, and procedures which (like disciplinary procedures in companies) have obligations to maintain confidentiality. Or rather, the actual problem seems to be that we're making a bit of a hash of it, and that the apparent hamfistedness with which events are unfolding is what's harming wider trust in the system. Can we value outsider skills; non-Drupalers who are expert in community organisation? What non-Drupal community organisers are the DA contacting; what advice have they given?

(As an aside, I appreciate @webchick opening up a confidential channel on Twitter for people to comment on this: there are clearly people in the community who, while not necessarily trusted always and by everyone, might at least provide a stopgap if they can confirm what the DA has stated. Are trusted individuals the way we compensate for opacity? If yes for now, is that solution ultimately sustainable, or scalable?)

It's also clear that there are problems with the CoC, as a living, usable, consultable document, if people are being excluded with no explicit violation of it. Why isn't the CoC working for us? How has it failed? How might we fix it? As it stands, our CoC scores 1 out of 4 on the Geek Feminism evaluations: is this indicative of a lack of assertiveness of the document, leading to the overall process being comfortable with removing people from key posts (even if justified) without any need to point to a CoC violation?

Ultimately, we need to retain trust in the process as a whole, if other considerations mean we can't always have transparency in the context of confidential situations.

--
J-P Stacey, software gardener, Magnetic Phield

fuzzy76’s picture

Imagine a company telling you that you are fired for "disciplinary reasons", but refuse to tell you the exact reason, rules broken or episode that caused it. How much would you trust that company from that point on? Heck, I'd recommend a lawsuit...

richard.c.allen2386’s picture

I'm sure everyone at DA, CGW, and invested parties want to protect individuals and are trying to protect individuals but as the facts currently stand this seems to me close to thought crime. I don't think that's too much hyperbole or a large jump.

I fully cede that we may not be privy to all the detail and a serious event could have occured but I've seen no such evidence so far. I don't think we need names but a description of such events that the leadership has been privy, redacted of PII, should be released.

I've worked with Larry and have seen nothing but professionalism. Things are not always as they seem but I believe everyone deserves the ability to protect their reputation and career. 

I think an issue that is also flying under the radar here is a community member, even with good intent, has doxxed a community member here. No matter what the resolution with Larry is, I feel like DA should be reviewing this community members actions as well. If you have to creating accounts personal kink forums and track down events from someones wedding ceremony to find evidence of a problem, that's too far, and I think it's hard to argue that it really has an effect on the community if you have to do it.

I'm deeply concerned why nobody is concerned with this issue.

cfbauer’s picture

Do you collect confidential personal information about other members of the community? Or is it just Larry?

Have you collected confidential personal information about me?

What is the process by which you collect confidential personal information? 

rszrama’s picture

fwiw, Larry's and Dries's posts both seem to make it clear that other community members unaffiliated with the D.A. or CWG were the ones collecting this information, and Dries's further suggests that the means by which they were doing so goes against the project's values and is being addressed separately by the CWG.

weavingmedia’s picture

Unfortunately this has all of the appearance of a witch hunt.   And almost reflects the "let's act swiftly to end any potential smearing of the Drupal community.   All we have done here is pour gasoline on the fire instead of water.  Now let's look at the inferno we have fueled.  The way this has been handled has lead to major news outlets broadcasting this to the world.  This could have negative effects on all the credibility we have gained as a community.   

Marko B’s picture

Dries saying "What makes this difficult to discuss, is that it is not for me to share any of the confidential information that I've received, so I won't point out the omissions in Larry's blog post."

And Larry is saying on twitter he doesn't know what they are talking about here.

So someone is lying here. Either Larry doesn't want to say something that would rightfully be a reason for kicking him out or Dries and crew are lying to protect their decision. 

Bottom line is, someone needs to be kicked out. Either Dries and DA for failing to lead properly and doing gross unjustice to Larry and all of us as community members or Larry for some gross miss conduct that we are not still aware of what it is.

Prutenic’s picture

DA has got to provide further clarification as to why it took the course of action it did - however heavily redacted that clarification might be. To boot out so prominent a contributor to the Drupal community without the facts being properly laid out is an embarrassment and an insult to all of us who have participated in the wonderfully diverse, open thing that Drupal is, and hopefully, will continue to be.

hurricane66’s picture

Couldn't be said any better and more to the point.

Pages