Drupal Association

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

This is a joint statement from project lead Dries Buytaert and Megan Sanicki, Drupal Association Executive Director.

Over the last week, the Drupal community has been in a debate over the various decisions made by us in relation to long-time Drupal developer Larry Garfield. As with any such decisions, and especially due to the circumstances of this one, there has been controversy, misinformation and rumors, as well as healthy conversation and debate. Many people feel hurt, worried, and confused. The fact that this matter became very public and divisive greatly saddens all of us involved, especially as we can see the pain it has caused many.

First off, we want to apologize for not responding sooner. We had to take a pause to process the community’s reaction.  We also wanted to take the time to talk to community members to make sure all of the concerns were heard and understood. This was further complicated by the fact that we don't have a playbook for how to respond in unusual situations like this. We also want to acknowledge that our communication has not been as clear as it should be on this matter, and we are sorry for the added confusion.

We want to thank all of the community members who stepped in to help. Many spent days helping other community members by listening, hosting discussions to foster healthy, respectful conversations, and more. You have helped many people and your caring acts reminded us once again why we love to serve the community and why it is so special.

Over the last week, we talked to many people and read hundreds of posts in various channels. These are some of the things that we heard:

  • People are afraid that they will be asked to leave the community because of their beliefs or sexual lifestyles.

  • There are concerns about Drupal leadership playing "thought police" on what are and are not acceptable viewpoints to hold.

  • People want to hear more about the timeline, information gathered, and how decisions were made.

  • People don't understand why there weren’t any ramifications for those who participated in gathering information about Larry's private life.

  • People believe Dries has too much authority.

  • People believe that a decision this complex should not be made by a single individual.

And we heard much more.

We know this has been difficult for all involved. There is no quick solution to the current situation; it will take time to heal, but we want to make a start today by providing better insight into our decision-making process, answering questions with the FAQ found below, and by placing a call for improvements in our governance, conflict-resolution processes, and communication.  

Addressing community questions and concerns

One of the main concerns that has been voiced is that a long-standing member of the Drupal community was removed, based solely on his beliefs being outside the "norm". We feel this is not representative of the situation.

We want to strongly emphasize that Drupal is an open-minded and inclusive community, and we welcome people of all backgrounds. Our community’s diversity is something to cherish and celebrate as well as protect.  We apologize for any anxiety we caused you and reiterate that our decision was not based on anyone’s sexual practices.

Dries and Megan based their decisions on information from a variety of sources, including the Community Working Group and Larry himself. This information included:

(a) reports, both formal and informal
(b) some of Larry's online interactions, both on and off Drupal.org
(c) information provided by Larry during subsequent discussions to get clarity
(d) information from one or more members-only sites.
It should be strongly noted that we do not condone the manner in which this last source of information was gathered by members of our community.  

Insights from this collection of information caused us to take action, particularly given Larry's prominent leadership role in the community, which leads to a much greater impact of his words and actions.

We heard that many would like to better understand the timeline, information gathered, and how decisions were made. While the news of last week was a complete surprise to most, it is important to note that this has been a careful, and deliberate process that has been going on since October 2016. Following the Drupal community's governance, the Community Working Group attempted to provide conflict resolution. When it became clear that some of the issues raised went beyond the scope of their charter, they determined that it was appropriate for the matter to be escalated to Dries, as project lead. This was consistent with their existing policy and process.

Dries discussed the information from the Community Working Group with Megan and some board members. Dries, as project lead, made the decision about Larry’s role in the project during this discussion.  

Some have asked why Larry was removed from the community and not just from his leadership roles. The answer is that Larry had indicated on several occasions that he was drawing down his involvement in the Drupal project, and that context helped inform Dries’ decision.

Dries, with the support of the Community Working Group, had the first of what was intended to be a number of conversations to resolve any remaining concerns.

Megan was informed about Dries’ decision, and also reviewed the information provided by the Community Working Group. Based on that information, Megan made the operational decision to remove Larry’s DrupalCon session and concluded his track chair role.

Larry appealed Megan’s decision to the board, which only has oversight of the Drupal Association. They reviewed the Community Working Group information and Larry’s personal statements, met in a special Executive Session attended by all board members, and upheld Megan’s decision. Dries recused himself from this vote, so the board could make its decision independently.

After the appeal process, Larry chose to publish his own account of what happened, effectively ending the process in the middle of what we expected to be a series of constructive discussions. This resulted in several loose ends.

After Larry’s second blog post, on Tuesday, March 28th, he reached out privately to Dries to discuss how to resolve matters and find the best way forward.

We remain committed to working on closure for this situation with care and respect for everyone involved.  Dries and the Community Working Group hope to have a private discussion with Larry in the coming weeks.

Many have also expressed anger over how the information about Larry came to light, and whether there will be consequences for those who participated in gathering information about his private life. The Community Working Group is currently handling this situation through their standard process.

What needs to change

We are fortunate that we do have governance in place. We have never encountered a situation like this before, where a decision this complex had to be escalated and made. This extraordinary situation highlighted areas that we need to improve. From our own observations and what we heard from the community, we identified some specific areas of improvement (but by no means all):

  • Diversity, equality, and inclusivity issues are complex and require new perspectives and approaches, especially as we assess and improve our Code of Conduct.

  • It is not healthy or wise to escalate difficult decisions about code of conduct or community membership solely to the project lead.

  • We need to clearly define our values so that everyone knows and agrees to the context in which the community works together.

  • We need to figure out how to balance transparency with the need to maintain a safe space and provide confidentiality for individuals in order to resolve conflicts in a way that causes minimal disruption to our community.

There is a lot to address. We will launch several initiatives to find solutions to the problems above.  We want to collaborate with the community, the Drupal Association, and outside experts on these efforts. It is important that we take these steps. We value our special community and we want to make sure that it has the right structure and sound governance to remain healthy and vibrant.

We want to begin healing to start right away and that starts with us talking more with the community. We will host online meetings and a meeting at DrupalCon Baltimore on these topics where we can have a healthy dialogue. This will provide community members the opportunity to talk directly with the Community Working Group, Megan, and Dries to propose solutions to some of the governance challenges that brought us here.

Finally, we want to acknowledge this has been a very difficult and unprecedented situation. We realize not everyone will agree with our decisions, but we hope all can understand the care we took in deliberating and the intention behind our actions. We appreciate the community’s patience on this matter, and we look forward to taking these steps in collaboration with you.

----

FAQ

When did the conflict resolution process start?

  • October of 2016.

Who is responsible for what decision?

  • Dries, as project lead, made the decision about Larry’s role in the project after the Community Working Group escalated to him when they felt they could not resolve the issues surrounding this matter.

  • Executive Director of the Drupal Association Megan Sanicki made the decision to to remove Larry’s speaking and track chairmanship at DrupalCon.

  • Larry appealed the DrupalCon decision, which then went to the Drupal Association board who reviewed material provided by the Community Working Group along with Larry’s statements. They upheld Megan’s decision.  Dries recused himself from this vote.

What was the process followed for each decision?

  • The Community Working Group, which is part of Drupal’s governance structure, provided conflict resolution. When it became clear that some of the issues raised went beyond the scope of their charter, they determined that it was appropriate for the matter to be escalated to Dries. This is consistent with their existing policy and process.

  • Dries discussed the information from the Community Working Group with Megan, and some board members. Dries also met with Larry. Larry had indicated on several occasions that he was drawing down his involvement in the Drupal project. That context informed Dries' decision. It is also important to note that Dries intended to have more discussions with Larry to determine what the decision looked like, but those conversations ended when Larry chose to post publicly.

  • Megan was informed about Dries’ decision and also reviewed the information provided by the Community Working Group. Based on Dries’ decision and information learned from the Community Working Group materials, Megan made the operational decision to remove Larry’s DrupalCon session and concluded his track chair role.

  • Larry appealed Megan’s decision to the board, who only have oversight of Drupal Association. They reviewed the Community Working Group information and Larry’s personal statements and upheld Megan’s decision.  Note: Dries recused himself.

What information was used to inform the decisions?

  • (a) reports, both formal and informal, (b) some of Larry's online interactions, both on and off Drupal.org, (c) information provided by Larry during subsequent discussions to get clarity, and (d) information from one or more members-only sites. It should be strongly noted that we do not condone the manner in which this last source of information was gathered by members of our community.   

Did Dries overrule the Community Working Group?

  • No, he did not. The process is designed so that the Community Working Group can escalate issues to Dries if they cannot be resolved. This process was followed.

Is the Drupal project “against” people who practice BDSM or other non-mainstream sexual practices?

  • Absolutely not. We are an open-minded and inclusive community.

Will there be repercussions for the conduct of the community member who exposed information from members-only sites? [Edit: we have removed this community member's name while the CWG issue is being addressed]

  • The Community Working Group is handling this situation through their standard process.

Comments

westie’s picture

Stop thinking for yourself and obey the SJW overlords

CTI Digital

jide’s picture

Just cmd+F "information", the word is everywhere. I guess everyone is wondering what this information is.

achton’s picture

I appreciate the effort made here from the DA and Dries, and acknowledge the fact that many prominent members of the community now seem to be appeased, and are beginning to regain their faith in the process and the leaders.

Nonetheless, I find myself without answers to a very important question:

What, specifically, is the reason Larry was asked to leave the community?

I fail to understand how this situation with Larry came about after all these years? Sure, Dries and the CWG may have been considering this in private since October, but what about the other 11+ years where he has been an active and engaging member of the Drupal community? How do Dries and Megan explain the fact that his behavior has apparently not rubbed anyone the wrong way until now, despite his many public and extrovert appearances and contributions over the years?

He is also part of other Open Source communities. If his actions (or whatever) are not fitting for one of the most diverse and tolerant Open Source communities, what about his participation in other projects across the web, who have not excluded him (so far)?

Is the DA seriously excluding a (prominent) member of the community based on .. on what? Actions taken or words spoken outside the community? His writings in a private online forum? 

Or if this decision is based mainly on public reports, online interactions and information from Larry himself, why not publish what that is? Larry has denied that he finds women inferior to men and other such nonsense, so what is this *really* about?

If Larry had not posted online about this situation, how would this have played out? Would he have been excluded without *any* debate? Or just stripped of his rank and pushed out slowly, since he was apparently "drawing down his involvement"?

I care for the Drupal community, and find that I am none the wiser after this post.
 

Cheers,
Achton

darksnow’s picture

This was pretty much what I was going to add.

This new post is very welcome but dodges the real issue. Why was Larry excluded?

There's mention of public posts in this thread, perhaps we need to see them. It seems from Larry that he doesn't know why he was excluded, which worried me more. Perhaps he can be told and then he can tell us, violating his own privacy, as he sees fit, absolving the DA of that concern.

In short, the central issue here has been neatly avoided.

Freelancer at http://www.darksnow.net

hgurol’s picture

Couldn't agree more..

jdegoes’s picture

Your handling of this incident appears reckless and filled with misdirection and deception.

You initially stated that Larry was excluded because "he holds views that are in opposition with the values of the Drupal project." In an attempt to cover up this fact, the post was edited, and a new reason was given elsewhere: "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." Repeatedly, you have stated that Larry did not violate the COC, and that you utilized illegally obtained information from unrelated communities in making the decision—both of which further call into question your reason for the exclusion.

In an effort to clear this up once and for all, I have just three questions which I would like you to answer clearly and unambiguously. If you feel these questions violate Larry's confidentiality (which they do not), I am happy to get personal approval from Larry.

Now, for the three questions:

  1. If you only had access to information on Larry's behavior while he was actively participating in the Drupal community (i.e. excluding all information obtained from outside the Drupal community), would you have made the same decision? Yes or no. Either the outside information was irrelevant to the decision-making process, or it was central to the decision-making process, and we would like to know which is which.
  2. Did Larry at any time violate the COC while actively participating in the Drupal  community? Yes or no. Either he did violate the COC, or he upheld the COC at all points in time and in all Drupal spaces. Which one is it?
  3. Did any women in the Drupal community file any kind of complaint about Larry's behavior toward them inside the Drupal community? Yes or no. At this point, you don't even need to include detail on the complaint. Just let us know if anyone complained at any time.

Answering these three simple yes-and-no questions would leak no details on the alleged incidents responsible for your decision, but would go a long way towards either restoring or completely destroying trust in the Drupal leadership.

Your willingness or unwillingness to answer these three simple yes-and-no questions will tell us everything we need to know about the Drupal leadership.

hgurol’s picture

How can I see Dries post before he edited it? I am not surprised that he did; damage control and cover up. I don't have any faith and trust in him anymore. Then again, where can I read the original post?

JamesOakley’s picture

You can find it (for now ;-) ) at https://www.drupal.org/aggregator/sources/353

I've taken a copy of it future reference.


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justkristin’s picture

But add me to the list of people still needing to know more about why, specifically, Larry was removed. Such a lack of information surrounding a punitive action of this magnitude is not going to allow people to rest easy based on a promise of future transparency. Let the transparency be retroactive, please.

I am, etc.,

Kristin

tewnet’s picture

Here's the problem with basing the decision to exclude Larry on "values" or "beliefs" that are supposedly antithetical to the Drupal community: it's not hard to imagine that someone outside of a private community like BDSM/Gor could easily misperceive or misunderstand the views expressed within that community by members of the community. And decisions based on any such misunderstanding could be unjust.

jonathanshaw’s picture

I find myself in line with most other commenters: it's a welcome relief to hear all this and feel a dialogue, and the post makes a good start on the community side of things.

But I would like to hear more from Dries about his thought processes. In what circumstances might he reluctantly come to believe that someone's values were so out of line with the project's that he should be asked to leave it altogether? What considerations would weigh in his mind while pondering such a thing?

kattekrab’s picture

Megan, Dries, 

Thank you for working together to prepare this joint statement.

I've been heartbroken watching the community deal with this situation. 

"It's simply horrible for everyone involved, and very complex", is how I've been responding to personal requests for information.

it will take time to heal, but we want to make a start today

I think there's still a lot of confusion and anger out there. I suspect many people expressing these sorts of feelings, haven't really processed what is driving their outrage, or paused for breath before demanding answers they believe would help them understand what's happened.

I know I've also felt confused, sad, and angry. 

I see calls for examining our governance structures and processes. I support that - and hope, that perhaps, that could be a positive outcome from all this "Sound and Fury."

I'd also like to acknowledge how difficult this has been for you both, as well as for the teams around you. Thank you. And I'm sorry.  I hope you two, too can start to heal.

- Donna

DHW’s picture

That's a lot of corporate glurge, but a distinct lack of "Here's what Larry did that was wrong."

webchick’s picture

This is plain old webchick here, not "Drupal Leadership Webchick", not "Acquia Webchick." So please excuse some forthcoming f-bombs. ;)

While I no longer serve on the Community Working Group or Drupal Association Board (I stepped down from most "extracurricular" Drupal activities back in 2015 to focus on my family), I have done so in the past. It's a really fucking tough job. You need to carefully balance protecting the privacy of incident reporters (which is paramount, since in nearly all cases [presumably also this one] there is a HUGE power imbalance between the reporter and the reportee in terms of visibility, clout, community karma, etc.) and ensuring a fair process for the accused, all the while being mindful of the community fallout of any and all deliberations and decisions. It's basically impossible to ever get it 100% right.

However, I can attest first-hand that the folks who are in these positions, as well as Dries himself, have demonstrated repeatedly to have very level heads, to be extremely mindful of the community impact their decisions have, and to very carefully deliberate any and all actions taken prior to acting. It bothers me to no end to see these folks demonized, and in some cases *threatened* outright, based on a decision made about which the community doesn’t (and won’t) have all the facts.

Hell, I found out about all of this the same time everyone else did (note to self: don't "just check Twitter for a minute" at 4am ever again :)), yet woke up this morning to being threatened on Twitter with doxxing not only me but my 3 year old daughter (!), for the grand offense of... offering to talk one-on-one with women who were scared to speak publicly about the controversy? What the actual fuck?

As I normally do when something comes across my radar that I don't immediately understand, I’ve spent the better part of the past 10 days in “listen only” mode. In the process I’ve spoken one-on-one to literally hundreds of people: those in leadership positions who made this decision, those who are feeling threatened that their viewpoints could mean they could be “next,” those who are feeling threatened by a person in a prominent leadership position with what they see as sexist/misogynistic views, those in the BDSM/kink community feeling only further marginalized in a place they previously felt safe, those who are advocating for peace, those who are advocating for war. One thing that’s clear throughout: _everyone_ (or, well, just about...) mired in this conflict has good/just intentions, and is doing what they feel is right for the project.

I think we could all benefit from stepping *way* the hell back, and giving everyone including Larry the benefit of the doubt here. This divisive side-choosing helps absolutely no one, and is poisonous, for not only the project but most importantly the people who care about it.

mikeryan’s picture

I think we could all benefit from stepping *way* the hell back, and giving everyone including Larry the benefit of the doubt here.

Thank you so much for that. This cannot be repeated often enough - none of us out here have either the information, or the purity, to be playing judge and jury.

And it is absolutely horrifying that someone thinks their judgment justifies doxxing community members (or anyone for that matter).

darksnow’s picture

I agree with all of the above and while I never chatted to you about this, thank you for offering a safe chat to those that may have needed it. Threats to you and yours for helping other people is simply unacceptable so I'd also like to reiterate your view on that with a what the actual fuck!

I feel the central issue here is something alluded to at the end of your post. Some people are taking sides in this but I feel that is impossible without further details. It's the lack of further clarification that's causing the problem in this community and beyond.

Freelancer at http://www.darksnow.net

ciperl’s picture

Thank you for this.  It is much needed and coming from someone I highly respect it is always a good reminder to turn on the "listen only" mode for a bit while stepping back. 

katherined’s picture

See, this comment is why you are one of my favorite humans. A little distance and benefit of the doubt go a long way. 

spamjim’s picture

Your post from 7 years ago 

is one of the main reasons I don't do much Drupal community participation. You were so upset that I presented a contrary idea that you actively  sought out false information to publish about me. Even as I look back at it, I'm amused that you wrote:

[Edit: Link removed at spamjim's request.]

...instead of...

[Edit: Link removed because I now recognize it was wrong for me to post an unsourced/unverifiable attack on spamjim's character.]

But take a look at the rest of the comments on that page. Switch your attention to a user named Crell and read all of their comments. I see someone who, like me, understood our personal life is not relevant to software development.  Crell's comments on that page now seem wildly ironic in light of what Drupal management has ignorantly done to him.  Crell understood the importance of separating personal and professional life. Someday Dries and Megan might learn this too.

westie’s picture

Cry bullying 101

Interesting read and I personally agree with crell

CTI Digital

Jeff Veit’s picture

Megan and Dries, thank you for your additional statement. 

You don't say whether either of you have given any thought to to modifying your decisions. You will have seen that the the bulk of our community seems to back Larry given the information we know. I can't see the community begin to heal until there is closure. And that can only happen once Larry and Dries have settled matters, with the community feeling that it's a just outcome.

I don't doubt that Larry had indicated on several occasions that he was drawing down his involvement in the Drupal project; everyone gets tired. But Dries, is it your gift to ask someone to leave? Isn't it a decision for Larry? What practical steps do you plan to take if the community supports Larry?

Megan, you will have seen that numerous women have testified to the fairness that Larry has displayed. And you'll have see the Drupalcon stats he provided. And the stats in the Reddit thread. I wonder if you've given thought to ways in which he could be involved in Drupalcon whilst ensuring the protection of women? I imagine that's your primary concern? If it's not, what are your concerns?

I think the problem here is that there's secret evidence. That coupled with the inherent ethical problems that Dries faces make the decisions open to question. That the CWG saw fit to refer suggests that an independent person would have the same concerns as you have, but that's not enough when you consider the positive behaviour we as a community have seen from Larry. Can you think of ways that you could assuage these worries about the impartiality and fairness of your decisions? Perhaps you could ask Larry if he's willing to make the evidence public? - although if I was him I wouldn't welcome that; perhaps you could ask for a mutually agreed independent assessor to look at the evidence, and advise the community whether your decisions were reasonable? Perhaps you can think of other ways to persuade us that ejecting such a valuable long term contributor is best for Drupal?

Thank you.

rubyji’s picture

Certainly I've seen that the majority of people tweeting about this are critical of the decisions that were made. But the majority of people tweeting about anything are usually angry (myself included). 

I don't think there is anywhere near a community consensus on this. You might be only hearing the voices of people you know, who are likely to share your perspectives on a lot of things. Please don't make assumptions about what the entire community thinks. 

Jeff Veit’s picture

...I've seen very few - I'm not a twitter user much. Mostly it's things I've read on the association blog, in the press and on Reddit. I've also looked at the support on Larry's blog, but I'm not counting that. I haven't done any statistical analysis, which is why I said 'seems'. You are right that it's upset people who will comment, so my views are biased. 

Renee S’s picture

I know many people who have been staying off Twitter with opinions about this, because, well ...Twitter.

But there have been a tonne of conversations in private and public Slacks. Positions are evolving to be more varied, subtle, and nuanced than what's on Reddit indicates; from what I can tell, a lot of people are amending their black-and-white knee-jerk positions after consideration, reading, and discussion, and I've seen quite a few folks express the wish that they could edit or amend comments made earlier.

mike stewart’s picture

Still misses the main concern I've heard.  Is it acceptable to expel someone, who hasn't violated code of conduct, based on their beliefs?

Apparently the answer is yes.  

And IMO, that's wrong.  I believe the correct solution to be:  fix/expand the CoC to be clear about acceptable behavior, then act accordingly. 

yukare’s picture

So everything will remain the same and Dries still can expell anyone that oposes him in silence as done with crell, chx and may be others?

Fernando Correa da Conceição
http://jaguaribe.net.br

djdevin’s picture

(d) information from one or more members-only sites.
It should be strongly noted that we do not condone the manner in which this last source of information was gathered by members of our community.

Will there be punishment for those who gathered said information? Letting this pass is the same as encouragement. If you want someone kicked out, dig up dirt on them.

rszrama’s picture

Both Dries's original post and this one reiterate that not only was this unacceptable behavior but that it is still in the process of being addressed by the CWG.

djdevin’s picture

thanks, I thought it was still about the issue at hand and not also the actions leading up to it.

spamjim’s picture

If this was handled with competence from management, actions would be taken and/or announced for all parties at the same time. Punishing one person and letting that explode in the media while the other parties have not been addressed is careless. It appears as if the leadership only took issue with the way this information was gathered because of feedback/complaints. 

Sheldon Rampton’s picture

I appreciate the effort that has gone into this statement. I want to believe that the Drupal Association is behaving honorably and appropriately here. However, this statement (like the statements which preceded it) seems over-lawyered. There are several comments in it which concern me:

(1) "Dries, as project lead, made the decision about Larry’s role in the project during this discussion. Some have asked why Larry was removed from the community and not just from his leadership roles. The answer is that Larry had indicated on several occasions that he was drawing down his involvement in the Drupal project, and that context helped inform Dries’ decision."

This statement is quite perplexing. On the one hand, it is clear that the decision to remove Larry from both his leadership roles AND "from the community" was not a voluntary decision by Larry. It was a decision imposed upon him. Nevertheless, this statement seems to suggest that Larry, not Dries, was somehow a decider of his fate. What does it mean that Larry "indicated on several occasions that he was drawing down his involvement"? It certainly can't mean that he indicated that he no longer wished to be track chair or that he wished to be excommunicated from the community. I can imagine several contexts in which Larry might have "indicated that he was drawing down his involvement," ranging from "I'm increasingly busy with other interests" to "I'm offended by what I see as an improper inquisition into my private life, so maybe I should leave." In every such statement that I can imagine, however, a voluntary decision by Larry to "draw down his involvement" should lessen rather than increase the need to excommunicate him. If he was indeed seeking to do so, why not work with him to discuss how he voluntarily draws down his involvement and the timing for when it happens? Moreover, this statement seems at odds with Larry's public statements, which seem to indicate that his departure was not at all voluntary. Are we to suppose that if Larry had not "indicated he was drawing down his involvement," he would have been allowed to remain in the community? I suspect that Larry will want to respond to this statement.

(2) "After the appeal process, Larry chose to publish his own account of what happened, effectively ending the process in the middle of what we expected to be a series of constructive discussions. This resulted in several loose ends."

This statement is also quite mysterious. It suggests that Larry "ended" a process by talking publicly after his appeal was rejected. Was there some other appeal that was still available to him at that point? If not, then what sort of "constructive discussions" could he have hoped to have? And what sort of constructive discussions can someone have with a community that has already excommunicated you? I am using the word "excommunicate" because that is what was done here. In the words of today's statement from the Drupal Association, he was "removed from the community." When you are removed from a community, you no longer have standing to speak within it. You can comment about it from the outside, but that's all you can do.

Moreover, it seems that by publishing his account of what happened, Larry has not ended anything. To the contrary, the larger Drupal community has become aware of a discussion and decisions of which they were previously unaware. For the broader community, therefore, Larry's comments have begun rather than ended a process of discussions. I also don't see how Larry's decision to publish his account could have ended any internal processes of discussion that were happening within the Drupal leadership. The leadership has not been prevented from having those discussions. As far as I can see, the only thing that has changed is that the appropriateness of its decisions has been publicly challenged. I can appreciate that the leadership finds this difficult to deal with, but the only thing that has "ended" is the public silence about whatever it is that is going on here.

(3) Finally, there is nothing in this statement that answers the question many people have been asking, namely: Was there a victim of Larry's actions? If there was a victim, you really have to say so. And if you do not believe there was a victim, you have to say that too. By "victim" I mean something more than "someone who was offended or might be offended by Larry's beliefs and private actions." You don't have to name the victim, and you don't even have to describe the nature of the victimization. However, you need to provide that much clarification. Otherwise, I think we all need to follow webchick's admonition and "give everyone including Larry the benefit of the doubt here." Giving Larry the benefit of the doubt in this case means doubting that he victimized anyone until we hear a clear statement that he did. Right now the Drupal leadership's silence on this point creates that suspicion. If he did not victimize anyone, creating that suspicion is unfair to Larry. If the Drupal leadership believes that he did victimize someone, failing to make this clear creates suspicion that the leadership is punishing Larry simply for his beliefs and private actions.

----------------
Open Data Technology Manager, GovDelivery
https://govdelivery.com

djalxs’s picture

I concur, I feel that if there was a victim then it should be stated, even if it is nameless. However, I feel that the nature of the victimization should be discussed as due to the events thus far, I feel that they could say 'Yes, there was a victim' just to pacify us. We wouldn't know if this was the truth or not. Somebody could say I have six toes on each foot, it doesn't mean I actually have six toes on each foot.

spamjim’s picture

I agree with "over-lawyered" as a general term but the fallout of this suggests leadership acted without guidance from counsel. The Inc.com article (at the end) suggests Dries redacted something from an initial post, possibly due to legal concerns that were realized too late. http://www.inc.com/sonya-mann/drupal-larry-garfield-gor.html

There are actions we might take that are protected in a court or law or in the court of public opinion, but there are some actions we cannot easily defend based on groundless suspicion of what may come in the future. It would be interesting to see Dries explain his redaction, even if he cannot explain other information that influenced his decision.

Anonymous’s picture

There's an interesting comment over here wrt potential legal implications of this:

http://chocolatelilyweb.ca/comment/246#comment-246

As a commons-based peer producer I'm interested - if I couldn't access Drupal (the community) then I would find it hard to continue to deliver Drupal (the product).

jredding’s picture

This is a difficult time in the Drupal Community dealing with something we have never dealt with before. As a newly re-introduced board member of the Drupal Association I appreciate that we are working towards clarification in the actions that transpired over the past week and several months. 

It’s understood that there are still unanswered questions and sadly a few people that still want their ounce of blood. However, I sincerely believe that we can work together as a community to listen to and learn from each other on the path forward. 

Like others I went into listen mode. This issue was also new to me and I didn’t know the full details behind it all only learning about the 

Although we have never been in this position, as a community we have had tough times before. Over a decade ago I started working with Dries and many, many others to reorganize and strengthen Drupal VZW - an organization that ultimately turned into what we have today. There were tough decisions in those early years and Dries encountered many folks that strongly disagreed with him. Each time I watched him stop.. listen.. and engage. This is what I see happening now  - the same individual, with the same integrity that he has had for some time now. It may not be happening as fast or in the manner that some would like, but it is happening. 

I see this across our community from board members to the CWG. Level-headed individuals with the community in mind in each of their decisions. 

As Megan and Dries have mentioned in this statement there are many more steps to come and we’re just starting this journey. It’s been a bit of a jolt to get here, but it is where we are now - the door has already been opened we can’t turn back time. I know we have the resolve to work together to get there. 

In the past decade this community has created many structures that have strengthened our community let’s continue this work to learn from this episode and find the next iteration. Without any particular order and definitely not a comprehensive list collectively we built: 

  • A charter and structure for the Drupal Association
  • Multiple iterations of the Drupal Association Board (and highly contentious iterations I might add) 
  • The Code of Conduct (this took quite some time to get right) 
  • The Community Working Group
  • A charter and structure for the Drupal Association
  • Core contributor leadership structure
  • Distributed decision making structures 

Could this specific issue been handled better?  Absolutely. Loud and clear. However, in order to improve we have to listen to and learn from each other. Now is that time. 

If Larry is willing to continue to work with Dries shouldn’t we all be able to stop, listen, and work with each other to find the best path forward? 

I think we can. 

echoing Angie's comment:

"I think we could all benefit from stepping *way* the hell back, and giving everyone including Larry the benefit of the doubt here. This divisive side-choosing helps absolutely no one, and is poisonous, for not only the project but most importantly the people who care about it."

DHW’s picture

"Could this specific issue been handled better?  Absolutely. Loud and clear."

You're acting as if it's all in the past and there's nothing that can be done now, which is not true. This specific issue can start being handled better right away, by, for example, describing the nature of the crimes the defendant was accused of committing. The more people try to vaguely change the subject the more this whole thing stinks.

Renee S’s picture

"Crimes"? "Defendant"? That framing is extreme. This isn't a court, it's a group of volunteers who are figuring out how to work together. Whether or not you agree with the governance processes around appointing/rescinding formal and informal leadership roles in our community and the Drupal project, that language is unhelpful, inflammatory and inaccurate.

DHW’s picture

"it's a group of volunteers who are figuring out how to work together"

By doxxing and ejecting people for having a sexual kink they don't like, you mean?

rogerpfaff’s picture

I like the language because the law system is far more developed in assessing situations. And first of all I like it because it puts the "proof of guilt" in all that and not the proof of not guilty.  

jredding’s picture

Nobody is trying to change the subject - Dries and Larry are talking. The DA is inviting people to open forums, both online before and in-person at DrupalCon Baltimore, and comments like these are read and listened to. This is exactly how we've built this community over the years and how the next iteration of the community will come about. 

hgurol’s picture

Many comments say, this post is a small step in the right direction but not enough. I totally agree with the "not enough" part. However, I disagree about the intentions of this non-information post.

I believe the intention of this post is to buy time. Time will make people calm down and forget. One day the leadership will say, "What's done was done. Let's not look back but focus on future. Let's work together so this doesn't happen again in the future". I am sure this is what Dries and Megan wants to achieve with this post. I am sorry, I am not buying it.

Someone says we are looking for a closure for the current issue on had, before we can focus for the future. Yes, I do as well. Unfortunately, I am scared this would be as much as we might get.

Dries, Megan asking for respect for the decision. Oh well, with the information in hand, No Sir, I do not respect the decision at all. And I refuse to look forward until this issue is resolved in one way or another.

CHiLi.HH’s picture

Yet still no information about WHAT ACTUAL CoC rules Larry has broken. Yet still a whole world of "bla bla" about how sane your (the DA, the project lead) decision allegedly was. Yet still it is absolutely clear, that there are people in charge of the Drupal project that have way (I mean WAY) too much power at their hands.

Need examples? Really? Oh, well. Here you go.

  • "Dries, as project lead, made the decision about Larry’s role in the project during this discussion."
  • "Megan made the operational decision to remove Larry’s DrupalCon session and concluded his track chair role."
  • "Larry appealed Megan’s decision to the board, which only has oversight of the Drupal Association."

So - what exactly is the point this article actually makes? Still there is no clarification about what was so terrible to ouster a well-respected member of the community. NO, you don't need to provide the actual deeds. Just provide the rules that where broken - if any. A "trust us" is NOT enough. By far.

And - moreover - I am deeply saddened to see, that there is a member of the community ousted for allegations. Allegations, only the inner-most circles of the Drupal project are able to see and judge. And the highest visible prosecutor who has CLEARLY broken the CoC still faces no real consequences.

Shame on you. This is NOT the Drupal project I used to know.

John_B’s picture

Yes, some progress here. I note webchick's plea to step back, so do not comment further on the Larry situation for now.

Dries has been a wonderful, generous and level-headed guide and father figure over the years. Few people could have achieved as much. Drupal's chances of continued survival will be hugely enhanced if he can find it in his heart to let the project grow up, and relinquish absolute power, not only because he also occupies a senior position in a Drupal shop. For example, the statement says:

It is not healthy or wise to escalate difficult decisions about code of conduct or community membership solely to the project lead.

This seems to say that Dries should retain the formal power of "Drupal life and death", whilst acknowledging that it would be better if he is not asked to exercise that power. Fudge? Much as I respect Dries, when a community reaches our size and complexity it cannot be good governance for a decision about who can participate in the project be entirely at the discretion of the project lead, however able and reasonable he undboutedly is. Can it? Drupal is not a private company.

sinasalek’s picture

This response is still not acceptable (at this stage), i see some repetition of previous statement and not much clarification, there are serious inconsistencies between the statements!. That being said it is still much better than the complete silence from decision makers we experienced so far which was one of a kind. The part "What needs to change" is probably the only part that gives me a little hope.

Both Megan and Dries will have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to regain community's trust. They messed up, not because of the decision they made but rather the way they made it and the way they communicated to the community. I do not appreciate the way they completely excluded the whole community from this decision, kept us in the dark, and even refused to share the part of the information that they should have shared in the first place (even with respecting privacy of those involved). This is the part that caused me to lost my confident and trust in Megan and Dries: Not feeling the need to make sure the community has as much as information as possible regarding the matter and answering their concerns as quickly as possible.

@webchick is a respected community member and she has some valid points, but they made way too many mistakes one after another here that raises the suspicious that the decision making process regarding the matter was very simplistic and mostly done by two individuals. as i mentioned before there are still some serious problems with the new statement and the way Megan and Dries are handling this issue. I'm sure they both have good intentions and agree with her that Dries is a level headed kind of a person and also a great visionary for Drupal. But no individual should have to make such big decisions, the responsibility should be shared.

I sincerely hope to see some actions soon instead of just empty talks. I'll stop making any new comment for a while to see they are capable of fixing their mistake and prevent it from happening again.

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

Jaypan’s picture

My overall thoughts on this are that from an outsider's perspective, it seems very disturbing that someone may have been removed from their position due to their sexual preferences in their personal life.

But, I've been in management positions in the past, where I had to deal with an issue that looked really bad from the outside, and yet the inside details could not be divulged for various reasons. It's an extremely difficult position to be with, particularly if you know you would agree with the people on the outside looking in, if you only had the same information they did.

So while I don't agree with what happened as it appears to me as an outsider, I also reserve the possibility that the decisions made were justifiable, and that I just don't have enough information to make the final judgement.

So I think that the frustrations raised by many posters are valid, however it would be nice if some people calmed down a little and at least gave a little of the benefit of the doubt to those who have made these decisions. And it would be nice if those in the know would try to determine if they can release any more information that may justify their decision, though I understand that this may not be possible.


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gonssal’s picture

TLDR: Yes, Larry was asked to step down because of his beliefs/lifestyle and sexual practices (or, if you prefer, because they were brought to public light). Also, because there was indications that he was "drawing down his involvement".

I'm sorry to say I can't agree with the decision based on the information that is public.

David_Rothstein’s picture

This is the most important part of the post:

After Larry’s second blog post, on Tuesday, March 28th, he reached out privately to Dries to discuss how to resolve matters and find the best way forward.

We remain committed to working on closure for this situation with care and respect for everyone involved. Dries and the Community Working Group hope to have a private discussion with Larry in the coming weeks.

Although I still have serious concerns about what happened, I think it is fair to wait and see how the above process plays out. Hopefully a resolution will be reached that allows everyone involved to move forward and be happy about the end result.

In the meantime, I do appreciate the additional transparency regarding the community governance process issues in this post.

But I also have to say, the implication that Larry "drawing down his involvement in the Drupal project" can somehow be used as a justification for removing him makes me uncomfortable. Everyone will leave Drupal someday. But it should be on their own timeline and own terms, not someone else's.

Anonymous’s picture

If Drupal Community is truly diverse then it needs to eat its words.  Would you ban a devout Muslim from your community?  The Koran strongly supports subjugation of women.  It also condones stoning adulterers and homosexuals.  You can't have it both ways.  You need to ban everyone whose belief/thought systems are counter to yours--and that could be anyone.  If you follow that path I suggest searching all personal online information, creating informants, and making sure all spoken and written words can't be taken out of context.  Who knows what other community members are thinking or what they do in the confines of their basements?

Or you could simply commit to the inclusivity you claim to support.   The printed statement blatantly twists the situation so it appears board members were actually democratic--but nothing supports that.  I'm amazed at the number of people who are giving free passes on this.

Yes, this is a throwaway, because I commit thought crimes all the time.

Sunshiney’s picture

I agree. Tolerance only is practiced when it exists in the presence of views snd values that are different from the views and values held by the person espousing to be tolerant. Period. I no longer believe Drupal is a platform for all. I now believe Drupal is only for a segment of society that align with Dries values.  Sad but good to know. 

Media Crumb’s picture

This post really just rehashes the same things you said in the past.  There is no new information here.  Even worse it asks for us to "wait and see" which in media speak means, "we want this to just blow over so we're going to say nothing for a long time and hope you all forget."

I'm truly saddened by this entire situation, but more so on the abused of power and direction this great community has taken.  

Chicago Dev and Designer. Owner of 2old2play.com and GameStooge video game communities.

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