Drupal Association

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

pbattino’s picture

I agree with darksnowhgurol ,  ar-janfinn.lewisslashrsm , slashrsm  etc etc.: thanks to Dries, Megan to follow up and spending time in a clarification, but main questions still unanswered

The argument "Larry had indicated [...] that he was drawing down his involvement in the Drupal project" is particularly bizarre. It seems to me completely unrelated to the central issue. So putting the 2 things together is really bizarre. To me it sounds like "we may have a problem with Larry's values, he did nothing wrong until now but one never knows, and by the way since is he less and less involved in Drupal we can afford to expel it without a good cause". Sorry but the two things don't mix....

Sylvain Lecoy’s picture

Gentlemen, this is what consequences of modern feminism is all about.

I quit the drupal community 4 years ago, I wrote controversial posts against View in Core at the time, some might remember me. I always supported Larry's work, and this decision is pure injustice. Larry needs to engage legal action. I just come here to say I am angry about this story. I have seen it through my linkedin and I think this decision is unacceptable from Megan. With great power comes responsibilities. And its time for you to take yours.

Stop blackmail people saying they are misogynistic, you obviously has no respect for the work Larry did for men and women. And to be honest I think he even gave women a higher opportunity than if they were a man, because, you know, diversity. Yes I am angry, its completely unfair. You should not pressure people for their beliefs, and even if - he is not - even if he was, this is his right.

A society who can accept all sort of speech - even the most extremist - in virtue of women's right, but who systematically put down mens, destroys their careers, when they have different opinions or when they want to speak about men's right, is part of the problem.

Sylvain Lecoy’s picture

Remember this date, this is the day drupal died.

Anonymous’s picture

Now, for transparency sake: I'm not a Drupal user myself. I discovered the news about all this on The Register (online IT magazine) and it upset me enough to actually speak up about it. Definitely in a critical way, but also respectful. I don't have much respect for the whole endeavor but I do recognize the fact that people are allowed to speak up and share their grievances which to me also accounts for something.

However, in this whole wall of text you more or less admitted that part of the decision has been based on outside information. You don't even try to deny the fact that this leaked and illegally obtained information has had its impact, and that seriously bothers me (enough to register and comment at least ;)).

There is a good reason why illegally obtained information is always thrown out of a courtroom and why it can even lead to dismissal of an entire case, and it saddens me to see that this simply concept is apparently totally obscure to you.

It would have been a different thing if you had based your decision entirely on the guys actions which were directly related to the Drupal project, and it would also help if you had been able to produce any evidence which could back up your bold statements here.

In my opinion you made a decision with other interests than the project in mind, yet didn't anticipate the major backlash it has created. For example: I'm pretty sure you didn't expect a well known IT magazine to carry this story as well.

And now you have to apply damage control. Yet what I'm seeing here is the kind of damage control I'd expect from an Enterprise IT company which has been caught with its pants down. Instead of coming fully clear about it you're obscuring what happened, instead of full disclosure you're releasing partial information and most of all you don't answer the one simple question which people have. Worse yet: as mentioned earlier you more or less admit the one concern which people have formed, that you do hold some people accountable for fantasies shared in private and which are not related to the Drupal project at all.

As always just my 2 cents here.

ajayg’s picture

I am not questioning whether the decision was right, whether the process is followed etc. Let us assume for a moment it was correct to the possible.

But what happens to the code contributed by Larry? Are we going to rollback all the patches he submitted, or the ideas he has contributed? 

If not, at some level we are able to distinguish the code from the conduct and values of the same person in one context  but not in the another context.

IS this a Big Hypocrisy? 

The problem lies with what it means to be Drupal community. and I am getting a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that drupal Association can't (and shouldn't) represent drupal community. These are just open thoughts that just came to my mind, haven't thought through completely.

Drupal association represents the public face of Drupal. And I can see why there is need for community governance and the process.  And the remaining "community" just focus on "open source code" (and associated artifacts like documentation, test etc).

I am guessing only 5-10% of the community members deal with the public facing aspect of drupal (like being chair, speakers at Drupalcon). Remaining 90-95% don't come close to this.

Perhaps Drupal association code of conduct should only apply once a person start doing a public facing role. And if they won't follow, they are removed from the Association (Or whatever we can call public facing role).This is just a thought. As I said I haven't thought  through completely. 

Otherwise how we will reply to this? "Drupal community expelled a member for being  "xyz" but perfectly fine to take his code, ideas and comments he/she has provided for years.

Anonymous’s picture

As I said I haven't thought  through completely.

Yes, as each time you edit your post it sends an email out to all subscribed to this thread. 10 so far... ;)

ajayg’s picture

My sincere apologies to all those subscribed. Totally forgot about the subscribed users.  Should have edited the post before submitting.

Anonymous’s picture

Hah, no problem it was more of a reminder in case you'd forgot/didn't know.

It's important we all feel comfortable with what we're saying here cos, y'know, they're watching and listening. And words are incredibly important.

JamesOakley’s picture

If you keep updating your posts, subscribers to the thread keep being sent update emails.

If you cancel your drupal.org account so that all your posts are assigned to the Anonymous "user", then subscribers to the thread get sent an email for each and every one of your posts within it. Boom!

Sorry to see you go, @stevepurkiss.


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hexabinaer’s picture

Came back here pondering if I made my point clear ("Who are we to judge").

By blaming people of keeping back information or blackmailing, suspecting hidden business agendas, etc. without evidence none of us is any better.

Klaus has been named and blamed several times. Remember, there's no evidence against him either, just rumours. Will he be turned into a victim and sell ice-cream at the end of this? How many more will be investigated by us, the public, for their private motives?

Let's for a moment assume that the situation is difficult for those involved at the D.A. and that they need time to read through all these comments and worries. Finding the right words for a justification is as hard for the well-meaning as it is for the ill-meaning.

To me it's clear that the whole discussion is far beyond the roles of Larry, Klaus, Dries and Megan. It's about how much tolerance and intolerance we can endure as a community. And that includes any side in this discussion.

As a woman I have experienced harassment, as a woman in tech I have grown a thick fur. I am well aware that there MUST be many more men (and women) who share this community with me that have disgusting views in my opinion. Personally, I can tolerate this. As long as they behave and do their best integrate in this community with its (still) respectful and supportive atmosphere.

So please, calm down. The only question is: are our rules (CoC) clear enough to rely on?

justkristin’s picture

thank you for this.

I am, etc.,

Kristin

GiorgosK’s picture

And its clear from this whole discussion that the COMMUNITY can't tolerate this decision that DA has taken ... it could not be more obvious that the COMMUNITY is against this decision and it should be reversed ...

SKAUGHT’s picture

yes.

the right hand bites the left.   keeping in mind it is the Association, not the community taking this action.

patrickharris’s picture

Still nothing on the secret evidence, or the possibility of reversing the decision? I've been involved in Drupal for over 10 years, and this the first time I've questioned my involvement in this community.

JamesOakley’s picture

I was glad to see this post first appear.

The first post ran for 8 days and 150+ comments, with lots of questions being asked, but nobody involved in the process stepping in to engage with the comments and reply to the questions.

Then (8 days later) this post appeared, and I thought "at last - they've read the previous thread, here are some answers, and here begins the conversation".

Then I read it, and my initial reaction was that this second post begs the questions more than it replies to them. Other people's comments suggests that initial reaction bears out.

But more frustratingly, apart from Megan stepping back in once at the top of the comments to thank someone who had said they appreciated the post, we've again had no further comment from Dries, Megan or anyone.

So it feels, again, that we're back to pre-prepared statements, to which the community responds with detailed comments and questions, but no engagement back within the conversation. Their approach to this appears to be to create a room where the community can discuss this, a bit like reality TV they then listen to the conversations going on, and after a few days, the latest statement from the producers appears on a screen to give the participants their next topic for conversation.

Whereas the approach I feel this needs is for them to enter the room, and actually join in the conversation as it's going on. Sure, a threaded conversation like this can be hard to keep track of. You get several people posting lists of "the three big questions that still need answering", and you'd repeat yourself a lot if you tried to write a long post in reply to each comment like that. But a messy, hard to keep track of who's replying to whom, conversation would be better than leaving the community to talk amongst themselves.

In particular, there is the danger of groupthink if the rest of the community are discussing this, and nobody from the Drupal Association, CWG, or Dries himself are a part of that conversation. That's what I think has been going on, and is why the tone is going downhill.


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sinasalek’s picture

Well said

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

John_B’s picture

As James Oakley just said, "still waiting."

A lot about the Drupal world is opaque. DA apparently banned Larry from certain roles at DrupalCon to protect women, and Dries banned him largely to protect the reputation of the Drupal project. Face-to-face interactions at DrupalCon can bring clarity, for those (mainly large Drupal shops) who can afford to attend, and I understand why that might be the preferred venue for dealing with the issues.

I asked myself why I have posted too much on this issue. The reason turns out to be that I care too deeply about Drupal, partly because I live from it (though I provide WordPress services too) and also becasue of something intangible about Drupal which makes people passionate, at least until we burn out and / or get used up and disillusioned.

Whilst the evolution of new ways of doing things cannot be rushed, the delay in lancing the boil causes festering. Far more radical surgery is now needed than might have been the case if action had been prompt. That risk only grows. I am sure Dries is onto it, because it if is not handled more effectively soon, the implosion will harm his own company at least as much as it affects the rest of us.

Alex Malkov’s picture

I agree. The silence lasts too long.

John_B’s picture

It reached the the mainstream media yesterday :-( (Metro has a daily circulation of 1.5 million free copies in UK). The article ends, "Metro.co.uk has contacted Drupal for a response."

JamesOakley’s picture

If they get one, I hope they publish it, because it's more than anyone else has had so far.


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hgurol’s picture

What if they get one? I mean all these people who deserve it more doesn't get one but Metro does? I don't think so...

chipway’s picture

First of all, I have no lesson to give to anyone. The following are some of my many thoughts and feelings about this hawfull story. I don’t speak either for the french community because I think that everybody has his/her own opinion. To make it clear I just step down from the Drupal France board to say that I disagree with the witch-hunt against Larry, and to be free to say what I feel.

I have been a fan of Dries for a long time and was proud to speak to other communities about our great project leader able to keep calm in many situations involving the future of Drupal, and many more qualities. I am also a fan of Megan, … and Larry.

This community gathers a lot of great, awesome people.

Drupal project as a project and community is bigger than we can easily handle. Nobody is strong and smart enough to know and decide everything about it. I understand the too heavy responsability on the shoulders of Dries and Megan, but I think that this shouldn’t have happen. It should have been tagged as « out of community scope » and stopped at a early stage.

I agree with comments like :

  • « We can't accept confidential decisions and just trust somebody about a so hard judgement. ».

  • Drupal leadership can’t be in anyway a « thought police ».

  • « If spreading rumors about someone’s private affairs isn’t bullying and harassment, I don’t know what is. »

  • « Putting a person's careers in jeopardy with no details other than, 'No rules were broken but we have secret information.' Is irresponsible. »

  • « Who are we to judge »

We could discuss for years about the details of the story, but the main points are :

  • In free software I found « free » which means for me liberty in its many aspects.

  • What are diversity, freedom and liberty for the Drupal community leadership ?

  • Why nobody asked the spy investigator to stop his inquery and stop dragging in registration-only sites to steal confidential information about someone else sexual life ?

  • Why should we ban others because of their sexual life, thoughts, political opinion, food habits, dressing, … as far they don’t infrange laws ?

  • This ban made a lot of harm to Larry. How can we roll back and apologize ?

  • It is also incredibly harmful for the community. How can the community heal after this story ?

  • What must we change to ensure it doesn’t happen any more ?

  • If, we as a free software project and community don’t protect private life and liberty to think or act, who will protect them ?

  • Potential conflicts of interest have been mentionned.

  • Beloved Dictator For Life may a be a wrong solution (I have no issue with this but it looks very strange for other communities leaders)

Not providing « confidential evidence(s) » is worst than saying the truth. Each of us may imagine facts that we found the most horrible depending on our mood (he killed someone, he killed hundred persons, he ate meat, he ate potatoes, he bought a book about politics, ...)

There are much more poisoning community members that we should deal with.

Tomorrow, I will speak about Free software to people that support a candidate for the next french president election. I don’t share their ideas, but I am not doing politic, I promote open source free software as solutions, commons and new way to think and act.

So may I be dropped from the Drupal community for speaking in a political meetup ?

I helped setup associations in other countries. They might have different ideas, but I help promote Drupal free spirit, and country develoment tool.

I know how difficult it is to motivate people contributing to the community.

A free software project like Drupal should clearly separate Drupal events behavior rules to make them welcomming and safe, and private life of Drupal community members.

To protect Drupal project and community is unclear. Now every one of us and out people know that they are unsafe in the Drupal community. They can be witch-hunted at any time for any important or ridiculous reason.

We are not intitled to tell people what they must think or how they must act. This is not the target of an open source project. We « change the world » not by asking commands but by giving example.

The tools we provide, the way of collaborating, contributing, sharing in a independant manner is the way that we can change the real world… in the long term. We can’t order quick result.

We have several tasks to handle now :

  • split rules for Drupal event and outside them

  • clarify the scope of intervention of the Drupal leadership

  • think about the Drupal governance and dictatorship (BDOL)

  • clarify ways to deal with potential conflicts of interest

I don’t know if I will go to Vienna. May be to visit and hear good music, sprint or discuss with the community, but not attend the conference itself.

I never goes to american DrupalCons, but if I was to go to Baltimore, I would wear a black armband as a sign of mourning.

I am so sad.

Drupal Developers, Trainers, & Advisors, Installation, Development. Lyon, Paris, France, Suisse, Europe.

http://chipway.com.

halstead’s picture

On 24 March 2017 I posted:

Whatever has happened I expect it was very serious or the DA is very much in the wrong.

Drupal Association, please restore some safety to the community and make a concrete statement.

Having followed every post & comment since then, up to and including Larry Garfield's latest statement, I'm personally beginning to feel certain that the DA is very much in the wrong.

I'm having trouble imagining anything that is simultaneously so dangerous that it requires removing Larry from the project but harmless enough it is acceptable to sweep it under the rug.

I see a call for healing but no recognition that Dries and the DA's exercise of power is the cause of the harm. Please make concrete assurances that you will be more careful with your power in the future. Please try to relieve the harm you've caused. Please put the safety and health of the community above whatever forced your recent decisions so we can start to heal.

wshill’s picture

Having provided no specific information as to the cause for the removal of a community member, we're left with the very limited information being provided by Dries and DA versus the apparently open and honest responses from Larry. Unless and until Dries and DA can provide specific charges, (specifically an illegal action or violation of CoC) they will remain on the wrong side of this issue.  They continue to mismanage this incident and in so doing have caused and continue to cause far more damage to the community than any potential damage I can imagine arising from this one person's "ideas". Ideas are, as a general rule, harmless until they inform actions. Right now, it's the actions of Dries and the DA that are in conflict with community "values".

Open Source Entropy’s picture

I've watched on the sidelines, saddened to see this happen to what appeared to be a vibrant community.  I'm not a Drupal contributor, but I have been deeply involved in fostering successful businesses and successful communities three times.  If you will pardon an outsider sharing perspective, I'd like to make three observations.

Transparency trumps everything.  Without transparency, there can be no trust.  Without trust, there can be no community.  Transparency is lacking here.  The reasons given are, at best, obstacles that can be quickly overcome (legally and morally) if the parties were motivated to do so.  Remember, lawyers are advisors, not dictators.

Asking for patience when a person's reputation is being damaged seems naive, at best.  The impact this situation has on one's career and personal life can be dramatic.  And frankly, not mitigating that damage as quickly as possible is both ethically wrong, and likely increases legal damages.

I suspect the most recent request for patience was so the parties could discuss a legal settlement, one which releases all parties from liability.  I would expect that to include a comprehensive confidentiality clause.  So for those expecting to get to the heart of the matter, and to really understand where this organization draws the line on respect for diverse viewpoints and lifestyles, I would unfortunately predict further disappointment.

Other communities, including communities with a commercially successful ecosystem, have overcome challenges like this. But not without transparency.  If all you get are ambiguous statements which appear to be edited by a legal team, you're not getting transparency.
 

Thomas Factory’s picture

I fully agree with your observations…

 So for those expecting to get to the heart of the matter, and to really understand where this organization draws the line on respect for diverse viewpoints and lifestyles, I would unfortunately predict further disappointment.

Other communities, including communities with a commercially successful ecosystem, have overcome challenges like this. But not without transparency.  If all you get are ambiguous statements which appear to be edited by a legal team, you're not getting transparency.

…and I really hope, the parties involved are able learn and to bring this to a positive outcome.

kclarkson’s picture

The only solution to re-establish Drupal as the best community in the world is to let the "community" decide.

The DA needs to Humble themselves and admit they may have a made mistake, apologize to Larry, reinstate him back to the community and clarify the vision moving forward.

There also needs to be more elected board members and maybe have a diversity clause in he makeup of the board.  

If this is really about the community then allow us to govern. 

What harm could this do?

To me this is all about EGOS! Sometimes you are wrong. Sometimes you are right but did not have the right policies in place. 

Kaleem S. Clarkson
www.kaleemclarkson.com

JollyDonky’s picture

To Larry Crell,
I'm new to Drupal, don't know anything about the organization, and simply use Drupal core and modules "out of the box" to display events and calendar for a small non-profit in a small town in middle of nowhere Illinois. I just wanted to say I admire your courage and level-headedness, and to let you know that there are countless nobodies like me behind the scenes, who you will never really hear from, that care about you. The way this situation escalated has changed your life forever, and I hope you don't become bitter and hardened by it. be a lover. 
(I hope your contemporaries don't hack my site for speaking out, I won't know how to fix it...)

best wishes,

Jack (aka "the new guy")

hgurol’s picture

No, no. Don't worry, nobody will mess with your website.

On the other hand, watch your private life !! Obviously, if we don't like it, we can start digging private information on your back. Doesn't matter if it's publicly available or not. Doesn't matter if it's legal or not. 

Then with this information we collected, we can get Dries to ban you from the project. Then Dries can make Megan cause you even more trouble, if there is anything she can do, she will.

Watch out !!!

DaleTrexel’s picture

At this point, what really needs to happen is for an independent, third-party specialist in mediation/arbitration, agreed upon by EVERYONE involved, to review the situation, the available evidence, and then to prescribe a way forward. Do apologies need to be made? Decisions changed? Processes and policies updated? What will heal wounds and allow us to return to moving forward as a community?

There are now four pages of comments by the community trying to work this out for ourselves, and as far as I can tell, no one has stopped to suggest that perhaps this is better handled by an independent party that specializes in such things. The debate keeps going in circles because there may or may not be additional information that is not public (and that should not be made public for privacy reasons); a trusted third party would have access to information not available to the rest of us, and would presumably be skilled in communicating to the community their decisions and recommendations without creating more privacy issues. 

I understand that we are an open-source community with great do-it-ourselves spirit, but sometimes it's better to delegate to others with specialized experience. Drupal 8 embraces this concept with our incorporation of Symfony and with handing off templating to Twig. Dries and the Drupal Association should realize that they are too personally involved in this controversy to handle things on their own. As long as they continue to make decisions on their own, possibly based on information that is not public, a large portion of the Drupal community will be left questioning whether their decisions are truly fair. The extent of the discussion on this topic has demonstrated that we're well beyond the point where "trust us" is sufficient justification from those who have been making decisions thus far. We, the Drupal community, need someone that everyone can trust, and given the current situation, an independent third party, agreed upon by Larry, Dries and the DA, seems the best way forward.

nvahalik’s picture

no one has stopped to suggest that perhaps this is better handled by an independent party that specializes in such things.

That's because this isn't how it works. From the Conflict Resolution Policy and Process:

[Lastly] Escalate to the CWG if the previous steps fail using the incident report form: https://drupal.org/governance/community-working-group/incident-report 
You will be required to submit evidence that at least one of the parties has made a good faith effort towards resolving the issue (through steps 1 and 2) without success.

In effect, the CWG is supposed to have the final authority with regards to dispute. Hence the issue where the CWG said no violation was found but yet it was escalated to Dries. The issue isn't with the CWG, the issue now sits above the CWG, with Dries himself and only Dries can make that decision.

DaleTrexel’s picture

I don't think we're in disagreement here. As you point out, this whole situation has gone beyond what our own internal rules and policies were set up to handle. Now the situation is being rehashed and debated in the court of public opinion, unresolvable because people are working with incomplete information. The "problem" that needs to be resolved has grown much bigger and messier than simply validating or questioning specific decisions that were made (which is what rules/policies are good for). We now have a major scandal in which processes may or may not have been followed correctly, communication has been mangled, and people are left wondering whether their community, its rules, and its leadership can be trusted to prevent this from happening again. This is why I think that it's in everyone's best interests to have an independent party step in to assess the situation, to provide guidance and closure, and to help everyone move forward, confident that the situation has been properly, objectively handled at all levels.

If it's up to Dries to implement something at that level, then so be it. Decisions aren't made in a vacuum, and hopefully he's open to hearing suggestions from those of us in the community. Because his involvement is so central to the problem, it is very difficult for him to also provide a solution that everyone will trust is fair. Hopefully he'll realize that if he wants to satisfy people on both sides of the issue (and people who are rightly uncertain what side they should be on in the first place), he should bring in someone who is impartial and whose recommendations will be accepted by everyone directly involved. Then, hopefully, we can close this debate, improve our policies, and move on.

bwinett’s picture

This has been my thought exactly.  This situation is out of control, and only an independent, objective, trustworthy mediator and mediation process can resolve it.

John_B’s picture

I agree with DaleTrexel that if Dries still thinks there is enough material for a case to proceed (which is questionable after reading Larry's latest Blog), then offering an independent arbitration would be a good idea. I did suggest it, though less eloquently. Who knows if anyone is listening.

Anyway, I must stop posting about this topic, which is depressing me and others, and no doubt more so Larry, and look for the lifeboats. The ship of Drupal is in a storm with no one at the helm.

irradiant’s picture

Of all the times to begin an interest in Drupal. I know something about the GOR books; I read some of them when I was a teenager; I stopped reading after four of them; they broke down under a internal logic and grew more stupid. Its the same kind of screwed up logic that appears this text (Megan Sanicki) and that presented on a personal website (Dries Buytaert).

Rather than going through the rather boring task of comparing quotes properly or producing a critical reading, I will simply state where they are words they are misleading but where there is silence there is a truth to spoken.

Dries states that he is not concerned about what happens in private but then 'requests' that Larry steps down because it has become public, just seven days before this joint release in which it is explained in coded terms that it has nothing to do with Larry's sexuality. We are told that somehow there is something about Larry's belief system that does not fit with the Drupal community but there is nothing to indicate what that is.

Something about a member's life has been used, and the implicit claim is that this fact is so persuasive in itself that there is no reason to explain further. Larry participates in what Dries describes as an 'alternative lifestyle', a term often used to belittle the positions of others, and also states;

The Gorean philosophy promoted by Larry is based on the principle that women are evolutionarily predisposed to serve men and that the natural order is for men to dominate and lead.

That is a rather stupid position to hold but there are a lot of idiots around. The question still remains, what is it about those beliefs that connects to something that Larry did in the course of his activities within the community. From the statement I get the impression that someone did a lot of digging and then asked him. Despite this being a stupid position to hold, the idea the suggestion of an involvement with a promotion of a certain life style always leads to dread; The phrases such as "I don't mind what they do in private as long as they don't flaunt it my face" is a common reaction to all ranges of sexuality, Gay, Lesbian, Bi, transexual, transracial, but to present it as prima facia evidence is not enough.

For Dries and Megan to argue that despite self-described way that the information was raised, was itself counter to the community but then as Dries stated did not effect his decision, is contradictory; What decision would have to make without these discoveries. And again, promotion, if it requires all this effort I would council Larry not to enter into public relations.

In the statement about, we are told that the decision was not taken by two powerful people but Dries claims it by stating that he would have come to the same decision, and that he had asked Larry to step down before the above process was carried out. A different possibility begins to emerge.

The probability is that Larry is very annoying, as people with investments in rule drive hierarchies tend, the same applies to members of the police or the military who also hold the same regard for rules, dress codes, petty punishments and rewards as those held by Larry, and he may even be have Asberger's syndrome; imagine the chances of that considering the number of people with inherent rule based minds, whom are obsessional finding themselves in coding. The along comes this opportunity to get rid of him, all the major work has been carried out on Drupal 8, so Dries approaches him and states, "Either you leave or we will out you to the world".

A cynic like me might consider that extortion. So now two people, Mary and Dries carry out their threat, and in order to make it palatable to the 'community' they make a number of claims that suggest they were only working in our interests. They follow this through with suggestions that they know more, as Dries' states, I could tell you more but that would mean breaching his privacy, a statement that must count as self-mockery. Someone had to have taken the decision to join a closed chat-room in order to be offended. They had deceive the gate-holders in order to get access.

Since the so called Spanner trial in the UK, I have been aware that the perceived respectability of any 'defendant' is as much of an issue as the seriousness of the charges. And it certainly has an effect on those who might seek to defend you but don't; the worry of guilt by association. In the case of the Spanner trial the so called pink press (gay press) refuse to support these caught in the trial because S&M was too embarrassing and counter to a narrative of respectability. It still appears to be a solid way to remove annoying people.

These books themselves are stupid, and the whole question of the naturalness of unequal power is not supportable, not that this matters; simply its the case. And in every case when I see another example of this, in the Bible, for example, unequal pay, conditions, employment, promotion, General elections, I get the same feelings of anger as the first time I noticed.

But some of these examples have a different status, it os possible to see a progression form a belief to an act, or a refusal to act. And far from demonstrating a clear cause for exclusion, instead you have used insinuation, and statements that state you could back up but there are reasons of privacy why you cannot. As someone considering investing more time in Drupal I get a message that if I invest time and energy, as Larry, after everything I may be excluded, for one reason or another, involving many breaches of privacy. 

In New York you can carry small quantities of Marajuana provided it is not in public display. The Police would carry out illegal searches and when it came of of someones pocket they would award a citation for public display. This is what has been done here. Either you are responsible for the use of use of arbitrary power that you have buried, or you have handled this situation incompetently. My biggest worry is that you are competent, and that this is a part of a drive towards a Google like explosion, who knows perhaps a future with Alphabet, and this is your way of ridding yourself anoyance before the financial rewards kick in; remember all this speculation is a result of your own secrecy. 

Its aslo with reading the following. It makes sense; is it true?

Hgurol Here, Another Thought Experiment 

meichr’s picture

A lot has been posted and commented on this subject, I've also added thoughts more than twice, but mainly here and here. Basically, I first express my disgust of this apparently injust decision and the bullying by involved people and in the second one I challenge Dries to act as a leader. This was before this joint post of Megan and Dries and before Larry's third post on this subject.

After a search around on the net and in magazines, I started with Drupal 5 in 2008 for a friend's running sports website and later continued with Drupal 6 for a not-for-profit charity website for support of leprosy affected and thus ousted people in India, Nepal and other countries. I've been using and promoting Drupal ever since, but always for smaller and dear projects, not to earn money which I do by other means.
After having started to receive help by Drupalistas, personally where I live as well as online, I became aware of and very comfortable with the way the Drupal community works and cares. So, I started to feel giving back on the small scale, whatever I had been able to do on drupal.org and joining as a DA member and local Drupal organization member. And I started wanting to meet these people with that very nice vibe by attending local meetups, international camps and (for my pocket rather expensive) European DrupalCons since Copenhagen every year.
Please take this into consideration, when I tell you, that the handling of this situation by drupal's leadership robs me of the biggest part of the very essence and motivation of what I like to do technically in my spare time.

Continuing my thought of the second comment linked above, I am still of the opinion, that the solution could (have) be(en) very simple, if the leadership would (have) decide(d) to do what's best for Drupal and its community and reduce the importance of what it thinks of its own image. Respect is not earned by power, but by responsibility. In my second comment I challenged Dries to contact Larry behind the public and tell him what the reason was. But it seems more and more obvious and cannot be hidden, that the main reason by the leadership is to cover up a decison made with poor judgement. The informaton between lines (of the joint statement and posts before by Dries and Megan) is so obvious that it becomes more and more clear by each day of the leadership not doing the right thing and reversing a decision made with lack of justification.

I see Larry being transparent beyond expectation and Dries and Megan producing huge amounts of empty text apparently with a lot of effort to hide the needle and hope the sh**t storm runs out of steam, eventually. If there would (have) be(en) a simple contacting of Larry with reasoning and finally the necessary humbleness, all the mess could (have) be(en) stopped and Dries could easily (have gotten) get back respect and possibly even gain(ed) respect, if he handled it wisely.

There IS a difference between being a dictator and being a leader. A leader doesn't take himself more important than what's good for the project and situation and can correct himself after a not-so-well decision. A dictator needs people around to please his mind and ego and dismisses people he feels uncomfortable with, rather easily.

How will the reception of Dries be at his next keynote in Baltimore? Will the attendies feel comfortable to cheer and clap? Or will a large part of them just be calm at the best and feel uncomfortable? I would like to see Dries cheered for his technical and marketing vision and not booed for poor judgements outside of his expertise.

Come on, couldn't you just clear the problem by doing the right thing, finally taking leadership again?

I'm still watching, but the wasted time and efforts are not pleasing!

JamesOakley’s picture

There's no way I could spare the time or expense to go to DrupalCon, so it's not relevant for me, but I'll put this here in case nobody else had noticed:

https://twitter.com/DrupalConNA/status/850020339073593344

They're having a flash sale just a few weeks before the event.

Sorry if anyone considers this comment to be off-topic to this thread.


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Sheldon Rampton’s picture

I've posted these comments on Larry's website and am cross-posting them here:

This situation concerns me more now than I thought it would when I first learned about it. I'm generally sympathetic to Larry's position and have posted a couple of comments on the Drupal.org discussion threads expressing my views. Having said that, I think I should also say that from what I know about the Gorean community to which Larry belongs, I find its beliefs risible and pretty offensive with regard to the subordination of women as slaves. I've done a bit of Googling about the Gorean community and don't quite understand how its doctrines as explained on Wikipedia and by some other members of the Gorean community can be consistent with Larry's views about women as he has described them here and as I have seen him express them over a period of several years during which I have followed him on Twitter. In his comments posted here and on Twitter in the past, Larry seems pretty reasonable and progressive, and women I know who have worked with him within the Drupal community seem to support him. I must admit that I'm curious to know how he reconciles his Gorean views with the personality and behavior that I've observed within the Drupal community. Of course Larry is under no obligation to explain further, and I would not even care to know about Gor stuff or Larry's beliefs at all if they had not already become public as part of the apparent explanation for Dries's actions.

Given what I understand about Gorean beliefs, I can imagine scenarios that might explain Dries's actions, ranging between the following two scenarios:

SCENARIO 1: Although Dries and Megan SAY they don't discriminate based on beliefs, they find Larry's beliefs so far beyond the pale and so potentially embarrassing that those beliefs require an exception to the rule -- an exception that maybe they would also make for people with other extremist or exceptional beliefs such as Nazis or members of NAMBLA. If that's what this is all about, then I would disagree with their decision, but I would at least understand their rationale. However, if this is what's going on, then Dries and Megan are not being honest with us.

SCENARIO 2: Larry has a dungeon where he tortures women. Dries can't prove Larry is abusing women, but he is convinced that abuse has occurred and regards this as not just belief but behavior so egregious that it disqualifies Larry from participation in the Drupal community. If that's what this is all about, then I would be more accepting of Dries's actions, but I would also expect that the Drupal community should be able to explain this more clearly than they have. They would not have to name any victims or violate anyone's privacy, but they would at least be able to make it clear that there is behavior going beyond beliefs upon which their action is based.

The problem we have right now is that the vague information we're getting from the Drupal leadership fails to make it clear which of these scenarios is closer to the truth and thereby invites and incites speculation that is harmful both to Larry's reputation and to the Drupal community. Larry appears to have been candid about what has happened from his point of view, and I haven't seen anything from the Drupal leadership that contradicts Larry's statements. Simply saying, "There's more to the story that Larry hasn't shared" doesn't tell us anything. Larry's statements seem to pretty much rule out scenario #2, so if some variant of that scenario is really what's going on here, then Larry is not being honest with us, and the Drupal leadership could at least tell us so. Instead we've gotten bromides about "working through the concerns of our community" and "taking time to heal."

Webchick has suggested that we should "step way the hell back and give everyone including Larry the benefit of the doubt here." I don't see how we can do that. As matters currently stand, I don't see how we can avoid the conclusion that either the Drupal leadership is being evasive and dishonest, or else Larry is being dishonest. Nor can we be indifferent to the fact that Larry -- someone with more than a decade of respected participation in the Drupal community -- has been expelled from that community at considerable harm to his reputation and professional future. If we are indifferent to that fact without some kind of justification for it that we can understand, then we're not much of a community.

Maybe the idea of bringing in an outside arbiter has some merit.

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David_Rothstein’s picture

I've done a bit of Googling about the Gorean community and don't quite understand how its doctrines as explained on Wikipedia and by some other members of the Gorean community can be consistent with Larry's views about women

Why do you think the views have to be consistent?

There are plenty of people who identify with a group but don't agree with all the views of other members of that group, or with all the ideas expressed in the founding document of that group ("major world religions" <=> "the Bible" come to mind).

JamesOakley’s picture

Indeed - the Wikipedia article on it isn't the clearest statement of it, but still helps.

Essentially, the genetic fallacy is assuming that someone must hold the position you would expect them to given the label they appropriate, their background, some prior view they hold, or whatever it is. "Genesis" = "source". As opposed to: Finding out what someone actually thinks / what position they actually hold - which may or may not be consistent with what you'd expect.


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Sheldon Rampton’s picture

As I stated in my previous comment, this controversy has made me curious about how Larry reconciles his Gorean believes with the beliefs and behaviors he has expressed elsewhere, but of course he's under no obligation to explain, and moreover I sympathize with the argument that his private beliefs are nobody's business. However, those beliefs evidently do matter to Dries. He and the Drupal leadership have made contradictory statements. They've stated that Larry's beliefs are not the issue, but Dries has also specifically condemned "the Gorean philosophy promoted by Larry." I'm just trying to come up with some way of understanding this apparent contradiction.

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https://govdelivery.com

Thomas Factory’s picture

I sympathize with the argument that his private beliefs are nobody's business. However, those beliefs evidently do matter to Dries.

I also think that private beliefs are nobody's business. They cannot be. And most importantly, they have to be protected.

nvahalik’s picture

I also think that private beliefs are nobody's business. They cannot be. And most importantly, they have to be protected.

I think you meant "private actions". Otherwise, this statement causes a pretty big inconsistency. How can we on the one hand tell people to "be yourself" but yet foster the idea that private beliefs are "nobody's business."

Private beliefs can and do impact how we interact with the world. They absolutely must because if they do not then they are not our beliefs—just what we tell someone we believe. If our private beliefs do not impact our public lives then we live a lie. We can and do evaluate other beliefs. We do that by their actions. The issue here isn't that Larry's private beliefs aren't anyone's business but that the community has judged his private beliefs by his public actions and found that the crime for which he is accused doesn't seem to apply to him. Conversely there was a judgement against his private actions that most people would argue are none of our business but yet that's why he was banned from the public workings of Drupal.

Thomas Factory’s picture

Conversely there was a judgement against his private actions that most people would argue are none of our business but yet that's why he was banned from the public workings of Drupal.

I was referring to Sheldon Ramptons comment where he has written about a field of speculation between two possible scenarios. In the first scenario, Drupal leadership has problems with Larry’s private believes and does not admit it. In the second he is judged by the leadership on actions, we know nothing about.

I find it hard to believe, that the Drupal leadership serves as prosecution, judge and jury for actions in the private sphere. That’s why I think the first scenario is more plausible. But if I’m wrong and there are any illegal actions which harm people, this should be handled by legal authorities and we should know they are.

John_B’s picture

Who knows what Larry actually thinks or thought or may have expressed on private forums. Who knows whether a woman caught praising Gor or Fifty Shades on a private forum would also be asked to withdraw from 'the project' on the basis of beliefs she may be inferred to hold. Who even knows what the specific allegations and evidence against Larry are, when Larry states plainly that he has never been told himself.

anthonyalbertyn’s picture

I would like to see the DA publish their rules of evidence, if this exists, and if not then consider formulating a set of rules based on international norms.

One rule that I am interested in is the admissibility of evidence. I would assume that under certain circumstances, evidence would be inadmissible if inappropriately collected. 

The main post states that evidence included information from one or more member-only sites and that the manner in which this source of evidence was collected is not condoned.

in my view, it sounds like the evidence from the private member-only sites may have been inappropriately collected, and therefor could be considered inadmissible as evidence. And I wonder if this last source of evidence was thrown out, if that would have influenced the final decision in a different direction?

In my view, not condoning the way "evidence" was collected by (regardless who collected it), and then still using the evidence is like receiving dirty money, not been happy that it's dirty but then deciding to keep or spend it anyway.

Having rules of evidence is a step in the direction of stamping out bad practice relating to collecting evidence.

j.branson’s picture

Dear Drupal Community,

I have been away for some time and was deeply concerned when I opened my Drupal alerts and found this whole situation. From the information publically available, mainly, what has been published by Drupal Leadership on DO and by Larry on his personal website, it seems to me that the handling of this situation undermines the entire purpose of who we claim to be as the Drupal Community.

I recognize the tricky balance of respecting individuals' privacy - and there are individuals tangentially involved that have nothing to do with Drupal, such as Larry's friends whose privacy must be maintained. Yet citing private information, which according to Larry has not been disclosed to him, seems not only unfair to Larry, but contrary to the openness of the Community. If a an actual crime had been alleged and the individual in question was under investigation by legal authorities, it would seem appropriate to remove the individual from the Community pending a determination by the justice system. But it is not the place of the Drupal Community or its leadership to serve as prosecution, judge and jury. If there are concerns about possible illegal activities, those concerns should be directed to appropriate legal authorities. But in this case, from the information available, it seems that the decisions of the Drupal leadership have largely been based on lifestyle choices and not possible illegal activities. This undermines the credibility of the statement "We are an open-minded and inclusive community." How can you be open minded if a decision to remove a member of the Community is based on the private lifestyle of that individual? Again, if the decision were made based on the hypothetical fact that criminal charges had been filed against an individual, and the final decision was left pending the outcome of such charges, that would seem to shift any question of judgement away from Drupal's leadership and onto the justice system. Admittedly, no justice system is perfect, but this seems to at least provide a clear path free of judgement within the Drupal Community. To my knowledge no criminal charges against Larry have been filed. 

The community members' action that should be in question in my mind is the use of private information in violation of terms of use policies to potentially bully and indeed blackmail another member of the Drupal Community. This is deeply concerning for me as I believe it should be for anyone involved in an open source community. Outside of the serious concerns of bullying, which violate Drupal's code of conduct, violating terms of use on a site clearly designed for a private community raises questions of integrity in terms of using the Drupal Project and interacting with the Drupal Community.

The fact that Larry has been a significant contributor to the Drupal Project and Community should have no bearing on a decision to remove him. Certainly achieving such impartiality is easier said than done. Yet it is critical to foster the kind of community I hope Drupal to be; one in which a novice developer as I once was can feel empowered and supported to contribute code and mentorship regardless of his or her background and beliefs. Indeed, if such a high profile member of the Community is removed, it sends a message that perhaps differing views and lifestyles are not in fact welcomed in the Community. This limits the potential reach of Drupal and the potential creativity of the Community. It runs contrary to what I see as the beauty of the internet -- creating micro-communities founded on specific and diverse interests spanning geographical boundaries. That said, I understand the idea as well that 'no one is too big to fail' as it were. But if that attitude was a factor in the decision to remove Larry, then I believe the senior Drupal leadership must reflect with the same attitude on their own actions regarding this matter. 

There may very well be withheld information that would clearly cause alarm. If there is I would encourage those who have it to forward such hypothetical information to the appropriate legal authorities. From what has been shared by the Community leadership and by Larry, it seems that the only information that exists is conjecture. To meet its potential Drupal must rise above conjecture and prejudice. I hope it does.

Peacefully,
J. Branson Skinner

TynanFox’s picture

I am just now catching up on all of the issues related to this in the forum, as well as Larry's blog. Frankly? I'm terrified right now. 

As an active, public, and unapologetic member of the kink and BDSM communities, I can firmly say that this entire situation is exactly what community members like us are afraid of happening to us, each an every day of our lives. There's a reason we try to live "under the radar", so to speak. My heart goes out to Larry and everything he's been going through after his 12 years of dedicated (and free!) service to the Drupal Community. 

12 years is a long time - it's as long as I have been an active member in Kink and BDSM. Like Larry, I have my own profies and message board posts and even a blog (although I haven't written in years). I love these communities due to their diversity, acceptance, and wide, varied view points. But most importantly? I enjoy the feeling of love and support that we all share with one another. 

I love it so much that I felt a calling 4 years ago to jump into the Kink and BDSM industry. My shop, Twin Cities Leather & Latte, is open to all community members. Our shop's website, TwinCitiesLeather.com, is built (largely by myself!) on the Drupal platform using Drupal Commerce for the e-commerce section. It took me a while to learn Drupal, but one of the things that drew me closer to the community were the friendly people, and the values of diversity and acceptance among the community contributors.

Oh yeah, and that it's FREE and supported almost entirely by community contributors. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to be a public kink and BDSM oriented business owner in this day and age? Banks won't even schedule a meeting with you to discuss loans or funding. Many suppliers won't don't business with you despite their so-called "non-discrimination policies". As soon as they find out that you're kinky, all of that gets thrown out the window and your request for a loan, a catalog, a sample, or a new vendor contract is denied.  And as a business owner, I do not have the luxury of being "private" about my lifestyle - at the end of the day, someone has to sign the checks and the paperwork. 

We face this casual discrimination every single day of our operation, and even worse facing it in person. My shop is a coffee shop as well as a retail store - and let me tell you, we faced and extraoadinarily high level of scrutiny with the health department in getting our licensing approved. Moreso than any other run of the mill coffee shop. So far I've enjoyed building and maintaining my site with Drupal, and I even started submitting bug reports and a few feature requests on the D.org issue queues. As a micro business owner, I don't have the luxury of hiring an IT department and do the work myself. And all of this was a fear that I never thought for one moment that I would face from the Drupal Community due to their public dedication to acceptance, diversity, and being friendly.

Until now. Now, I'm terrified.

Nothing the Association has published thus far has done anything to mitigate that fear. How do I know for sure that I won't be asked by someone at the Association to find a different CMS to run my website? I mean after all, I am selling the very tools of the trade that people like Larry (and me!) use to practice our craft

I participated in the latest Drupal Association board member election. My top vote went to @rszrama, due to his unending contributions to Drupal Core as well as the incredible donation of our e-commerce platform, Drupal Commerce, to the free and open-source platform.

Can any Association members reassure me that I am safe with Drupal? 

Oh and I suppose if you want to know all the details, I am more than happy to provide you with links to my fetish/kink/BDSM profiles on various kink-oriented websites. They include lengthy descriptions about everything that I am into and most of them include pictures that really 'tell it all". You know, just in-case that kind of information might help you make a decision.

Media Crumb’s picture

This is a really nice advertisement.  Way to leverage the hurt others are feeling into a play for making money.  Bravo.

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

rj’s picture

Lol says you who also has your website link in your signature. 

--rj

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