An open letter to Dries: What are our values?

Posted on: 2017-03-30 23:57:21

Hi Dries,

You probably have no idea who I am—and hey you'd be just like the vast majority of people, so no big there—but if you're reading this I greatly appreciate your time.

The past week or so has been dizzying. Many, many long time die-hard Drupalers have been angry, frustrated, and saddened by the events that have taken place surrounding Larry. You know better than anyone else what happened. No need to rehash.

The truth is, when we get past being angry and disappointed, I'm reminded of my own faults and failures as a human being. Not one of us is perfect. Being the head of a project as large and as successful Drupal puts you into a strange position. And let's face it, as much as we want to say that we wouldn't have done the same thing if we were in your shoes (and those are some big shoes to fill, both proverbially and physically), we'd be fooling ourselves. This whole thing is complicated. So let's not discuss that anymore.

The Drupal community has always been a community of people where people from any background, world-view/religion, or country could agree on one thing: building and using the best F/OSS software in the world. It embodied diversity and inclusion. I might be in complete and utter disagreement with someone sitting across the table from me about areas of politics, religion, and sport teams. However, it wasn't about "us". It was about the project. Our disagreements and differences allowed for some wonderful discussions. I learned so much from people who are not like me and I hope that they learned from my perspective as well. Those challenging conversations allow us to grow and learn to appreciate people.

Here's the deal, we all answer to someone. When we make any of our decisions we make them out of love and respect for someone or something that we hold in high esteem. We all have some world-view that explains and dictates our actions. Some people do what they do because of God or the Bible. For others it might be the Quran or some other sacred texts. For some it might simply be "the greater good." Regardless of what authority you look to, you are still importing your values from one or more belief systems.

So here's my question: What are the actual values of the Drupal community?

"Diversity" and "inclusivity" are empty words. Please, tell us what these values are. Because right now people are asking themselves the question "how do I know whether or not I'll be the next person to be asked to leave because of some belief that I have?" People are debating staying or leaving the Drupal community.

If someone joins because because they come for the code and stay for the community, how can they be sure that they won't be asked to leave?

Our claim to diversity and inclusion has been tarnished. Obviously, there are limitations. Please, tell us what those are. The reputation of Drupal's community-oriented focus rests on understanding the measure by which we are held to. Without that, people will shrink back and we lose our greatest asset.

Thank you.