Thoughts On The Drupal Community From an Ex-Drupaler

Posted April 17, 2017

I’ve been following a story recently regarding some serious drama in the Drupal community. One of its oldest, and highest contributing leading members, has been “ejected” by the leaders due to some facts about his sexual preferences and lifestyle being revealed. For someone who isn’t involved anymore, it’s pretty juicy drama that I have been poring over. Jokes aside, there has been talk of hate mail and doxxing of the head Drupal guy. That stuff isn’t funny, and I don’t believe in discriminating against anyones beliefs or preferences. My feelings on the issue aren’t so strong to make a post about that alone, but it got me thinking about the Drupal community as a whole and how I felt about it while I was involved.

I was involved with Drupal for almost four years. Drupal was how I got my start as a developer, and I’m thankful for it for that. I can also say that I met some truly amazing developers along the way who are incredibly passionate and serious about their work. However, try as I might, I never seemed to quite fit in with those guys/girls. Whether it be at a DrupalCamp/Con, or at small local events, it was really hard to meet other people in the community. Generally, going to these events with your co-workers consisted of standing in a circle with them and talking about work/code/how awkward everyone else is, and staying that way until sufficiently drunk, then you might talk to some other people. Attempts from me to break the ice with new people were short-lived and cring-y, and I’m about as far on the extrovert scale as you can get for a developer. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that the developer community as a whole is an awkward bunch, but since moving on I haven’t experienced the awkwardness and “clique-y-ness” of Drupal to nearly as high an extent.

Ever since this drama surfaced recently, every other thing I read is about how “inclusive” and “open” the Drupal comminity is. But is that really true? Who exactly is included? To me, the main people included were a tight-knit group of core contributors who were maintaining a constant ego-high about how they were contributing. After that, it was really only anyone who wrote code for Drupal. I went to lots of events, worked for a Drupal shop, made some damn nice Drupal sites, but I didn’t feel once like I could even attempt to “hang” with the real contributors. Don’t have any commits, or issues in the Drupal repository? You must not really be a part of the community. Haven’t made a new module? Talk to us when you have. Of course open source software is amazing and important in many ways, but with Drupal your contributions are your status symbol in their own small world.

My point here, is that the current events have everyone yelling about how Drupal is the most accepting of open source communities, “they don’t exclude or judge anyone!”, and that is completely false. I read a piece today on Medium from a woman who left the community due to serious mysonginistic and sexist behavior from other members. Drupal isn’t inclusive at all, it’s clique-y as hell, male dominated, and it always will be. I won’t even get started on their religious devotion to aging technology and adversion to the new, as that was one of my main frustrations and reasons for leaving.

I do have fond memories of my time with Drupal, including meeting some great friends, learning the basics of web development, and traveling to new places for the cause. However, I can’t help but sit back and shake my head at what’s going on within the community at the moment. They just can’t believe someone has been rejected from their amazing group! Come on guys, lets be real, your community isn’t any more inclusive than Mar-a-lago.

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