Drupal Community is in a tough situation. A series of events had led to a popular contributor and leader from the Drupal community, Larry Garfield, to be asked to step down. Apparently, there was some incriminating evidence against Larry, that has led Drupal Association (DA) to take this decision.
Several people, over the past day, have asked me if I approve of DA’s decision and Dries’ actions. I had chosen to not take a side, for I believe there has been an imbalance of information available to me from both perspectives to be able to form a sound opinion about the issue.
I see the current situation in a deadlock.
A large section of the Drupal community has expressed displeasure and disapproval of DA/CWG’s decision, demanding that any evidence that can prove in any way that Larry has violated the Code of Conduct, or in anyway abused anyone, or used his position in the Drupal community to force his ways of life on anyone, be made public, justifying DA’s decision.
DA/CWG has so far refused to disclose any evidence or supporting details, apparently in the interest of protecting the privacy of the other members who provided the evidence, as well as in the interest of Larry.
It is difficult to restore normalcy and trust in DA without releasing more information and evidence. And DA would not want to do it to protect the members who shared the evidence to DA. Hence the deadlock.
Drupal Community, as I have known it, has always been the most open and embracing community to people of all races, gender, orientation and ways of life. And I strongly believe it still remains the same.
To see something like this break the trust that the community and Drupal Association has earned over the years, is disheartening.
Here are a couple of ways, I believe, in which DA can restore the faith of the community on the association and CWG:
Release the evidence, withholding any personal details of any of the personnel who provided the evidence, masking any data that could either directly or indirectly lead to any specific individuals from being recognized.
If the evidence has such personal information scattered all over, making it difficult for DA to make the evidence public, DA could invite a panel of five prominent leaders from Drupal or other Opensource communities all over, who have publicly expressed their disapproval of DA’s decision. DA can then share the evidence with the panel, who could then review the decision and express their opinion about if DA’s decision to ask Larry to step down was reasonable, considering the evidence. The panel members, before being able to access the evidence, should agree to ensure they will keep all evidence shared with them extremely confidential, and will not disclose anything from the evidence, except their opinion about whether the decision taken by DA was reasonable.
Another idea for building such Panel easier would be - DA’s elections for Position of Director at Large have just ended. The list of candidates is here - Inviting the top 5 contestants, who won the maximum votes, could make such panel formation pretty quick.
DA might not be technically accountable to validate every decision of their board by some external panel. However the onus is on DA to restore any lost confidence of the community on DA/CWG and to come out clean.
If there is anything that DA could do, to restore the lost trust and confidence that the community has vested so far on DA, and lost significantly over the past couple of days, I think this would be it.
DA/CWG still has my confidence and trust. However, with the data available in front of me, I am inclined to believe that the decision taken by DA was not reasonable or justified. Although I still believe this is because DA hasn’t made public, their perspective of things and events. Would love to see DA go the extra mile to restore everyone’s confidence on the association.
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