Drupal, Dries and the Larry Garfield discrimination

Submitted by dryer on Sat, 04/15/2017 - 06:06
Drupal discrimination

Drupal has been big on diversity and inclusion, priding itself on being one of the biggest, friendliest open source communities around. As such, it has been a prime hotspot for activists to push feminist-flavored social justice rhetoric. They adopted a code of conduct, established a Community Working Group, and basically bend over backwards to satisfy the demands of those who see the open source world as a problematic place where meritocracy is used to justify gatekeeping and elitism.

On top of this, there is a tangled web of commercial interests mixed in, with the project's 'benevolent dictator' Dries Buytaert being both chairman of the non-profit Drupal Association (which runs the DrupalCon conferences) and the founder of Acquia, a very large enterprise that employs many of the core people in the community. Combine this with a cottage industry of web shops serving small-and-medium-enterprises, and you get a lot of tug-of-war arguments over how the project should evolve. The project has already forked once over such disagreement.

Dries Buytaert Chat Log
Dries Buytaert describing situation in a private chat log

In March 2017, Larry Garfield, a high profile contributor, posted a blog post titled "TMI about me", in which he revealed he had been asked to step down by Dries from the community, and had been removed as a speaker and track curator for DrupalCon. He revealed that he was into the kinky BDSM lifestyle known as Gor, and that someone had dug up a profile of his on a fetish dating site. Based on his statements about consensual master/slave relationships, the image had been created that he was a misogynist who considered women inferior. This whisper campaign had been going on since October.

In the ensuing drama, a dossier was leaked, compiled by people on the diversity and inclusion channel on the Drupal Slack, featuring various tweets of his taken out of context, to further paint the image of Garfield as a chauvinistic wrongthinker. It also came out that he supposedly brought a woman to DrupalCon whom he was in dom/sub relationship with, and some people took offense at the implications that he had a female slave. It is alleged that this dossier was used to pressure the DA into action as a form of blackmail.

The Drupal Association and Dries published a statement, and it went back and forth for a while between more of Larry's blogging and more statements. Many felt the DA was being evasive and disingenuous, contradicting itself on whether conduct or moral values were the issue. Others saw the Garfield case as a prime example of the problems they see all over open source and tech, and took the other side. A Drupal Confessions site was created where people published their objections to the drama, some by name, others anonymously, opposing the Association's inept handling and the witch-hunters' sense of moral superiority.

Larry Garfield doxxing
According to Dries Buytaert Larry Garfield has woman slaves and has brought them to Drupal events

Attempts were made to solicit feedback on community governance, and the drama mostly fizzed out the last few months. Now the DA has published a new statement out of the blue, suggesting it's the end result of talks behind closed doors between the affected parties, but once again deflecting blame away from them and onto Larry. It is anyone's guess why they feel the need to publicly draw this out again, but one can guess that this could be a pre-emptive defense to further legal proceedings against them.

Source: At least the PHP community is not as toxic as the Drupal one