Don't go low

Submitted by Larry on 16 April 2017 - 1:09pm

This is a very uncomfortable time for Drupal. It seems there has been a great deal of concern and discomfort lurking just below the surface for a while, and recent events surrounding me have brought them all to the forefront at once. It's going to take some time to unravel it all. Hopefully it can be a learning process for many.

For the moment, though, there's one particular point I want to address, and particular people I want to address it to: Don't be an asshole, not even in my defense.

I did briefly speak with Dries in private recently about recent events. I cannot discuss details of our conversation, but there is one point he mentioned that I feel warrants an immediate response.

Specifically, Dries mentioned that he had received a great deal of private hate mail over this matter, and that it was impacting his approach to the situation. I've previously seen a (very small) number of people on Twitter suggesting gathering private information on Dries and others, including their families(!), to use as leverage. In a previous comment, Angie Byron (who was not even involved in matters surrounding me until after I went public) said that she'd received threats against both her and her daughter.

I want to speak directly to those presumably few who have sent such messages, and in the calmest and most restrained manner I can:

What the fuck were you even thinking???

No, seriously, how did you even think that was a good idea? Responding to cyberstalking, prejudice, and blackmail with... cyberstalking, threats, and blackmail? No. NO! Even if you're trying to support me, NO! I do not want any such support. You are actively making it harder to resolve this situation.

I reiterate my previous statement: My goal is, and has been, to defend myself against blackmail, prejudice, and harassment, because such behaviors are unacceptable in all situations. Whether you're "for" me, "against" me, unsure how you feel, or just unsure what all is going on, those actions are not OK. Period.

By all means, express your frustrations. If you want to oppose prejudice and discrimination in Drupal (and I hope you do), speak up and share your story with Whether you're supportive of me or not, you can express yourself clearly but without attacking or harassing anyone, me or others. But if you are engaging in

  • Blackmail
  • Harassment
  • Threats and intimidation
  • Doxing
  • Revealing personal or private information

Or threatening to do any of those things, against me or against Dries or against anyone else, then you need to know most of those are actually criminal acts, and should/will be treated as such. They have no business in Drupal or anywhere else.

I truly appreciate the widespread support I've received in this matter, both public and private. But I do not appreciate anyone, regardless of your stance, spreading hate or intimidation toward anyone. Not in my community, and certainly not on my behalf.

Hi Larry,

This is indeed a very poor way to react, I hope these stupids reactions won't impact even more the current situation, and I hope that whoever was "threathened" won't take that for granted.

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."


Charles Novick (not verified)

16 April 2017 - 8:25pm

Larry, thank you for all your contributions - "Drupal 8: The Crash Course" in particular. The community owes you a debt of gratitude. Your excellent reputation is well-deserved. Cream always rises.

Masochist Drupalist (not verified)

16 April 2017 - 11:07pm

Anytime a story like this gets picked up by the alt-right/alt-left media, outside agitators swarm in to cause trouble. I doubt that these people are actually part of the Drupal community or read your blog.

That it's impacting Dries's approach to the situation demonstrates that Dries--yet again--is out of his depth on such issues.

Believe it or not; that's one of the first question I had on my mind after reading this post.

Why this situation would impact Dries' approach to the main problem? Of course, you answered it very well. This is "another" proof that Dries lacks good leadership qualities by some serious measure.

I would have thought that Dries had grown a thick skin as a leader by now. I don't believe this is the first time he is receiving hate mails along these years of leading the Drupal Project, Community. Maybe the big numbers of hate emails caught him off guard, who knows. Maybe he is planning to use these hate emails as an excuse for not correcting a wrong? Like I said, who knows.

Anyway, please don't get me wrong. I don't accept nor approve these kind of stuff like, hate emails, threatening people and etc. There is no such thing like fixing a wrong with another wrong. And this is wrong.

skaught (not verified)

17 April 2017 - 11:17am

As always, to the point and full of wisdom.

'Masochist Drupalist' is right about swarming..perhaps you and dries/ could co-publish something to help keep some peace about all these things.

Lowell Montgomery (not verified)

17 April 2017 - 4:14pm

Thank you, Larry, for making this post.

I know Angie Byron had nothing to do with any of this (except to call for people to step back and not make asses of themselves, a post which only further earned my respect for her), so it's truly disturbing that she's been the target of aggressive behavior in response to your mistreatment.

Yes, I do feel that you've been treated unfairly (of course). And this post only further builds my respect for you. If we care about Drupal and the community touched by it, we must stand together and be respectful and caring. Threats, even legal ones (like threatening to withdraw support for Drupal activities, threatening to leave the community, threatening to fork, etc) are an understandable emotional response, but only cause further hurt in the community—threats to take illegal actions (or actually taking them) are inexcusable.

I thank you for bringing such dark reactions into the light and for condemning such behavior. I hope we can come together from this and move past these dark times, rebuild, and grow. I'm sorry you've had to go through this and sad that you had to make such a post to help reign in the more radical reactions. Be well, crell.

Dries and Klaus should step down, and do it now. Closet bigots that have concealed their vile prejudice heretofore but forthwith they, like all of the other cockroaches, are in the light.

I have no problem with Ad hominem - it gets the point across and drives that spear home to the bone. When you subject a sociopath to that which they bestowed upon you they still have no capacity empathy compassion, or acceptance of others (and this is why those two must go and quickly for the betterment of the community before it forks), but they do indeed feel your pain now.

Lesson learned I say, or rather, "That'll learn ya Dries!".

You're Right Larry, There's no place for threats of physical violence - just threats of exodus of an entire community as a just desert for alienating that entire community, and some of that alienation juxtaposed entire blocks of demographics against others - To paraphrase you while hijacking your thread all at the same time: "What were they thinking? Where did they think this would end up when they brought the hammer of bigotry down upon the populace? How did Dries and Klaus even think that was a good idea?"

There's no place for either one of them in this confederation of welcoming, heterogeneous peoples of all accepting lifestyles and identities - They've singled themselves out as the problem, and the solution is to have them admit their transgressions and hypocrisy, followed by repentance and penance in the form of immediate and apologetic resignation.

I feel really badly hearing this about Angie. I don't like it when my friends are attacked. This is the fault of Dries and he needs to go.

I'm going to quote you again, without paraphrasing, or injecting any of my usual editorial candor Larry. Simply a quote, and then a comment of my observations:

"Responding to cyberstalking, prejudice, and blackmail with... cyberstalking, threats, and blackmail? No. NO! Even if you're trying to support me, NO!"

Fair enough, well said, and no, I am not one of those, although I did consider sending that dikhed a personal hatemail, I refrained and publicly shamed him elsewhere in comments in various locations. Besides, that delivers a greater payload of impact anyway.

I'm glad it's affecting him and having an impact on his approach to the situation - he needs to leave the community. That should be his only approach! He may not have started this, but he caused this, and the fallout is the result of this undertaking by his own hand.

This is not your fault Larry. And this is really, if you think about it, no longer your problem either. you got the boot. Wait for the other shoe to drop if it will, the ball is no longer in your court but the court of public opinion. You have made your Rodney King call for everyone to get along, now go your own way and let the defenders of the faith take up arms against the prejudice and hypocrisy that by virtue of your persecution, has encompassed the rest of us - this is our bone to pick, for the travesty that befell you, for the impending discrimination that faces us, but it is not your sword to carry any longer. You have your own matters to attend to, and you have said your piece for peace.

They are now reaping what they have sowed. and so it shall come to pass.

Kindest regards,

Bradley (tallship)