Regarding the continued mystery

Submitted by Larry on 5 April 2017 - 10:34am

Since my last post Dries and Megan have issued a new joint statement on the ongoing mystery regarding my removal from DrupalCon and the gossip campaign against me. To date, I have focused my public posts mainly on my experiences, my beliefs, and the prejudice with which I have been treated by select members of the Drupal community and by select (if powerful) members of Drupal's leadership. However, I feel the latest joint post from Dries and Megan last Friday deserves a more direct response.

Some commenters noted that it doesn't add anything or reveal any additional information. I disagree. It makes implications and innuendo that are sufficiently untrue that I fear, if they have not crossed the line into libel, they certainly teeter on the precipice.

My fault?

As I mentioned last week, a number of people claimed this whole situation was "my fault" for not doing a better job of "hiding" my private life. That attitude is victim blaming, adds nothing to the conversation, and misses the point that this information was gathered and used illegally.

Ironically, I've now had a few people claim this whole situation is "my fault" for not being more out about my private life. Once again, this misses the whole point. This is the world we live in, apparently; if someone else doesn't like your private life, it's your fault either way. What a world we've built.

Regarding available information

First, the post from Dries and Megan is 1955 words long, but amazingly, says almost nothing new. If you read the comments, you’ll see I am not the first to note that. However, it contains many misleading inaccuracies that, as far as I can tell, serve only to muddy the waters and create an issue that did not exist before. It is largely these inaccuracies I aim to address here.

The post implies that the "information" considered included "some of Larry's online interactions, both on and off Drupal.org". In the information provided by the Community Working Group (CWG) to both me and the Board, however, there is no Drupal.org interaction listed at all. The only off-Drupal.org "interaction" mentioned that was not part of the CWG's "mediation" process was from the original individual who reported my private life to the CWG, who now, in hindsight, was upset that I had brought my autistic housemate to Midcamp.

It's also worth noting that on 3 February 2017 I asked the CWG for copies of what excerpts of my private posts they had as of then. I asked them again on 25 February, after my call with Dries. I was not provided with any such information until 27 February, a mere two hours before I received Megan's email dismissing me from the track chair position and DrupalCon engagements. Even that information was incomplete, as it included only a screenshot and two non-Drupal links. The packet I received for the Board meeting (after action had already been taken against me) included the out-of-context excerpts Klaus had shared with me, an additional excerpt that Klaus had dug up after speaking with me (which I'd not seen before), and anonymized copies of emails to the CWG from three individuals (one of them being Klaus) which included the very first mention of my autistic housemate. At this point there still were no excerpts from anything from Drupal.org.

That leaves two possibilities:

  1. The CWG and/or the Board and/or Dries had/has damning evidence of actions I’ve taken in violation of the CoC, actively withheld that information from me over the course of several months, and issued a statement stating clearly that I had not violated the Code of Conduct, but is still committed to withholding the information as they won't even tell me what supposed evidence they have or are accusing me of.
  2. Megan and Dries are making misleading and inaccurate statements now (which I list and go into below) to cover up the lack of justification for their actions.

I do not know which one is more damning.

Regarding my planned departure

Second, the post indicated that Dries decided to remove me because "Larry had indicated on several occasions that he was drawing down his involvement in the Drupal project, and that context helped inform Dries’ decision."

It is true that I mentioned to the CWG, and to Dries, that it was ironic all of this was blowing up now as I was likely going to scale back my Drupal core involvement before too long anyway (something many people have done many times). However, I did not say I was going to leave Drupal entirely any time soon; I indicated that it might happen long-term, or not. I never said or implied that there was any imminent departure planned on my part. If that were my intent, why would I have submitted sessions for DrupalCon at the beginning of February, 3 months before the conference? That wouldn't make any sense at all. Drupal is still a key part of my professional career, as is presenting at conferences, Drupal or otherwise.

That someone gives informal fair warning that they intend to "step down considerately" (as the Code of Conduct specifies one should do) from some positions in no way implies that it is appropriate to force them out of those or others, nor does it rise to the level of a complete and total removal from the project in all aspects.

Additionally, when Dries called me on 24 February he had already made up his mind to ask me to resign. That means he could not have known I was planning to scale back (but not leave) before that unless the CWG specifically told him. That means either:

  1. The CWG told Dries of my likely scaling back when they talked to him, despite CWG discussions supposedly being confidential, and Dries then not mentioning that to me until I told him that I had been planning to scale back late in the conversation on 24 February.
  2. Mentioning that in the post is purely a post-hoc justification for an action taken that did not have anything to do with it.

I do not know which one is more damning.

The process

Third, the post states that there was "a careful, and deliberate process that has been going on since October 2016." Let's consider the timeline implications of that.

  • October 2016: First report to the CWG, in which they find no Code of Conduct violation by me. They do not inform me of this fact.
  • 16 November 2016: First time the CWG contacts me about there being any reports, and tell me there is no CoC violation.
  • 16 January 2017: Klaus and I have a Google Hangout in which he threatens to blackmail me. I report said blackmail to the CWG the same day.
  • 3 February 2017: I have a "mediation" interview with a member of the CWG. Aside from that member sending me notes to validate, I receive no further communication from the CWG.
  • 24 February 2017: Dries calls me and tells me to resign. I have one brief call with a member of the CWG later the same day.
  • 27 February 2017: Megan emails me to tell me I'm out from DrupalCon.

At no point in this process was there any indication that I was "under investigation". Aside from the single interview with the CWG there was no request for information from me at all. If the Board was even aware of the matter prior to my referring it to them, I did not know of it. However, when Dries spoke to me on the 24th he said quite clearly that he had not been part of any CWG conversations. That leaves two possible conclusions:

  1. The CWG, Dries, Megan, and the Board were having continual meetings to plan to kick me out of Drupal and actively kept it secret from both me and the DrupalCon track team (who, presumably, would have objected to me having a session picked in the first place if I were already in the process of being removed).
  2. The process was not “careful and deliberate”, but they must now claim that it was in order to protect the current structure and their ultimate decision on my fate.

I do not know which one is more damning.

Why was Larry removed?

This seems to be the million dollar question for many (myself included). The post from Megan and Dries implies it's because of actions I took, or reports they have about me… but they can’t talk about what the actions were, or what kind of allegation they are, or when it happened, or why it was evidently never given to the CWG to resolve, or (if it is as bad as they make it out to be) why it was never given to law enforcement to have me charged with a crime. But don’t worry, just trust that they have this evidence, which they can never speak of. That this evidence totally justifies the decision they’ve already made. A decision which they felt they needed to justify with my supposed withdrawal from the project, despite claiming that regardless of anything else, this secret evidence would, alone, justify my removal.

While a viable plot for a late night comedy show, this is the argument they are using to attack my reputation and my career, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t simply take them at their word that such evidence exists. Especially as we have the original reason direct from the source (Dries’ original, unedited blog post).

Dries' original blog post, before he edited it, stated quite clearly why he asked me to resign:

However, when a highly-visible community member's private views become public, controversial, and disruptive for the project, I must consider the impact that his words and actions have on others and the project itself. In this case, Larry has entwined his private and professional online identities in such a way that it blurs the lines with the Drupal project. Ultimately, I can't get past the fundamental misalignment of values.

First, collectively, we work hard to ensure that Drupal has a culture of diversity and inclusion. Our goal is not just to have a variety of different people within our community, but to foster an environment of connection, participation and respect. We have a lot of work to do on this and we can't afford to ignore discrepancies between the espoused views of those in leadership roles and the values of our culture. It's my opinion that any association with Larry's belief system is inconsistent with our project's goals.

Note the first line in particular: I've been active in Drupal for over a decade, and only now have my "private views" become "public, controversial, and disruptive to the project" despite no changes in the level of “entwining” I was supposedly doing. And they did so through no action of my own, but because of a whisper campaign behind my back which lead to the actions of others who chose to blackmail me. But now Dries needed to excommunicate me because my private life might be "disruptive". He didn't, however, go into any detail about what was so problematic about my beliefs other than talking about "equality" in the abstract, despite a decade of evidence that I actively support the same.

In his call with me, Dries said very explicitly there had been no Code of Conduct violation, as far as he knew I had done nothing illegal, and as far as he was concerned my private life was not his business even though he personally found it distasteful. Yet he was still asking me to resign because of the possible disruption to the project from someone else going public. In particular, he indicated that "someone" was threatening to go public in a matter of "days, not weeks", unless I was removed from DrupalCon.

So I see two possible conclusions:

  1. Dries is so personally disgusted by my (not illegal, not CoC-violating, not his business) personal life he wants to remove me from Drupal because of it, but won't just own up and say that.
  2. Dries was mostly afraid of my blackmailer making good on his threats to go public and what the bad PR would be, caved, and now refuses to admit that he was in the wrong.

I do not know which one is more damning.

Regarding blackmail

With regards to the individual or individuals who "participated in gathering information about [my] private life", the post claims "The Community Working Group is currently handling this situation through their standard process." This seems odd given that, regardless of the CWG decision, Dries evidently has the authority to unilaterally remove the offender(s), but has not done so despite agreeing that what they did was a violation of the CoC and likely a crime.

Given that I reported the blackmail attempt to the CWG in mid-January and it is now April and I have heard nothing but a single "mediation" interview, in addition to the innumerable process fails listed above (which even the post from Dries and Megan admit), I must confess that I have little faith in the "standard process", whatever that is.

"Constructive discussions"

The post from Dries and Megan also implies that there were to be many more "discussions" between Dries and I, and that I somehow cut it short by going public about the fact that I was being blackmailed. That is a grossly disingenuous statement.

In the very first communication I had from Dries on 24 February, he made it very clear that he wanted me to resign and wouldn't take no for an answer, yet “no” was the only answer I would give. There was no indication of plans for further discussion, other than him ending with "let's talk again soon".

In the only communication I received from Megan, on 27 February, she informed me of my removal from presenting at DrupalCon "given [my] recent discussions with Dries", with no further explanation or even implication of more communications were to come.

That did not in any way indicate a potential for "a number of conversations to resolve any remaining concerns". It was an ultimatum, and the end of a conversation. There was no further discussion to be had. Yet the post accuses me of "effectively ending the process in the middle of what we expected to be a series of constructive discussions" when I posted my initial self-outing post. However:

  • I had discussed self-outing with members of the CWG on multiple occasions since January
  • I had told Dries on 24 February that I was considering self-outing precisely as a way to undermine blackmail
  • In my written statement to the Board on 16 March (which Dries would have read) I made it explicitly clear that I intended to self-out as a way to minimize the public damage to my reputation, regardless of the board's decision
  • Dries emailed me after the Board meeting (on 19 March) to encourage me to not self-out, but held firm on my prompt departure from Drupal
  • On 19 March, I invited the CWG to review my self-outing post before publishing in order to verify that it would not, itself, violate the Code of Conduct

That I was going to self-out was not a surprise to anyone, and at no point was it expressed that there were conversations to be had that didn't begin and end with me leaving and giving in to blackmail.

I see two possible interpretations:

  1. Dries and Megan intended to have a series of conversations with me to try and convince me to leave quietly and give in to blackmail, but failed to actually tell me this, even after they were aware of the self-outing post I was going to publish, and instead opened with an ultimatum.
  2. They had no such intention and are ret-coning events.

I do not know which one is more damning.

The olive branch

From the post:

After Larry’s second blog post, on Tuesday, March 28th, he reached out privately to Dries to discuss how to resolve matters and find the best way forward.

We remain committed to working on closure for this situation with care and respect for everyone involved. Dries and the Community Working Group hope to have a private discussion with Larry in the coming weeks.

It's true, I did email Dries on the 28th. Given some of the comments I'd seen of people losing contracts because customers disapproved of the way Drupal's leadership was treating people, I felt it important to try and de-escalate the situation. I have no desire to harm Drupal, simply to protect my good name and make it clear that blackmail is an unacceptable form of persuasion. I therefore offered a specific, detailed proposal that protected both my name and reputation and his, and reduced my involvement in Drupal while still not interfering with my career.

Dries did not respond to my email until several days later, immediately prior to the joint 31 March post going live. In his e-mailed response he completely ignored my proposal and instead doubled-down on the "series of follow-up conversations" position and said he wanted to talk "in a couple of weeks after the dust has settled, we all had a chance to clear our head, and think about how we want to best organize this." That, to me, reads as a very clear "can we please sweep this under the rug, then talk later about how we've already forced you out of Drupal."

No. No we cannot.

So what does Larry want?

A few people have asked me what it is I want, and what I hoped to accomplish by going public. A fair question. My goal has been, and remains, to defend my name, reputation, and honor against blackmail and libel, from anyone.

There has been wild talk of a Drupal fork, of reorganizing the Drupal Association, of people resigning, and so forth. I have no interest in such discussion, nor interest in a Drupal fork. My goal is not to split or harm Drupal, nor anyone in it. My goal is entirely defending my reputation and putting a stop to blackmail and libel.

For what it's worth, Dries, my offer is still on the table.

Myself (not verified)

5 April 2017 - 11:51am

In all seriousness, don't you think it has reached the point where your only realistic remedies are legal ones now? Shouldn't your next steps be to file suit?

At this point, it has become less about Drupal and more about them kinkshaming you in a public, slanderous way. I too think it's time for you to seek legal counsel, because they're ruining your public persona, and affecting your ability to make money, as well as possibly affecting your mental health in the long-run.

I agree with these previous statements. You have a clear-cut case of discrimination. You cannot discriminate based on any type of sexual preference regardless of what you think about it. I would contact the ACLU, or find a good discrimination lawyer.

Also be sure to bring up criminal charges against Klaus Purer with the German officials, for blackmail ("Erpressung") and slander ("Üble Nachrede") - both of which carry prison sentences.

It is time to take technology and open source back from these people and care about technology and open source again.

AR (not verified)

5 April 2017 - 1:12pm

Thanks for the follow-up! I think both the Dries/Megan post and this one confirm my suspicion that they messed up, they knew they messed up, and now they are trying to cover their asses, justify their decisions and actions, and effectively retcon events, as you put it.

And if that is the case, Dries and Megan need to own up, now. They're digging themselves deeper and deeper into a hole, and are very close to (if not past) the point where even if they make things right, they've soiled not only their reputations but the reputation of Drupal itself. So, I think it's now or never for them. If they came out and announced that they've further reviewed the situation and that the initial decision was made too quickly and without proper investigation, that could save them. If they apologized, that could save them. And if they actually came down hard on the situation involving this "evidence" being obtained illegally, that could save them.

But if not, I have to agree with "The logical conclusion" comment. Now, I'm not a lawyer, but I do think it's worth discussing this situation with one. And don't let them use your "outing" post against you - were you supposed to sit back and just hope that you wouldn't be blackmailed? Once it came out that you weren't going to be involved in Drupal anymore, how did Dries/Megan even imagine that going down? What would they have reported as a reason? You did what you had to to protect your reputation, and props for owning the situation and controlling the damage by outing yourself first, as frustrating as it is that that's what had to happen.

I don't know you, though I've spoken to you briefly at a DrupalCon. Same with Dries. So while I'm not claiming to know everyone personally or have all the details, it's clear that Dries/Megan need to release whatever "evidence" they have, at least to you, but I'm not too optimistic that actually incriminating evidence exists. And my feeling is that this is just a huge clusterfuck that they're failing to clean up.

Heavy engineer (not verified)

5 April 2017 - 1:54pm

Maybe I'm too 'old school' to be cool, but open software, to me, is as much about attitude as software. I'm finding this whole situation ridiculous. It's nothing to do with anyone what happens in your own time, and even if it's viewed by some as distasteful, is still nothing to do with anyone.
I'm struggling to recommend drupal to anyone now that it's more obviously an autocracy masquerading as a democracy. i cant help but wonder what's next.
Free software for all; so long as you're on the approved list.
I've been developing drupal since 2006 and watched as it's gotten more corporate and more like a company and has made many people very rich. If i wanted to deal with rules and standards of behaviour... There's an app for that.
I won't be recommending drupal as a platform for long term growth for customers as it seems to be squeezing out people who don't fit in. This is the antithesis of the free software movement imo. I may as well sell licenced software at this rate.
Good luck in your endeavours and thanks for being so transparent.

SAM (not verified)

5 April 2017 - 2:24pm

Let's assume there's damming evidence that you're an awful person who deserves the treatment you've received. We have to assume that it's below the level of criminality, for responsible people in possession of such information surely would have contacted the authorities by now.

Given your second post, there is absolutely no reason why this "evidence" couldn't have been presented at this point, with sufficient redaction to not reveal the identity of whoever your alleged victim(s) is or are. Yet nothing has been forthcoming. This is a strong indication that there is, in fact, no such evidence.

If there is no evidence, then this is a case of defamation. It supports the argument that this whole debacle is an exercise in circumnavigating something that could be seen as negative PR. Yet that's clearly what it has become, strictly due to mishandling on their part. I admire your continued willingness to offer Dries a way to deescalate this whole thing, but at this point it seems unlikely that he'll change his position.

Legal action should always be the absolute last resort. If Dries doesn't come clean on this, the reputation which your deserve to protect will remain damaged and I think your only recourse will be to file suit. Surely he must recognize that the second round of PR damage from such a scenario will far outweigh that of backing down now? Not to mention press coverage of the GoFundMe campaign I'd urge you to set up to cover legal costs.

P.S. If you do need to raise funds, I'm in. This kink shaming has to stop.

I believe SAM has nailed it completely. There's no good evidence, they screwed up and instead of fixing it, they have doubled down a couple of times. Speaking to a sympathetic lawyer might be a good course of action.

Nick (not verified)

5 April 2017 - 3:31pm

I don't understand why Dries and the DA continue to compound things. The community is angry but I don't think we are past the point of being able to forgive Dries et. al. However, the longer they wait, the more it seems to appear that hubris is going to trump humility.

Patrick Harris (not verified)

5 April 2017 - 5:18pm

I think you have been treated appallingly, Larry. I am hoping that Drupal governance will become less autocratic after this fiasco, and you will eventually receive an apology. It's mildly amusing that the people who did this amidst all the secrecy, at the same time insist on trumpeting their self-proclaimed virtues of 'inclusivity', 'diversity', and 'tolerance'.

John_B (not verified)

6 April 2017 - 2:11am

Your post adds clarity, thank you.

The silence from the leadership is bewildering. Open Source Entropy speculates in a comment on the joint statement that this has to do with legal advice. He (?) points out that treating lawyers as dictators rather than advisors is a mistake (and being trained in law, I agree).

It seems to me, Dries was afraid of damage to Drupal's reputation. He made an error of judgement. He has been far too slow to rectify it, which is more serious than the initial error, even if it is based on legal advice. It is difficult to believe that Dries was not influenced by what he saw as possible fallout from Acquia for reputational damage to Drupal. His own mistakes have turned out to be the main or only cause of reputational damage.

He needs to apologize, reverse the decision, and invite DA to consider a similar course of action. On grounds first, of his apparent conflict of interest, and second, of the serious management failure shown by the slowness to respond effectively, and third, of the self-evident weakness of the current structure, he needs to announce he will relinquish the 'dictator for life' model of leadership in Drupal as soon as a transition to a new model can be completed.

As for wild talk of a fork, your supporters are motivated by a sense of general unfairness, and fortified by the fact you are well-liked personally as well as respected for your work. They may, however, be forigiven for having one eye on the best way to secure and promote Drupal's future. Whilst this is unlikely be a fork, the leadership's deafening silence makes us desperate.

I couldn't write it better myself. I fully agree and that is about what needs to be done. But to be honest, I find the chances too low for all these right things to be happening.

I have already told Larry some of these through email, when this issue first surfaced. I am gonna repeat some of that here....

Larry needs to start consulting with a lawyer immediately, if he hasn't done already. Unfortunately, I don't see a happy ending to this issue. I don't know Dries in person but with very little we interacted through emails in the past, plus the way I know him through the community, he does NOT struck me as a guy he would happily relinquish his powers. He likes it, he loves it. Same goes for accepting his mistakes and reversing a decision; he is not that kind of a guy (unless, it's a trivial issue). The best he "might" do is to forgive Larry, while, in-fact, he should be asking forgiveness from him. He will not do anything better on his own will, because he came back to his senses and realized he made a mistake. No, not anything because he has seen the majority of the community strongly disagrees with him. I just don't see him doing the right thing, only because it's the right thing to do.

I see him trying to get away with it, hiding dirty under the rug. That's what he is doing so far and I see him keep doing that. With the help of the time element, with all these extended time between his non-information posts and his non-actions, I guess he might succeed in that.

And there is a very small chance that he might be forced to take the right actions. I don't know, the fear of a big damage to Acquia and his name, reputation might scare him to do the right thing. Though, like I said; my hopes are not that high.

Then again, he is not someone I met face to face but this is my take on him and on the issue.

Jack Olson (not verified)

6 April 2017 - 10:44am

Larry, I'm new to Drupal, don't know anything about the organization, and simply use Drupal core and modules "out of the box" to display events and calendar for a small non-profit in a small town in middle of nowhere Illinois. I just wanted to say I admire your courage and level-headedness, and to let you know that there are countless nobodies like me behind the scenes, who you will never really hear from, that care about you. The way this situation escalated has changed your life forever, and I hope you don't become bitter and hardened by it. be a lover...
(I didn't post my homepage because I'm afraid your contemporaries would hack it and I would have no idea how to fix it)
best wishes,
Jack (aka "the new guy")

Alan Dixon (not verified)

6 April 2017 - 12:32pm

How do we figure out 'truth'? Well, if we go with John Keats, then you're totally winning.

This may come across as flippant, but I mean it - your ability to write well is impressive, and regardless of the outcome of this case, you've convinced me of your reputation, which I've always been impressed by.

Your name and honour appear to be safe for now.

Here are some thoughts that have been floating in my head. I could have posted this in another place, but now I am posting it here for the lack of a reason not to.

There is a public narrative in some tweets, posts etc, that this was about "private sex life" / kink. I think this does Dries injustice, but it is also partially Dries' own fault.

My current interpretation of the information and lack thereof is that it was never about "private sex life", and on the other hand it was never about actions within the community.
It was always about belief, or what Dries assumes what Larry believes, or what Dries assumes the public will assume what Larry believes, or what Dries assumes the public will assume about what Dries assumes (and tolerates) about Larry's beliefs, and thus the hypothetical damage to Dries' or the DA's public image via guilt by association. Also about hypothetical (or real?) implications that those beliefs might have on Larry's (future) actions within the community, or what someone might claim about those implications. Yes there is also the blackmail angle, but obviously as a 3rd party I cannot verify any of this.

From your previous blog posts one could ask further questions about the line between your public and private beliefs, or between roleplay / fantasy and honestly held world view. I was going to ask about this on the previous post, but then hesitated because it felt like public trial questions and that the answers should not really matter for an exclusion from the community.

From public posts in discussions on drupal.org, such as the discussion about the gender profile options, we can learn that you do have some positions that differ from other participants of these debates, and some of this seems to be related to the Gor stuff. So yes it does have some kind of effect, it is not completely disconnected from behavior within the community. Note that at this point I am not claiming any right or wrong, just that there is a connection. Which is not surprising of course, everyone has their motivations.

Do beliefs matter?

  • For giving someone a platform to speak, or a role with "powers": It is complicated - but yes, it can matter what this person believes, or at least the part of the belief that is about how people should interact with each other.
    At least it does matter enough that there can be a discussion about it.
  • For excluding someone from the community: Nope they do not.

Do Larry's specific beliefs matter?

  • For Larry's track chair or other such roles: Maybe yes, maybe no. I'd say enough to justify asking the question.
    I currently think the answer to this question would be "no". But it does not mean one cannot ask the question.
    But Dries has maneuvered himself into a position that prevents this question from being asked.
  • For Larry being a part of the Drupal community: Nope.

Dries could clarify that "It is not about private sex life, but about beliefs which might become relevant within the community." Which could be followed by a discussion healthier than the one that is currently happening.
But by doing so, he would admit that his reasons for asking Larry to "leave the project" were insufficient. After admitting this mistake, he would then have to say what he should have done instead, and what he is going to do next. Which would give more material to be criticized.

The clumsy excuse of "Larry wanted to leave anyway" confirms this hypothesis.

As a result, the public narrative of "expelled for private sex life" continues to live.
(and of course the injustice of the decision continues to persist)

Of course this hypothetical what-if has the flaw that if Dries had not asked Larry to leave, Larry would not have "come out", and this public discussion would not be taking place.

Did we read the same discussion? Node: 752452

It's a very long, boring and a very unnecessary, time-wasting issue IMHO. I skimmed through most and carefully read posts by Larry. I did not have one single shred of suspicion that he introduces Gor. I couldn't make the connection you did. I did not see that an uncommon and/or unconventional idea is being introduced nor pushed. I don't know much about Gor so I can't really tell how much of those comments relates or overlaps with Gor stuff but then again; I did not see anything unusual. Maybe in my subconscious, I am a Gor follower yet to be discovered, lol, kidding.

I am not gonna lie, I might be losing my objectivity. This injustice from leadership bothers me very much. That's why I am trying raise my voice as much as possible to support Larry through this incident. Maybe I cannot see everything as objective as possible. Maybe that's why I did not see even a small piece of connection like you did.

Flip the coin other side. Maybe you read the mentioned discussion to see if you can find a connection, and that's why you did find it. Ask yourself this question; if this was 2 weeks ago and you didn't know anything about Larry's personal, private life would you have seen anything unusual in that discussion.

@Tony:
Assuming you are referring to my previous comment. The thread view is not clear.

I skimmed through most and carefully read posts by Larry. I did not have one single shred of suspicion that he introduces Gor. I couldn't make the connection you did. I did not see that an uncommon and/or unconventional idea is being introduced nor pushed.

I realize that this part of my comment is misleading.
At the time of writing, I did see a connection, but in a way less exciting way that you read into it.
If a person advocates for the rights of immigrants, and then we learn that their parents are originally from Mexico, then yes, in hindsight, we can assume that this fact is a motivating factor (in which way exactly is another question). And yet, another person could advocate for the rights of immigrants in the same way, without having such a background. There is no strict and predictable causation, but it is also not completely disconnected.
I did, at the time, see a connection somewhat comparable to this one. I am not insisting on it, and it is not as relevant to the rest of my comment.

It is not in any way a "we should have known". I also do not see any attempt to push an explicitly Gorean philosophy.

For the record: The two threads I saw being mentioned are #752452 about gender options, and #2275877 about master/slave terminology.
In fact I remember the two discussions, and I did not have a problem with Larry's comments at the time. I think that yes, a gender dropdown should have options for people who for some reason fall out of the binary. But Larry's position was in no way exotic or scandalous.

With regard to the question "do beliefs matter" I would say, as before, they can matter. But what would also matters is the ability to separate one's behavior from one's beliefs depending on context, to understand when a community consensus is more important than individual beliefs, and to make arguments that stand on their own feet without presupposing a belief.

The main point of my previous comment is that the drastic decision by Dries overshadows any possible discussion one might have about whether or not Larry's beliefs are affecting any public behavior. I am trying to avoid any other significant claims aside of this point, but apparently I failed.

I'm concerned about Megan situation, we all know there is only one Benevolent Dictator for Life (BDFL) here: Dries, so he removed Larry from the project. Unfortunately Dries is DA's board president too and Megan is the executive chief there, her only sin is to work for the very unpopular DA. Megan has to follow orders and instructions from the board members, so she did it.

In short, Megan did part of the dirty work for removing Larry the way *Dries* instructed.

Yet not everything. If Drupalcon Baltimore is not successful, guess who is responsible... Megan. The community is upset because of this mess, Trump is closing boarders, Drupal 8 adoption is stalled. Let's say Megan is guilty here so she has to be fired. Are you kidding me?

What we need here is not to blame people, we need to fix of this situation and to never repeat it.

If Megan came up with this DA decision by herself, without being ordered nor instructed, then she made the same huge mistake that Dries did. She is guilty of it. Whatever the consequence will be, she deserved it.

If she came up with the decision just to support her boss, even without being asked for it, then she is guilty for being an ass kisser (no offense, I just don't have a better wording for it). Whatever the consequence will be, she deserved it.

If she was ordered, instructed, or asked to come up with the DA's decision, then she is guilty for letting herself to be a puppet. Whatever the consequence will be, she deserved it.

President of Drupal France (chipway), stepped down from his position just to protest the leadership. And you know what? Nobody asked him to ban Larry from Drupal meetups in France, nor anybody asked him to make a public announcement about the issue. Go figure....

If Megan is so innocent (which she obviously not), what makes her to stick to her seat? And, if I am not mistaken, previously she had different positions, assignments in DA. So, she knew what she was getting into before she became Executive Director.

It has been growing, but it looks to me like the pace of adoption leaves something to be desired. Drupal 7 was released on January 5, 2011, and according to the usage page you referenced, it was powering 531,269 sites on November 4, 2012 -- 1 year and 10 months later. The usage page doesn't show enough history to take us back any earlier than that, but March 19 was a year and 4 months past the date when Drupal 8.0.0 launched on November 19, 2015, and the usage stats only show 168,553 sites powered by Drupal 8. I can't do an exact apples-to-apples comparison from those statistics, but in 16 months Drupal 8 has only been adopted on roughly 1/3 the number of sites for which Drupal 7 was adopted in its first 22 months. It seems unlikely that another 350,000 sites are going to adopt Drupal 8 in the next six months, which is what would have to happen for it to equal the adoption rate for Drupal 7.

I don't think this has a lot of direct relevance to Larry's situation, but I've joked with a couple of friends that if they're looking to kick him out of the Drupal community, his advocacy for Symfony2 might provide a better pretext than this Gorean stuff.

Beth Tucker Long (not verified)

6 April 2017 - 1:38pm

Thank you for continuing to present your side of this in a clear, organized, methodical, and fact-filled way. I appreciate that you share dates, events, and results. I am still absolutely sickened that this is happening and very fearful of the precedent that this sets. Know you have my full support. In all the years I have known you, I have never witnessed anything concerning from you personally nor seen anything but the utmost professionalism in all Drupal (or PHP) related activities. I have always admired your work encouraging other developers and your passion for the Drupal project. I have seen hundreds of examples of your compassion and caring for others and not one example of you ever treating me or any other dev as anything but an equal, and I appreciate all of the times you have stood up for me when others were being rude or sexist.

Resign (not verified)

6 April 2017 - 3:01pm

So far the evidence against the actions of Dries and Megan puts their position in a very dark light. I think Dries needs to resign as project lead. His overarching powers and conflicts of interest have been in question many times, and this only puts more support towards validity of those questions. As the Drupal project lead, CTO of Acquia, and President of the DA, it is time that Dries resigns from one of these positions to alleviate the obvious amount of conflicting interests.

Jamie (not verified)

6 April 2017 - 7:05pm

It is one thing to discriminate against one for color, sex, maybe preference. But not wanting to be associated with someone for disgusting ACTIONS is different. So, some of these analogies are stupid.

Cris (not verified)

7 April 2017 - 11:30am

Larry,
Thank you for being so forthcoming; well thought out; and so level-headed regarding this entire event. If I may be frank with you, as a stranger to whom you owe nothing - seek a lawyer immediately. You have more than enough evidence in the posts made by both Megan and Dries to make a case of discrimination, and potentially to make a lot of people complicit in a blackmail scheme. You have, I hope, kept the communications in which this Klaus individual threatened you. Blackmail, libel, and discrimination are ALL crimes; what you have done in your private life is not. While I may not personally adhere to your belief system, I do believe you have every right to practice it (with other consenting adults); every right to discuss it as you see fit; and every right to exist as a human being in whatever fashion you see fit -- if it harms no one, do as you'd like. This entire event has been mishandled and those involved will not learn unless shown the repercussions of their actions; actions have consequences.
I respect your desire to reduce the harm to the Drupal project -- I feel the extent to which you are prepared to go in order to do so is admirable -- but Dries and the DA are not. They have made terrible, ill-informed decisions... You cannot save people from themselves when they are so unwilling to realize they need saving. I dislike having to rationalize this in such a way, but you would be helping Dries (whose actions seem egregious on par with Klaus's) in the long run by teaching him to think a little more before he reacts.
Good luck, and please consider the advice of those telling you to seek legal counsel.

Sheldon Rampton

7 April 2017 - 10:49pm

This situation concerns me more now than I thought it would when I first learned about it. I'm generally sympathetic to Larry's position and have posted a couple of comments on the Drupal.org discussion threads expressing my views. Having said that, I think I should also say that from what I know about the Gorean community to which Larry belongs, I find its beliefs risible and pretty offensive with regard to the subordination of women as slaves. I've done a bit of Googling about the Gorean community and don't quite understand how its doctrines as explained on Wikipedia and by some other members of the Gorean community can be consistent with Larry's views about women as he has described them here and as I have seen him express them over a period of several years during which I have followed him on Twitter. In his comments posted here and on Twitter in the past, Larry seems pretty reasonable and progressive, and women I know who have worked with him within the Drupal community seem to support him. I must admit that I'm curious to know how he reconciles his Gorean views with the personality and behavior that I've observed within the Drupal community. Of course Larry is under no obligation to explain further, and I would not even care to know about Gor stuff or Larry's beliefs at all if they had not already become public as part of the apparent explanation for Dries's actions.

Given what I understand about Gorean beliefs, I can imagine scenarios that might explain Dries's actions, ranging between the following two scenarios:

SCENARIO 1: Although Dries and Megan SAY they don't discriminate based on beliefs, they find Larry's beliefs so far beyond the pale and so potentially embarrassing that those beliefs require an exception to the rule -- an exception that maybe they would also make for people with other extremist or exceptional beliefs such as Nazis or members of NAMBLA. If that's what this is all about, then I would disagree with their decision, but I would at least understand their rationale. However, if this is what's going on, then Dries and Megan are not being honest with us.

SCENARIO 2: Larry has a dungeon where he tortures women. Dries can't prove Larry is abusing women, but he is convinced that abuse has occurred and regards this as not just belief but behavior so egregious that it disqualifies Larry from participation in the Drupal community. If that's what this is all about, then I would be more accepting of Dries's actions, but I would also expect that the Drupal community should be able to explain this more clearly than they have. They would not have to name any victims or violate anyone's privacy, but they would at least be able to make it clear that there is behavior going beyond beliefs upon which their action is based.

The problem we have right now is that the vague information we're getting from the Drupal leadership fails to make it clear which of these scenarios is closer to the truth and thereby invites and incites speculation that is harmful both to Larry's reputation and to the Drupal community. Larry appears to have been candid about what has happened from his point of view, and I haven't seen anything from the Drupal leadership that contradicts Larry's statements. Simply saying, "There's more to the story that Larry hasn't shared" doesn't tell us anything. Larry's statements seem to pretty much rule out scenario #2, so if some variant of that scenario is really what's going on here, then Larry is not being honest with us, and the Drupal leadership could at least tell us so. Instead we've gotten bromides about "working through the concerns of our community" and "taking time to heal."

Webchick has suggested that we should "step way the hell back and give everyone including Larry the benefit of the doubt here." I don't see how we can do that. As matters currently stand, I don't see how we can avoid the conclusion that either the Drupal leadership is being evasive and dishonest, or else Larry is being dishonest. Nor can we be indifferent to the fact that Larry -- someone with more than a decade of respected participation in the Drupal community -- has been expelled from that community at considerable harm to his reputation and professional future. If we are indifferent to that fact without some kind of justification for it that we can understand, then we're not much of a community.

Maybe the idea of bringing in an outside arbiter has some merit.

I'm going to cross-post these comments to Drupal.org.

"There has been wild talk of a Drupal fork, of reorganizing the Drupal Association, of people resigning, and so forth. I have no interest in such discussion, nor interest in a Drupal fork. My goal is not to split or harm Drupal, nor anyone in it. My goal is entirely defending my reputation and putting a stop to blackmail and libel."
I think one might lead up to the other nonetheless, and as to splitting the Drupal community I think that has already somewhat started, 'the damage has been done', as the saying goes. Quite frankly I think they never anticipated this news getting carried by large(r) news agencies.

But one way or the other I think you don't have much other options but to "attack"; as mentioned by some others above, maybe based on legal grounds.

The way I see it: you're in a stalemate right now, which eventually will only benefit the people opposing you. As time passes by people tend to forget and that will definitely blur the whole impression the general audience has. Speaking about Drupal: they're also in a tight spot right now. If they reverse the decision and reinstate you (which I think they should) then they also indirectly admit to the accusations which many people have made: that they are indeed intolerant hypocrites. That by itself could carry some weight and create backlash as well, maybe up to a point where they have no other option for saving their own reputation than resigning. Considering how Dries more or less owns Drupal I don't see that happening anytime soon.

The other, which I think is going on right now, is to try and direct people's attention away from the whole thing. Try to keep it out of the media as best as possible. That will most likely also generate some damage (think about the fork) and maybe a small divide, but it'll be the better of two evils in comparison to what I mentioned above.

The other important aspect, as mentioned earlier, is that people will forget over time. And that could lead up to a third scenario: reinstating you and reversing the whole process at a time when most of the heat has blown over. Of course while also not giving too much attention to it. This may give you the sense of being rehabilitated and all, but fact of the matter would be that people would mostly remember the big bang (to give this current situation a name) but not so much its aftermath. The classic "We're taking action!" which hits the frontpage of most major newspapers and one year later you read somewhere on page 6 that "we were wrong"; it hit the news as well, while also making sure that only a small margin would actually notice it. It might make you feel good but it wouldn't really change too much.

Conflicts like these have no winners, only losers. Which is why I think that there won't be a solution withing causing some kind of harm to the project. What harm is of course in the eyes of the beholder. I mean... I think the current Drupal leadership should be put to discussion and maybe even step down so that it can be replaced by a more democratic body. Some (for example Dries supporters) could pick that up as seriously hurting the Drupal project whereas others might pick it up as the cure which is so desperately needed.

Winston Orwell (not verified)

11 April 2017 - 5:53pm

What bothers me the most about this situation is what's noted in the following article:

https://www.inc.com/sonya-mann/drupal-larry-garfield-gor.html

Dries edited his original post to remove his stance on how people who have a belief system will act upon those beliefs in their day to day lives. Dries edited his blog, without editorial commentary, and I'm supposed to believe Dries on anything he says about being inclusive or open to others?

It's an utter disgrace what's happened to this community. I wonder when the first "SHAME" yelling will happen at a Drupalcon when someone is unearthed as a conservative or Brexit supporter.

The thing that irks me the most is that the BDFL, Dries, is so prominent in decision making for both a corporate entity (and one that is so highly tethered to Drupal) and Drupal itself, that this starts to smell of corporate bullshit to the point where I have a hard time believing anything that comes out of Dries' mouth lately. If he's willing to rewrite his own blog history to suit his narrative, then what on earth is it like to work or work with his company? If this is a proper way of "doing business", then I want no part of that business.

I believe what happened to Larry is not his fault, he is a victim and he is handling the issue in a very honorable way. He has my full respect.

The personal damage to Larry is already done and it can not be taken back. An apology might help but can not undo the damage.

If Drupal leadership would like to resolve this issue in a civilized way, They could review the case of Prof. Norman Finkelstein, a leading holocaust scholar, who was denied tenure because some people did not like the results of his academic research.

Finally, I am not really anxious about the planned review of Drupal code of conduct. Drupal will never have a ministry of truth, and people will never be required to disclose and pre-approve their believes before they can contribute to Drupal. I expect the review to focus of the conduct of Drupal leadership.

I can't see Drupal's (CWG) process having any validity if they don't put all the issues and documentation to a person and give that person plenty of time to respond to them before Drupal deciding or publicising anything.

I have no doubt in many workplaces we sit alongside people whose private beliefs we do not share. If we discover someone beleves all people with freckles are inferior, do we sack them? No, if there is evidence they have mistreated people with freckles we investigate. And hopefully try to retain a valued employee while protecting and reassuring others. But ultimately if the freckle disliker has not expressed or promoted their beliefs at work or acted on them at work, the answer to other staff who complain about it is then "grow up or go elsewhere".

I'd like to think Open Source communities can be open to ideas that we don't agree with.

Larry, please keep up the good work.

Ken (not verified)

14 April 2017 - 10:24pm

I think you can noodle it all you want about this or that reason, but that's rather pointless. Their excuses seem to be mere rationalizations. These are social justice warriors (SJWs), they are k-selected rabbit people. Anyone not "of the warren" scares them. They will enforce conformity in all things to their view, in the name of tolerance and diversity of course. With zero sense of irony or self-reflection.

These people are a menace to humanity. The only thing to ponder is what to do about it. Take legal action? That's a costly crapshoot. But should you try a GoFundMe campaign I for one will kick in a few bucks for your efforts. I wouldn't blame if you just walked away, though.

This is pretty bad news not only for you personally but also for Drupal and the other open source projects that are dealing with SJW takeovers. They will damage and/or destroy anything they touch. I saw over at the project for the R statistical language that they had even fallen into arguments over the offensiveness of this or that variable name! Nothing good comes from these people. Their energies will flow to building out their warren, not to building out Drupal.