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Drupal Developers Threaten To Quit Drupal Unless Larry Garfield Is Reinstated (drupalconfessions.org) 478

An anonymous reader writes: Slashdot previously covered the story of Larry Garfield, a Drupal developer who was allegedly banned from the community for his BDSM/Gorean lifestyle, after he was outed by a colleague with a grudge. Now, dozens of core Drupal developers, committers, and funders have banded together in an open letter to Dries Buytaert, the CTO of Acquia, Drupal trademark owner, and Benevolent Dictator for Life (BDFL) of the Drupal project. Among other things, they demand that Larry Garfield be reinstated, threatening to abandon the project if their demands are not met. Here's an excerpt from the letter: "If you will not fight for us and restore our faith in the professionalism of the Drupal community, then a number of us will be permanently leaving the Drupal community, ceasing all contributions to the official, Drupal-branded branch of the codebase, and ceasing participation in all Drupal communities. This is not our first choice, but we cannot and will not participate in a community that encourages abusers to totally destroy people's careers for personal or ideological reasons."
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Drupal Developers Threaten To Quit Drupal Unless Larry Garfield Is Reinstated

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  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday April 14, 2017 @03:21AM (#54233003)

    It would be a boring world if people could not enjoy some socially-unaccepted hobbies in private without fearing for their employment.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Work found out the secret to my productivity was dressing up as a Jewish schoolgirl and getting fucked in the ass by fat hairy dudes in Nazi Hitler uniforms. HR fired me anyway even though the motivational boost I get from my fetish made me the most productive member of my team. My boss begged HR not to fire me, and as punishment my boss was forced into early retirement. Now I'm unemployed and not even Herr Trump wants to hire a Nazi fetishist.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday April 14, 2017 @03:40AM (#54233053)

      It would be a boring world if people could not enjoy some socially-unaccepted hobbies in private without fearing for their employment.

      I suppose it depends on which society you live in. I live in the SF Bay Area, and nobody cares if you are BDSM, your gender, or whatever. We are totally tolerant ... as long as you don't smoke. We don't even want those disgusting fume emitting tobacco burners within 100 meters of our building. Gross. They should stay in Oakland.

      • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday April 14, 2017 @08:19AM (#54233771) Homepage Journal

        It's the Gorean part I think that's the problem. What it means to be a "Gorean" is vague enough that the range of possibilities straddle the line between what is acceptable even in a place like the Bay Area.

        It seems likely that most self-described Goreans are irony-mongers and play-actors -- as harmless as baseball card traders. There are a few crackpot cultists who genuinely believe a society organized around slavery would be a good thing, but opinions per se can't really hurt anyone. And if there's a large enough number of Goreans, they're bound to have their share of genuinely twisted people, but their numbers are so low in the first place they hardly present any kind of risk to the general public; they're mainly going to be a problem for other Goreans who want to play act.

        So it seems to me you could handle it like anything else. It's OK for people on the team to be militant Christians or atheists, but if that difference of opinion is hindering work then they should keep those opinions out of the work (including volunteer work) or leave the team. It's not a judgment of who's right or wrong, it's a judgment of who's helping or hurting the work. People in leadership positions you might hold to more arbitrary standards because their public persona reflects on the project.

        • by Salgak1 ( 20136 ) <salgak.speakeasy@net> on Friday April 14, 2017 @08:42AM (#54233851) Homepage

          There are a few crackpot cultists who genuinely believe a society organized around slavery would be a good thing, but opinions per se can't really hurt anyone.

          Oh we have PLENTY of people who like the idea of a society organized around slavery. We call them "H1B Employers". . . . (evil grin)

        • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

          It's the Gorean part I think that's the problem. What it means to be a "Gorean" is vague enough that the range of possibilities straddle the line between what is acceptable even in a place like the Bay Area.

          I have made many mistakes in my Internet life. Someone will use some odd term and I'll say "Huh, I wonder what that is?" And then I find out, and I also find out I was a hell of a lot better off not knowing.

          Now I face the same question. "I know what BDSM is, but what does Gorean mean?" The temptation to Google is there, but I also suspect I don't REALLY want to actually know.

      • We don't even want those disgusting fume emitting tobacco burners within 100 meters of our building.

        But vaping? Totally fine man.

        HMM.

  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Friday April 14, 2017 @03:21AM (#54233005) Homepage
    Would it be okay to totally destroy someone's career for ideological reasons if that someone (quietly, clandestinely, without fanfare or any indication) donated $1,000 to a California campaign in favor of Prop 8?

    Would it be okay to launch an Internet-wide Two Minutes' Hate against them to put pressure on their employer? (Assume, perhaps, that they're in some leadership position â" like, say, CTO.)

    • The Two Minutes' Hate is traditionally implemented by the employers, not the employees. The employees have to make do with the Two Minutes' Bitching Around The Coffee Machine.
    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday April 14, 2017 @03:47AM (#54233065)

      Yes.
      Practicing BDSM is a personal choice made by consenting adults. If other people do it, it is none of your business.
      Donating to prop 8 was an attempt to deny legal rights to other people. The makes it the business of other people.
      The two are not comparable.

      If you leave me alone, I will leave you alone.
      If you target me, I will target you.

      • by Bright Apollo ( 988736 ) on Friday April 14, 2017 @07:55AM (#54233693) Journal

        The two are not comparable *in that specific way*.

        However, leading your life in your own manner within legal guidelines should be protected, regardless of how you feel personally about those actions.

        Vote a certain way, get fired? Are you for real? You're wrong, and you know it.

      • Practicing BDSM is a personal choice made by consenting adults.

        Is it always that simple? What if one of those 'consenting' adults is a disturbed or mentally ill person, maybe one that had suffered many cruelties in their childhood or some other trauma that affected their self importance?

      • by Raenex ( 947668 ) on Friday April 14, 2017 @12:42PM (#54235105)

        Donating to prop 8 was an attempt to deny legal rights to other people.

        And donating to political causes that champion abortion rights is supporting murder of the unborn. So anybody who does that should be fired and drummed out of their career.

        Oh, what's that? You don't think your politics should determine your employment status?

        Fuck off with your prop 8 shit. It was a politically contentious issue, there was a reasonable case for the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, and even many mainstream Democrats at the time had not come out in support of gay marriage (quite the opposite in some cases), and only changed their position when it became political expedient to do so.

    • Politics, bedroom antics, sports, reading habits, religion - none of it should be a firing offence and those bosses who think they should own people instead of employ them are the problem.
      I don't even know what proposition 8 is (maybe I heard but forgot) but whatever politics someone has it shouldn't matter in the workplace unless you are directly working for a political group on political matters. So you do plumbing for the Republicans? Who cares if you used to support Castro.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Easy. There's a rather remarkable difference between "I do not believe in same-sex marriage" and "I do not believe in same-sex marriage so much that I am going to donate money to have that right taken away".

      It was the same thing with Chick-Fil-A. It wasn't Dan Cathy's stance but rather the fact he was giving money to an SPLC-designated hate group which, among other things, advocates kidnapping the children of LGBT families to "rescue" them.

  • by hughbar ( 579555 ) on Friday April 14, 2017 @03:30AM (#54233023) Homepage
    If it doesn't affect their work, counter examples being excessive drinking or drug taking. I dislike cats (they shit in my garden and eat garden birds) but will work with people that own them.

    The key words here are mutual consent and boundaries. He was not asking or coercing any of his coworkers to join him. So, I'm with the letter writers.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Once you sack a person, you cannot re-instate them. They hold grudges for being sacked, they act like they're bigger than their boss and many other personality traits make it impossible.

    So he cannot re-instate this developer, right or wrong. All Dries can do is sack others who outed the developer for their political attacks on the private lives of their fellow Drupal developers.

    That would be the maximum, he'll probably just say some calming words and move on with it.

    • by techsoldaten ( 309296 ) on Friday April 14, 2017 @03:55AM (#54233095) Journal

      For that matter, an entire community holds grudges.

      I am friends with most of the primary personae in this sad tale. It's unlikely I would want anything to do with about half of them ever again.

    • by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Friday April 14, 2017 @04:11AM (#54233131) Homepage Journal

      He should put it up to the community to decide -- and if they decide against him, resign -- or say "I did the wrong thing, lesson learned, let's fix it". The one thing he should not do is dig in his heels and refuse to negotiate.

      As project lead I had to make a call on a certain repeat offender when his abuse of team resources (our time and our servers, and sometimes our actual team members) became intolerable. I released the logs that led me to do it, and said "if you think I made the wrong call, I will resign and you can have him back." That was a pretty cut-and-dried case though. I had two team members who were going to quit if I didn't fire the one.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

        I do think I can mention the straw that broke the camel's back though. This particular guy invited a Serbian Titoist (basically someone who wanted the old communist Yugoslavia back) into our developer chat, to argue politics. Until then, he had managed to hijack the topic for hours at a time all by himself, but that was where I decided the line had been crossed -- when he brought in outside help.

        He was a dick, and he was a drunk, and he was a racist. None of those were sufficient cause to fire him. Actively

      • by Calydor ( 739835 )

        He was abusing team resources, though. It wasn't done in his spare time like this case.

  • Open source project. Major schism in the developer base.
    DEAD
    The asshole who thought he was in charge killed it.
  • I can see both sides: The commercial product doesn't want the bad press attached to product. The OSS developers say that they're giving free support son what someone does in their bedroom shouldn't matter. Personally I side with the developers. But I respect the commercial services discussion.

    Having said that: if the developers are that passionate they should branch the code. Start their own project. Maybe make it their own commercial product.

  • Gah, you've said Drupal so many times it's like its not even a word any more!

  • Whether they take him back or they don't, they're going to lose devs. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
  • by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Friday April 14, 2017 @12:30PM (#54235007)
    Commenting to remove my mod points. I did some reading about Gorean subculture (including Larry's blog post about his experience). Let's clear some things up:
    1. The controversy here specifically is about Gorean beliefs/culture, not the BDSM orientation (using some of Larry's terminology here).
    2. Larry's articulation of his beliefs/culture are nuanced and a credit to him. They made me take a fresh look.
    3. There are some members of the Gorean community who write anti-women screeds. But that's no different then members (sometimes prominent) of major religions. That shouldn't damn the whole sub-culture.

    After reading Larry's blog post [garfieldtech.com] (and I recommend reading the whole thing) - I've come away realizing Drupal is in the wrong here, and the community is absolutely right to stand up for him. This isn't a man publicly arguing women are less than men. It's a man who is into BDSM and who enjoys a master slave relationship within the context of his romantic/sex life in a way that is wonderfully aware of active consent. That's fine. Some men and women enjoy being dominated, others enjoy dominating. Some like that to mix with how they live life - and that's also fine.

    What isn't fine is ignoring the Gorean side of this or failing to see the problems with that culture - just as we need to see the problems with any culture (for example Judeo/Christrian/Muslim culture and how they view apostates, women, and non-believers). I believe we can be critical without blaming everyone in those cultures or destroying those cultures. It's fine to disagree and debate.

    Drupal should reinstate this guy (since that seems to be what he wants. Though personally I'd argue he should join a programming community that better respects diversity and values people more.

    Lastly I'll add this. It is worth considering that viewing women as less then men can be harmful, even deadly. It leads to treating people as mere objects, restricting their human rights, etc. Look at women in Saudi Arabia for instance. But I'm far more worried about that threat coming from conservative fundamentalist religions than from a sex subculture inspired by novels.

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