As the global pandemic continues to spread — causing widespread sickness and death, restricting in-person human contact, creating additional responsibilities at home or financial hardships, or any of the countless other changes to daily life that have resulted in feelings such as fear, anger, boredom, or uncertainty — this virus has forced some of us to reassess our values and our place in the world. While the majority of us who participate in the Drupal community remain focused squarely on technical issues, others might find now is an especially good time to take a closer look at Drupal's Values and Principles.
In this article, I use data from the Drupal Git commit history, as well as other sources, to demonstrate how dramatically the Drupal core “code committing” landscape has changed. My analysis below argues that the process of committing code to Drupal core is a far more complex process than some might assume of a project with a BDFL.
When I attended my first DrupalCon in San Francisco I brought three suits. At that point, I had been speaking at (academic) conferences for a decade, and in my experience conferences were places where attendees dressed formally and speakers literally read their papers (here's a real example from a 2005 Women's and Gender Studies Conference where I spoke). I arrived in San Francisco thinking I would spend some time exploring the city while I was there, but I ended up spending nearly all of my extra time in the ChX Coder Lounge learning everything I could about Drupal from kind people in the Drupal community.
The Drupal community can bring people together, discourage hate, and promote democracy. I hope that we can find common ground, build on what we have accomplished, and organize against the forces that seek to divide us against ourselves.
Dries Buytaert and I examined commit data to help understand who develops Drupal, how much of that work is sponsored, and where that sponsorship comes from. We illustrate that the Drupal community is far ahead in understanding how to sustain and scale the project, and show that the Drupal project is a healthy project with a diverse community of contributors. Nevertheless, in Drupal's spirit of always striving to do better, we also highlight areas where the Drupal community can and should do better.
I believe that the Drupal community will be most successful not merely by convincing more people to work with us through technological manipulations, but instead by focusing on improving interactions within the community and a goal of cultivating social solidarity. Instead of using technology to grow the Drupal project, we should focus on adjusting our culture in order to improve our technology.