[development] #drupal and #drupal-contribute split (Was: Re: Proposal: Move all dev support off this list to new StackExchange site)

Gábor Hojtsy gabor at hojtsy.hu
Mon Mar 21 08:28:14 UTC 2011

On Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 7:45 PM, Angela Byron <drupal-devel at webchick.net> wrote:
> Yes, this *absolutely* happened with D7. It was an *incredibly* small "core" group of < 20-30 people who resulted in Drupal 7 ever actually shipping. Post-code freeze, which more-or-less coincided with this IRC policy change, I can think of only a small handful of new contributors who came on board who were not already involved previously.
> Now, since there's really no way to quantify data around this, it's difficult to say what percentage of this lack of contributors phenomenon was related to this policy change, what was the "post-code freeze blues", how much of it is steeper requirements to get a core patch in (e.g. tests, subsystem maintainer sign-off), how much of it is the fact that certain members of our community were paid to care about bugs (e.g. Acquians and Examiner.comians) and others weren't, or what exactly the breakdown there was. I'm sure all of these, and more, were factors.
> But "not have a clear effect so far"? The *freaking rolling of 7.0* happened in such a silo, with not even a peep about it in the main IRC channel, for crying out loud! How much more "us" vs. "them" can you possibly get? :(

I do think you have this feeling because you were at the helm. I don't
think the small handful of people scrambling to get a release out was
any different with Drupal 6 or earlier versions. Just ask chx about
the form API's introduction and Drupal 4.7's release, the story will
resonate very well with you :D The only difference is that we grew a
huge base of followers who don't care as much.

Think of a new release of Mac OS X. Many Mac users are probably in awe
looking for what is coming. Now contrast that with a new release of
Windows. Lots more people use Windows. Do they care about its new
version? Not so much. They are content with whatever they have and its
just a tool for them, not their life :) We just grew bigger and now
have more of all these people. They don't *need* to be excited about
our new release, and that is fine IMHO.

> * we shoved our *freaking contributors* into a such a silo and made their efforts a mere "topical" channel. They used to be the front-and-center of our community. Now *consumers*, rather than *participants*, are front-and-center of our community.
> * there's an utter lack of cross-over, in both directions. People in #drupal are not encouraged to join #drupal-contribute, because people in #drupal-contribute don't come into #drupal anymore and talk about cool stuff they're working on, which would naturally help to pull them in. You have to be "in the know" about the separate channel to see what our innovators are doing and to join them.
> * the people who set the tone, carry the fundamental cultural values of our community, are all hidden off to the sidelines out of main public view. The image at http://webchick.net/node/9 that describes my first 5 minutes in #drupal is often quoted out of context (which is incredibly irritating). But *in* context, that experience taught me *a lot* about the culture of the Drupal community: that we value "doers" over "takers"; that we value mentorship and collaboration and solving problems together over striking it out alone; that there's a squishy human side to those "rockstar" names I'd seen everywhere. It fundamentally shaped my interactions with the community afterwards, and ultimately shaped the direction of my entire life.
> So when the current crop of contributors have all either burnt out or moved on, where will our new ones come from? And what cultural values and expectations will *they* bring to the table, since none of us were there to pass down ours? Those are the questions that I think we all should be wrestling with, and I don't have a good answer.

The way I see this, there are people "filtering through" to the core
team just as before, and they are shaped by the core team. As Dave
Reid and Damien Tournoud were new stars in the Drupal 6 release (if I
remember right), we have Jennifer Hodgdon, Christian Schmidt and Jen
Simmons bringing new energy in Drupal 7 among others. The pace of
change in top contributors does not seem to be different.

Drupal 5 data: http://www.slideshare.net/drumm/maintaining-your-own-branch-of-drupal-core/
Drupal 6 data: http://groups.drupal.org/node/8497
Drupal 7 data: http://growingventuresolutions.com/blog/contributors-drupal-7-final-numbers

So far we got lots of healthy change due to people coming and
questioning the status quo. Git on drupal.org, keys for input formats,
and so on and on are here because people were not content with the
status quo and how the core team worked / approached problems. I think
we keep getting the new blood and we integrate them in a healthy way.
Looking from your POV, it seems like I'm overly optimistic, but I'm
not seeing this doom...


More information about the development mailing list