It was great to get back to DrupalCon this year. I really enjoyed the Con, and this was one of my favorite DrupalCons in the eight years I’ve been going.
Drupal as a community is getting more serious about diversity. In the past, there’s been an undercurrent of people saying “diversity is good” for a while, but not much actual work around the issue, and consequently, not much progress either. As a community, we’ve recognized that passively supporting the concept of diversity isn’t resulting in change and it’s time to be more proactive. The work done by the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion (DDI) group and by others in the community is having effects I could see both in the people attending the convention, the people speaking, and in what I was hearing in sessions that didn’t directly refer to diversity.
One of the notable steps was that Dries Buytaert (the original creator and still leading voice of Drupal) committed to using his platform to speak more about diversity. He’s been reluctant in the past to engage with this topic, both because he’s made mistakes in the past and because he’s not always sure how to engage with these issues. He asked for help from the community and especially the Diversity and Inclusion group for guidance in how he can use his platform effectively. You can hear more about this in the Q&A with Dries session.
None of this is to say that the work is done. The convention is still much more white and cis-male than the US, much less the worldwide community we’re hoping to engage. I think the new values statement that Dries has published this year is a great place to start pushing for the Drupal community to be a leader on this topic in the open source world.
This year, I also went to several sessions that had a wider scope than just crunching code. I really like sessions like this, as they do an excellent job of grounding me and reinvigorating me to want to keep working in this platform. Here are a few:
- Jeff Eaton’s session titled “You Matter More Than the Cause” provides useful perspective on needing to keep yourself grounded relative to the causes you work on.
- Nikki Stevens talk on Ethical Engineering makes the case about being thoughtful about our assumptions as we build these tools.
- The panel of the I Was Wrong talk shared some great stories about learning from your mistakes.
- The Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance panel had some tips for remote workers like me that I really enjoyed.