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Drupal sci-fi sex scandal deepens: Now devs spank Dries over Gor bloke's banishment

Project lead slapped in open letter after BDSM exile

By Shaun Nichols, 13 Apr 2017

Updated Scores of Drupal developers have formed a protest against the exiling of a project veteran who dabbled in kinky sci-fi hanky-panky.

An open letter and website called Drupalconfessions.org, signed by 85 devs, calls on Drupal lead Dries Buytaert to end the exclusion of people based on their sexual appetites.

The letter comes after developer Larry Garfield was booted out of the web publishing software project after he was outed as a member of the Gor movement.

What's Gor? Glad you asked. It's the baffling BDSM fetish, based on John Norman's trashy space operas, in which tiny-handed men dominate submissive women. Completely consensual, of course, but seemingly at odds with the whole "hey, let's treat women as equals" thing going on in technology right now.

Essentially, the protestors aren't particularly enthusiastic about Garfield being allowed back into the fold, but they do hope other people aren't similarly banished for having unorthodox hobbies.

"Our concerns do not make us pro-Larry, we do not endorse his beliefs or his personal life," the letter reads.

"But we are passionately committed to openness, transparency, due process, fairness, inclusivity, diversity, having personal lives that are none of Drupal's business, and professionalism in tech; and we are vehemently opposed to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying, doxxing, secret trials, and digging up information on members' personal lives."

The group argues that Garfield was the victim of a bullying campaign that unfairly brought his personal life into the public eye, and now they want Buytaert to take a firm stance against any further effort to out and shame Drupal project members for their own personal lives.

"We stand to demand with one voice that the Drupal community conduct itself as a professional community, which does not discriminate against people for who they are on the outside, for what they believe, for what they value, or for how they lawfully, consensually, and peacefully live their personal lives – even and especially in cases where people's personal lives might be outside the mainstream or even offensive to some people," the group states.

The group is asking Buytaert to reexamine Garfield's case and, if he was not found to be violating Drupal's code of conduct, issue a public apology. They also want Buytaert to update Drupal's code to ban discrimination based on "peaceful, consensual, law-abiding beliefs" and craft clear rules on code of conduct that will be applied openly.

Among those endorsing the campaign are former members of the Drupal board and CEOs of contributing companies, as well as developers contributing to the project.

"In politics, being ruled by a dictator that makes the call on who is and is not allowed to be part of a society is not an acceptable situation for me, regardless of how benevolent and well-intentioned any particular dictator may be," writes developer Tobias Stöckler.

"How come I am supposed to accept this as normality when engaging in an open source community?"

We've pinged Buytaert for comment, and we'll let you know if he has a response to the simmering rebellion. ®

Updated to add

Buytaert has been in touch to say:

We appreciate and value the collective response. The Drupal community is a diverse and vibrant one, and all of us care deeply about it. The events of the last few weeks have allowed us to see where we need to evolve. We’re looking forward to working with the community as we revisit important tenets of our code of conduct and governance structure. Steps are already being taken to start this collaborative work and we will use an inclusive process where all voices can be heard and ideas can be understood. We will provide transparency as we work with the community so everyone can participate.

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