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DrupalCon Code of conduct - what's all the fuss about? #DrupalCoC

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As social media lead for DrupalCon Munich, having worked closely with The Drupal Association marketing team for 2 DrupalCons, I was perhaps one of the first to flag that a Denver modelling agency had posted a blog that they had supplied models to DrupalCon exhibitor. I am not going to link and give them yet more SEO juice which I am sure is what they are after. Nor am I convinced they supplied models to the conference. I emailed them and never heard back.

A conversation on Twitter has rumbled ever since about 'Drupal Booth babes'. As a Denver attendee, I can say I never noticed any inapropriately dressed booth staff. Everyone I spoke to appeared highly knowledgable and employees of the booth's company.

Drupal Code of Conduct

Subsequently George DeMet of Palantir has lead an initiative to revive the creation of a DrupalCon Code of Conduct. This was first started back at DrupalCon Chicago and conversations have persisted ever since. The community debate via comments on the proposed DrupalCon Code of Conduct has been highly active, heated at times in the comments and over on Twitter.

During the process I have had conversations with prominent figures both within Drupal and other open source projects. I have observed comment coming from at least Joomla and Wordpress contributors, not always in a positive light. From the outside it can seem quite peculiar the way in which Drupal conducts itself as a community when on the path to a concensus.

George DeMet pointed me towards a blog post he wrote last September "Bottoms Up: Problem Solving in the Drupal Community" in which he eloquently explains how the Drupal community reaches a collective agreement. It is as relevant now as then. He reflects that 

I think the fact that these issues are being discussed openly is a tribute to the strength of the community and a point of difference between Drupal and other software projects

In respect of the Drupal Code of Conduct there is no doubt in my mind that one should exist. A global conference attracting over 3000 attendees needs to set standards of acceptable behaviour. Anyone who arges one is not necessary should review Geek Feminism Wiki: "Timeline of incidents" which outlines a timeline of sexist incidents in geek communities. The proposed code is not just about sexism, but the timeline clearly highlights incidents are a reality. We cannot ignore that.

George also points out that

Decisions are rarely made quickly within the Drupal community; they’re discussed, debated, and argued over at length before a consensus is reached. 

I hope the DrupalCon Code of Conduct proves to take the time it deserves in order to arrive at one which we can live with, which reflects and respects the cultural diversity of the community. I know the intention is to protect the spirit of DrupalCon and those who attend, not quash. I for one commend George in having the foresight and commitment to take on this intiative.

Read George DeMet's article 
Read the Drupal Code of Conduct

Update: Substaintially revised version DrupalCon Code of Conduct now available.

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