With Larry Garfield's recent ousting from the Drupal community, I felt an immediate anxiety that I couldn't shake. Dries' follow up lacked the clarity that I clearly needed.
I applaud Larry's bravery for sharing details about his personal life. May we all be so strong.
My anxiety stems from the fact that we do not have a clear understanding of why such drastic measures were taken. People will naturally fill that gap. "Trust me" isn't good enough.
So after the dust settles a bit, these questions are going to be nagging me for a while. Without understanding, they could be sitting over the community for a long time.
Am I next?
For members of the community who choose remain active, there could be a persistent and lingering question: Am I next? What personal belief or action have I done that does not align with Dries' and the Drupal Association's interpretation of the Drupal community's values? Can I trust the members of the community not to out me?
These questions will lower collaboration and trust in the future, two pillars that an open source community needs to thrive.
Why would I want to be next?
An open source community also needs to foster and accept new ideas and people in order to be successful. At least one prominent member of other open source communities is already publicly sharing their opinion.
Because of what appears (and appearance is what we're talking about, isn't it?) to be an ousting of a community member because of their personal beliefs, how many people decide today, tomorrow, or a year from now not to become a member of the Drupal community, thus depriving the community of important opinions and contributions? Today's actions do not foster confidence for people unsure of where to put their time and energy. The perception could be that the Drupal island has a wall.
Who defines the community's values?
Ultimately, a community's values are defined not by a leader, but by the members of that community. Sitting on the opposite side of my anxiety is the response from the community members in vocal support of making sure that we truly understand our position on inclusivity.