bert boerland

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Same question as Morten's on the topic of transparency: https://association.drupal.org/node/17028#comment-2728 Given what we have tried and are actively trying to do, where do you see concrete places of improvement, beyond better marketing of our work around Drupal.org?

I'm a little confused by "break up and bend." What in your mind will differentiate these annual DrupalCons on every continent from DrupalCamps?

Also, as you are in the unique position of being one of few nominees who has previously served on the Drupal Association board, a few questions for you:

1. What is the accomplishment you are most proud of during your previous time as a board member?

2. What was the most challenging aspect of being a board member? What made you decide to leave?

3. What was the tipping point that decided to make you put your hat in the ring this time?

4. And finally, not to be overly harsh, but how do we know we can we trust you with this level of responsibility? With all due respect (and believe me that I have a lot for you, as a fellow founding member of the DA), "One of my characteristics is that once I get my teeth in something, I don't let go. :-)" was not true the last time around...

Hi Angela,

Thanks for your questions, I try to answer them here the best I can. I don't feel comfortable discussing one of your questions in public, so please do contact me in private if my explanations below are not clear enough.

Same question as Morten's on the topic of transparency:https://association.drupal.org/node/17028#comment-2728 Given what we have tried and are actively trying to do, where do you see concrete places of improvement, beyond better marketing of our work around Drupal.org?

Short:
Active ask for feedback and analyse if the actions were succesful

Longer:
When I said “I want to see more transparency” I was kind of joking. Transparency will never be seen and never needs to be goal. There is however room for improvement when it comes down to communicating what the DA should do, has done and will be doing.

The excellent example you give in the posting linked above all have one thing in common. They are sending out the message of the DA. But that is only half the story when it comes down to communicating and hence transparency. The other parts of course listening. More then enabling comments on a blog post (needed) or listening in a townhall meeting (appreciated). These are still example of a very passive way of listening and one should not be amassed that very little feedback will come towards the DA this way.

A better way of getting feedback is -like you are doing right now- asking questions. To persons were the DA has been involved in. For example, the last year I have had 193 email threads resulting in over 520 mail with members of the DA when it comes to the organizing an event where the DA acted as a fiscal agent. And I do thank the DA for doing so. But if the DA puts so much effort in helping the organization of this event, the DA should also do some self reflection, analyze to see if the effort was worth the result and ask the organizers how they feel the cooperation worked.

This should be done for all actions the DA helps, facilitates and works on. Ask the parties involved how the process could be made better learn from this and communicate the results as well.

I'm a little confused by "break up and bend." What in your mind will differentiate these annual DrupalCons on every continent from DrupalCamps?

Short:
The DA needs to help organize non DrupalCon events in more places.

Long:
For many reasons it is unlikely that during the next 3 years we wil see a DrupalCon in every continent, though this might still be a goal. I am saying “might”, because we have to think true what a DrupalCon is. And how it is different from a camp or other Drupal related event. Right now -if you would go to the bare basics- a DrupalCon might be defined as an the central Drupal event organized under the auspices of the Drupal Association. Yes, I know in that definition I skip a lot of the true value of a DrupalCon, but when it comes to making clear what differentiates it from a camp, these two elements come up, central event and auspices.

It might sound as a paradox, but yes. I do think that we can have 5 “*the* events”. All with couleur locale, all different. Just like Wimbledon is complete different from Roland Gaross, but both are in the Grand Slam. If we think about it that way, yes we van have a DrupalCon in every continent where the NA might be different from the Asian one.

But as Morten pointed out, giving the current resources, the different state of Drupal adoption in different places around the world, right now it is fine to dream about this but not that wise to do.
Therefor, we need understand we have to create the matrices locally “on the ground” that grow the community and give way for a DrupalCon in the future. I know that the DA is helping out right now in different places around the world acting as a fiscal agent for the organizers. But there is room for improvement and room for more diversity.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of during your previous time as a board member?

Short: No question unanswered.

Long: When I was active as a Permanent Member, it was a different DA, still bootstrappping on where it was, where it should go and what actions would be needed to get there, a more immature form the the current DA. Communicating back then was even less mature, it was al about passive answering mail and not asking active feedback or even proving feedback. Answering mail was the first step here, and I personally made it priority that this first baby step towards a more mature DA was being dealt with; all inquiries were being answered. I answered 27 of the 49 GPL/CC related mails, 163 of the 267 general inquiries and 28 of the 57 website related questions but more then that I made sure all mail was answered. That is only a small step, but this was in a time where most discussion within the DA was about DA and we often forgot that the Raison d'être of the DA was not the DA itself but the community. I made sure that we at least did the first step in communicating, sending answers to people or organisations that wanted something from us.

What was the most challenging aspect of being a board member? What made you decide to leave?

The first part is this question is the easiest for me to answer. Most challenging during my time serving the DA was the bootstrapping process. In our daily lives, we were all more mature then when we acted in the DA, all PM;’s had lots of experience in smaller and bigger companies, yet together it didn't add up. Dealing with how we can grow to the height of the individual members and then beyond was the biggest challange and no doubt still is.

The second part of your question, to be honest, personal attacks on me my board members that were uncalled for and untrue that made me very skeptical on some persons in the group as well as their intensions. I cant and will never go public with this information. Please do ask me in private.

What was the tipping point that decided to make you put your hat in the ring this time?

Instead of standing next to the playfield saying who is doing what wrong, I would rather play along and help the DA moving forward. I know I will make mistakes and am not afraid of someone booing me. That is what I learned. The hard way.

And finally, not to be overly harsh, but how do we know we can we trust you with this level of responsibility? With all due respect (and believe me that I have a lot for you, as a fellow founding member of the DA), "One of my characteristics is that once I get my teeth in something, I don't let go. :-)" was not true the last time around...

Actually I think it was. I have been involved in the DA before there was one giving feedback to the statutes all the way back in early 2006 (http://buytaert.net/album/drupalcon-brussels-2006/drupal-association) and a member from 2006 up to november 2010. That is a rather long time, even when one looks at the current board en members. What I meant with “getting teeth in” is that if i get involved in something bigger or smaller I will not stop following this up. This means I will keep communicating with sponsors if the event is over and everything paid, a person is of the radar for some time or someone makes a statement that should be verified. To give you an example, during my board membership, a company wanted to delete a module since they claimed a trademark. It
took me 24 mails over a period of one year to get this solved, but in the end it was solved.

I thank you for your questions, and do hope that my answers help you in who to choose. If this is not the case, please ask more.

Great answers, Bert. Thanks. I will indeed ask you on private about the personal attacks because that was both completely off my radar and completely not okay.

Also, is this your idea of promoting the work the DA's doing on Drupal.org..?

https://twitter.com/DrupalBoy/status/248113864821059584

I'm not sure I like the implications of that questions to be honest.

First off I fail to see what the issue would be with the tweet - the initial tweet seem to stem from an interest in improving the d.o frontpage, and the following tweets seem rather on point and subdued.

Secondly I get the impression, that any previous critique of the DA, valid or otherwise should weigh against the candidates. I sincerely hope that impression is incorrect.

A wish to change and improve the DA seems like valid and strong reason to run for the board, and a motivation to be applauded.

And my apologies to Bert Boerland for taking offense on his behalf.

What frustrated me about Bert's chain of replies to that tweet is that what we had there was a community member who was eager to help make Drupal.org better, and a prospective board member *actively discouraging* said involvement. This is NOT okay.

And this is despite months and months of work that the DA (and also months of my own personal time, which is perhaps why this grates on me more than others) has invested into setting up supporting processes (D6 and D7 sandbox sites that are clones of d.o and can be used for development), documentation (http://drupal.org/make-drupalorg-awesome, http://drupal.org/node/1293124), and personnel (Tatiana and Neil both F/T on Drupal.org) to make sure that people who want DA to be awesome have the tools and guidance needed to do so.

I don't deny that the DA has definitely struggled with supporting Drupal.org in the past, and we'll continue to do so. But we've made major investments in Drupal.org this year, particularly around empowering community development.

Anyway, I will work with DrupalBoy to make sure he's set up to help w/ Drupal.org stuff and try and undo the damage done here. I would just really appreciate it if my fellow board members would not actively discourage and turn eager help away. Especially when one of their stated aims is to more loudly evangelize all the good things the DA is doing for Drupal.org, which include empowering contributors.

1) yes I am very very critic when it comes to the DA and their actions, that is why I want to help out again, because I care.

2) jacob mailed me a couple of times when he thought my tweets were out of order and we discussed this via mail, a better medium than twitter in may cases

3) See some of my tweets the last half a year about the DA here, many are actually pro DA. Never got complaints about that :-) http://nest.boerland.com/search?q=drupalassoc

4) I care about people above the code or the site. Drupal is people, then code, then license. If someone says (s)he is willing to redesign drupal.org, we can cheer and say "awesome" and "rock" and there is a 1% chance the person will pull it off. Yaehh. Happy happy happy.
The reality is there is a 99% chance the person will be chewed out by the community, esp when it comes to design, esp when it comes to the design of d.o. And will quit. Angry and be pissed at Drupal. I would have rather have a good person on board that doesnt take a unrealistic job then a negative person burned down. I would had Stefan Nagtegaal and Steven Wittens who I both respect a lot on board and no blue cheese then the other way around (not saying that the quitted Drupal because of the reaction on their theme but sure it had some impact).

We burn people by the dozens. I think it is fait to warn people not to try to redesign d.o because the fancy the site and know about design.

Then -not meant in a bad way but very interesting to know where you stand here- what is the relation between the DA and the design of d.o?

Just to be clear, I don't care about you being critical of the DA (well, I mean, I care to the extent that we are here to elect people who will lead the organization and not just call out its faults, but that's not something I'm worried about with you). I do care about you actively discouraging would-be Drupal.org contributors, especially when they (especially front-end devs/designers) are so desperately needed, and especially when the DA has invested heavily in both infrastructure and personnel to help them get onboarded. I care about people above code or the site, too. :)

The question of my opinion of the relation between DA and design of D.o needs some historical context, so here goes:

The relationship between the DA and Drupal.org was traditionally (circa 2006-2008) very hands-off; we were purely there to keep the lights on, and everything else software-wise was handled by the community.

It turns out, though, that there are certain things that the community can't do very well on its own, and huge projects such as website re-branding/redesign and a CVS => Git migration are examples of these. So in 2008-2011, the DA began putting major funding behind these types of large-scale Drupal.org efforts. While I'm genuinely sorry if replacing Bluebeach is what led Steven and Stefan to leave the project, just as I'm genuinely sorry for some people we must've lost due to picking Git over Bzr or SVN during the CVS migration, these were nevertheless both efforts that had near universal community buy-in needed to happen, in order to sustain the future of the Drupal project. I stand by the decision of the DA to invest here, and I think those investments were absolutely critical to sustaining and growing the people we have in the project today.

By 2011, though, it became clear that targeted funding of huge projects wasn't enough; there were lots of much smaller-scale website features with near universal community buy-in that were going nowhere via the "do-ocracy" route (project ratings/reviews springs to mind), and even the "do-ocracy" way was also fraught with problems: uncertainty about who could approve this or that feature, even bigger uncertainty around how to go about making changes on Drupal.org at all, then once you got through that and made a feature it might sit there for weeks or months without review or deployment.

So, once again, the DA (as well as Acquia, it must be said, who funded a bunch of my time to help create processes and document these things) stepped up. In 2012, we wrote down the things that were previously only in a couple of peoples' heads, Neil Drumm was put as close to F/T on Drupal.org as possible, to help with reviews/deployments as well as development, we also hired Tatiana as a Drupal.org coordinator, to help keep on top of current Drupal.org development activity. Both are DA employees, and both are around to answer new contributors' questions and get them onboarded. The DA then also proceeded to hire people to start executing on the community Drupal.org wishlist, the first of which is the Drupal 7 upgrade, which is currently still in progress.

(This, btw, is why I got frustrated by your tweet. :))

So, "what is the relation between the DA and the design of d.o?" I think that over time, this will naturally fall under something the DA "owns," since it really feels like another one of those things that the community can't easily do itself (like put on two conferences a year of 2000-4000+ people), and that's the DA's entire purpose: to support the Drupal community and help it be awesome. However, since we only started staffing up for supporting Drupal.org in a major way earlier this year, and we still have yet to complete our first major project under this new model, I think realistically we have a ways to go yet before we can really take on something like this, and it will likely mean bringing on additional staff, which means we need to raise more funds in order for it to happen, too.

So, in the meantime, Drupal.org design-related decisions will need to go through the same process as all the other "do-ocracy" initiatives, which is outlaid at http://drupal.org/node/1293124, and it does include consensus-building. The good news though is that unlike in the past, there's actual infrastructure, processes, and people to support those who want to make Drupal.org awesome. And we can thank the DA for that.

Dear Angie

Thanks for you long answer. I agree on most everything you said. The acquia part, the GIT part but it comes to a sliding scale on the "this [the design of d.o] will naturally fall under something the DA "owns," while this might seems like the best solution and maybe the only way to move the current install towards the drinking own champagne part, I dont like the "naturall" part.

There are at least two things to be made clear /before/ it feels natural to me

  1. The (current) design is paid for by the DA, yet the wordmark is owned by Dries. Mind you, I trust both but this needs to be solved or made explicit on how this relationship works
  2. I cant find the current statutes but the olds of the VzW made it clear that the DA has no influence on the project (Drupal) and no saying with regards to the content of the website (drupal.org). /If// you think that this is not the way to go, and the DA should fund the design of d.o, note that this might have more implications. Like being /responsible/ (also in a legal way) for the content or the design. Not something to step in without thinking other consequences imho
    1. Then back to your frustration / my tweet, I can see why. I always reached out, will always do, to people who want to get active in Drupal. Maybe different than you do. And pointed the person towards this thread.

the short answer, yes.

the long answer to be givin in meet the candidates session

before you ask your question there though, could you make sure you understand the initial question (redesign drupal.org), the answer (frustration for individuals to design in an environment like the drupal community) but most of all what the role of the DA is when it comes to owning a redesign proces for d.o

Hi Bert,

In 50 words or less, what will you bring to the board of the Drupal Association?

- Donna