Drupal community, marks for effort...

Alasdair writes about how great it is to be working in the Drupal community

A couple of months ago, after a particularly furious week of trying to contribute something useful to Drupal core, I woke up one morning to a see a lot of activity on my twitter account (Pretty much unheard of for me).  I had received this tweet from webchick (Angie Byron).

@alasdaircf Hey, thanks for all the CMI conversion patches! Keep 'em comin'! :D 

This was an amazing feeling as Angie is one of the core maintainers for Drupal and a really big name in Drupal .  But in a deeper way I think that it symbolises some of the things that I really appreciate about the Drupal community.

Drupal, probably like many other open source technologies, is very meritocratic.  There is very definitely some level of hierarchy, not everyone is a co-maintainer of core.  Talent and ability are important and are a huge part of what drives the technology forward.  But the fact that I got thanks from one of the major core maintainers demonstrates something else.  That isn’t to say that I don’t have any talent or ability, but I am relatively new to this whole world and at the moment I don’t have the ability and comprehension of others.

What I have is an urge to put a little bit of an effort in taking what I do know and taking a little bit of time to help and contribute back.  And a big part of why I have that urge is that the people involved in Drupal seem to at least have a real appreciation for any time that I put in. I have to say that this is unusual and special part of this community.  

Having been involved in music (mostly classical) for the majority of my life,  I can say that this is not the case at all.  Behind a lot of good amateur ensembles there are people that put in a lot of effort in organising.  But when it comes to the performing, people aren’t really there to pat you on the back for trying hard if they don’t think you are performing to a standard they would like to listen to.  I’m not an idiot (well not all the time), I know that there are lots of very rational reasons for why the two are very far apart and if I were to make a comparison with sporting activities, not having any ability is a real problem.  

However that doesn’t stop the fact that alongside all the other things that are great about the Drupal community it really is a community that appreciates effort.

It isn’t just Angie who has been really great.  A big thanks to Alex Pott, Daniel Wehner, Damian Kloip and Tim Plunkett particulary for helping me to get contributing.

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Unfortunately, this isn't universally true. There are many instances where issues (with patches to resolve those issues) are posted in the issue queues, and they sit.. and they sit.. and if anyone ever does get around to looking at them, more often than not they squabble over insignificant details and the problem lingers.

While I'd like to believe what you're saying about the community to be true, I think it's only true when you're focused on a particular pet project of those select few who make the decisions, and/or developing a solution in a way similar to what one of those select few had already thought of.

My experience has been quite the opposite with regard to core contribution, and I'm not "relatively new to this whole world."

Maybe the shiny happy newness has worn off, I dunno.

Hey, Thanks for the response. I think that it is fair enough to say that the situation with reviewing patches definitely needs to be improved. There was a core conversation about this exact issue at drupalcon Portland today and some good ideas were passed around for how this could be improved. I'm not sure whether the experience that i've had has been lucky or whether things may have improved in recent times. The reasons that I think I have had such a good experience has been mainly based on going to the drupal events in London that are organised by Robert Castello as well as getting involved with the sprint at drupalcon Munich. Saying this, while i've had a very positive experience, i'm hoping that as a community we can continue to improve how core contrib works.