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Techies In Uproar Following Drupal Developer’s Expulsion Over BDSM Kinks

Contributors to the web software project Drupal are in uproar following the expulsion of Larry Garfield, a leading project developer, following the public shaming of his private sex life.

Drupal is a popular content management system (CMS), that is estimated to provide a framework for 2.2 percent of all websites worldwide. It is maintained and updated by a community of open-source coders who contribute code voluntarily. An estimated 1.2 million websites use Drupal.

Over the past two years, social justice warriors in tech have embarked on a major effort to expel political dissidents from open source projects. Their primary tool has been “codes of conduct,” designed to penalize allegedly offensive speech.

Tech SJWs reacted with anger earlier this year after LambdaConf, a prominent tech conference based out of Colorado, implemented a code of conduct that explicitly protects political disagreement.

Referencing a “whisper campaign” about his proclivities for BDSM activities, Drupal developer Larry Garfield recently published a blog post outlining his private fetishes in detail. Garfield identifies as a “Gorean,” a BDSM subculture (NSFW) based on roleplaying the themes of sexual dominance and submission found in author John Norman’s sci-fi “Chronicles of Gor” series.

Garfield says his profile on an alternative lifestyle website was discovered by an unknown party, who then sent screenshots of one of his posts to Drupal’s Community Working Group (CWG), which decreed that the Drupal code of conduct had not been violated.

Despite the CWG’s decision, the campaign against Garfield intensified. Drupal community member Klaus Purer (an apt last name!) trawled through Garfield’s BDSM posting history, before accusing Garfield of being an “abuser” and relentlessly pressuring Drupal to remove him from the project, on which he had worked for 12 years.

Eventually, Drupal project lead Dries Buytaert asked Garfield to “step down from Drupal.” When Garfield refused, Drupal’s leadership took the decision to eject him. In a post entitled “Living Our Values,” Buytaert explained his reasoning.

“The Drupal community is committed to welcome and accept all people. That includes a commitment to not discriminate against anyone based on their heritage or culture, their sexual orientation, their gender identity, and more” wrote Buytaert, explaining that he expelled Garfield because he holds “views that are in opposition with the values of the Drupal project.”

Following Garfield’s expulsion, there has been a backlash from other software developers who disagree with punishing project members over their private sex lives.

Following the backlash, Buytaert published an apology to the BDSM community, claiming his expulsion of Garfield was “never meant to be about sexual practices or kinks.” However, Garfield’s expulsion was not overturned, and the backlash continued.

John DeGoes, the organizer of LambdaConf, told Inc:

In this new world order, it’s not sufficient to conduct yourself with the highest standards of professionalism, as Larry Garfield has reportedly done. Instead, you must have the right private beliefs and values, and you must restrict your private consensual sexual behavior to the list of approved behaviors. Everything you say and do must be examined with a microscope to judge whether you are morally worthy of inclusion into the community.

Michael Haggerty, CEO of a company that has provided over $500,000 in funds to Drupal development, published a Medium post condemning the atmosphere of intolerance in the community, and highlighting the uniquely painful experience of being banned from an open-source project.

Banishment is a particularly sinister form of punishment for an open source developer. You give your time, mental bandwidth, and resources to support this platform then suddenly someone comes along wanting to damn you over some infraction. Not sure anyone likes the thought that his or her contributions can be eliminated by some sensitive soul taking issue with thoughts / ideas / actions / etc that exceed their personal thresholds. Even though it’s very unlikely that would happen, does anyone actually want to live with that? Is that why we do open source?

Leading members of the Drupal community, including Haggerty, two former Drupal Association board members, and “CTOs from some of the largest and most well-respected Drupal agencies in Europe” have signed an open letter calling for Garfield’s expulsion to be rescinded, and for Drupal to take oppose ideological witch-hunts in the community.

We ask you to fight for us, Dries, to protect us from intolerance, harassment, smearing, bullying, and discrimination, no matter why or where it originates from. We still believe in you, and we know you are a man of integrity with a passion for the community. We ask that you stand with us for professionalism in tech communities, stand up for us having a personal life that is none of Drupal’s business, and stand up to bullies and abusers who would smear, gossip, harass, intimidate, and discriminate against us in an attempt to destroy our careers.

The letter also presents an ultimatum to the leaders of Drupal, threatening to end their contributions to the Drupal project.

If you will not fight for us and restore our faith in the professionalism of the Drupal community, then a number of us will be permanently leaving the Drupal community, ceasing all contributions to the official, Drupal-branded branch of the codebase, and ceasing participation in all Drupal communities. This is not our first choice, but we cannot and will not participate in a community that encourages abusers to totally destroy people’s careers for personal or ideological reasons.

The controversy has now spread beyond the Drupal community, with tech SJWs including Shanley Kane lining up to denounce Garfield and his supporters.

Those protesting the expulsion of Garfield seem to agree that the witch-hunt against him, and the increasingly frequent shaming campaigns against conservatives in tech are connected. In a statement accompanying her signing of the open letter, Marlene Jaekel, a Trump-supporting open source contributor, recounted her own experience with the SJWs of tech.

I’ve been following the Drupal debacle with great concern — precisely because of the fact that the tech “thought police” mob did the same thing to me. After group leaders of RailsGirls and RailsBridge learned of my conservative political views via social media accounts, they summarily banned me from both organizations without any provocation. Shortly thereafter, tech404.io also banned me.

The open letter itself argues that the opponents of Garfield are motivated by primarily ideological reasons, and makes a clear statement in defence of ideological diversity.

We are pro-tolerance, pro-diversity, and pro-inclusion. We believe that tolerance reserved only for people who think and act exactly like we do is no tolerance at all. We believe that diversity is more than just skin deep. And we believe that that professionals can and must work together despite the diversity of pluralistic societies.

We vehemently reject all forms of discrimination—not just discrimination over what people look like on the outside, but also discrimination over what people believe, what they value, and how they lawfully, consensually, and peacefully live their personal lives.

The tech community is now facing a similar challenge to college campuses: belligerent, inflexible proponents of ideological censorship on the one hand, and a growing number of concerned moderates on the other. With these two factions now lining up on either side of the Drupal community, it seems that one of the most prominent open-source projects on the web is about to split in two.

You can follow Allum Bokhari on Twitter and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to abokhari@breitbart.com.

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