By Mike Gifford

November 17, 2013

We need to find better means to nurture those people who code, document, and design for Drupal!

Scratching an itch is great, but it isn't sustainable. It's clear that there are just too many projects which are not being well maintained. Ultimately, I'd like to have everyone who is benefiting from Drupal find a way to contribute back. There are a lot of successful Drupal shops, so this seems like a great place to start a challenge.

Drupal shops need to step up to the plate and find new ways to help sustain the people generating the code that we all rely on. OpenConcept is a small shop and I know we are giving quite a lot back to help support the Drupal community in terms of accessibility, security, documentation, modules, community events, & media. However, even though our team contributes back, I know we're getting more by being involved with this great community than we are able to fit in. We have joined the /drupalgive initiative, but that's just not enough.

I've written in the about Flattr, as it was one of the first micro-payment sites I came across and they seemed to have a well thought out site with a slick design. They've still got that slick design, but I'm not sure that the process of Flattring unique folks on a monthly basis is really a sustainable one. There are a number of Drupal users using it, but more and more are moving to Gittip.

There are a few reasons why Gittip may be successful in the Drupal community:

  • Alex Pott - I'm not sure exactly how this got started, but as of today he's making $430.91/week on Gittip to work on Drupal 8 Core. This is totally amazing, and although he's not at his target yet of $475/week he's pretty close. Alex is a co-maintainer of Drupal 8 and has been doing some great work and Gittip has helped make that affordable since he quit his day job to do it.
  • The Drupal Community on Gittip has 450 members using it and it's been just over 4 months since @greggles began the adoption campaign. It's nowhere near as large as the 1 million members of Drupal.org, but there are already a lot of folks there that you would want to thank for their efforts. These are people who you will recognize their alias' if you've been with Drupal for any length of time - webchick, YesCT, timplunkett, yched, chx, greggles, davereid, xjm, larowlan, Bojhan and many more. Members of Drupal.org can now add their Gittip account and feature it on their user profile.
  • SimplyTest.me - Having contributed to Drupal 7 Core, I've been so very, very happy with the improvement in the process since patrickd set this up. Wow, being able to test drive core, patches, modules, themes in one simple, convenient place is totally a terrific service. Having a single, centralized service through which everyone can run patches is totally amazing and this is just one of a few projects where Patrick is looking to start cover his costs.
  • There's a nice Gittip module which makes it easier to integrate it on your site. So does Flattr, but they are different models so totally fine to use both.
  • There is some support for both PayPal & Bitcoin so people outside the USA will have more options for paying & getting paid.

We need to find better ways to sustain the people behind the code

It is a great thing open source software gives us Stallman's 4 freedoms, but ultimately we need to find ways to build the community such that we can maintain this software more effectively. There is no legal obligation to contribute financially for the millions of dollars worth of software that comes bundled with Drupal Core let alone the thousands of contributed modules & themes. The base contrib modules we leverage in Drupal 7 is nearly a million lines of code according to sloccount and that's a lot of software to maintain.

We're challenging other Drupal shops to match our contributions.

I think it is very reasonable for all Drupal shops to give at least the price of a cup of coffee (say $3)/week/staff person to individuals who we know are volunteering their time to improve Drupal. If we can even get 10% of Drupal shops to do this I'm pretty sure we'll be having to look for inventive ways to better distribute this beyond just the names we already know.

At the moment the top 5 Drupal contributors are Lullabot's Drupalize.me, BuildaModule.com, chx, Acquia VP Michael Meyers, and my account for OpenConcept give just over $200/week to other Drupal developers. This just isn't good enough.

Who is willing to step up & contribute to those individuals who are going above and beyond for the community? How will we recognize those that do so that it is as common as being a member of the Drupal Association?

I was excited to hear from Patrick Connolly about the Hubot script written for Gittip that MyPlanet Digital has created. Hopefully it encourages MyPlanet & other shops that use Hubot to increase their contributions.

By Mike Gifford

Yesterday we saw profile images get into Drupal.org. This has gotten a bunch of positive feedback as it both modernizes the look of the community and addresses a style bug that goes back to 2010 when the last design (Bluecheese) was applied to the site. More importantly though it puts a face on the contributors of the d.o community -- we are no longer just anonymous blue nicknames!

The styling changes on Drupal.org are a nice improvement, mostly because it is a regular reminder about the individuals who are pushing to make Drupal better. Hopefully when we see the images of people's faces they will be more inclined to listen to others' opinions, be respectful of differences and work to build common solutions, or as @webchick says "Avatars also pressure people to behave more like human beings."