On Tuesday (Drupal's 7th anniversary), we held the very first meeting of the "General Assembly" (all of the Drupal Association permanent members) in order to elect a new Board of Directors and additional permanent members.
Trying to decide on where to set the bar for people who want to join the ranks of the Drupal Association was quite a harrowing experience. Permanent members are, well, permanent... unless they either resign or 2/3 of the existing members vote them out, which is likely to only happen in the event of some major drama. They can change the statutes (the legal binding documents) guiding the Drupal Association. They can remove Board of Directors members (and other permanent members). It's a lot of trust to place in individuals, and so we needed to make sure we chose very carefully...
There were 57 applicants to become new permanent members, of which 11 new permanent members were selected:
- Khalid Baheyeldin
- Addison Berry
- Jeff Eaton
- Larry Garfield
- Greg Knaddison
- Michael E. Meyers
- Narayan Newton
- David Norman
- Jacob Redding
- Nedjo Rogers
- Laura Scott
There are some interesting characteristics about the members who were chosen:
- There are a lot of developers in that list! But developers who contribute more than just code, and who have demonstrated good "people skills," too.
- They're taking on roles that the community's asked for. Dries asked the community for a Drupal Association wishlist, and we now have people focusing on marketing, legal, financial, and infrastructure assistance, among other key areas.
- They all have a drupal.org user ID under 100,000. This means they've been a member of the Drupal community for at least a year. Some even have a user ID under 1,000, which means 4 years or more with the project!
- We "know" these folks. They've been at Drupalcons, or at local user groups, or we've worked with them directly. Or, if we haven't met face-to-face, we've talked with them enough on mailing lists, issue queues, and forums, to feel like we have.
- Most importantly, every single member has a proven history of contributions to the project. Although, it's worth pointing out, not just code contributions. Some have contributed documentation and help with user support, others money or resources from their companies, still others by organizing and managing local events.
While some of the folks I cast a vote for didn't make the cut this time around, I'm extremely pleased with the final list of new permanent members. We've managed to grow the Association almost two-fold, and every single name on the list has a demonstrated track record for getting stuff done, with the community's best interests at heart. I think we've done an excellent job of safe-guarding the future of the Drupal project, while at the same time stocking the Association with fresh blood, and filling many gaps that needed to be filled, which will allow us to expand and improve our efforts in 2008.
The down side is that the results obviously are missing a lot of people, too. They're missing new folks, as well as various as-yet "under the radar" folks, or hard-working, diligent folks who've been a little too timid to wade the community waters so far. They're missing folks from places like India and South America, who can't easily get to Drupalcons to meet the rest of us, and folks who don't speak English fluently. They're missing several people on the business/law/marketing side of things, whose important talents we as an organization are definitely lacking. I think that over time, however, as we further build our ranks of rock-solid demonstrated contributors, we'll be a little more comfortable taking calculated risks on these types of folks.
But to those people who didn't make it to the list, I highly urge you: don't get discouraged; get involved! If you wanted to help spread word about Drupal in your local community, do that! And post back to groups.drupal.org talking about your success, and work with other folks organizing local community events to help share best practices. If you wanted to help with marketing, do that! Collaborate with members of the Association to come up with ways to increase Drupal's profile.
Getting involved means you raise your profile in the community, along with your evidence of community contribution, which helps Drupal Association members become a lot less nervous about voting for you. And getting really involved makes your choice a no-brainer. :)
I want to close with a sincere thank-you to everyone who took the time to fill out an application, whether you were able to join the Association this time around or not. It was awe-inspiring to see that many people take such a keen interest in the improvement and growth of the Drupal Association. Rock on!