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Apr 23 2010
Apr 23

As the ash cloud prevented me from going to DrupalCon San Francisco, I decided to join the DrupalVolCon in Antwerp at Krimson's office.

I took this opportunity to do a BoF session on getting feedback from the community directly on the Drupal Association. I based my questions on a questionnaire, that was devised for the Drupal Association retreat taking place today.

A lot of people were interested in the session, around 12 people attended from a total of 30.

After reading the current mission statement to the attendees, I asked what, in their opinion, the DA should be/do.

Many said that the DA should be a formal representation of the informal Drupal community towards other communities, industries, businesses. It should provide a forum for discussion, provide financing and assistance for DrupalCons, centralise knowledge and funds for DrupalCons and then the community adds its local twist to it. The drupal.org redesign was also mentioned as a focus of the DA.

A point, that all agreed on was, that the DA should deal with legal aspects and protecting the Drupal trademark. Though someone also mentioned that it belongs to Dries and raised the question what would happen if the current situation should change.

The conversation developed towards a discussion about growing the Drupal Community. Suggestions were made that the DA needs to invest strategically in events, and support events in new markets such as Africa and eventually Asia. Another suggestion was a structured approach to support students financially with a framework that is public and clear. Why not a Drupal Summer of Code or a Drupal Winter of Code?

Attendees also addressed the development of DrupalCons and local community events. It is understood that eventually the DrupalCons get bigger and develop a different focus, though local events should stay community events. For example, sponsorship fees increase substantially from one local event to another and bigger Drupal companies are not able to keep sponsoring.

Suggestions were made, that they would appreciate a guideline and general support for events from the DA of how to organise an event, what to pay attention to (a check list), marketing materials and maybe some financial support. If there should be such a thing as individual sponsorships for DrupalCamps, there should be a clear framework for the selection process, so that everyone knows why that individual person is being sponsored to attend an event. It is a sensitive issue and attendees said, that it should essentially not be the focus of the DA, but left to the local organisers to deal with.

Concerning the organisation of events, it was said that there should be more creativity in finding cheap solutions. Also, attendees present at the BoF would appreciate to have options concerning food at events. They rather pay a conference ticket excluding the catering or have the choice whether or not to pay the full package.

There has already been a short discussion within the DA concerning local associations and creating links between local ones and the DA. Questions were raised whether local associations weren't already connected to the DA; if not, why not and it was suggested that it would be a good idea to do so, to keep the communities together.

Finally, on my question what else the DA should focus on this year. An answer, that I found surprising:"trainings with official certification by the Drupal Association; it is weird that Acquia is doing it now." I remember talking to Dries about offering trainings through the DA at DrupalCon Paris last year. This issue appears now to be a conflict of interest.

I think this open session and simply receiving feedback from the community was very fruitful. I think that this is needed to be done at other local events throughout the EU. After all, we are all about community building from the bottom up.

Any person from the DA participating in a Drupal event should use the opportunity to pose exactly these kind of questions (What does the DA do, what is/should be the focus) and make answers public. It is not done to connect with a few people over a beer.

Roy Scholten asked me already if the questions I asked can be made public, so that he can ask others from the community and get more feedback. I suggest doing this on the association.drupal.org site to have all feedback in one spot, easy to fill out and public for everyone.

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Apr 18 2010
Apr 18

Trying to get lifestream of keynotes and possibly other sessions. As much as possible that is. Thanks to Brightcove and DrupalVolCon UK for collaboration.

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