Announcing a New Approach to Community at DrupalCon

Flickr photo: Boris BaldingerDrupal is a lot of things. It’s a platform, a CMS, software, and code. But here’s what Drupal is most of all: community.

That’s why DrupalCon has had community content baked in, first as a stand alone track across the entire event, then as a summit on the Monday of the Con. Now, we’re ready to double down on community starting at DrupalCon Barcelona. Together with Drupal’s Community Working Group, we’ve taken your feedback and devised a brand-new approach to community at the Cons.

You can skip the details and check out the new Community Content at DrupalCon Barcelona.

What We Heard from You

We started with a survey to find out who’s participating in the Community content at DrupalCons and what you were hoping to achieve. You can review the full survey results, but here are a few key findings that we identified.

Meeting each other to build your network of support is the most important thing we can help facilitate. That’s followed by skills building, and then by actually getting specific work accomplished.


There is strong demand for a wide variety of skills training. We haven’t really provided this kind of content in a structured way for the community before, so we are excited to address it head on.

There was strong support for community content to be integrated into the main conference. We know that one reason community content moved to the summit format was poor attendance at community sessions at previous Cons, but we think this result means that we can integrate content back into the conference, but perhaps in a slightly different way.

What We’re Planning

Donna Benjamin, Adam Hill, and I met to discuss the survey results and get a plan together for Barcelona. Our goal was to build a comprehensive community program that provides a variety of ways to interact on community issues while also addressing the community concerns raised in the survey. In short, we’re proposing that community is integrated into every part of the Con. Here’s how it will work in Barcelona:

  • Community Keynote: We did it in Amsterdam, and it was such a success, we’re bringing it back in Barcelona. Thursday’s keynote is presented by the community, for the community. Mike Bell (mikebell_) will talk about mental health in the open source world and David Rozas (drozas) will talk about the phenomenon of contributing to a community.
  • Community Kickoff: On Monday, we will hold a community kickoff event for the week. We’ll begin with an introduction to all the community content at the Con, followed by exercises designed to help you meet the people that can help support you in your community work, whether you need help maintaining a long-standing camp or User Group, or if you’re new to the community and want to know where you can get involved. Then we’ll conduct breakouts to share knowledge around specific issues, and identify good topics for further discussion in the community Birds of a Feather sessions later in the week. We’ll end the day by joining the First Time Attendee social so that we can show the new folks what our community is all about.
  • Community BoFs:Tuesday through Thursday we will hold Birds of a Feather sessions to focus on community issues. Some (maybe all?) will be determined at the Monday kickoff. These sessions should bring people together around a common theme, like User Group leaders discussing best practices for organizing a DUG. All BoFs will be asked to identify a note taker who records key takeaways from the conversation that can be shared back out with the community.
  • Community Training: You asked for help building specific skills, so these sessions will be designed to help you learn specific takeaways and give you real tools you can use back in your community. Tentative topics include Camp Budgets and Financial Management, Conflict Resolution, Sponsor Recruitment and Management, Mentoring, and Public Speaking.
  • Community Sprints: After four days sharing what you know and learning new things, you’ll be itching to put your ideas to use. On Friday, sprint tables will be set aside to work on specific community issues that are raised throughout the week. Topics could include things like building a universal camp budget template or helping to find ways to integrate community contribution on profiles.

You can see that we’ve tried to bake community into the Con from start to finish and address all the different needs you identified. We hope this new format will make it easier for you to get the support you need to continue to do what you do best - make Drupal great!

Where Do I Sign Up?

To help organize our space and time, we’re asking you to RSVP for both the Community KickOff and the Community Trainings. All you need to do is head over to the Community Summit Page, find the content you're interested in, and add your name to the list.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions,

Flickr photo: Boris Baldinger