Built By Humans for Humans

Last spring DrupalCon North America in New Orleans was attended by 3,102 Drupal community members, in the fall 1,787 of you came to Dublin for DrupalCon Europe. That's a whole lot of human beings getting together to talk about the Drupal software, development processes, tools, business strategies, future directions and more. All of which are important. But, I want to talk about all of those human beings. What makes you tick?

The Being Human track was first introduced at DrupalCon Dublin earlier this year. The hypothesis: attendees wanted a place to set the software and tools aside and put the spotlight on the human beings that make it all work. The track was well-received and we’ve decided to continue to make it a fixture and bring the Being Human track to DrupalCon Baltimore in 2017. And Emma, Jason, and I will be your track chairs. (Hint: That means you can reach out to us with questions about the track and session proposals.)

Being human as a topic is pretty broad. So I thought it might be a good idea to give you a little more background on the kinds of topics we're interested in hearing about. Of course, you're the humans, and this track is for you, so this is by no means an exhaustive list. Just a little something to get the ideas flowing.

Mental health

I've always said that I write my best code while riding my bike. I can't tell you how many times I've sat at my desk for what seemed like countless hours. Frustrated, sore from sitting, tired from stress, and essentially just changing lines of code to see if something, anything, works. After giving up for the day, and hoping on my bike to head home the stress of the day melts away. In that moment, as my brain is allowed some space to relax, it's not uncommon for the answer to the hard problem I was working on to suddenly reveal itself.

  • What do you do to relax?
  • How do you cope with stress?
  • What kind of environment is best for fostering mindfulness?
  • If burnout is an issue in our community what can we do to help people say “no” before they burn out?

Without us humans there would be no Drupal, so let's make sure we know how to take care of ourselves and one another.

Diversity and Inclusiveness

Diversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and new perspectives, leading to better decision-making and problem-solving. Diversity can lead to unfettered discoveries and breakthrough innovations. Research has shown that being exposed to diversity can change the way you think. But even in communities where the dialogue of inclusion is relatively advanced, just the mention of the word “diversity” can lead to anxiety and conflict.

  • How do you foster a culture of inclusiveness?
  • What techniques are helpful for reaching consensus in a diverse group?
  • What are the challenges facing the Drupal community when it comes to diversity?
  • Tell us about your experiences with diversity and the impact they've had on you and your work.

As a whole, the DrupalCon Baltimore programming team is passionate about increasing the diversity of DrupalCon, and the Drupal community. I challenge you to help us figure out how to challenge ourselves and make Drupal a safe, fun, and welcoming place for everyone.


How many times have you gotten an email from a co-worker, or read a 140 character message on Twitter and immediately jumped to a conclusion? Then came back later and realized that had you only understood the whole picture you would have reacted in a completely different way?

Language, both the one we use to communicate with each other and the ones we use to provide instructions for computers, are nuanced. Each of us has a different background, associates with different cultures, communities, and has a unique experience that has led us to be who we are today. All of those factors come into play every time we're asked to use language. So it should be no surprise when our emails, or the code we write, take on a different meaning when interpreted by someone other than ourselves. It's part of being human.

  • What can we do to improve communication?
  • How do respond to conflict in the workplace?
  • Teach me how and when to say no, or when to ask for help.
  • What are the challenges of high-quality communication in a virtual community? What role does empathy play in communication?

Now Go Submit a Session

Got a story about being human that you would like to share? How about some advice for the rest of us that you've learned through your own experiences? Submit a session and tell us about it.

Submit a Session

The Being Human track seeks to provide a space for all the humans that make Drupal awesome to focus on making themselves, and those around them, a little more awesome, too.

Joe Shindelar
Being Human Track Chair
DrupalCon Baltimore