Drupal, A thesis.

I recently defended my Master of Sciences thesis with a central theme of open source, activism and Drupal. You can grab a copy here or in the article links. I started this research project in 2007, in part, life got in the way but also, I didn’t know how to tell the story.

It’s the story of our community. My love for our community, my love for the world we are all creating, together. One that’s more open, more connected, and more equal. I went several years without knowing what to even call what I was witnessing. I used to refer to this as Structured Anarchy.

Structured Anarchy was describing the structure of the community that organized around Drupal. That there seemed to be chaos and disorder, yet some how everyone was able to build these amazing systems with limited effort and resources. As I started to go through the interview data though, I happened upon a different concept. I wanted to analyze where this community came from, because everyone talked about community but never identified who that entailed. What caused this vibrant community to emerge that keeps this chaos managable?

I landed upon a phrase that seemed to resonate with others as well: Information Altruism. Information Altruism is the concept identified in my research that it isn’t Free Open Source Software that changes the nature of work, not in itself anyway. It’s the application of a community that utilizes that FOSS and more specifically applies the notions of free and time-banks to traditionally vendor and pay based ecosystems. Information Altruism provides a case study in how the intentional donation of efforts can alter the concept of effort and work within an organization.

The research showcases that a community can emerge out of the sustained donation of effort. Thank you to everyone in our local community for support over the years and to the Drupal community at large. Nothing I do would be possible without you.

This isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning of a new chapter as our community matures and gains momentum. Ex Uno Plures.