Episode 39

Leaderboards and Metrics at Drupal.org with Matthew Tift and Tim Lehnen


16 July 2021

59 mins 8 secs

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Special Guests

About this Episode


Georg Link | Nicole Huesman | Sean Goggins


Tim Lehnen | Matthew Tift



Show Notes

Today, we are lucky to have two representatives from the Drupal community. Our two guests are Tim Lehnen, CTO of the Drupal Association, and Matthew Tift, Lead Engineer at Lullabot, who has been involved in the Drupal Project since 2010. They are here today to talk about who contributes to open source and how do we understand this in the Drupal Community. We also learn the meaning behind Tim and Matthew’s catchphrases, “Build a better picture of how open source gets built” and “Building a better understanding of corporate citizenship in open source.” Download this episode now to find out much more! Don’t forget to subscribe for free to this podcast and share this podcast with your friends and colleagues.

[00:02:13] Tim and Matthew introduce themselves and tell us what they do and how they got into the Drupal community.

[00:06:18] Tim and Matthew talk about what the Drupal community is doing to really be this community that it is today.

[00:13:14] Nicole wonders how Tim and Matthew go about putting a pulse on who’s contributing from a non-code perspective, and if there are ways that they surface these contributors either through reports or other ways. They talk about the mechanics of what they do.

[00:18:43] Tim talks about one of the key considerations of the initial design is wanting to avoid giving people too much paperwork, and Tim tells us the two catchphrases they came up.

[00:20:15] Matt talks about an analysis that he did with Dries Buytaert called, “Who sponsors Drupal development?”

[00:25:16] Tim talks about two points that were brought up by Matt and Nicole earlier about the value of understanding who gets paid to the work and the different roles and historically unnoticed roles in open source.

[00:28:24] We learn more about what we can do with the data when we capture it really well. Tim talks about the cool data they gathered and what they did with it, and the experiment they are trying out at the Drupal Association.

[00:38:43] Georg asks Tim how the issue tracker is being used and how has that collaboration shaping up there.

[00:49:16] Nicole asks if Tim and Matthew if they report out on the diversity of the Drupal community and if they’ve seen upticks or changes.

[00:52:24] Find out where you can follow Tim and Matthew and their work online. They also share advice for communities that want to adopt a system and resources or any starting points.


[00:17:25] “It’s organizing these different events, it’s writing a blog, it’s all of these different things that we do to, it’s the so what who cares, it’s the translating the lines of code into, you know at heart I’m a storyteller, so it’s really translating these lines of code into why is that important to our broader world.”

[00:19:48] “Building a better picture of how open source gets built” and “Building a better understanding of corporate citizenship in open source,” were two of our sort of like catch phrases.”

[00:31:57] “So if your organization sponsors a lot of people’s time you get to come up right on top of the list, you get more business and leads, you’re rewarded for sponsoring your developers to work on the project, and that encourages you to do it more.”

[00:38:08] “Nobody in our community wants people to feel bad, so we’re trying to tweak this. We’re trying to work on our algorithms, our marketplace page as a committee that could probably talk about that studying this.”

[00:42:12] “So, we have our contribution recognition committee which has access to what the true weights are. We don’t publish the exact numbers of those variables because gaming the system is something you have to look out for and manage and review periodically.”

[00:44:48] “And I think for me, there is still the sense that you can use these data in different kinds of ways and one of them is to sort of rank people. And I think in another way, one of the more interesting views is to kind of understand the diversity of the community, to try and understand what sort of initiatives are important to organizations, and what initiatives are important to say, volunteers.”

Adds (Picks) of the week

  • [00:53:51] Georg’s pick is the Nebraska Passport Program.
  • [00:54:38] Nicole’s pick is traveling to Massachusetts and Maine with her son this summer.
  • [00:55:27] Sean’s pick is a book called, The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn _by Richard W. Hamming. _
  • [00:55:57] Tim’s pick is working with his brother on building a PC Case Mod with custom water cooling, and it’s NASA themed.
  • [00:56:44] Matthew’s pick is a book called, Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias _in a World Designed for Men _by Caroline Criado Perez.


CHAOSS Project Twitter
CHAOSScast Podcast
Matthew Tift Website
Matthew Tift Twitter
Matthew Tift Linkedin
Tim Lehnen-Drupal
Tim Lehnen Twitter
Tim Lehnen Linkedin
Drupal Contribution Credit
OpenStack Diversity Report
“Who sponsors Drupal development?” (2019-2020 edition)
CHAOSScast Podcast-Episode 20-CHAOSS + FINOS: Lessons Learned with Rob Underwood
GitLab issue, proposing to add the Drupal system-Tim Lehnen
Drupal Diversity & Inclusion
Nebraska Passport Program
The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn by Richard W. Hamming
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez

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