For the first time in over a decade, Centarro will not have a booth at DrupalCon North America. In this post I explain why and share how to find Drupal Commerce content at the event or to plan personal connections in Pittsburgh instead.
While I was eager to exhibit and had already paid, I rescinded my sponsorship after the event added a mask mandate in February. At this point, enforced masking provides dubious benefit to anyone while degrading the conference experience for everyone. It suppresses the value of exhibiting through reduced exhibit hall engagement, impacting all of our sponsors who pay tens of thousands of dollars and help make the event a success. It disrupts the main purpose of gathering together - socializing with and collaborating with our peers. I could not in good conscience ask my staff to exhibit in masks or to consent to the guidelines in advance but ignore them in person, as was the practical result of similar rules in last year's DrupalCons.
To be clear, my position should not glibly be dismissed as anti-mask. It is instead a reasonable, “trust the science and public health experts” position. I regularly masked and tested at my own expense for events throughout the pandemic. However, we knew in February the Department of HHS was planning for the federal Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 to expire on May 11, one month before DrupalCon Pittsburgh. We knew the vast majority of governments, transportation authorities, public events, private venues, and more had dropped mask mandates (including all relevant parties in Pittsburgh). We know our own CDC advises that those at high risk wear appropriate PPE or refrain from visiting crowded public spaces, regardless of the masking habits of those crowds.
Rather than give those who are concerned or who are at high risk a false assurance that our policies will make the event safer for them, I requested DrupalCon adopt a policy like DrupalSouth’s, reminding attendees to take personal responsibility for their health, conforming to but not exceeding public health policies. My appeal was not successful, so I requested and received a refund, having made my case as clearly and objectively as I could. If you have similar concerns or frustrations, I encourage you to share your feedback with the Drupal Association through their survey. I hope we aren’t faced with the same decision at DrupalCon Lille and beyond.
In the meantime, I’m still excited to attend DrupalCon Pittsburgh personally and to share what I and my team have been doing. To learn more about Drupal Commerce at the event itself, consider joining my talk “Selling file downloads and certificates through Drupal Commerce” on Tuesday at 3 PM in Room 310-311. This talk is based on Centarro’s work in a couple recent engagements that advanced the feature set of Drupal Commerce in exciting ways. You should also check out Mohammed Razem’s talk “How Drupal powers the global UN Refugee Agency fundraising platform” on Tuesday at 11:30 AM in Room 315-316. The UNHCR’s work is critical, and I’m excited to see what Vardot has built for them with Drupal Commerce!
I’d love to see you at either talk, and I would be happy to hang out afterwards in the “courtyard” track where the solar system's oldest disinfectant can smile back at us. 🌞
I’m also really looking forward to the various “barcade” parties planned for the week, and I will happily accept challenges to games of Joust or Robotron 2084 from anyone who is prepared to lose. 😘
Feel free to use my contact form here or on Centarro.io to request a meeting about Drupal Commerce or to discuss how we might be of service to you. I’ll accommodate as many folks as I can throughout the week. See you soon! ✌🏻