It is important that the Drupal community understand that I reached out to Lingotek and chose to promote their services within the Webform module's UX. Lingotek has made and continues to make amazing contributions to Drupal and the community. I want to thank them for allowing me to promote their services in such an experimental way.
Removing the paid promotion
"I do not agree, promotions of third-party services does not belong anywhere in the site"
The Drupal community needs to explore ways to help support and fund core contributors and project maintainers. The goal of the paid promotion experiment was to see how everyone, including myself, felt about this concept.
Yes, the promotions of third-party services within a module's UX could open some floodgates that could create a horrendous user experience and first impression of Drupal. First impressions are very important, Drupal and the Webform module need to make a good one.
Without a doubt, it would be great if Acquia fully funded the Webform module, but this would not solve the larger problem of how to support and fund contributions to Drupal and Open Source projects. Even if they were to fund it, there is only so much that Acquia can do. Drupal's 100,000+ active contributors have, and will always be able to, contribute more than any single organization.
A Broader Solution
At the moment, I don't have any solutions. I am focusing on getting a stable release of the Webform module out in 2018. For me, removing the promotion before tagging a release candidate (RC) pre-Christmas is a necessity. And now, I just have a few end-of-the-year thoughts and feelings I’d like to share.
Open Source and Free Software Are Not the Same
Over time, I've come to realize that most people don't fully understand that Open Source software is not equal to "Free Software". In many cases people assume that I am being paid to contribute to Drupal. The truth is that I didn’t make any money from my partnership with Lingotek. The only nominal income I have ever received from the Webform module came from a few small one-off feature requests.
Contributing Helps Us All
From the moment someone downloads and installs Drupal, they should take the time to become a member of the Drupal Association and to educate themselves about the Drupal Community and how they can contribute back to Drupal - it’s time well-spent for everyone and an investment that reaps benefits for all of us. And being part of a community requires - and thrives on - give and take from all of its members.
People come for the software, but stay for the community
Every Drupal relationship begins with the installing and using the software. Many people, including myself, install Drupal and use it for years and don’t look back. They fail to see the value of contributing anything back to the community. That needs to change. We need to raise awareness regarding the importance of contributing back to the community, to make it easier to contribute, and ultimately change everyone's long-term mindset when using Open Source software. A natural byproduct of contribution is feeling as if you’re part of something. You become invested and the investment means you see the value - both your own and that of others. Drupal, its community, and its association are no exceptions.
I am going to continue to plug away and experiment with the Webform module however, I do feel it is important to explain my approach and why I am "not asking for forgiveness".
Not asking for forgiveness
"It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission."
I first heard the above quote in reference to Uber's aggressive expansion policy, which made me assume that this quote originated from a business giant, assumingly male. Well, I was wrong and what a wonderful feeling to be wrong. Turns out, the quote is attributed to Grace Hopper, one of the pioneers of computer programming.
Another variant of Grace's quote is...
"If it's a good idea, go ahead and do it. It is much easier to apologize than it is to get permission."
I like this version even better because the concept of a "good idea" can be interpreted in many ways. Open Source is a good idea, driven by good people who are hoping to do some good in the world.
I am not seeking permission or forgiveness. Rather, I sincerely want to solve the challenging problem of funding Open Source development and hopefully, make the lives of Open Source developers, including myself, easier. I want the next generation of developers and business owners to feel that contributing to Open Source projects is part of their professional life - that it will further their career and/or business and help them financially succeed in the world. Ultimately, the Webform module may not support my family and me. Minimally, I do feel Open Source should be able to generate enough revenue that some student in college can pay their tuition.
This is easily my favorite personal blog post to date because my original subject matter "removing paid promotions" shifted from acknowledging a failed experiment to including great quotes from an amazing person. I’d like to end with another one of Grace Hooper's quotes.
“Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, ‘We've always done it this way.’ I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.”