Prague: A conference tee critique

This blog post is more than 4 years old, so the content may be out of date.

[edit] A few people have tweeted surprise about interpreting the slogan this way, and the organisers have commented to note that the double-meaning wasn't intentional.

We've had some great Drupalcon t-shirts over the years. London played on its punk heritage with a Druplicon roundel design inspired by The Who, Munich referenced classic Bavarian dress, Denver incorporated the region's climbing axe symbology…

At Drupalcon Prague, the official T-shirt punned database terminology against Prague's stag city reputation, with the slogan 'One to many'.

It's the first Drupalcon t-shirt that I will never wear again.

I can imagine how the slogon was - with the best of intentions - thought up. It's an amusing pun. It gets in a lot of references. It picks up the fact that as a community, we tend to drink a lot at conferences.

The problem is this: it celebrates the *worst* part of our culture. Yes, Prague might be associated with stag and hen events and extremely drunk behaviour. And yes, at Drupalcons, many of us drink, many of us - yes, myself included - get drunk, and sometimes get overly drunk. But this is not something to celebrate. If I get drunk, that's definitely something to keep in the 'personal' corner of my life, not the 'professional' corner. I do it on my own time…and sometimes that does coincide with a conference (mainly because I have more free time, and the inevitable hangover is easier to deal with)…but it's not something I want to associate with the conference, or do during regular work hours.

And sadly, the t-shirt especially emphasises *inappropriate* drinking. I'm not comfortable representing that in my professional life, so this t-shirt will be going to the clothes bank.

So Drupalcon organisers, when you next sit down to design a t-shirt, please take a moment to consider whether this is a message the Drupal community can be proud of. We've had some beautiful, relevant and witty designs, and I've got plenty of space left in my wardrobe for more :-)

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Comments

I thought it was a bad joke but with good meaning (which is a shame after having probably the nicest druplicon drop I've seen) - I certainly drunk less and did more Drupal this DrupalCon than any previously... if we can bring the Drupal message to more places (and not just up and leave after a week!) we could get millions doing less drinking and more Drupal, and that's a Good Thing!

That interpretation of the t-shirt message is news to me.

But in other news - would you really be wearing a t-shirt - especially a freebie drupal t-shirt in any professional environment, and if yes maybe you should be questioning your personal clothing choices for work rather than banging on about a free t-shirt promoting boozing? :-)

Mine will do well for mowing the lawn in and eventually painting stuff around the house.

(currently sat in my drupal dev days 2013 green one feeling ill)

would you really be wearing a t-shirt - especially a freebie drupal t-shirt in any professional environment?

We've gone past the days when "professional" meant suit + tie. Plenty of professional offices allow casual dress, but they'd disapprove pretty quickly if your t-shirt was carrying a swear word, or perhaps an invitation to get drunk.

As the Drupal Association's Membership and Marcomm Manager and as a member of the team that organized DrupalCon Prague, I can assure you there was no pun intended.

The "One to Many" theme was meant to be an analogy between Drupal and the Prague astronomical clock. The clock was first built by a clockmaker and over the centuries, additional craftsmen contributed to the clock, incorporating its calendar dial, sculptures, moving statues, and figures of the Apostles. Similarly, numerous contributors have grown and maintained Drupal over time. What started as a well-built tool has evolved into a standout platform with diverse facets and capabilities.

We hope this will give you a new perspective on your T-shirt! :-)

Joe Saylor
Membership and Marcomm Manager, Drupal Association

So sorry to disappoint you Marcus, but the "clever meanings" you assign to the slogan are meanings which you've found by yourself. I can tell you with complete overview of the slogan selection process that no humor, dark or otherwise was intended. Further, seeing Prague as a "stag city" is a problem fortunately limited only to the British.

WIth such a diverse community, Drupal means many things to each of us who uses it. With rich internationalization, the complex possibilities opened up with D8 as a component of service oriented architectures and the many types of sites that Drupal can be used to implement, it is one product that has many meanings in today's Internet ecosystem.

Drupal in many ways is truly one to many.

This was the genesis of the slogan. The slogan was found attractive by many of the planning team specifically due to its ambiguity, and I'm happy that you've found a way to add your own personal meaning to the many meanings that others of the community have found for themselves.

Best wishes and I hope you can enjoy wearing your Drupalcon t-shirt knowing that the conference slogan was penned with only the best of intentions.

Andrew

Thanks for sending me an email requesting I read and reply if I feel like to your response after reading yours if I have any new knowledge. To me, it makes it even more obvious it's a symbol, especially with the symbol next to the "to" to make it look like "to*" which may look like "too" from a distance. And of course the line "one to many" which many non-databasers will know as we walk around with it.

Not sure if you're a bot or not, but sure, I'll play along. And thanks Marcus for bringing the subject up - I'm not sure what happened between a stunning logo and a symbol strapline but not much we can do now apart from either dump the t-shirt marcus style or explain to everyone we meet that from just one moment in time you can change many lives with Drupal, so don't just use it - spread the word and wear the shirt, stopping everyone you meet who gives you a stare and explain there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Or something like that, my foot hurts.

Thank you for all the comments and clarifications, and it's great to hear the story of how the slogan came about.

A few have suggested that I've invented my own meaning or I'm seeing something that isn't there - alas, this double-meaning didn't spring from the fertile grounds of my imagination. Actually I didn't think about the slogan until I heard other people joking about it, on day one of the conference.

It's good to hear that the alternative interpretation was unintentional. Unfortunately, once you've seen it (much like Toyota's MR2, whose unfortunate French pronunciation meant it had to be renamed the MR for the French market), you can no longer see the slogan without thinking of the double meaning.

Anyway, it's not like I don't already have plenty of T-shirts. Perhaps this sounded like an angry rant, and that wasn't intended either. I just wanted to comment that it's a shame that the t-shirt carries this negative interpretation, even if that meaning was unintended.

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