Governance Readiness Working Group

Hi everybody,

Independent of this effort (I’m discovering SustainOSS working groups right now), myself and a few colleagues have been working on a draft of an open source governance chapter for The Open Source Way.

It covers a variety of topics including "what is governance, and what are the roles and responsibilities in projects that are typically gated in some way), why explicitly defining governance policies is useful, how projects typically evolve over time to add more policies, and then a number of project governance archetypes.

I would love to hear feedback on it, and as with all TOSW content, it is very liberally licensed, and I would love to hear if any of it could be useful for the SustainOSS governance readiness guide.



Hi @dneary, welcome!

thanks for the reference. The initiative for the guide looks exciting. I’ve skimmed the chapter and it looks quite complete. I’ll read it carefully asap.

I would like to invite you to our next meeting so you can introduce the work and we can discuss potential actions and collaborations. I’ll send you the meeting details.

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Sounds good! Thank you for the invitation.

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Hi everyone,

thanks for indicating your availability for the meeting, here you are the details.

Second meeting: Thursday, June 4th, 2020 @ 15:00 UTC

For your convenience, some time zone conversions are:

  • California: 08:00 PDT
  • New York: 11:00 EDT
  • London: 16:00 BST
  • Madrid: 17:00 CEST


This is a tentative agenda. Feel free to propose new entries.

  • [5m] Welcome
  • [15-20m] Review of poll results
    • Prioritization results, user profiling, etc.
    • How to enrich our questions with these results?
  • [25-30m] Next (final?) steps
    • Could we create a template to guide developers to define governance models?
    • Could we rely on external tools such as CommunityRule to create these models?
    • How could we consider the development status of the project?
  • [XXm] Open questions

Making the meeting effective

To make the most of the meeting, it would be nice that participants have a look at these things:

  1. To do: Check the 2-pages-long report of the poll results

    Why: It summarizes the results of the last action and may enable further discussion

    Optional: You can also check the full report

  2. To do: Check the updates on the Mapping Exercise. Columns I to P.

    Why: It is the main impact of the previous results in the outcome of this Working Group

  3. To do: Think possible ways to wrap these results in a nice deliverable :slight_smile:

    Why: It will help us to identify the next (final?) action for the working group.

Joining the call

We will use Google Hangouts for the call. I’ll send the details of the event to the confirmed attendees. If you have not participated in the doodle but wanna join, just contact me.

I am looking forward to our next chat!

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This is what I am most interested in. An idea I wanted to pitch was to create a site similar to Except instead of choosing licenses, it would be “choose a governance model” or something else clever. This allows us to leverage the categorization work in the spreadsheet and focus on easier interfaces for people to think about how to organize and govern their software communities.

Thanks for the homework. This is useful for me since I haven’t been able to keep up on the doc work closely.

Me too!

Good example to illustrate what we could reach with the data we have. However, I see that goal a bit far, as we need to properly map the categorization + their answers with specific governance models.

Let’s discuss it tomorrow during the call :yum:

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Oops, just discovered that the time conversions were not right (and not aligned with the timeslot voted in Doodle). Just fixed! Sorry for the inconvenience.

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So sad, I had to miss the call. Hope you had a successful meeting and looking forward to a report.

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Thanks everyone for participating in the second meeting of this Working Group. In the following, you will find the video recording of the call and some summary notes.

Watch the recording




  1. Javier Cánovas
  2. Justin W. Flory
  3. Georgia Bullen
  4. Nathan Schneider
  5. Maggie Cawley
  6. Dave Neary


Review of Poll results

  • @jlcanovas presented a quick review of the Poll result for the three main dimensions surveyed.
  • @jwf asked about the actual meaning of the issue “Accessibility of governance model” in the Barriers and Needs dimension. @georgiamoon clarified that such an issue might be related to the Principles of Authentic Participation, as it refers to the ability of newcomers to enable their participation in the project.

Next steps

  • @jlcanovas first presented the following four possible working lines and opened the room for discussion.
    • Create a template with most-voted elements to help to define explicit governance models
    • Enrich CommunityRule to consider these questions
    • Illustrate most liked elements with real-life examples.
    • Frame questions according to the starting point and development status of the project
  • During the discussion time, these are some ideas that appeared:
    • Leverage on CommunityRule templates to provide guidelines for governance models in open source projects. They can also be used to recommend specific models
    • It would be nice to enable the collaborative definition of the guidelines.
    • Although CommunityRule provides a general approach for governance, it could be easily reused/adapted for software projects.
    • Choosealicense is an excellent example of what we could provide in the working group, but for governance models.
    • As an outcome for the working group, a website (or web-based resource) is much more suitable than a report.
    • There was agreement on working on a prototype website, including the main recommendations/questions/elements explored in this working group.

Action items

  • @jlcanovas: Create a first version of a webpage, which will include a set of recommendations (based on the questions/elements identified) to create governance models. Nathan commented that he can also help with this.
  • @jwf: Technical help to create the repository for the website at SustainOSS
  • Rest of the group: Review the website

Where do we go from here?

I think that deploying and creating the website would be a nice final contribution from this working group. I visualize the site as a two-step workflow where users can (1) check that they have considered most of the questions they need to face to create governance models and (2) draft a first versión of their governance model. This is just an idea for now, but it will be refined in the coming days.

I’ll keep you informed about the advances. Feel free to chip in whenever you want.


Ey! I’ve just published some notes about the meeting. I hope you can make it next time! :slight_smile:

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Oops forgot to follow-up on this! What is your GitHub account? I will add you to the GitHub organization so you can create a repo. :smile: (FYI: @jdorfman / @RichardLitt)

What do you think of a “governance checklist” that we co-publish as a Guide on the CommunityRule website?

P.S. – thanks for these awesome notes and summaries!

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No problem! My GitHub account is jlcanovas. Adding me to the organization will be more than enough (is there any kind of governance rules to create repos?)

Good point, our checklist could actually be seen as a guide for CommunityRule :smile:

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Perfect—except I found out I actually don’t have permissions. It has to be @jdorfman, @pia, or @RichardLitt. Could one of y’all help get @jlcanovas added to the Sustainers GitHub organization?

I think in this case, it might make more sense for us to team up with CommunityRule instead of building our own platform. I think anything we create or do will have better visibility there, provided upstream is willing to accept our patches. (Guess it helps to have upstream involved in our W.G.! :wink: )

Maybe we don’t need to create a new git repo after all?

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Done image

@jlcanovas Keep up the great work!

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I visualize the website as the “idea/proposal/motivation site” and the CommunityRule as the “solution” (one of). While the website can illustrate the steps we made in the working group, summarizing the ideas, questions, and survey; I don’t think the CommunityRule should be so descriptive.

Also, I think it would be better to have a landing page living on the SustainOSS side to collect the resources created in the working group (as they are currently scattered in several docs and spreadsheets).

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I’m thinking about the website - Besides the existing Governance Readiness page, we can add more pages for you. Does that current page work, or do you want to have more of a stand-alone resource on the Sustain site?

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I was thinking about a stand-alone resource to have more freedom with HTML/CSS/JS. However, if the final version is “just” a HTML webpage, it could replace the current website in SustainOSS portal. Let me advance a bit more in the website and we’ll see what’s the best solution.

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Whatever works best for you. We have full control over the website, so you’re not limited, there.

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I think the CommunityRule Guides and Templates are a good home for the content we are interested in. Personally I am -1 to creating a new resource we accept sole responsibility to maintain. I think it makes more sense to collaborate with an existing “upstream” since upstream is participating in this Working Group. :slightly_smiling_face:

I also think this will give broader visibility to our work and ideas by publishing it on an existing platform instead of creating something new. And it also helps upstream CommunityRule build a more useful community resource.

Putting something up on the Sustain OSS site is a good idea, but I think this should be a summary / recap of the Working Group efforts. In other words, something we do not need to maintain and keep up-to-date. I think the Sustain website should be a redirect for an interested person to learn about our work and discover where they can join the active conversation.


This is actually what I had in mind as well. All in all, I think I see you point and agree with you.

I plan to explore how to solve this in the coming days (it’s exam time at my uni and days are becoming quite crazy as we moved to virtual exams and exceptions are coming from everywhere).

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