Governance Readiness Working Group

Thanks @RichardLitt for organizing it! :partying_face:

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Thanks @RichardLitt! :blush:

If anyone else is keen on joining, here is the Doodle poll for next week. :slight_smile:

Hi everyone,

we will have a meeting to discuss the last comments of the thread. You are very welcome to join. These are the details:

Monday, November 2nd, 2020, at 11:00 ET / 17:00 CET


These are the main points motivating the meeting, but we are open to any additional one:

Making the meeting effective

  1. To do: Check the matrix produced by the Principles of Governing OSS Commons WG and enriched with the questions created at the Governance Readiness WG.
  2. To do: Have a look at the questions created in the Principles of Governing OSS Commons WG.
  3. To do: Have a look at the questions created in the Governance Readiness WG.

Joining the call

If you wanna join, just contact me or @RichardLitt


I wasn’t able to make the meeting on Monday, but curious to know how it went!


Hi @jwf and everyone, let me make a quick summary of the meeting:


  1. Javier Cánovas
  2. Greg Bloom
  3. Richard Littauer (enabler)


  • Governance readiness questions help complement/enrich the questions proposed by the Principles of Governing OSS Working Group. Also, dimensions from Ostrom’s framework are helpful in organizing governance readiness questions.

  • Proposal to align both working groups into a single effort. Existing working groups will conclude, and a new one concentrated on governance-related issues will start.

  • The new working group could be called “Governance Guide” or just “Governance.” In Discourse, there is already one tag for governance-related threads (i.e., “Governance Readiness”). Maybe we could reuse this title or just changed it to “Governance.”

  • The new working group would include initiatives such as elaboration on principles, a matrix of questions to ask frequently (joining ideas from previous WGs), etc. Any new ideas are welcome.

Open Questions

  • What should we do to make existing resources more useful/accessible? Some ideas include revisions to questions, academic paper, the evolution of the matrix, etc.

  • What other resources should we align these materials with? FOSSGovernance?

Please, do not hesitate to comment on any of the previous points :partying_face:


Hi there – I attended Seth Frey’s talk at the Ostrom Workshop about his research on the emergence of rules and governance in Minecraft communities. It was pretty interesting! (I also recommend this paper of his.)

Afterwards, I was talking with him about our work on governance at SustainOSS, and he invited us to present at one of MetaGov’s seminars.

MetaGov seems like a community of academics that are working on governance strategies in digital communities. I don’t know the structure of the group, but they include some of the folks who worked on Community.Rule and other relevant projects. Says Seth:

We’d be especially interested in your relationship with tech tools that facilitate the governance side, whether you’re eager about them, developing so, or entirely avoidant of them… The format is minimal prep: 15-20 min talk and the rest discussion.

I’d like to bring what we’ve done there and see how it might align with their work. Anyone else interested in joining before I go ahead and schedule something?



Hi @greggish ,

I discovered the MetaGov initiative via Nathan Schneider (developer behind and also attended some of their seminars, they are usually quite interesting. At that time, I didn’t think about presenting our advances in the working group due to lack of time.

I don’t know what you have on mind (maybe presenting the matrix with principles+questions?) but if you need some help, I can give you a hand.


Just want to share here this post from @Dr-G about Internews’ new Open Source Software Needs Assessment Toolkit

The toolkit helps identify the needs, pain points, opportunities, and strengths of open source tool teams. The output of the OSS Needs Assessment is a clear baseline picture of the health of the tool, the top 5 areas of concern for the tool team, and concrete, specific steps the team can take to achieve their vision and goals.

The plan is made available as a printable document at the end of the self-assessment. This document can then be leveraged to develop grant proposals and a clear rationale supporting the project’s need for various resources.

If your team decides to take the self-assessment, I’d love to hear your feedback on the experience!

I wonder if this might be a resource that we could cross-reference – even align with and promote alongside – our Governance Guide materials.


Thanks @greggish for sharing this. I found the resource quite useful, in particular, their scoring procedure. On the other hand, there is some lack of specific dimensions to measure as it actually seems to be a fraemwork. In any case, I think we could help on that with our questions :slight_smile:


Correct. The tool was designed as a framework to start conversations around what a project needs.

I spoke with the author, Gina Helfrich, on our podcast about the tool.

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I think we can. The tool has a category for Governance with the following answer options:

Score 0 : Does not meet Score 1 criteria

Score 1 : The project maintains a public list of its leadership.

Score 2 : The project’s leadership roster clearly states the roles and responsibilities of each leader.

Score 3 : There is documentation of how decisions are made within the project and how conflicts are resolved.

Score 4 : The project has clear and documented opportunities to move into leadership roles which are available to all contributors. There is documentation of how leadership transitions are to be managed. Key information for effective governance of the project is managed such that there is no single point of failure.

Score 5 : The project maintains an active pipeline of potential new leaders for the project, including succession planning and a clear outline of back-up support for all key leadership roles.

I think Governance here is particularly focused on leadership and transparency of control. Maybe we can have a conversation with Gina about adapting the Governance scoring to also include other areas of Governance?

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