Governance WG: Reboot

Hey ya’ll :wave: I’ve been thinking about this more and more, and, through talking to others, I want to get the Governance WG up and running again. There are a few things I would initially like to look into scoping out work for:

  • Making a post-Ostrom workshop for how to apply the principles in practice to open source projects
  • Building a standard for talking about governance in an open source project, and then implementing a registry of that standard
  • Write some resources for how to change your governance style in your OSS project.

I think much of this work would be influenced by the previous Goverance with @greggish and @jlcanovas, but there’s some other people I would be interested in seeing if we could collaborate with, too, like @juliaferraioli and @abbycabs. Some of the impetus for this came out of the Sustain Together a few weeks ago, with @coni2k in particular.

Let’s find a good time. I am going to suggest next Thursday at 1:00pm ET. What do you think?


Hi @RichardLitt – Do you have a sense how possible it would be to lurk, to listen and learn from the working group? I’m not terribly convinced I have unique contributions, but if this is an open meeting that welcomes (or even just tolerates!) observers I’d be really interested in following.

Have you looked at the work happening at IEEE on this topic: IEEE Computer Society Open Source Software Project Governance Working Group?

There seems to be at least some overlap.

Matthew: It is possible to lurk! It’s an open meeting.

@tobie Yes, I’m in that group with you! Another overlap is the Metagov community,

In what way would you say this works differs from what IEEE is planning to do?

1 Like

I currently don’t have the bandwidth to commit to the reboot.

@tobie raised a good question - I believe there are areas that the IEEE standard cannot cover and resources that would not be created as part of the standardization process. I think Sustain can innovate faster and create MVP tools. (This might even help the IEEE standard).

Hi Richard,

I love this idea and love talking about Governance with people. But, I can’t do it next Thursday at 1pm ET. I could do 2pm ET on Thursday, in case that helps.



Hi Richard,

happy to participate in this re-spawn of the working group! And thanks for reactivating the initiative :partying_face:

Regarding the discussion about the work by IEEE. I’m also involved and see some overlapping, but I agree with @GeorgLink, I believe we can be more executive. As far as I see, the IEEE standard process will take its time.

Thursday at 1pm ET suits perfect for me (19:00 CEST)


Thanks for sharing this @RichardLitt – That time works for me and I’d be interested to see how the conversation goes.

I’m very interested although can’t do next thursday 1p ET or afterward. I’d have some time earlier in that day. or Fridays are a bit easier for me.

Please sign me up! Meeting Richard and a lot of other great folks at the sustainability thing last month was really energizing.

To Tobie: some differences between here and the IEEE group are speed and practicality. There are a lot of different efforts in related spaces; I get the feeling (and hope) that Richard is hoping to attract people to build a good-enough taxonomy/registry/whatever that has lots of practical aspects to it, so it can be directly useful to communities. Then once IEEE eventually publishes something, we can figure out the appropriate linking from their comprehensive and academic taxonomy and whatever this group comes up with.

At least, that’s the feel I got at the sustainability event: talking to a lot of great researchers with very relevant ideas, but as a practicioner, I need something more directly relevant to “end users”, so to speak.

See Also: Some folks elsewhere around Open Collective are trying to setup a collective to help provide support for open source projects that might come to OC with governance and the like: might be a lot of cross-interest:

I should have clarified further about standard - I don’t mean an IEEE standard. Obviously, IEEE has that covered. I meant something more like a file. I’d also just be interested to talk about it. @tobie, I think that the IEEE is doing good work, but I’m not 100% caught up on how that work is progressing. Would you be able to join to share about that? I’m curious. If nothing else, I want to have an overview built of all of the different governance things going on. I’m not looking to create extra work for anyone - if other places are doing this work, great, let’s not meet again.

Anyone want to set up a Doodle poll to find a more suitable time? It would be great to have Greg and Deb there.

1 Like

Note: Some more context comes from the Sutain together conversation, here. Replicated below, and not edited from the original notes:

  • An interesting meta-survey of past research papers that evaluate open source project health in some way or another. Well worth reviewing to see if some of their source papers are ready to operationalize to help categorize governance in real projects at scale:
    • Shane: Looking for research papers about sustainability. They went through snowball review, 100+ research papers about specific metrics about OS governance. Can it be another CHAOSS metric? Here’s the best generic description of governance.
    • Anita: We can look into the paper.
    • Richard: Do we have any link about CHAOSS on what they’re working on?
    • Anita: Elizabeth Barron or Sean Goggins can help about it?
    • Richard: Interesting convo with Julia Ferrioli on the governance metrics. How can you get funds?
    • Relevant video from Johan Linåker from OSPOCon 2022: What to Share, When, and Where - Creating a Distributed and Efficient Contribution… Johan Linåker
    • Shane: Having a structure about governance; small decision making. At Apache, training courses. Can we point to a specific metric?
      • Action item: Richard is going to startup on governance group. The idea is meet in once in 2-3 weeks whoever is interested. How to make tutorials? Not entirely OS focused. Actionable items. Can we allocate funds for that work?
    • Osioke: How to make it more community-led?
    • Richard: All communities have some sort of governance.
    • Shane: Sustainability conference; setting expectations. One governance document says I’m the BDFL, which settles the expectation.
      • Action item: Create three starter files to describe the governance model of a project that people can just drop in their repo to describe very simple governance situations. This is just a small first step of normalizing culture to think about governance for smaller/new projects. GitHub, Abby?

Done: governancemd/ at 6e4f80251e0493ff46e85443ac8383fd57594494 · RichardLitt/governancemd · GitHub.

Happy to participate, but my availability on Thursday may change depending on interviews. I’ll hope to be able to join!


I’ve created this Doodle:

I’ve tried to cover @greggish and @eximious time constraints, and also added some slots on Wednesday/Friday to explore other options. All of them are in the morning (ET) or afternoon (CEST), I hope it suits for people in other time zones.


1 Like

Fingers crossed we have a good time (and I can make it).

In related news Richard inspired me to ask GitHub to make a “Default community health” file as a way to suggest to new repo owners that it’s a good idea to have one. Anyone with suggestions on how to convince GitHub to accept the PR appreciated:


Thanks, Javi!

Everyone, please fill out the doodle by Tuesday!

@ShaneCurcuru Interesting! I started filling out GitHub - RichardLitt/governancemd: A start at something. on Friday, too.

Nice! I’ll follow your petition, I hope it succeeds! :crossed_fingers:

related to this, I’ve just published GitHub template repository with best practices, where I shared a repo I’ve create to help scaffolding projects (including also a file). I hope it also helps!

1 Like

@jlcanovas Looks like Thursday at 1:00pm works best. Want to lock it down?


This the event data:

Governance WG: Reboot

April 13, 2023 • 1-2 PM (ET) / 7-8 PM (CEST)

You may have received an invitation to the calendar event.

Should we use the Google Meet of the Calendar event for the call? or do you prefer other platform (zoom, etc.)?