Governance WG: Reboot

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.


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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!

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@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.)?

Thank you, @jlcanovas!

I am happy to host this. I’ve started a basic agenda and set up a Zoom link, in the doc. See you tomorrow!

Note - starting now. See SustainOSS Governance WG – April 2023 - Google Docs for details.

Good group today - a tough introductory discussion to unknot! I think here’s a few things we can focus on going forward:

  • Working on an OSS Governance definition
  • Building a resource that will help people make their projects more sustainable easily, without invoking the word governance, but will get them to a point where they can use it today and then be in a place where a deeper workshop (á la Shauna’s Python work or Javi/Greg’s ostrom questions) can be applied more easily
  • Working on identifying metrics that can show the state of the governance in a project for the purpose of mass collection of data, and looking at other work that is ongoing elsewhere on this project

I think the second one would be most useful, here, but I think these are all three related to each other in any event. I think the third is also really interesting, but I need to know more about what CHAOSS already does here.


I’d offer a fourth option here (or maybe this is a subset of the second one?): define the critical information pieces that we would want to know about a project and that aren’t generally provided. Make it super easy to provide that information.

For example:

  • who has admin access to the repo?
  • who has admin access to the package manager?
  • what the the story if those people disappear overnight?
  • how are decisions made to merge a pull request, close an issue, give admin / write access to someone ?
  • who makes those decisions?
  • is there a CoC and related email?
  • is there a vulnerability disclosure policy and related email?
  • etc.

Tobie – yes most of these questions are already included in the initial matrix that we put together. Would be glad to see this elaborated and refined and then designed into something useful.

Great. Then the exercise can be to curate that list to keep just the most essential questions around.

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Greetings all! I’m Charlie Schweik, a faculty at UMass Amherst, and I met some of you at an event I co-organized at the Internet Archive in San Francisco. Greg Bloom reminded me of this reboot and I’m joining… will try to participate. Like all of you I’m sure, bandwidth is lean. But this is an exciting group in my view. I’ll lurk and will be learning this platform. Thanks to Sustain OSS for hosting this!

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Thanks for coming here, Charlie! Good to have you.

Everyone: It seems that we had some ideas as to how to move forward from the last call, but we didn’t arrange a follow-up meeting to resolve them. Shall we meet again on Thursday the 25th at 1:00pm ET (same time as last time)?

Hi folks – I have a hold on my calendar for tomorrow at 1p ET for this conversation, with no information in it… I must have put it down when @RichardLitt suggested it, but now I see we might not have confirmed.

Do we want to talk tomorrow? What’s our agenda? I could do it, and do have at least one update to share… but could easily put that time to other use. lmk.

Hi everyone,

as Greg, I added the event on my calendar but with no additional details.

Do we have the call today? What’s the agenda? From my side I have little (almost nothing) to report but I can try to make it.


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Thanks Greg!

I, strangely, did not have this on my calendar. I am sorry about that!

I suggest that we postpone for two weeks for a couple of reasons - first, I want to give people adequate time; second, I want to see how the dust settles with the IEEE group, which is under a change of leadership right now. Could we meet on June 8th?

On june 8th i have a thing that runs til 130p ET but could jojn right after that.

what would be our agenda?