Governance WG: Reboot

The Academia WG is for both OSS in academia and for research on academia. You could ask on the 28th if people are interested, but that might be a bit late? There’s no way at the moment to ping everyone who might be interested outside of this forum and asking on the #sustain-academic room on the Slack. I’ll throw this there just in case.

Wednesday evening should work for me, EST. We can bring Javi up to speed after. 8:00pm?

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I’m usually unplugged by 8p and I like to keep it that way, so unless there’s urgency around specific issues that we need to discuss, perhaps you can spend that time reviewing and providing input to the text, and we can find other time maybe next week when my brain will still be in work gear to tie up any loose ends?

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Works for me. :slight_smile: I’ll set aside some time to take a look.

I am new to the conversation (completely! Please RTFM me into oblivion so I can catch up). I have been thinking about this from a particular perspective, but I think my thoughts overlap with many that are here. What I’m interested in (specifically) is how to ensure governance processes remain light (so small projects do not feel burdened).

I can see some of the mentioned documents above, but I wonder if someone would be willing to look over what I have, so I know what would be best to bring here (and how), or would be better directed to another area of the community?

I feel like I’ve been living under a rock. :wink:

Welcome, Erin! No RTFM’s here, that’s aggressive! I think the best way to get caught up may be to come to the next call, which we don’t currently have planned. I hear you on wanting governance to remain light - that’s a good focus we haven’t spent a lot of time on. @greggish and @jlcanovas can probably point you to better resources around their work with Ostrom’s guidelines (or, see here: Governance Guidance | A Space for Open Source Sustainers).

Next week is tough for me for organizing a meeting - perhaps on Thursday? Is there a time that works for you, @jlcanovas, as you’re the easternmost of us? @ebullient, what timezone are you in?

I am US Eastern time (time zones are the worst).

RTFMs are not always evil, it depends on the tone. My point was only to say, I am happy to be directed at things to read, and will take no offense from such recommendations. To that end, I will look at the resource you’ve suggested, and thank you for it. :wink:

Happy to attend. I look forward to it.


welcome @ebullient! Happy to see new people joining! Apart from the link Richard is sharing, you can also have a look at what we did before (Governance Readiness and Community Principles). The new Governance Guidance WG was born as a joint effort of those two.

Regarding the next call, @RichardLitt, I guess you propose Thursday September 21 (this Thursday, Sep 14, I’m unavailable) , what about 10h or 11h ET (16h or 17h CEST)?


Yes hi @ebullient ! Only thing I’d add is this summary here that synthesized the outputs from the 2nd (3rd?) SustainOSS gathering.

To your question about how to ensure governance processes remain light (which i think is a good one) here’s the answer that I offered at that event –

My sense of a ‘minimally viable governance model’ is that it would consist of the following specified in a document:

  1. The purpose of the project.
  2. A method by which decisions will be made and communicated.
  3. A method by which the previous items can be changed.

#1 and #2 will quickly become insufficient as a project grows, but #3 enables the document to evolve accordingly.

My suggested next steps after that (still just IMO) would be to articulate 1a) values and/or principles; 1b) the types of users and the way the project is committed to meet their needs. And then 2a) roles and responsibilities for contributors, eventually delineated across various types.

As for lightweight processes for evolving, I’d recommend the ‘advice process.’ Advice process plus everything above should go a long way at least with a group that is just getting started and/or has a high degree of trust.

On 9/21, I can do 8-10a ET or 2-7p ET

Hi Greg,

Thursday, September 21, at 10a ET (16h CEST) works for me!


Hang on I mean i can do 8a until 10a on 9/21!

Ooops, ok! then 9am ET (15h CEST) also suits :slight_smile:

That works for me, too.

Hi there – so are we aiming to talk this Thursday at 9a Eastern?

I will be pressed for time, as I am running an online event (with our friend Gunner) at 10a. So I would have about 30 min for this. Which may be sufficient, especially if everyone has read the material in advance and we have a clear agenda.

I think for the most part it’s all there, though the text will need a haircut in some places and elaboration in others. I’d like to bring the proposed components into tighter focus (i have notes on this) , and get your input onto what kind of activities we’d want to do, how it would be evaluated, and what team we’d need to do the work.

Last thought – who should set up the video chat? I can send around a calendar item with a Meet link, lmk.


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yes! I’m in for talking about this! I’ll take a look at the document to be prepared :nerd_face:

If you can create the calendar event + meet link, perfect!


I unfortunately won’t be able to make it for the whole thing. I haven’t had the time I would like to dedicate to this - been at a conference all week. I’ll see if I can join for 10-15 minutes.

OK i created a calendar item and invited @RichardLitt and @jlcanovas.

@ebullient I don’t have your email – please DM me if you’d like to join!

And anyone else who has read the doc and is ready to talk turkey please reach out.

I would like to join, but Governance WG calendar link does not work, so I don’t know the details. :wink:

Argh, I completely failed to schedule this! I see there’s a lot of new comments and activity in the Ford grant document Greg’s started, so it’s great to see progress. What are next steps that everyone besides Greg (who seems to be leading grant writing/submission) should look to do?

Hi @ebullient, I love the username. For context, we’ve been working on two things:

This WG wants to build a practical definition list of OSS governance terms:

Greg and Javier are leading a grant application to Ford for a very related topic:

Just in case anyone’s confused what key document we’re talking about!

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OK I just did another round of work although the content stuff was minor, i’m just trying to move things around in a format that is pretty frustrating (they ask four or five pretty redundant questions, hard to guess what distinctions they have in mind).

I can try to finish it up tomorrow or saturday although we’re pretty much steps from the finish line. We could probably benefit from getting more specific about roles.

And @RichardLitt I share your conviction that this ought to include a focus on non-Western audiences, but i doin’t think i’ve made a convincing case as to how we’ll engage on that front. Any suggestions? My thoughts about how we could address this go to questions about a) who we’d hire to work on it, and b) what our outreach strategy would be… but those are not complete thoughts.