Open Source Accountability Goals: Defining A Transparency Goal

Continuing a pair of working sessions at Sustain 2020 in Brussels, this working group will define a goal that encapsulates the need for transparency when interacting with the open source community.

Context

There were two sessions at Sustain that worked to define what it looked like for a company to be a good member of the open source community NOTES

The discussion led to the idea of defining a set of Open Source Accountability Goals. By defining a set of goals, companies could then set targets and work toward improvement and progress.

Proposed Open Source Accountability Goals

  1. Set and publish a goal for open source contribution relative to value capture.
  2. Adhere to the principles of authentic participation
  3. TBD transparency related goal
  4. Well defined reporting process that is publicly available

This working group is focused on refining the transparency related goal.

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Our first meeting will be on Wednesday, April 8th, 11:00am-11:50am Pacific Time.

This meeting will be hosted using Zoom

To prevent Zoombombing, the link will not be posted publicly, but anyone is welcome to join. If you would like to be added to the invite list, please send me a message and I will respond with a link to the meeting.

An update will be posted to this thread after the meeting.

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Thanks Duane and Maggie for the session earlier today.

Looking back at the notes from Sustain session

We spent some time reviewing the notes taken during Brussels conference. A lot of good ideas there, however, they are missing context and Duane is going to help to list them in a good doc with some context around each sticky notes.

Keywords - participation, communication, motivations, feedback, notice, timing, policies, working openly / transparently

Questions and challenges to be answered

  • What are the buckets of corporate participation? e.g. $/Giving, Code / tools, Talent / time
  • How do we approach defining transparency goals? A checklist might be more actionable than a principle. Duane came up with an idea of scorecard where companies will be benchmarked against each the principles.
  • What metrics and approach should we use to provide transparency on the corporate contribution debt vs. take? Are companies willing to transparently expose how much they take from OSS vs contributing back?

Notes of the session

Notes can be found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XcUQYDbY05OVSKUlVxHYBcs_5VOG9Nu0KJ7nWb_SUj4/edit?ts=5e8e122f#

Where do we go from here?

Next call is in two weeks. Duane is going to provide more context on the notes from Bussels session. Meanwhile everyone is welcome to think about the usecases and examples related to the questions and challenges above or in general related to the topic.

Thanks again guys for the session.

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Great work @DuaneOBrien & @farbodsaraf!

Your WG now has a “Learn More” button. https://sustainoss.org/working-groups/

That goes to https://sustainoss.org/working-groups/transparency-goals/

Please feel free to open a PR for any additions. If you have ideas on how to make the pages better please let us know. =)

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Thanks all for the session yesterday.

Attendees:
Duane O’Brien
Farbod Saraf
Adrian McPhee

Following up on the previous session, we decided to spend some times on different pillars that might help us to scorecard organizations on their transparency.

Here are the few of those pillars

Usage

How transparent are corporation about what they are taking?
From the scale 1 to 5, on the far left we have organizations with no public reporting about how much value is derived from FOSS. On the far right we have organizations who have public reporting about value derived from FOSS, including public data and methodology.

Giving back

How transparent are they about the contribution back to open source?
From 1 to 5. Far left organization with no giving of any kind to far right organizations with public accounting of giving that covers money, code, and in-kind.

Policy Transparency

How transparent are their policies?

  • Clear and openly shared contribution policies
  • Named Accountability Officer
  • Employee contributions are associated the employer

Provides a true explanation of the reasoning behind proposed contributions

Project Governance

On a scale from 1 to 5, far left are the ones governed internally, and on the far right, the organizations open source projects that are fully governed externally.

The danger of scorecarding all organizations on the same grading system

Given many organisations have an immature FOSS posture, and there is a journey of learning and development that most organisations must undertake, it is important that the score card system isn’t irrelevant through setting an unachievable bar for the masses. Therefore, a graded system - similar to belts in karate - may be beneficial to allow staged improvements and a graduating understanding and development in relation to FOSS. In other words, moving a company from ‘white belt’ to ‘yellow belt’ is solid progress - if such a company is expected to graduate from white to black belt immediately, nobody wins.

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Meeting notes: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XcUQYDbY05OVSKUlVxHYBcs_5VOG9Nu0KJ7nWb_SUj4/edit#

Transparency Score Card:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vuqu1Wy4VdySF0goG_iyaiVJR5eoGe8u4drVlImK9G4/edit#

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Can I get access to these documents?

Why is “value” so important to transparency? The topic is mentioned in multiple meeting notes, but I just don’t get it. I’m coming from the perspective of how the CHAOSS Value working group is trying to define things.

Is any group dealing with Accountability Goals as a whole? It seems to me that a lot of these goals are overlapping.

Are you getting input from https://github.com/chaoss/wg-value for the value topic? I know they are still trying to define from what perspective they should focus – is it the value of the contribution to the community, or is it the ROI for the contributor?

The well-defined reporting process that is publicly available seems to be a good thing to focus on for this group. Also, looking at the authentic participation principles, I am skeptical about having transparent motivations. It is aspirational to get companies/people to talk about this upfront. However, over time, people and goals change.

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Hi folks! It was just me and @DuaneOBrien today but we had a productive conversation. Duane is going to share his meeting summary and notes later.

In the call, a resources and links came up, and I wanted to leave them here for consideration.

On building a score card:

On the proposed revision of this Working Group’s primary goal, “Publish documentation of open source policies, processes, and project governance:

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Hi @farbodsaraf!

could I get access to these documents? Thank in advance!

Cheers,

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@jlcanovas I can approve access requests to those docs, if you request access at those links directly it should give me an email for approval.

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@LawrenceHecht apologies for missing your questions last week.

There is not currently a working group taking on Accountability Goals as a whole, but I can provide some background and so look-ahead on what comes next.

At the FOSDEM Sustain Summit, we had a long working session in the morning to discuss what it looked like to be a Good Corporate Community Member. The Corporate Accountability Goals were distilled from that conversation, and we left that conversation with two large undefined pieces of the goals - a Transparency Goal, and the Principles of Authentic Participation. @jwf carried the banner forward on the Principles, which are meant to be more broadly applicable (could apply to individuals or organizations), and I carried forward the conversation on the Transparency Goal. The intention is to drive both of these conversations to a “Done enough” state that we would have a first draft of the full Accountability Goals. Once we reach that point, we can work on getting broader feedback on them. My intention is to wind up the Transparency WG after the next meeting, and start up a Accountability Goals WG.

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Notes from our last call:

Apologies for the delay in posting these.

Our last call was on April 22nd, and was attended by @jwf and myself.

We discussed the definition of transparency in this context, in particular as it relates to the transparency scorecard, project usage, transparency of giving, the ‘transparent motivations’ authentic participation principle, and the topics that came up at Sustain. As a result of that conversation, I’ve proposed separating the Transparency Scorecard work from this specific goal, as transparency around FOSS consumption and FOSS-related giving is more in support of the accountability goal to “Set and publish a goal for open source contribution relative to value capture.” This would allow us to focus the Transparency goal on processes, policies, and governance, which simplifies this conversation and will get us to a standing first draft more quickly.

We left the current iteration of the Transparency goal written as:

Publish documentation of open source policies, processes, and project governance

We will convene again on May 6th at 10:30 AM PST to discuss further.

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Thanks for your facilitation work and note-taking @DuaneOBrien! :pray: Hoping to be there next week.

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Hi Javier - I just provided you with an access to both documents.

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Thanks for the feedback. I am going to try to listen in on next week’s meeting.

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Our final call was on 5/6. No significant changes were made to the existing iteration of the Transparency goal:

Publish documentation of open source policies, processes, and project governance

Remembering that this goal fits into a larger initiative to define Open Source Accountability Goals, this working group will now shut down. We will announce a new working group focused on the Open Source Accountability Goals and start a new process.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

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