Open Source Accountability Goals: Defining A Transparency Goal

Not sure if text can convey the tone. The disappointment and frustration multiplied by financial difficulties - maybe it looks aggressive, or aggressive passive from outside, but the way I feel is just ignorant to feelings of other people. In this state of mind they don’t matter.

After replying I reread the revised post. Regardless of what is said, the documented experience and process bears a significant value into how people work. Irrelevant to how do they feel about that, or how one interprets what happened to them. Knowing who we are, and what are our limitations opens a new horizons into how we can tackle the problem that otherwise can’t be easily solved, such as sustainability of open source projects, which for me is equal to sustainability of open source maintainers, which in truth is about getting myself financial security.

Another conclusion that came later this morning about those gatherings is that open source is a highly social activity. People like to meet. Even though it may not be easy for everyone. I still remember how hard it was to go out in public. Especially for people sensitive to critics and people who care what others say. All those code of conducts and behavior guidelines appeared because of the conflict between the desire to meet, and inability to solve communication problems. The inability that came with the internet, where it is easier to escape than to deal with these problems. And when something becomes so valuable to a person that the person need to go out and communicate, the psychics is not ready to withstand another opinion or communication style, a critics, a harsh tone.

Still, an ability to meet and greet each other is critical for humans. 10 years ago we’ve started doing meetups with only one purpose - getting joy from communication. It is interesting that in English there is no separate word that means human communication - in Russian we have the word “общение”, and unlike “talk”, this goes in both directions. So I don’t know how to translate the idea that people like the face-to-face process of exchanging information. Right now the word “meetup” is widespread in Russia as well as in other Russian speaking countries. But I think if we analyze the Twitter, the journey of the Russian word “митап” started here.

Why I am saying this? Because meeting each other is a big deal in bring together open source into a community. And even when I said that there is outcome with regard to the Transparency Goal in the topic, the whole thing that the meeting occurred and people gathered is a significant move of energy. If people enjoyed it, then why to spread it to let other experience the same? There is nothing wrong in enjoying the meetings and discussing things. Sometimes they are distracting, sometimes they are offtopic, sometimes there is a feeling of guilt that a meeting was just a slacking from doing a job, and that may bear the necessity to give the meeting a value. But it is not necessary. Meetings don’t bring results. The results appear when things are lying on the table on some sunny and calm morning, ready to be rearranged, as a pieces of a puzzle. Results are something that needs time to ripe, in a calm and steady environment. In a flow that is not interrupted. It is possible to solve puzzle together by silently looking at the pieces. But then, the pieces need to be visual. And when they are text, we have to deal with this serial lines of text. It is not easy looking at he pieces this way. Not easy to communicate what the pieces are there, what you see, and how are these located. That’s why people like to meet. To use voice and emotions that help with communication. There is nothing wrong to it. The difference to this process comes from science. Where there is a process to layout pieces into papers written specifically with the purpose of defining the pieces and showing how to rearrange them to solve problems.

Do you mean to say that creating and publishing user stories about the Accountability Goals is a helpful outcome to conclude this discussion?

Not creating stories. Taking the stories from people. Listening to them and recording. Not trying to invent the labels that cut out the important details. The details that are probably called “insights” in a creative process. The true motivation behind what people say. What we say is not what we feel, because words have limited bandwidth to express them. Especially for non-native speakers. And the feelings is not the cause, it is the whole intersection of thoughts, triggers and reactions. So then somebody says “the companies need to be accountable” and somebody expresses agreement, it may mean a whole lot of different things between these two people. It may happen that the first person believes that information wants to be free and another one just don’t want to argue - which, again, may be because another person is tired. Or maybe because the whole thing feels awesome - if you ever experienced joy from spiritual lectures, you know the feeling. And that’s how people work. There is nothing wrong or right about it.

Yes, my expectation or high hopes for the whole SustainOSS movement was the result. The solution to my specific problem, or at least an explanation, or a model that shows why it is no so good with me - I am doing the right thing, or to say it more specifically - I am feeling that what I do by contributing to open source and promoting the open source culture is right. But why economically it is not feasible to continue to support open source? Is it more friendly to the environment, because you can reuse the things. It helps to solve climate problems, because you can share and validate the findings. Why it is so hard to survive then doing these things? Where is the cause for that? If it is in the gameplay that is called “economics” that was invented 90 years ago, then how to patch it? The transparency has a value to me in understanding how the world works, how thinks work, how financial models work, how the modifications of those financial model will affect the gameplay - is it possible to sustain the system of economic activities with this patched rules? Where the the sources of natural support for the rules that give energy to people to change and modify the rules? Is it something that can be balanced? Or is it just a wish that can never be satisfied, like the wish for interstellar travel, but unlike the interstellar, we can not see that this is impossible. Because somethings that is not transparent, is not evident.

The world is a big place. Sometimes we live in different pockets, where feelings behind the same words we use, change. You would be surprised by how many different definitions and explanations of “open source” I have heard over the years. :slightly_smiling_face:

I couldn’t agree more with this. I wish I could be more concise to express the same.

So, I think the value in these Working Groups is/was figuring out what language we use to start these conversations with.

Well, you’ve got the first feedback about the language. I didn’t get it. ) For complicated things that normally should sound bureaucratic in some place like EU parliament, I would prefer an human friendly alternative.

Someone is welcome to come along later and propose that we did it all wrong. They can say everything we did was a wasted effort. I hope they could also combine their criticism with a proposal or idea of what they think a better way forward is.

Thanks for welcoming all kind of critics. It kind of easy to take this for granted. That’s why I just want to explicitly express that I appreciate this. There are not many places where critics is welcome nowadays.

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This is the crux of the transparency goal as written. If we accept that companies who use open source should also give back to open source, and help sustain their dependencies, then understanding the rules that govern their contribution policies is key. If a company is transparent about these policies, we can better understand their role in sustaining the projects on which they depend.

I expect the goal will evolve over time, as we apply it in practice and learn more.

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The owners of software companies are often frightened by the open source, and by the requirements of their customers to put their things in open source. Why they should? I guess there not many business owners who like to hear from others what they should or should not do. That’s we army and police to enforce these “should do”. It is not the way the internet was born, and not the way open source appeared.

Even if the owners are comfortable with supporting others, not many people who are hired workers may accept that. Even being the open source supporter, I may be against the policy of my company to support some Java foundation, because I like Python, or I may need more money for medication or family and I start to think that it is my money that are wasted.

And the worst part, of course, is that business in competitive economics is still a losers and winners game. Rare people can accept failures, and even less can go public about it. If the company doesn’t know how to sustain itself in two or three years, what kind of “should give back to open source” is acceptable for that? And we want these companies to go out in open and say - guys, we are in bad shape, you know, we can not support you. And the difference of being in bad shape with $3k a month and donation of $50 a month is huge. I don’t see how to explain that to people. It is just two completely different realities. I don’t see how contribution policy fixes that.

The only thing that could work is when people who employed by these companies are funneling their own income, or some stream towards the project they know the value of. And that stream needs to be saturated to support people. So the transparency should come from open source contributors, and once we are “naked”, I am not sure everyone would be willing to look at us.