Hi folx! This thread is one place to continue the conversation from Sustain 2020 about Principles of Authentic Participation and creating a resource we can take back to our organizations to advocate for authentic contributions in open source communities.
To define a core set of principles of what authentic participation means in multiple contexts (e.g. corporate, individual, humanitarian/NGO, etc.).
These principles can be used as a starting place for future work, such as a best practices document, a certification body, or other mediums. But before we get tactical, we need to be strategic about what principles are essential to authentic contribution.
Table of contents
- High-level recap
- [proposed] Principles of Authentic Participation
- Themes from Sustain conversations
- Where to go from here?
This discussion took place across two working sessions at Sustain 2020:
- Models for corporate accountability as open source community members (a.k.a. what does it mean to be a corporate member of open source communities?)
- Principles of Authentic Contribution (session notes)
Across the sessions, we talked about the following:
- Organizational accountability
- How to participate in open source transparency and authentically as an organization
- Desire to create an inter-organizational resource to take back to our orgs to help explain what authentic participating in open source actually looks like
- Explore ways to build social accountability into our workplaces
[proposed] Principles of Authentic Participation
Authentic Participation Starts Early.
This came out of the discussions about organizations showing up with mature, fully baked contributions over which the community had no input.
Authentic Participation Puts The Community First.
This reflected the general consensus that when an organization and the community want different things, the community needs to come first.
Authentic Participation Starts With Listening.
This was Duane’s reflection of some comments about folks showing up to projects with no historical context and telling them everything they were doing wrong.
Authentic Participation Has Transparent Motivations.
Without a shared understanding of the motivations, it’s impossible to resolve differences of opinion effectively. No hidden motives.
Authentic Participation Enforces Respectful Behavior.
Participants agree to adhere to community-established codes of conduct. Organizations commit to holding their participants accountable for their behavior.
Authentic Participation Ends Gracefully.
No sudden withdrawal of resources without notification and an exit plan. Clear documentation that would allow the community to pick up projects when a company decides to withdraw support.
Themes from Sustain conversations
Session notes are annotated and color-coded according to the following themes:
- Maintainer responsibility: Open-sourcing your own projects or participating in existing communities
- Guiding hand: Navigating contribution intent with a hidden agenda that is not well-communicated
- Participation: Making key decisions while involving a community
- Equalizing knowledge: Understated value in documentation?
- Undervaluation of open source: Communicating less obvious perks for engaging authentically
- You and corporation: Relationship between individual contributors and the organization they represent in their contributions
Where to go from here?
- Text discussion about the principles defined here
- Audio/video discussion about next steps
- Can you help push this conversation forward?
This text-based discussion
The goal in sharing this thread is to create a wider conversation. Are the principles defined here enough? Do they capture what genuine, authentic participation means whether you are an individual, a corporate actor, or a non-profit actor? What holes do you see? Or alternatively, do you think these are a good vision for defining authentic participation?
Remember, the intention in this discussion isn’t to get into details (yet). First we need to set and agree on a vision that loosely captures a variety of different views. Where this conversation goes next will always depend on specific contexts for specific organizations. It’s impossible to capture everything! But we want to be happy with what we have captured here to start more conversations inside our organizations and communities about what this looks like for us.
Future audio/video discussion
Fill out this poll with your time preferences for a 60m discussion about this topic between 24 Feb. to 1 Mar. A time will be decided and announced here on Saturday, February 22nd.
As promised, I am committed to hosting a few virtual round-table discussions about this topic and to see where we can push this conversation forward. I’ll circulate an agenda for the meeting as a reply to this thread next week.
Help push this forward!
In our session, some folks noted that Discourse and audio/video was not an inclusive way for them to participate in this conversation. Since I am only one person, I am committed to carrying this conversation in the ways explained above. But you can help push this conversation into new places! We need the help of folks to connect the dots between more communities. If you can volunteer yourself to share this discussion on a mailing list, a forum, or some other platform, you are encouraged and empowered to do so! (It would be nice if you could let us know of your outreach in this thread, but it is not required.)
Okay, this is a long thread with a lot of text. I hope it isn’t too overwhelming. I’m looking forward to where we push the conversation forward from here.