Principles of Authentic Participation: continuing the Sustain conversation

Awesome I’ll be there.

Any chance we can post the videos to either this page or the WG page?

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:raised_hands: :raised_hands:

Attendees knew the calls were being recorded but I would like to be explicit for folks who were on the first call that they are comfortable with wider publishing. I’ll ask for this consent at the beginning of Fireside Chat #3.

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A friendly reminder that our call is tomorrow at 17:00 UTC. Time zone conversions are in the previous reply.

Here is a tentative agenda for us to stick to:

  • [5m] Welcome / hello’s
  • [10-20m] What is your use case for these Principles?
    • It’s okay, be selfish for a moment. Why do you want these Principles? How will you personally use them? Do you want to introduce them at your workplace? Do you want to suggest them in an open source project?
    • Let’s take some time to understand the different motivations that brought people here.
  • [10-20m] Who Gives and who Receives authentic participation?
    • Let’s spend time to define the audience of the Principles. Who are these Principles for? Are they for corporate organizations that participate in open source? Are they for project communities?
    • The “closing criteria” for this conversation is that everyone should be able to comfortably describe who Gives and Receives authentic participation in open source.
  • [remainder] How can we participate now or later?
    • Group brainstorming to define participation in sharing and advocating these Principles. From the people in the call, how can we all pitch in just a little bit to push this work forward? When these calls are done, what will participation look like?
    • I don’t expect this topic to have definitive conclusions, but this will be the primary focus of the fourth and final Fireside Chat. Think of this as a short framing exercise for the full conversation next time.

As always, I’m open to feedback on the agenda. Looking forward to our chat tomorrow.

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Thanks all for participating today. Here is the video recording of Fireside Chat #3:

Watch the recording here

My meeting notes are summarized below. They are patchy in places because I was balancing between facilitation and note-taking. Note to self, recruit help with note-taking for the final call. :slight_smile:

What is your use case for these Principles?

  • @awright:
    • Articulating why we contribute to open source in a set of principles for sustainability
    • Helping others understand authenticity
  • @DuaneOBrien:
    • Fits into bigger picture of corporate accountability goals as they come to open source
    • See principles defined to commit and adhere to principles to drive better transparency / membership in O.S. from corporations
  • @kpfleming:
    • Helpful to understand structure of projects if it’s not a level playing field
    • What roles are available to corporations and what aren’t
    • Assigning developers to the project or complete control? How can a corporation participate or what does that look like?
    • Understand what avenues of engagement are available in a project at the start (setting expectations)
  • @gunner:
    • Power dynamics: Help people who run projects understand power especially when money is introduced
    • Framework for giving those who steward and leave projects to remind maintainers how others can contribute to project
    • “Share language”
    • Shifting from reactive to proactive response by anticipating power dynamics and having principles in place when we respond, instead of reacting to the tough stuff
  • @jdorfman:
    • Be here to learn more (@jwf aside: Which, B.T.W., is perfectly valid :slight_smile:)

Who Gives and who Receives authentic participation?

  • Do we want to separate “Givers” and “Receivers”?
    • Authentic participation is about reciprocity
    • Co-equality in a shared understanding of participation
    • Potential difference in power dynamic
    • Forces someone to identify as Giver or Receiver; but why not spectrum instead of fixed dichotomy?
    • Kinda giving / kinda receiving: What happens to those people?
  • Who is a Receiver?
    • Project community as a whole; not an individual in community
    • “Everyone who cares” about project or involvement in project
    • A Receiver is never an entity. Is it a Community instead?
  • How do the Principles relate to companies/corporations that lack an internal perspective on open source?
    • Showing up and not being a good steward of participation in a project
    • Example: Suddenly pulling engineers off of a project because no longer a priority for corporation (ouch!)
    • How do we solve for that behavior?
  • @awright: What about Codes of Conduct? Instead of harassment, about defining participation
    • @kpfleming: Positive affirmations (“do this”) instead of negative prescriptions (“don’t do this”)
    • @awright: Principles as part of a project’s documentation?
      • Awareness on project-side seems appealing
      • E.g. not funding/participating in projects without a CoC; visible badge of engagement for a project?
    • @DuaneOBrien: Codes of Conduct about individual contributors to projects
      • Governing individual behavior is a CoC
      • Creating a Code for the Principles is “another thing” that muddies waters for different types of codes of conduct when they want to get involved with a project
  • @gunner: Hypothesis of need: Understand project challenges and build understanding before putting this out there for general consumption
    • Making sure we address needs that are actually there
  • @DuaneOBrien: Pulling out org principles, like “Enforces behavior” and “Puts community first”

Getting outside feedback on Principles

  • Questions to posit:
    • “Would these help you or not?”
    • “Do you have a problem this solves?”
    • “Which principle would have helped you?”
  • Need better way to collect high-value feedback to get to a point of less abstraction
  • @kpfleming: Not unreasonable for a CoC to include a bullet about authentic principles?
    • @jdorfman: “Getting people to adopt another file (or modifying an existing CoC) is difficult”
      • Adding a paragraph to something existing, like the Contributor Covenant?
      • Attaching to something that already exists to get people excited about it (opportunity for outreach somewhere like
  • @gunner: Dream list of companies or projects that would endorse at any launch point
  • @DuaneOBrien: Reminder that Principles as outlined now were derived from real-world examples at Sustain 2020
    • Collecting the stories from projects that have experienced them has added benefit of whether Principles actually solve problems
    • Functions as dual-validation:
      • We get practical examples to mention or infer, and…
      • We get validation that yes, Principles are actually a helpful framing

How can we participate now or later?

A.K.A. everyone’s favorite part: action items!

  • @DuaneOBrien:
    • Twitter story time: “Tell me about a time you had this problem in your project”
  • @kpfleming:
    • Connections Apache Software Foundation: Reach out to network there and politely ask to distribute Principles to PMCs of different projects
    • Goal to understand if PMCs have experienced in their personal role and Apache projects, would these Principles have been useful for organizations contributing to your projects?
      • Anecdotal: OpenOffice and Oracle
  • @gunner: Throw a collaborative doc out and get a call together for people to hack together (probably after Fireside Chat #4?)
  • @jwf:
    • Consolidate experiences and examples from my personal work doing consulting for humanitarian orgs and participating in open source programs at universities
    • Reach out for early feedback to folks in open source projects I participate in like the Fedora Project

Where do we go from here?

We are slowly but surely picking up momentum as we arrive to the expiration date of this Discourse thread. As a reminder, I am planning to host one final Fireside Chat on these Principles. The focus for that last chat is below:

We will likely not use our shared time to brainstorm examples, but we will definitely focus on the question of “where do we go from here?” Defining participation for this Working Group after the Fireside Chats is key to the future life of this work.

I’m taking time to process these notes, write up a final agenda, and then I will put out another WhenIsGood poll for our next meeting. Fireside Chat #4 will be happen somewhere between 27 April to 8 May. Stay tuned!

Thanks everyone who made time in their busy schedules to take part. I’m excited for where we go next.

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To follow up on @jdorfman’s idea on integrating into existing documents, I opened an issue on the Contributor Covenant to see if upstream would be interested in reviewing a patch for the Principles of Authentic Participation:

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Hi folx.

Choosing a time for the next meeting

Fill out this poll with your day/time preferences for Fireside Chat #4 on getting practical between 27 April - 8 May. A date/time will be announced on Friday, 24 April .

The focus of this call is below. A detailed agenda will be written by 24 April:


Let me just say. I love the subject and a lot of the things discussed here resonate with my experiences.

I think one of the most important parts of this discussion - especially the “You and corporation” thread. I am in a privileged situation that I am co-owner of my organisation and it makes it easier for me to express my own opinions and beliefs without taking too much risk. Also if you are a good professional which is very valuable to your organisation, you can afford sometime to take a stand that will be against of the immediate interest of your organisation. We were pretty lucky in the IT world where we were basically in the “employee market” where good people could find job anywhere and fast so they could take some risks and oppose immediate requests of their organisation if this is against the community.

I can imagine however that it might be a different case now in the COVID-19 situation. There are a lot of lay-offs and the job market even in the IT world might change to “employer’s” market. Then the pressure on individuals might be much bigger and people might have a difficult choice - to follow community’s interest and risk their job - or to fall into what their organisation “expects” them to do.

I thought about it a bit on what we could do about it and I think what might be useful here is some kind of “code of conduct” by participating organisations. I think it’s easier to take a stand by an individual if they point out to particular rule that the organisation committed to in case they have to take a stand and what is “expected” of them is clearly against the rule. …

I’d love to hear what others think about it.

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Hi @Jarek_Potiuk, welcome! :wave: Nice to hear from you.

For established open source projects, I think this is self-enforced by the project. If you don’t follow a project’s community norms, either your changes will not be accepted or it will take a lot longer for you to accomplish what you actually wanted to do. I think the messaging there is about creating less friction in getting changes introduced into upstream software as a perk of adhering these Principles.

For smaller projects and communities, this could present a risk. If an established corporation shows up in a small project with a lot of money (or developer time), how does the project respond to that interest?

In the last call, @awright suggested the same idea. The summary from that conversation is creating “yet another policy document” is likely a high-resistance pathway (but not entirely ruled out). We were more interested in these Principles being adopted into an existing project’s Code of Conduct or some other pre-existing governance doc. But we didn’t go super deep on this in the call (see the notes above for more context).

This could be a good topic to explore on Chat #4.

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Agree - especially when in one project you have people with different “backing” - this is very much thanks to Apache’s transparency and peer-pressure. And this is great. For smaller or more “mostly backed by one company” projects this might not be the case. I think this is far more important that the “code of conduct” now when I think about it. It’s far easier to push back saying “well - but others won’t agree”. I think this should be the most important aspect of a good project, to have different backing sources.

Actually I think what actually helps is a bit of competition between the backers. Some of the most productive cooperation I saw when in the project the backing companies were “frenemies” - so not exactly fully competing and all benefiting from the project improving, but with a bit of potential competition. This makes it pretty much self-sustaining relationship - people help each other when there is mutual/common interest but then keep an eye on each other for any bias/favoritism.

But this is a difficult one to keep I think, and I think what really helps is developing personal relationship between the people in the project - so that they are not only working on the project but becoming friends. What I think works well is doing some work together on a “neutral” area. For example we are now co-mentoring “outreachy” candidates in a project that is beneficial for everyone…

It’s great to see that it leads to situation where everyone wins.

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Consider following along wit the Governance Readiness working group led by @jlcanovas if this is interesting to you. I think the topics of governance will get at this more deeply than the Principles of Authentic Participation working group will.

You might be on to something there. :slight_smile:


Hi folks!

Chat #4: 2020-05-05 @ 17:00 UTC

Fireside Chat #4 on the Principles of Authentic Participation will be Tuesday, May 5th at 17:00 UTC . Time zone conversions below:

  • US PDT : 10:00am
  • US EDT : 1:00pm
  • London : 6:00pm
  • IST : 10:30pm

Hosted on BlueJeans

I will host the chat on BlueJeans. This call may be recorded. I will ask for the consent to record at the beginning of the call. Either way, I will summarize the discussion here.

If you are using BlueJeans for the first time, I suggest testing your audio/video before connecting to the call. There is a browser web app, desktop client, and mobile app:

Our focus

I’ll work on a more detailed agenda over the next week.

I could have sworn I accepted a calendar invite for this yet I don’t see it :thinking:

The meeting invitation I received was for 2020-05-05, not 2020-05-04.

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Your invite went to a Gmail address. Does that sound right?

I’m glad someone was paying attention :smile: I got the day of the week right, but I was off-by-one on the day. It will be Tuesday, May 5th. I edited my last reply in the thread to correct that.

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I searched and saw nothing. Can you try justindorfman at gmail?

I apologize, I had a last-minute personal conflict today. I am missing the last meeting. Happy to catch up async if there was some discussion. Otherwise I will follow up soon when I have more bandwidth. Thank you for your patience. :pray:


All good, we were worried but glad to hear you are ok =)

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I’d be curious to know what happens next! Now that the fireside chats are done, is there any plan to put the principles in a report that could be shared widely, or something similar?

To compensate for dropping the ball on the last call, I could create an “Advocate Kit” on the Principles of Authentic Participation. I would like some sort of affirmation from other current or past participants if this work could be practically useful for you before I embark on this though!

What’s inside an Advocate Kit?

Ideally, this Kit includes some simple examples to start with thinking through the Principles, and also helps the reader think about how to explain these ideas to different groups of people (e.g. upper-level management or to project communities).

I will start barebones and simple. But like how we rallied around @DuaneOBrien’s original six proposed principles in the first Fireside Chat, I want a shared resource we can all agree is “Good Enough” to encourage sharing this work more widely.

This enables the Principles of Authentic Participation to go forward and for us to shift energies to other Working Group topics. The Principles as they are written now live in GitHub. They can be improved and iterated on later. The site content is licensed freely under CC BY 4.0. If folks want to volunteer to help review future issues or changes to the Principles, we can drive discussion to the git forge.

How to wrap up Spring 2020 Principles Working Group meetings

Otherwise, the primary charge of this Working Group will be finished. It will be upon us, and anyone who reads through this thread in the future, to help carry the flame for this work by taking the Advocate Kit as a resource for starting conversations in your organization (and maybe submitting improvements back upstream occasionally).

But folks (mostly looking at @DuaneOBrien @kpfleming @awright @jdorfman @RichardLitt who have all been excellent co-conspirators), is a first draft “Advocate Kit” a potentially practical resource for you to take away from your participation in this Working Group?

(This Working Group will not live forever, but we want you to take away something worthwhile for riding the waves as this Working Group met! :wink: )

I think an advocate kit makes sense. I’m just aware that notes as notes don’t travel well, and the goal of disseminating information is to pass it on. A page on the website, like the Sustain Manifesto, would also work well, I think.