Inspiration for governance, processes & community engagement

This thread is intended to be a place where you can drop suggestions of resources and inspiration on the topic(s) of governance, community engagement, and processes linked to that.

This is started in the context of the “IOPA Governance reboot” which will be/was discussed in the Governance Task force meeting of sept 20th. 22 and presented in the IOP community call of Sept. 28th. 22 [link to be added].

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From the Todogroup

TODO Group’s structure · todogroup/governance@0088e0d · GitHub - Todo’s recap of their structure and communication/community channels.

TODO Group Overview presentation - Google Slides

To be added: the membership agreement (outlines the rights and obligations of the “member” level. they also have an “associate” level)

W3C organisational structure. This document presents both the structure, and the process in which it was “rebooted” in 2016. 2016 W3C Internal Reorganization

The new structure organizes all of W3C differently

Governance Structure - Gathering for Open Science Hardware (

See also the Process to design governance thread, which addresses the same topic: deploying a process for governance development.

Some opinions and reactions on the GOSH link.

The page is called Governance Structure but only contains a list of governance bodies, which are agents (individuals or organizations), some of which have important coordination and decision making roles. The roles are not very well defined…

About GOSH inc, a “formal” organization (corporation) used as a legal interface, I strongly advice NOT to use the name of the network (GOSH in this context) in the name of any legal interface (for profit or non profit). Linking organizations by name opens the door to litigation over branding / public image, if the network and the organization don’t align anymore. The Print the Legend - Wikipedia movie should be enough reason not to repeat the same mistake. There are many, many horror stories like this one… Unfortunately people are slow to learn.

GOSH inc plays the role of a Custodian, which maps well onto the OVN model.

Community Coordinator is a position not a role. This is a very important distinction! The compromise between the two is this:

  1. On one side, adopt a method through which one individual is fixed to a role (through employment), which provides some level of continuity / permanency and comes with responsibility and accountability (we pay you, therefore coercion - do your job or you’re fired).
  2. On the other side, opt for a more fluid and inclusive method by opening the role to anyone and by attaching financial rewards to anyone who completes tasks associated with this role. A reputation mechanism can be used for distribution of tasks among individuals who contribute to this role. This has the advantage of accessing a larger skills-set (multiple individuals) and incorporating more motivation into the work (those who come, they chose so), but may lead to confusion and temporary lack of activity (ex. oh… the other guy will show up to do it… I’m busy with something else now…).

Both have advantages and disadvantages. The choice depends on other layers of the organizations structure: economic model, culture, tools that are available (infrastructure), and perhaps some conditions imposed by the environment (through legal structure).

TODO is a great example of interface between traditional organizations and the crowd (open source network and communities).

One note though, when we look at these type of interfaces we must ask ourselves the question: on which side is their purpose. In other words, are they

  1. an instrument of traditional organizations to milk the crowd, or are they
  2. an instrument of the crowd to gain access to resources and melt / dissolve the verticals

:slight_smile: Both tendencies are very real!

For 1., the interface is created by corporations. If you look at their governance (governance bodies and who makes decisions) you’ll see that corporations take central roles. The interface is an instrument FOR traditional organizations to funnel innovation and labor from the crowd.

In the case of 2. the interface is created by the crowd and instrumentalized to gain access to resources (specialized equipment and funding) in the traditional economy. It is seen as a bridge to transfer resources from the traditional economy to the p2p economy. At the same time, these interfaces introduce infrastructure (IT tools) to mediate the interaction with traditional organizations (ex. blockchain apps), which have the power to tear apart corporations, in the long run, by extracting important functions from firms and distributing them across networks. This is part of the strategy of co-optation of capitalism by p2p. Innovation is one of these functions moving from the firm to networks as more and more organizations engage in open source development. With smart contracts, accounting and perhaps legal work will also move out into the network. If we analyze the governance of these interfaces focused on the crowd, extracting from firms, we see a more meritocratic decision making process, and patterns resembling OVN governance.

These are observations that go back to 2011, with this post and this presentation.

In conclusion, if we want to get inspired from TODO, we need to keep in mind that these two types of interfaces will impact governance and what we’re looking at is only one possible type of interface. We need to ask ourselves the identity question what do we want to be, where we stand, on one side of the fence or perhaps over the fence?

Just updated this link to reflect this

Suggestions from the Governance task force worksession on decision making: 14th Feb 2023: