social media is community infrastructure and requires ethical, accountable governance as much as roads and bridges do.

Follow

re: software governance 

a benevolent dictatorship is neither ethical nor accountable, much less benevolent; BDFL is a joke of a term, used to disparage fragile or jealous governance. it is a tragedy that we are so alienated from governance to feel dictatorship is somehow wise.

re: software governance 

rather than cling to autocracy, software maintainers must learn to collaborate and delegate, to create cooperative authorities greater than themselves. the ASF and the PSF show some of the ways this can be done, to rally and train labor for a project, to marshal and organize resources — to make of a work a community institution.

re: software governance 

@garbados a thousand times yes!

re: software governance 

@garbados Okay, so how do we do this? Fork, nominate a comittee, bless certain developers, and hope volunteers emerge to fill in both positions?

re: software governance 

@JordiGH let’s say you had one full-time dev and a $70k slush fund. you raise wages / increase hours for current workers, like moderators and maintainers, and together set out bylaws for a foundation / guild. the foundation spins off working groups of core members who, for example, manage a project roadmap or apply for additional grant funding (such as from cities and municipalities) that can support the foundation once the flush runs out.

re: software governance 

@JordiGH the trouble with relying on volunteer corps is that they’re unreliable, and every fork effort to date has suffered from it. interest ebbs and flows. people have lives. people have rent. to ensure they have the time to help, pay them for their time! the governance of community infrastructure is not an undertaking to be considered lightly.

re: software governance 

@garbados I'm not sure I understand what you're proposing, but if there's money and someone needs Mastodon work done, my labour is all yours.

re: software governance 

@garbados Additionally maintainers should also educate themselves about consensus building and other democratic processes that are resistant to conventional liberal bikeshedding. You are exactly right that collaboration and delegation are administrative skils that are necessary, but political acumen beyond the technical is another, perhaps even more crucial aspect of this,

re: software governance 

@garbados it's quite possible that the average Benevolent Tyrant (lol) is less frequently versed in these matters than in the more commonly found skills that you mentioned.

re: software governance 

@garbados

It’s striking how widely projects vary in this. I’ve had responses to my first PR range from “Thanks, you are now a committer” to “Sign this contract before we will accept your free labor.” For reals.

re: software governance 

@garbados Honestly, we need some organization that works with software projects to help them set up an ACTUAL governance system.

re: software governance 

@garbados Well said! That the python community process is such a success Is no accident. In this podcast interview I cohosted we talk with some of the folks who designed by Thorn’s community process about how they learn from mistakes other communities have made along the way. Interesting stuff if you’re into that sort of thing as I am :-)
podcastinit.com/episode-37-the

re: software governance 

@garbados i mean… just looking at world history for the balance of shite dictators vs platonic philosopher kings *should* be an indicator.

or that undisclosed contemporary example for presidential systems being too much power in one person’s hand to be stable against authoritarian subversion.

@gekitsu @therealraccoon @kfinity @garbados @mkb @haitch @JordiGH

One reason people have an easier time accepting a BDFL in free software is that it's easier to fork a software project than to fork a country. The existence of this sledgehammer check-and-balance puts off implementing more fine-grained checks and balances.

Only the most forward-thinking project leader understands that project longevity means working hard on being able to abdicate.

re: software governance 

@garbados this is something I can't subscribe to… The biggest difference between a business or a project and a country is that a country government is not supposed to simply "refuse business" to a part of its citizens. That's why it *has* to work and compromise, and the only way we found so far is democracy with all its flaws and inefficiencies. Businesses and hobby projects on the other hand have this luxury. And dictatorships do work for many of them.

re: software governance 

@garbados and if someone thinks they know how to govern the project better, then forking and developing it in their own way is an actual viable option.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Toot.Cat

On the internet, everyone knows you're a cat — and that's totally okay.