This page is for documenting specific solutions considered. See the page OSArch_Supporters for some more general links and the more focused discussion Organizational Structure and Governance of OSArch
This page does not represent a consensus among members of OSArch. See the page history to see who has made edits. See the discussion threads on OSArch_Supporters for more.
In February 2022 we formed our first steering committee with members Peter Sande (Forum: CadGiru Wiki: ?), Bruno Postle (Forum: brunopostle, Wiki: ?), Ioannis Christovasilis, Ryan Schultz, Duncan Lithgow, Dion Moult
Minutes from meetings are kept in gitlab.
This page makes some assumptions about the goals of OSArch.
- We want to change the world in line with our goals as stated at Open-Source_Architecture_Community
- We want to be a sustainable force, socially and economically
- We want to support an ecosystem of software projects, not be a software project
- We want to support promising projects and highlight successful projects
- We want to organize into projects/circles in which members of OSArch focus on specific issues (see circles and projects)
- We want to have some form of members representing different interests (see aspects)
- We want to support libre / opensource software solutions
- We want to create an identity and a trusted brand
So why create a formal organization at all? Interpersonal relations are characterized by many things. We have different priorities, different temperaments and different ways of seeing the world. Without some level of structure to reach agreement these differences can create more friction in an organization than is productive. Avoiding a structure completely assumes there is no power imbalance between people. The reality is that quiet people, more polite people, less talkative people and people with less time often are not given the same attention during an informal decision making process. They also have important contributions to make. These contributions must be guaranteed a chance to be heard by a pluralistic and transparent decision making process.
Does this mean we should start voting on everything? No. Quickly moving to a vote is a sure way to stifle a diversity of viewpoints. This is why many government have a system of sending legislation from cross-party committees to a parliament and back to committee several times before a final vote. When this is used honestly it builds broad agreement and results in better and longer lasting legislation.
Does every decisions need to go through a formal process? No. Decisions are made all the time at an individual level and in small groups. This is a form of delegated power based on trust. Any formal organization needs to have clearly defined limits. For example every supporter and member is free to chose their activity in the organization. Anyone can start a project or support a project as an individual.
So what needs to go through a formal process and point to specific individuals? Some things can only be done through a formal process:
- Opening bank accounts as OSArch
- Establishing a legal organization as OSArch
Okay, technically anyone could do this and say they are "OSArch". But then anyone else could do it as well - and then we really have a mess on our hands and a fight for control and influence before we're really going. Decisions about these issues must be democratic, but the actions and responsibilities require specific people. These people must be chosen in a transparent and robust way.
So what else could benefit from a formal process? How much can these decisions be decentralized? Hopefully a lot of them depending on how many people are interested in each issue. If there is only one person then they may need some guidance from a centralised group. If there are several then they can be empowered to act autonomously in line with OSArch principles. Here are some suggested topics:
- Decisions on distribution of funds (see [LiberaPay] and DAO below)
- Decisions on accepting funds (see )
- Decisions on educational activites (see Open Source Educational Resources, "learning" tag, OpenBIM training & certification programme, learn.osarch.org/ )
- Decisions on representing OSArch (see bS BEM Expert Panel, Letter on behalf of OSArch)
- Decisions on terms of membership (see comments by MaartenFrough)
- Decisions on digital infrastructure (see osarch-digital-infrastructure and OSArch_Digital_Infrastructure)
What about all the other important decisions that need to be made? Well, that's also something we need to find out. Here are some examples of issues that might need a structure:
- Branding and online presence (see social-media-posts-to-spread, Outreach)
- Which projects to support, and how to support them (see Supporting FUSTIC, OSGeo software maturity checklist )
Methods of organization
- We support distributed decision-making on as many issues as possible
- We support centralized decision-making by elected representatives on key defined issues. See Organization#Why.3F
Lumio (technical solution)
Loomio is a forum-like system where proposals can be started and managed and peoples reactions can be measured until there is a decision. Seems like a good solution for decision making both informally when anyone can participate and formally when smaller groups make decisions. (see Suggestions by DADA_universe)
"With Loomio, people participate on the web, email or mobile, in their own time. Discussions stay on topic, and Loomio suits a variety of discussion formats and styles. When you’re ready to make a decision, get feedback, or move from talk to action, Loomio’s polling tools are at your fingertips." Lumio TEDx talk.
"Collaborative e-democracy is a democratic conception that combines key features of direct democracy, representative democracy, and e-democracy [...]."
DAO - Decentralized Autonomous Organization
Rule-based automated distributing of funds. Specified individuals vote for how funds will be distributed. Can be anonymous. See aslo Decentralized autonomous organization
"A DAO, or Decentralized Autonomous Organization, is a concept for a organization that is ruled with forced digital rules and directly controlled by shareholders without hierarchical management. DAOs involve a set of people co-operating according to a self-enforcing open-source protocol."
Organizations to learn from
https://www.apereo.org/ works promoting Foss in education
https://resources.platform.coop/resources/the-loomio-co-op-handbook/ "The software we build is open source, and our organisation is open source too. This handbook is where we document how we run an efficient organisation without a hierarchy. We build software for collaborative decision making, used by thousands of organisations and communities around the world."
Parent Organizations to get us started
- We want to be able to accept funds as a charity (in the USA that would be a 501(c)(3) what about other countries?)
- We want to minimize administrative costs
- We want a platform that makes transparency easy
Needs research https://snowdrift.coop/
The Software Freedom Conservancy says "Software Freedom Conservancy is a not-for-profit charity that helps promote, improve, develop, and defend Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects. Conservancy provides a non-profit home and infrastructure for FLOSS projects. This allows FLOSS developers to focus on what they do best — writing and improving FLOSS for the general public — while Conservancy takes care of the projects' needs that do not relate directly to software development and documentation."
Software in the Public Interest
The group Software in the Public Interest is a 501(c)(3) providing similar but more limited services to members than Software Freedom Conservancy but at a lower price. This may be relevant if we chose to form a charitable foundation outside the USA, we could then use it as a way to receive funds for USA based donations.
- Register domain with website, wiki, forum, chat. Also youtube, twitter, linkedin. Status: DONE
- Hold monthly public meeting. Status: DONE x12
- Get noticed. Status: DONE
- Create a community. Status: DONE
- Distribute some tasks and responsibilities. Status: DONE
- Settle on logo/branding design manual. Status: work in progress
- Create funding stream
- Create LiberaPay account for basic reimbursements. Status: almost there
- Cover all current costs
- Build basis for planned infrastructure
- Create legal structure. Status: researching
- Create decision structure(s) and define scope. Status: researching