Puzzled . . @mako makes a clear pitch on "Free software production needs free tools" youtube.com/watch?v=U_nK6nP_RC
And is very clear on and (though says most code comes from solo not collaboration!). Yet not a hint of coop ownership of to keep tools honest & open (GitHub!). Surely tools today become platforms? And platforms require collaboration even if code doesn't? So why doesn't follow automatically, as we talk tools? How does libre not equal coop in FLOSS world?

@mike_hales Because FLOSS world is a meritocracy and not a democracy?

@Graham_Mitchell @mike_hales

Might be worth remembering that the coiner of the term "meritocracy" meant it as a criticism.

(But I am seeing a lot more cooperative dev teams these days...)

@bhaugen @mike_hales And it is a criticism of sorts. For a FLOSS project, or indeed any sort of project, meritocracy is a very sensible and obvious place to start, but it's not sustainable. As the project matures, more voices need to be heard, and governance needs to broadened and become inclusive - hence a democratic cooperative approach fits well. But project owners rarely have the knowledge or interest to to pursue this option.

@Graham_Mitchell @mike_hales

We ( mikorizal.org/ ) have worked with a lot of projects. One conclusion is that a sustainable project is like a cell and needs both a nucleus (a tight set of core contributors) and a membrane (an onboarding gate and process).

But then if it is to stay alive and be healthy it needs to welcome and mentor new people, move them ever closer to joining the core. And if the core gets too big, divide, spawn another cell.

@mike_hales @Graham_Mitchell

The need for a core seems to go along with @mako 's research, although he seems to think it leads to the core benefiting themselves from their positions to the detriment of the project's mission, which can definitely happen. Is it inevitable?

Scuttlebutt may be an instructive counter-example. They welcome new people all the time, and one member of the core is also an active and visible mentor of new developers. And they have spawned several new projects.


@bhaugen @mako @mike_hales I don't believe that it is inevitable. But it speaks volumes that charity law exists in part to stop core team from benefitting.

And in terms of the soft power that core team people inevitably accrue (whether the like/want it or not), there does need to be written in guidelines/rules about how to address that.

Oligarchy isn't always actively sought.

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