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REQUIRED READING:

the tyranny of structurelessness,
by jo freeman

jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.h

I'd say that governance of floss dev is broken, but it's hard to call something broken when it's essentially nonexistent in the first place.

(this is not a criticism of mastodon or eugen, btw - it's endemic to literally all free software projects lol)

@h I think you'd really enjoy this ^ if you haven't already read it

I really really wish people would actually read this the whole way through instead of just skimming through it. it's absolutely worth the read

@gc I haven't read through the whole piece, so forgive me if I comments are premature.

It sounds right to assert that all groups have structure. That agrees with philosophical holism: entities don't become organized; they're always organized.

Do you think what's needed is more accountability? I'd guess the only way to create it is to use a formal structure; keeping an informal elite accountable seems to be the big hangup.

I'll continue reading now.

@kdsch hahaha you're exactly on the right track! it's a bit of a long read, but absolutely worth reading all the way through.

@gc Just skimmed through it. I think I mostly agree. Fast fordward to the article conclusions:

Delegation, Accountability, Distribution, Allocation, Rotation, Diffusion, Access.

If you take of each of these tenets, or basic principles, you come back to the same I was saying earlier.

You can't get all these at once without both technical and political competence.

@h while I think that setting up an organization in a way that promotes and cultivates those qualities among its members takes technical and political competence, participating in such an organization does not.

@gc That's true, of course. The problem I've seen with participating without actual involvement (meaning putting actual political and technical work into it, not just voting and debating) often becomes counterproductive.
Just an observation in my experience.

The person with absolutely no skin in the game can afford to naysay, support pointless things that don't make any sense,
debate bikeshedding endlessly, and never contribute anything other than just participating.

@gc It works for a while, and then the people who do the actual work leave in disgust.

I've seen this happen countless times.

@gc If a representative has a mandate from their community and that representative is rotated, and there is an assembly of knowledgeable people each of whom are trusted by and accountable to their respective communities, that could work.

But that person shouldn't be a sysadmin, who's by definition someone who works in a technical capacity. A sysadmin is effectively a BDFL of the instance they manage.

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A Fediverse instance for people interested in cooperative and collective projects.