Governing the Open Source Commons: guiding principles for sustainable and equitable open source communities
Open source culture is characterized by a DIY ethic of “do-ocracy:” things happen when self-directed people feel motivated to make them happen in accordance with their time and talents. However, open source communities also seem to struggle with common challenges of sustainability and decision-making; even successful open source projects face serious crises of maintenance and resource allocation that may be difficult to manage under either a “benevolent dictator for life” or ‘flat’ structurelessness. Fortunately, there are known methods of “institutional design” that can aid communities in developing systems of decision-making and accountability – which is to say, governance. In this session, members of the SustainOSS network will introduce the “Open Source Governance Guide,” modeled on Elinor Ostrom’s principles of Governing the Commons. We will collaboratively analyze this governance framework and develop “Questions to Ask Frequently” that can support communities in practicing successful governance.