We are an open community

But what does that mean?

As part of our bylaws we should clarify what it means for us to be an open community. This might have avoided some misunderstandings. I was thinking something short like:

We are an open community. Any conversation or decisions that impact the future of our community need to be available to as large a part of our community and the general public as possible.

Then with an elaboration:

  • conversations that impact the community should not happen in invite-only spaces.
  • content should be accessible (ADA accessible? ie. text to speech software should be able to parse it)
  • As best as we can we should use software that follows Free, Libre, and Open definitions and standards.

Thoughts? Elaborations?


Nice, sounds good! :slight_smile: We can of course adjust the details as we go along but in the interest of moving and improving we should start out with that.

And we should clarify that of course exempt from this are sensitive matters like Code of Conduct violations, in which case core -at- opensourcedesign.net should be contacted. :slight_smile:

We should also change that on the CoC site, and list the people who are part of that list there.

My concern with that is that someone should be able to reach out to an individual for a Code of Conduct violation. What if it’s someone on the “core” e-mail list who’s doing the violating? (not that I think anyone will, just, you know, what if).

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Yeah, thought that too. Hence we should say that in doubt, any of the people on the list can also be contacted individually (similar to the ppl on the page now). I’d just like to increase that list and match it with the core@ for consistency :slight_smile:

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Sounds good. I’ll do a PR :slight_smile:

Great idea! Couple of suggestions. This declaration could be clearer by removing any risk of conflation of openness in software with openness in a community. I will distinguish the two here by using the terms libre software/design and transparent community, though the by-laws may use different terminology.

One point of difference, software is forkable, but a community, not so much. We do not want a community to which we belong to be “modified” in an opaque manner or for unannounced reasons, but we don’t care (and sometimes are happy) if a fork of our design/software is modified for whatever reason and depending on the license, whatever manner.

Another way to better understand what kind of community we want is to ask ourselves why we value openness/transparency so much. It may have been self-evident at the beginning, but it is useful for the general public and as a reminder for established members. I am surprised that there is no explanation of the value of open sourcing design and the value of a transparent community on the OSD site. So, let’s fix that and inform others of the benefits of libre design and a transparent community.

Why do we value openness so much? For me:
In software:

  • altruism
  • fosters innovation
  • allows solutions to be tailored to individual needs
  • encourages collaboration (many eyeballs…), not competition


  • encourages (but does not guarantee) equality among members
  • provides accountability
  • enables and encourages participation and collaboration
  • forms the foundation for democratic process

Understanding the reasons behind our values ensures that our by-laws and actions truly are in line with our values.

May I suggest a catchy title for our By-laws:

Open source. Open community. Open mind.

I’ll leave “open mind” open for discussion.


I doubt that Discourse has such functionality, but it would be great if there were a private :fearful: Complaints category where topics were only visible to the original poster and staff. Discourse is better for discussion than email and such an arrangement would provide transparency since there will probably be staff who are not “core” members.

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For this specific thing of private complaints - Discourse offers private messages between multiple people. Wouldn’t that be enough?

The issue here isn’t that private conversations happen. The issue is that decisions that affect our community as a whole shouldn’t happen in closed spaces.

I like your breakdown of why we believe “open” / “transparency” is important. Do you think we should add those things to the by-laws, or should we keep them concise? Maybe we can have “read-more” toggles? (can we still use markdown in that case?)

Do you think we need to add the clarification that open-ness in this instance refers to transparency? (Because I agree, it does).

I think another reason for doing open-ness in organizations is that it shows when stuff goes wrong or when it works so that everyone can learn from it. It fosters innovation in community building by bringing more ideas to the table.

Code of Conduct violations and the like should work via email and not require someone to sign up for an account on our forums here. They can happen on any other platform of ours or at meetups too. Hence the core@ email address, and the individual people below.

I think the reasons why we value openness and transparency should be on the About page or even the home page since it is central to what OSD is and can persuade and inform the general public of our cause. These could be linked to the by-laws. They inform the by-laws, but they are not the by-laws.

Yes. I also think we should get rid of the point about using FLOSS, for the same reason. Also, it may send the wrong message to Mac and Windows users :slight_smile:.

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Good point, but it does not address @simonv3’s point about core member violations, at least in its current form.

Another issue with using private messages (and email), it is not easy to make a complaint anonymously, if we want to support that.

Lots of things to think about!

I assume you’re referring to:

As best as we can we should use software that follows Free, Libre, and Open definitions and standards.

I think for the intents of organizing our community it’s still important and relevant, and an important thing to note as part of our organization and how we get things done. But maybe it can be changed to

For purposes of organizing our community and how it operates - we should use software that follows Free, Libre, and Open definitions and standards as best we can.

Or maybe that first bit is just at the beginning of the list of bullets:

For purposes of organizing and operating our community:

  • list of points

We also encourage Mac and Windows users to make the switch to open source software, but that’s not for the by-laws.


@studiospring that’s why I said above that the members of the core list should also be listed below and stated that they can be contacted individually. :wink: We are an open community

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Now public

– I refrained from publication only because I needed to clarify something in Discourse Meta.