HOWTO: Create an Architecture of Participation for your Open Source project

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hahahahaa, sorry @maiki. but i’m linking it because it’s a case study on participatory … participation.

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Whoo, a lot more to process than I thought (including a straight-up heinous pie-graph :grimacing:), so we’ll chip away at it.

We Are Open Co-op member Doug Belshaw has written a guide to building an architecture of participation which includes the following steps:

  1. A clear mission — why does this project exist? what is it setting out to achieve?
  2. An invitation to participate — do you have an unambiguous call to action?
  3. Easy onboarding — are there small, simple tasks/activities that new volunteers can begin with?
  4. A modular approach — do volunteers have to commit to helping with everything , or is there a way which they can use their knowledge, skills, and interests to contribute to part of the project?
  5. Strong leadership — do the people in control of the project embody the mission? do they have the respect of volunteers? have they got the capacity to make the project a success?
  6. Ways of working openly and transparently — does the project have secret areas, or is everything out in the open?
  7. Backchannels and watercoolers — are there ‘social’ spaces for members of the project to interact over and above those focused on project aims?
  8. Celebration of milestones — does the project recognise the efforts and input of volunteers?

Hey, this sounds like it applies to Self-governing community on Discourse! :sunglasses:

Okay, not being facetious… does anyone know of a project that checks those eight boxes? I’m drawing a blank.

A post was merged into an existing topic: talkgroup audit (2020)

I feel like this is a stumbling block for me, always. I’m a seer (in the mystical sense only because it is also very mundane). I see stuff. I see projects complete before I can explain to another person the first concepts.

I’m very good at finding shortcuts and strategy meetings. I’m not very good at building clear missions.

I applied these steps to the idea of a single talkgroup (talkgroup audit (2020)), so let’s zoom out and look at as a platform-domain.


talkgroup exists because I see so much, including how everyone will screw us over unless someone sets up network services with the best intentions. I know how to set up lots of things, but am always struggling with resources. Literally: no monies. It means we have to be clever, and reuse as much infrastructure as possible.

talkgroup exists because it headlocks Discourse into serving as a bunch of mini-projects, so we’d have a tool to reuse for our projects that aren’t funded, or otherwise tied to capitalism.

talkgroup exists because every platform I use leaves someone out. talkgroup does too, and I’m working on it.

And that is the crux: I don’t have a clear mission because my mission is every other place is a fucking dumpster fire. But ya know, there it is. That’s my perspective, and the cap on what talkgroup becomes.

That said, it’s become a fabulously knowledge-heavy resource. It’s my primary way of interacting with the network. I’m happy.

So, let’s ask some questions:

  1. Is more participation something talkgroup benefits from? (Maybe not, maybe it’s the “correct” level for noise-to-signal ratio)
  2. If so, how do we move forward (and please answer in the form of a clear mission statment :slight_smile: )?

talkgroup = waterchannel backcooler, or some combination of syllables therein.

I really lined up a bunch of carts in front of a queue of horses, and it won’t make sense of a little while longer, but only just. :sunglasses: