In the last 18-months we invited many developers to collaborate and work in our extended team, but not many non-developer helpers. Developers doing development is essential, but non-developer contributors have an equally important role because these are the volunteers who manage forums, respond on social media, and often volunteer to help with less exciting admin tasks.
Over time our developer/helper imbalance has contributed to the project depending on a couple of long-term contributors and people have raised issues with the way things operate (claims of dictatorship, external influences, etc.) which has led to friction and even inspired a minor code fork. The dictator claim is part-true because the project runs as a meritocracy where those who step-up and take initiative are ultimately those who create outcomes and set project direction. Another factor is “spectator syndrome” which often occurs when a project grows rapidly but the number who take initiative grows at a slower pace. In the last year situations where many can see that a task needs doing but everyone waits for someone else to do it have become frustrating. Tasks become concentrated in a few regular (older) hands, and recent invitees who lack a long-term perspective on how the status-quo evolved perceive those hands to be dictators.
Recent Slack debate concluded that we aren’t being true to our original vision for governance so things must change. To drive shared responsibility and checks/balances our first action is to finally form an elected board. For the next week the current ~95 people in our Slack team are invited to declare themselves as formal team members and propose nominations for an initial board to represent them and write initial bylaws. An impartial observer to the project is helping us to register members and then run a Condorcet vote on the list of accepted nominations.
This is a long-overdue but exciting move. We will be publishing updates on the team-member and board nominations process as things unfold as it’s important we keep you all informed.
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