> we must also pay attention to other values, and we cannot be rigidly open
I recall the proposition (by Ian) that openness for one group might be to avoid open source. E.g., open availability to one group might require gdocs. I agree with this. In my home community of Civic Tech Toronto, we just barely talk about open source and essentially never about open licenses.
We instead highly encourage open culture and open project work, and it just happens that everyone uses defacto open source and open license. We don't take it ourselves in our onboarding to teach it though -- ppl seem to just figure it out fine
The thought that Ian and I shared (as I recall) was that emphasizing open source and especially types of license early might mean non-technical community contributors have more reason to think "oh, this place is for tech ppl" and then we have to work harder to convince them otherwise
g0v.network was just something we (me, Liz, CS, Darshana, 5-ish more) felt appropriate when trying to organize non-nationally in 2017 between UK, USA, Canada. We created a GitHub org for tracking issues and a YouTube account for sharing videos. A few of us have admin, but I'm the only one who seems to actively use it :man-shrugging:🏻
To me open source licenses are essential to collaboration in that it avoids (or at least reduces) exploitation - in that that it encourages sharing while gives credit where credit is due. Openness without it is less ideal imo.
Re: "essential to collaboration". We don't emphasize it in our 101 intros in Toronto, just working openly. And I feel like open collaboration works fine there, and my sense is that Toronto culture has converged pretty close to what's developed in Taiwan. Essentially every last project ends up being open source. I just don't like to be told I need to emphasize it early, when my experience is that it's not essential to do so <3
I feel resistant to being told (in a personal sense) that I must talk about open source and licenses when introducing our community to new ppl when I host our weekly 101 session. I support others to harp on it as much as they please when they run the session. But my personal sense is that it's unnecessarily tech-centric for my tastes. I'd rather focus on open leadership, and give ppl less reason to think they need to be rooted in technology culture to belong.
I am totally onboard with open leadership and space and more. I think it’s could be misguiding to characterize open source licensing as “tech-centric” though when looking at CC’s adoption in both g0v and the wider creative community.
I also want to share my personal experience as a newbie to g0v in 2014. g0vers at the time reminded me that I need to set a (open) license for my project because that would influence people’s willingness to contribute. That was a very important moment for me.
@patcon I don’t think @ian869 ‘a proposition is that we should “avoid open source” in order to be open. His proposition was, in my understanding, not to exclude not-open-source tools for communication, for instance, it is okay to use Google Doc.
My position is that g0v contributors’ contribution should be clearly stated to be in open source licenses from the very beginning as it is the foundation of open collaboration preventing exploitation. Otherwise, how do people trust strangers to work together? It is the clear understanding that how the collective work would be used that build the trust infrastructure.
I don’t think introducing the idea of open source would be too hard to onboard non-tech contributors. I have done that with many non-tech communities and organisations.
I blame myself that I didn’t make my point firmly and haven’t demonstrated and convinced you that introducing open source is not creating another barrier.
I also suggest we should share the next g0v.london co-organiser meeting time and link to g0v community as the topic here is the roots of what consists of g0v and how a community can use the name of g0v to host events.
I am glad to share with the community that #london-hacknight now is run by a group of co-organisers more than just @patcon and me. @patcon, I think that decentralisation is what we both wanted when we initiated g0v.London civic hacknight.
Therefore, I am going to copy more co-organisers here to understand the contexts and join the discussion
My personal position is that open culture and open collaboration are the most paramount values to hacknights, which represent an effort to "reimagine a new form of civic participation." (This is how I have understood my past work and perhaps misinterpreted the work of g0v.tw) In that sense, "open source" for us in Toronto was simply a means to that end, a specific [techo-legal] implementation of opennness.
My belief is that ppl doing civic work who are too fearful to work open source should still be very welcome to speak, participate, seek support, and be given a platform to share. so long as they communicate openly about what they are, and aspire for openness in ways that make sense in their context. In practice, the rare speakers (and even rarer breakout groups) that are not fully open source, they extend themselves in their interactions with us, and grow more eager about the possibilities of openness through that process.
For example, an upcoming London speaker started an ethical tech worker co-op that does bike food delivery. They don't do open source yet, though it is a topic of discussion internally. But when they do open their software, they are using software under a co-operative software license, which is not open source. Their license would only allow other co-operative to run the platform. And even if they don't choose to open their software, I would still want to participate in a community that gives platform to such efforts, and doesn't prioritize open source technologists' work above other worthy efforts that those technologists can both learn from and offer support to :) https://twitter.com/wings_coop
Another example is marginalized indie game developers. In Toronto there is a respected community that is very open in leadership, and helps ppl from marginalized backgrounds break into gaming. They do not push open source. As an admirer, I would not expect them to. They run programs to help marginalized creators bootstrap game studios. They are ppl shaping stories that are not often told, and we were proud to host them, and to have shared members and shared values. They are not, nor would I expect them to be particularly valuing open source game creation, amongst a group that is already disadvantaged. but they are open in other ways, and share practices and learnings inside and outside their community. Coercing open source to be the deepest value (rather than openness) feels like it telegraphs that this type of labour and collaboration would not be very high priority in a g0v community. https://twitter.com/emilyamacrae/status/1151277821316292608
For our upcoming organizing meeting, I plan to compile a list of past speakers in Toronto (there have been several hundred) who would seem to be de-priorotized by a manifesto that places open source above simple openness and other values. I worry that over-emphasizing open source going forward will result in speaker bookings and invitations that have a harder time busting silos between sectors. I feel it's important to be welcome of many types of speakers and not have that be second guessed by other members due to a sense of open source being the highest value. Booking weekly speakers is hard already, and we have learned in toronto to keep the movement "big tent" with as few constraints as possible outside "civics" (e.g., no specific monthly themes). I hear this conversation, and wonder if it means future speaker booker's will feel unwelcome to invite the sorts of amazing speakers who I understand to have energized the efforts in Toronto and made the culture and pace possible.
@sylin presented great options, but I can think of a few more:
1. Not call ourselves g0v anymore (civictech.london was suggested by a few co-organisers not active in this convo)
2. Continue using the g0v brand and start aligning with the g0v.tw manifesto asap
3. Fork the g0v.tw manifesto with a minimal change to suit preferences of active participants with g0v.london (and check if friendly forks like this are permitted by... upstream?)
4. Keep the g0v brand and manifesto, and allow ppl who don't identify as g0v nobodies to continue contributing to the effort (language of "we are all g0v" etc may need some tweaking, as well as setting norms on whether it's permitted to discuss this new nuance openly)
5. Keep the g0v brand and manifesto and ask ppl who disagree to step back from participating in co-organising
Reevaluating is appreciated, even if it doesn't mean change! It's ok if things stay the same. I was worried I'd feel like I had to go if I disagreed, but I think I found a way to stay 🤞🏻, so I'm relieved 😅
Open source is not just a technical thing, it is a philosophy that can cover many non-technical ways on practicing openness as a value. For example, I have seen many non-technical communities practice open source / openness using Google Docs to allow for public and collaborative open documents, even though the tool itself is not an open source tool. I disagree with people who say that all tools we use must be open source, I think this may be where your core disagreement with the phrase open source comes from, as you want to allow us to invite communities to that practice openness in other ways even if their tool is not open source.
However, I also think that licensing and open source is very important when the community itself it collaborating to make a new tool, or supporting a project. I don't think it would be appropriate, for example, to have a speaker from GoogleDocs come to a g0v meetup trying to promote or sell their closed source tool. Though it might be okay for someone from GoogleDocs to come and demo how you can use the tool to host a collaborative and open discussion as long as they aren't asking the community to contribute labor towards their private commercial enterprise.
I consider licensing another way of practicing the value of openness / open source, and I think it's an important conversation to have in every meeting. I do not consider it a technical conversation -- licenses apply to all forms of intellectual property, including creative content (i.e. Creative Commons licenses), and I think they are a critical mechanism for agreeing on the shared governance of collective labor contributed at events. Ignoring or avoiding these questions early in a project makes it very easy for those with more privilege or skills to take advantage of the contributions of others for personal gain. I don't consider having conversations about licenses a technical discussion, it's a legal and governance discussion, and it's a discussion about how the group wants their labor to be used by others.
Based on the conversations I have had with @patcon and @aelcenganda, I think there is agreement between everyone on the values here, I think it may just be disagreement over specific terms or words and how they are used.
Open source is an ill defined adjacent philosophical concept to g0v's openness manifesto. It's an ill defined term. The values behind MIT and Gpl3 for example are imo quite different, but both are called "open source." One allows a game developer's hard work to be exploited for free, the other, not so much.
Openness as a value can't possibly mean "pure open source" without contradicting openness of accessibility to work on a project, because requiring a full hardware stack of open source software, starting at coreboat and moving up, means only a small portion of people will be able to work on projects (or even connect to the wifi at a hackathon!) because most machines run non free firmware, or the operating system includes nonfree drivers (or just is non free).
The painful part of openness is growing pains as openness to non taiwanese participants and cultural norms has the predictable and desired result of bringing in non taiwanese participants! With the good comes a little bad, but in my opinion it's worth it. Maybe the little bad will turn out to be not so bad in the end. I've learned "tolerance without adaptation" is a good strategy for me when I move to a new country. For example, for a couple years I tolerated and observed some Taiwan labor practices, without trying to modify my own values to adopt them. In that case I decided not to adapt at all and that's why I started a co-op. But I made sure to tolerate for just a moment, because it let me have insight I wouldn't have otherwise. For example, I think make up holidays are really stupid, but I listened long enough to finally hear from a friend that he likes them because it means get gets two days in a row off some other time (never mind that you can have both...).
So basically even though conversations like this can be difficult, or cause strong emotions, that's a feature, not something to avoid. If we want to grow we have to experience some pain occasionally, as far as I know anyway.
7-8 co-organisers shared their understandings and visions on open source and g0v community. Power dynamics was addressed. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to come to a clear conclusion on the community's name and governance structure, but committed to slow down and resolve that in the following month. (from my understanding)
The decision right now is to suspend the events before further discussion on April 20th. The next scheduled g0v.london civic hacknight will be on April 25th. The scheduled speaker is going to speak on Strike Map, if I understand correctly.