"The tyranny of structurelessness" article describes how organizations where a formal structure lacks or (even worse) a formal structure is refused are in danger of being taken over by internal elites.
An elite is a group of people inside the organization sharing own visions, private resources and communication channels. An elite is not a bad thing by definition, but can be a risk for the unstructured organization because it centralizes power in a non-accountable way.
After reading the whole article, I see two facts
- As said before, the community and Nethesis are in a win-win situation
Nethesis is an elite in our unstructured Community
As consequence to tackle the future challenges I think we need a formal structure that takes decisions and moves the project forward.
This is my initial proposal; I'm sure it will evolve.
Implement a central board, a steering committee of (say) 10 seats, plus a chairman. Elections every (say) 6 months. Putting "win-win" into effect means "fifty-fifty", so to start:
chairman seat – @alefattorini Community Manager
five seats for Nethesis people
five seats for other community members
A community governance is maybe just an amplification to say it's good, go ahead, or stop it's a wrong way – @stephdl
I agree. For instance I would appeal to the committee for (future, present, past) decisions like
- Cockpit or Nethgui?
- Does the community welcome Nethesis paid services?
- Help stephdl with donations or not?
- Github or Redmine?
- Testing category or testing tag?
- MrMarkuz becomes ambassador?
- Moodle integration or AD GPO UI first?
- Docuwiki or Github wiki?
- Release or not to release NS7?
- Vulnerability full disclosure or partial disclosure?
- SOGo and/or WebTop?
There are situations where growing consensus is not enough. There must be an official investment from an approved authority because it empowers individual or groups to take action on behalf of the whole community. This is how a steering committee can give us traction and direction.
Let's see how such committee can give us protection too. I'd like to see the NethServer project grows into an ecosystem of volounteers, consultants, companies, public agencies (like schools) and so on... Other elites will raise in the ecosystem. A formal structure is a warranty for everyone: we could add additional seats to the commitee, we could strengthen the election rules, we could set up a foundation. For such challenges a formal structure is a requirement to avoid paralysis and a defense against hostile forces.
In the end the "central board" is what we really need today. Individuals can still develop, support, document, test like we've done so far. They can raise their hands when they have time for specific tasks, and join a group to receive notifications when a specific help is needed. However I'd see how to implement this after we have delegated to the "central board" the power of taking decisions.