Open discussion: Proposal for NethServer Community Governance

I haven’t gone through everything yet, but with regards to the Governance question - I think that OpenSuse is the closest to what we trying to achieve and it would be a good model or starting point to base Nethserver’s Governance off.


Of course! This year too :slight_smile:

March issue is coming, I just put the topic on the list


I love the discussion and what I think matters most is

  • don’t over-structure our community organization
  • create a governance that helps us to take the right decisions about the product and on the community
  • a healthy and thriving community is based on accountability. New commitments are welcome.

I’m ok with the board and the vote only if it’s clear what board members should do on the daily basis.
Given that they should serve the community and not the way around


I have to agree with @alefattorini, I do beleive that the NS open source community shouldn’t be overly-structured and should be able to examine, consider and give a fair hearing to any critiques or comments (as well as apprecation) that is expressed by more junior members of the community.

1 Like

Very well stated @alefattorini and @medworthy.

A simple and transparent and not over-structured is definitely the way to go.


Good advice here from Jono Bacon

recommend you start with a simple board of 3 – 5 people whose charter is focused on general community matters (e.g. handing sponsor funds, how the community is moderated, publishing policy etc). For technology communities, the board would not have any technical authority: that is for the developers to decide (this avoids impacts on engineering agility). You could grandfather in the initial board members, have them meet every month on a public channel, and log outcomes on a wiki. After a set period of time, open up nominations, and form the first independently elected board.

What do you think @robb ?


I support the idea of a lean governance board. The idea underlines the professional approach of the current development team and the “evangelists”.

Before it is established, the objetives and the “business value” should be clearly defined.

Objectives could be:

  • Perception of the role of the product owner
  • Adoption of a development strategy
  • Determination of milestones in terms of content and release planning
  • very important: which target group should be addressed - preferably the professionals with a large technical background or rather the home users?
  • Communication strategy with the following focal points:
    –Structure of the community forum
    – documentary
    – best practices
    – Acquisition of sponsors and partners
  • possibly even a business model in the broadest sense in connection with a transparent financing model
  • licensing model

Possible business values in the figurative sense

  • Broadening the installed base
  • higher perception on the “market” and by potential users
  • Greater involvement of other experts in development and software maintenance
  • increasing refinancing of expenses
  • Development partnerships with universities
  • transparent requirements definition with open backlog
  • coordinated communication between developers and tailoring

Please take this only as suggestions for reflection. I do not know enough about the current structures and methods already in use.

Regrads, Marko


I recently noticed the @support_team started to build some internal rules and I think their work is a model for our entire community.

This was just an idea. Today I’m thinking differently, I think about groups :slight_smile:

The “those who do decide” principle can become reality once group membership rules and scope is defined.

As someone else has already proposed (@m.traeumner?) , the new @board_team can be composed by members of other groups. I’d grant the right to vote board members only to members of other groups.

In other words the NethServerian citizenship can be awarded by people that contribute. We must work to make contributing easy, straight and effective.

People that contributed in the past become “emeritus”. They should always be welcome when they get the time to come back here. Joining their old group should be even simpler!


I tend to agree with @davidep. If we adopt the policy of : “those who do, are those who decide” then it makes sense to make the @board_team from votes from all the other teams.

We do have to consider the backdraws. In Jo Freeman’s anarchy of structurelessness, the big red flag is: creation of islands of power. Aren’t we creating those when we adopt this?

How can we propagate the need for members to join a team and be active? (besides the things we already do with activating people through mentions etc…)

To make such a construction work it there must be very low barriers for people to actually start joining groups. I love the ideas posted for the @support_team and I do think they should be adopted for all other teams too. Maybe they need some polishing but it sure is a good start.


Yes you are right, I mentioned this:

but @robb’s statement is right too.

As I wrote my answer at the other thread I thought about 1 person of every group that represents the group and their interests, so we have a speaker for every group. Of course it’s an island.
An other easy rule can be:

Everybody active since x days can be voted.

But who has the right to vote? In my opinion it should be the whole community for this scenario.

I think it is fair to limit voting rights to a certain degree of commitment in the community. Just like political elections, not everybody is allowed to vote. In political elections minors are not allowed and I think in most countries anyone without a legal status to live in the country isn’t allowed either.

We could adopt this by not allowing member level 0 (non legal/too short time/without activity residents?) and member level 1 (minors) to vote for @board_team
I think it is either this or election/representation by 1 member of each team.

Again, the role of the @board_team should be very limited. The community should be run through activity of all the members: Those who act, are those who decide. If you are not satisfied with a decision, make work of alternatives and convince others of your ideas and (more important) actions.


Just another thought on the option to let the @board_team be represented by 1 member of each team.
How many teams are we talking about? What if we get 25 different language teams? Or like we have now an @education_team, there arise several other special groups (for example SoHo users, NGO’s, java specialists, etc…) There can be several dozens of different groups… I see this as a possible inconsistent base for the community governance setup.

IMO this could be avoided by giving those groupmembers a vote instead of representation by one of their team members.


You raise an interesting and yet valid scenario @robb .

Well, let me push the group idea a little further :slight_smile:

There can be as many groups as people want in our community. By time they should reach a mature shape, where we consider them official groups. Such groups have some basic traits, I’d say just to start

  1. the group has at least one “owner” or “coordinator”
  2. there are rules for members to enter/exit the group: the owner is responsible to enforce them

Citzens here are “Nethserverians”: to be a Nethserverian, one must be member of an official group.

A special group, let’s call it board_team is elected by Nethserverians among other Nethserverians. I don’t want to put constraints on the number of members from each group. The board_team

  1. Approves a new official group and its rules about membership
  2. Nominates one or more owners among group members for each group
  3. Suspends a group when it is not active any more

This basic structure can grow up as necessary. So far, it is partially implemented in our community.

Absolutely, no! I think this structure encourages contributions. IMO anyone who respects our community rules and contributes back, even with a little contribution, is a NethServerian.

I’m not sure anymore the Discourse platform can help us with its trust levels. They are a really cool and automated feature. It gives an idea of what someone has done. Anyway, I’d prefer to follow what the Support Team is pioneering for us: discussions of easy membership rules, enforced by group coordinators/owners.


List of groups


I like this approach!
The reason I mentioned Discourse member levels was to have some kind of maturity for members with voting rights. But I agree that your approach is a lot better: those who do and participate gain voting rights. I think we all can agree that granting voting rights to an account that has just been created 1 day before an election, is something to avoid. A person could create many accounts and then rig the elections.

I also agree completely in the amount of groups: that is not important, as long as they are active and organized.

This way we create a very organic and active organization around the community.


The 15th of April is behind the corner, but I still see a little debate. Do you think we need a time extension?


It might be a good idea to add another w2 weeks for extra discussion. Agree with starting the poll at may 1st?
Anyway, see how the discussion develops and allow time as long as necessary.


I know that I have been a bit quiet within the NS forum for a while but I have been following this thread with some interest and like what I have been reading.

However, I do have some concerns about the number of groups that have closed their doors to new members. Looking at the list of groups, I have noticed that most groups have only a couple of people within them (I am specificly looking at the arm_team and education_team and only see three members in each of these groups) and have decided to close entry to new members.

I fear that this sort of limited access mentality may stifle the future effectiveness of these groups and (in the end) may effect NS overall.

Personaly, I would not like to see these groups stopping other like minded people from joining and think that the idea of closed groups could be detrimental to what they are trying to achive.

1 Like

I agree, and looking at the groups list above I had a similar impression.

However there can be a simple explanation for that and @alefattorini can confirm it: the forum platform has been recently updated and I bet some features, like “open” groups, are newly added.

As of now we can convert some groups to “open”, wherever it makes sense. My proposal above is to distinct two types of group “open” and “closed” (team?). The latter grants the Nethserverian citizenship. A third type of group is “board”, its members are elected.

1 Like

We can definitely open teams, yes it’s a feature added recently
Said that, the key is finding good coordinators that lead the teams. People that lay out the roadmap, plan things to do and keep people involved. Accountability is the key and here we have a lot of good examples of “doers” and "leaders"
Mention is a great tool to keep people involved BTW

1 Like