Author Topic: definition of team member vs community member, democracy vs DoOcracy  (Read 738 times)

Cerberus

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[ Topics split and merged by JasonJAyalaP]
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Another thing (Patrick talked about this) that puts a _big_ question mark onto my head: What actually constitutes a "team member"? I.e. what differentiates a "team member" from a "community member"? I might be wrong here (please explain) but I consider this distinction somewhat harmful for community thinking and especially building. That is, Whonix - to my understanding - is a FLOSS community project, there are no contracts involved or something. For example, fortasse - to my knowledge - administers the servers and pays for them. Obviously this constitutes being a "team member" rather than a "community member". I myself don't even know (sorry for being naive) what Jason actually is to Whonix. I mean, so far, I like his tone and language in the forums, i.e. I consider him a friendly person, but that's about it (what I know currently). Still, he's considered a "team member".

You may wonder why I come up with this ... Actually, looking into the (hopefully thriving) future of Whonix, we'll get to a point where a (more formal) decision making process needs to be established, a governance if you will. We may have an (elected) board, a council (whatever entity) that oversees important decisions, acts as a guidance for the community, etc, etc. Also thinking about the role of a imaginable 501c3, e.V. here. I'm wondering how to move forward if we have a "team member" VS "community member" differentiation; from a community management perspective. At least, it has its implications if we move forward with this. Especially if the differentiation and its reasons are unclear, intransparent (to me at least; so far) - so to speak.

Looking forward to your input here!
« Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 09:38:50 pm by JasonJAyalaP »

Patrick

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definition of team member vs community member, democracy vs DoOcracy
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2014, 08:10:57 pm »
Valid questions. Hard questions.

These are just my thoughts on that...

Core team members so far, in history order when joined the project:
- me (creating releases etc...)
- Fortasse (bought the domain, administers webapps and servers..., bonus points for taking his chances by buying the domain)
- Jason (he's been creatively consulting to me in hundreds of e-mail since well, 2011 or 2012, after exchanging the crucial information, there seldom is dissent on how to proceed; reviewing and fixing language strings, usability, etc...; this may not be well visible in public; bonus points by being non-anonymous)

Being considered core team member requires 1) wish to join 2) earning my trust by exceptional commitment in long term.

I am afraid to say, within Whonix there is no democracy. It is more like a initiative where one is listening to suggestions and having the final say. Benevolent dictatorship (as per producingoss.com) if you want so. Whonix is also more like a DoOcracy (there are good definitions and examples of that term when you search for it on search engines) rather than a democracy.

I am also afraid to say, I don't believe in democracy. It's not working anywhere in the world. When you're knowledgeable in one topic and talk to entitled to vote, you know that 90% don't have sufficient expertise on the topic. You need a driver licence for driving, but for deciding system of economy is best, if atomic power plants are a good idea and other topics of severe repercussions, no test whatsoever is even considered. People vote based on emotional things ("that fat bastard") rather than facts. Propaganda works. People only have short term memory. Elect those who promise most. Buy red herrings such as "left wing vs liberal vs right wing" while overlooking, that they're all representing the same system, the debt money system. Elect those who have best debating skills, rather then the one know is the most qualified one because they did extensive research on the topic. Problem is, those are still the 90%. This is in my opinion a mobocracy rather than democracy.

Democracy would work even worse for Free Software projects. Even if we could somehow prevent electoral fraud (by only allowing non-anonymous voters or something like that), an election result like "Patrick should work on X" while I feel more like "Y" wouldn't work well.

Before one complains about non-existing democracy, please check out other projects such as Debian, Ubuntu, etc. They're no democracies either. When there are good suggestions and even better, examples, on projects that solve this better I am eager to hear.

Whonix is in spirit a Free Software project. Provided in binary and source form in hope it may be useful to others. And you're most welcome to contribute if you can arrange with it. When ideologies are clashing, no mutually acceptable compromise can be found, you're free to join another project or to start your own. And even take the source in parts or in full and build upon that. Peaceful coexistence, hopefully cooperative and mutually beneficial as well. Just as I did (not developing Tails, developing Whonix instead, using parts of their work while giving appropriate credit).
« Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 09:39:27 pm by JasonJAyalaP »
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Cerberus

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Re: definition of team member vs community member, democracy vs DoOcracy
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2014, 09:49:13 am »
Quote
Core team members so far, in history order when joined the project:
- me (creating releases etc...)
- Fortasse (bought the domain, administers webapps and servers..., bonus points for taking his chances by buying the domain)
- Jason (he's been creatively consulting to me in hundreds of e-mail since well, 2011 or 2012, after exchanging the crucial information, there seldom is dissent on how to proceed; reviewing and fixing language strings, usability, etc...; this may not be well visible in public; bonus points by being non-anonymous)
Thanks for providing a better insight here. Especially Jason now is less of a "friendly shadow person" to me; still friendly, less shadow - that is ;)
Quote
Being considered core team member requires 1) wish to join 2) earning my trust by exceptional commitment in long term.
While this is a valid approach, I feel point 1) and the actual distinction between "team" and "community" member to be put into question/debate. I'm btw absolutely on the same page about democracy VS DoOcracy (we obviously completely misunderstood us here). That is to say, the actual process to become a "team member" or even the existence of such a distinction somehow feels hindering for team/community building to me. I mean, I (as an example) wouldn't actually consider to write a "formal letter" (exaggerated) to Patrick or the "team" asking to be part of the actual team. In contrast I would think why there actually is such a distinction and wouldn't understand it precisely, would feel it disconnecting.

It's hard to explain actually but I guess you get the point(?). Basically, we're almost on the same page (especially what you said about not working democracy (I mean it doesn't work - not only in FLOSS), benevolent dictatorship, etc. - this is how FLOSS projects work after all. It's about the team-joining process. To my understanding joining a FLOSS team is done by contributing (in whatever capacity). That is to say, I feel it as a kind of "natural progression" without any "formal" agreement at some point in time, i.e the move from a "bystander" to a "team/community member".

Quote
Before one complains about non-existing democracy, please check out other projects such as Debian, Ubuntu, etc. They're no democracies either. When there are good suggestions and even better, examples, on projects that solve this better I am eager to hear.
I'm not complaining about non-existent democracy (I like that it's not there actually, see above), I'm complaing (not sure if it's complaining after all, more so raising your attention to something that i feel may hinder the community/team growth) about the actual team-forming, joining, you name it, process - it's been rather intransparent to me. My approach isn't thought to an end either (for Whonix specifically). I felt the need to bring it up to our all attention.
Quote
Whonix is in spirit a Free Software project. Provided in binary and source form in hope it may be useful to others. And you're most welcome to contribute if you can arrange with it. When ideologies are clashing, no mutually acceptable compromise can be found, you're free to join another project or to start your own. And even take the source in parts or in full and build upon that. Peaceful coexistence, hopefully cooperative and mutually beneficial as well. Just as I did (not developing Tails, developing Whonix instead, using parts of their work while giving appropriate credit).
That's not at all what I tried to express here.
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Oh, btw: Nice hat! :P
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 11:19:24 am by Cerberus »

Cerberus

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Re: definition of team member vs community member, democracy vs DoOcracy
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 11:00:35 am »
I have to say, I feel the need to write another response to https://www.whonix.org/forum/index.php/topic,135.msg991.html#msg991

That is to say, I actually brought this "team member" VS "community member" differentiation to our all attention as I actually have some experiences in FLOSS community building/managing, not at all due to a personal concern. I saw it as a (non-technical) contribution so to speak.

Now, re-reading this paragraph
Quote
Whonix is in spirit a Free Software project. Provided in binary and source form in hope it may be useful to others. And you're most welcome to contribute if you can arrange with it. When ideologies are clashing, no mutually acceptable compromise can be found, you're free to join another project or to start your own. And even take the source in parts or in full and build upon that. Peaceful coexistence, hopefully cooperative and mutually beneficial as well. Just as I did (not developing Tails, developing Whonix instead, using parts of their work while giving appropriate credit).
as part of your response, it leaves a somewhat bitter taste (this time to me personally), i.e. it discourages me (personally) to actually contribute to Whonix in whatever capacity and this is sad. Not only did you get my intention to come up with this obviously wrong (see above), but what's more important: Quoted statement really is a statement that seems to be a "forward pass" to do exactly this: Stop contributing (not considering a fork or something), continue using Whonix, and utilize the forums to ask for help if needed and that's it.

I mean, without any offense intended, this isn't clever community management, quite to the contrary. You certainly couldn't be sure about my intentions to come up with this (so it's all fine, we're cool), but actually that's not too important here, because whatever intention whatever community member may have (see my personal one above) ... getting such a statement (and the implications within) as part of a response is the actual contrary of appreciation of contributions (in whatever capacity).

For me personally, it is taking some break here and re-considering my engagement.

Patrick

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Re: definition of team member vs community member, democracy vs DoOcracy
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2014, 03:41:03 pm »
I am sorry to hear about your disappointment. You're free to point me at role models that are doing better. I may be ignorant about the variety of choices here.

Team members are also people who have access to critical infrastructure, such as:
1) domain management
2) whonix.org ssh access
3) Whonix APT Repository
4) Whonix News
5) Wiki Admin
6) Wiki Reviewer
7) forum admin
8) forum mod
9) various project accounts for sourceforge etc.

On what criteria do you propose were someone more or less automatically gets the right to get access to this critical infrastructure?

To understand me better, I also always having this https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Trust#Evil_developer_attack in mind. I am not that into the Debian OpenSSL debacle (https://lists.debian.org/debian-security-announce/2008/msg00152.html) where a maintainer said "I don't like this randomness in the code", made it non-random, therefore messed up entropy, but one could say this is similar to evil developer attack. Having the kind of adversaries in mind that may not like Whonix, I think the most reasonable approach is to be very careful.

According to distrowatch, Debian is one of the most popular distributions. And I'd say, they're following the Free Software spirit. Something, I could not say about Ubuntu. They're more popular, but a sponsored, commercial project, which doesn't care so much about the Free Software spirit.

Debian as a very successful distribution is a good role model. There are:
- level 0: non-members / community contributors
- level 1: debian member? (This level might not exist anymore or I may be totally wrong about it.)
- level 2: debian maintainers, join process: https://www.debian.org/devel/join/newmaint
- level 3: debian developers, join process: https://wiki.debian.org/DebianDeveloper#Becoming_a_Debian_Developer
- level 4 and higher: team leaders, project leader?

In Debian it seems to me there is no way to anonymously join the project (pseudonymously, as in having others know your real name/identity but using a pseudonym on the web however seems to be allowed).

As in case of featherweight edition, Cerberus my plan was to see if you're coming up with source code changes, git commits, git tags and binary builds. My plan was to revamp the download page with the various different options that are maintained by different developers. This would have included linking to binary download images, that have been created by an anonymous person (Cerberus). Now that there are verifiable builds (https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Trust#Verifiable_Builds), this approach is hopefully not entirely unreasonable from both, a security perspective and from a community member to team member progression.

Again, I am happy to look into other projects/models how they're doing. This is the first and only Free Software project at this size I am working on, so I am asking for forgiveness should anything be unreasonable.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 03:51:52 pm by Patrick »
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Patrick

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Re: definition of team member vs community member, democracy vs DoOcracy
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2014, 04:00:50 pm »
To add an alternative comparison other than the one with Debian... What about becoming team member of The Tor Project or Tails?

Since I contributed (in question of definition of that word) to both projects, I can tell that seems even more difficult as getting team member of Whonix.

(Whonix team member could be compared to Tor Project core people (https://www.torproject.org/about/corepeople.html.en) - no anonymous team members at all.)

And by watching Tails development it seems to me, what you can contribute there is "tested git branches including documentation and design with clean git history which needs to survive the consensus process" which sets the bar quite high. Getting into the inner circle without having real life ties to the probably locally French based core people seems rather improbable to me.
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