Dear GOSH Community members,
One of the ideas that surfaced at GOSH 2022 was to create a program to empower motivated individuals within the GOSH community to act as “ambassadors” to engage individuals, communities, institutions, and projects to convey the benefits and principles of open science hardware.
It was decided that the next step in implementing this program would be to create an ambassador handbook to train and help better communicate OScH to different audiences. A draft handbook is available for review if you are interested, but we are holding off on publishing it more broadly until the working group is seated and has had a chance to review it.
After hosting a series of workshops with community members to scope out this handbook, a clear need was identified concerning the governance of ambassadors, i.e., formalizing and overseeing how we recruit, onboard, and manage ambassadors. To address this, we are creating an Ambassador Program Working Group tasked with administering this program.
We are now seeking enthusiastic community members to join this working group! As a member of this working group, you will play a crucial role in shaping the ambassador program for years to come.
For more information on the role and its responsibilities, please refer to this role description.
If you would like to join the working group, please send me an email or direct message me on the forum by August 7 expressing your interest in the position.
This seems like a cool idea in general, and i feel like ive been acting as a gosh Ambassador whenever i go to conferences or anything and help represent gosh.
It also seems like a cool idea to come up with a guide for how to share and talk about open source things.
But spending one to two hours a week for several months, Just on deciding governance of the ambassador stuff, seems like an incredible time commitment. If having some sort of extra governmental structure in place is super necessary for this working group, It really seems like something could just be decided, and if it works just run with it, if it doesn’t work we could tweak it later.
Spending this much time trying to get some sort of extra perfect sub-government thing in place, seems very much less like the do-ocracy attitude, and more to me. Just kind of like bureaucracy for bureaucracy’s sake. Maybe I’m not seeing this all correctly?
But for me if we’re going to ask people to have that kind of time commitment on an already strained community, I would much rather have those resources spent on something simple and active like:
" Hey do you want to be a gosh ambassador? Can you do a commitment of 1 hour a week for 3 months? Great! Every other week please spend 1 hour just writing emails or calling people or talking to people in local community about gosh stuff. And then every other week we can spend 1 hour convening and chatting with all the other ambassadors about how things are going"
Preach it brother! I’m going to nominate you for the next council!
Anyway, I think the correct answer is:
We should get a team of about 10 people to do a working group about forming rules for working groups. Let them cook on this for about a year or so, and then we can start working on the rules of the actual working groups
Good to seem some consensus forming in this thread. Andy and I both served in the first council that was paralysed under the fear of not being progressive enough in our governance that we struggled to achieve anything despite many many hours of meetings.
As a community GOSH has a strong and effective code of conduct. While simple majority vote within a small council/working group can’t be theoretically proved optimal. Any decisions being made towards our shared purpose of open hardware has to be preferable to no progress on our stated purpose until we solve the millennia-old problem of optimal governance. We must be wary of making the perfect the enemy of the good.
I would love to be an ambassador for the GOSH which I experienced when I first met this community in China in 2018. A warm, welcoming, vibrant community. Within a few hours I felt I had truly met my people. I want to be an ambassador for that GOSH, not for a bureaucratic council that takes multiple meetings to decide whether it can decide to temporarily proceed under a full consensus.
I truly hope that a theoretical Gathering for Optimal Social Harmony can be a GOSH that makes truly fair governance ubiquitous by 2025. But this community is the Gathering for Open Science Hardware, and I can’t help but think we would be closer to making that ubiquity by 2025 if we started trusting our wonderful members to make progress under the same imperfect conditions that all other organisations in this imperfect world exist under.
hahahahh, this is pretty hilarous Julian
I want to say that I, and so many others do totally understand the desire within the GOSH community to do a better job than so many other communities that encounter tech, and the sort of fascist, vision-less, libertarian culture that can be perpetuated with groups pushing forth new technology. And I think that’s where things like our Code of conduct, and vibrant supportive community members come into play to help support and protect each other.
I also want to point out that this discussion about this Ambassador program is in no way meant to be an attack on bri or anyone else for bringing this up, but rather just expressing a concern that we could be using this valuable human resources in other potential ways.
Also pointing out again that a lot of work like this also relies on having to give trust to people. No matter how bullet-proof some proposed governance plan is supposed to be, the people working in it are going to be varying levels of busy, drop out, slack off, get distracted, work super hard, accidentaly miss a meeting, have a family emergency, and many other things we can’t count on. Thus spending a large amount of time trying to make a sophisticated governance plan versus just saying “hey, you have been a gosh member, please go out and share cool stuff and get others involved,” not only seems pretty unreasonable, but actually kind of insincere to me.
100%. @briannaljohns is a fantastic community manager and we are so so so lucky to have her. This community is full of fantastic people, I think we need to have some trust in that. Let our code of conduct steer us, but trust in that and good people rather than wasting all our resources as we strive for a theoretical bullet proof perfect-orcarcy.
I agree with others here with the idea that the little time people have should not be spent on creating theoretical perfect structures. And also, for a community as diverse as this one, how do you create something that covers all potential ambassadors realities, styles and target audiences? Specially thinking long term, and having the optimistic thought that more and more people from different backgrounds will join, seems like a handbook will be outdated the moment it is published?
Another point is that in the time this community/forum has been in place, I never heard any cases of misuse of the community’s efforts while being a gosh advocate (of course this doesn’t mean much, could just mean that this has happened, but I haven’t heard about it) in any case the point is, if everyone who has been advocating and preaching had done a terrible job so far, this community would not have grown…
Maybe the way forward is not investing time in creating a “bible” of sorts where everyone chants to the same tune, but to use the bandwidth to create some sort of logbook of ambassadors experiences? What have people been doing that would amazing to hear about, wouldn’t this make it much more relatable for newcomers to see what has been done and how this is totally within reach of what they could be doing too?
Totally! Having some sort of ambassador guide book has always been something I really want. Especially because I will bump against different diverse groups who will often have many of the same questions and it would be useful to have something to point them to to help succinctly quickly answer those questions (instead of me going into a long rant about capitalism and how it twists people’s minds into a fake need for false scarcity…).
Something I feel that an ambassador group like this could do is:
- first go out and just promote gosh stuff! Talk to people. Try to get them involved
- come back to each other and compile a list of common questions, concerns (e.g. " But how can you make money if it’s open source??" " I like open source but I’m worried things won’t work as good as expensive things that are closed source")
take that big list and help create this kind of ambassador guide from these direct experiences
go back and iterate on steps 1 through 3
I think this is basically the process we’ve been all doing informally
As an update me and bri chatted and the main miscommunication i had that bri cleared up was that it seemed to me that three months were going to be spent entirely on just discussing like how to organize the ambassadors without doing any ambassadoring, but she told me the three month thing was more like the minimum pledge for folks working as ambassadors. Which sounds good to me