Opening the WG category

Hi all,

Considering some concerns raised about the WG and governance discussion, I’d like to propose this category is open so everyone in the community can follow our conversations.

I don’t see any risk of doing this, and if there is one, we have the code of conduct in place (and we know how to enforce it).

I think opening can help in legitimizing the work of this group, in a topic as sensitive as governance.

Opening wouldn’t mean chaos; the WG would have the last word as per history, demographics and all the reasons that made the members of the WG be here.


I agree, and this would be the same as we already do in other GOSH issues no? The Manifesto started this way, the uncoferences at GOSH work this way, etc… at Open Hardware Makers we are doing the same…

I think for this to work we just need to define “deadlines” where the WG would take forum/community input and work them into the governance guidelines/document.


I agree with @jarancio .
I mean, is always easy to lead discussions on closed forum and emails, I feel more comfortable to speak.
On the other hand, on an open forum I feel more comfortable do make decisions because I know people had the chance to give their opinions and etc.
I trust in all of you (the ones that I know), so I believe you guys had a good reason to chose to close the conversion even thou we have already done so much openly.
So, I would like to know why is closed, and if there is a special reason that I can’t foresee?
Knowing this, maybe we can discuss how we want to lead this discussion.

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Having this WG category open or closed is a governance issue/decision in itself! :smiley: I mean, we could have posted this very question (should the WG category be open or closed) in the forum open to everyone for comments and/or vote.

I think it is ideal to discuss this in our first WG meeting. As Marina says, knowing the reasons to make it closed in the first place is super important so we make a good decision.

Until now, I see 3 options: 1) closed, 2) open and with the option for anyone to comment, 3) open but only WG members can edit and comment.

Reasons I see for opening up this WG forum category (in addition or adding to those mentioned by Ju and Andre):

  • the process of getting the new Sloan grant was not ideal in the sense that it was “in a hurry” and because of that it wasn’t as open as it could/should have been. The reasons for that are known and justified, in my view. But having that in mind, it might be a healthy sign to the whole community to be as transparent as possible in what we discuss. For me, this is the strongest reason to have this category open.

  • as Juli says, being able to moderate the discussions within our community is key. So if someone comes and starts speaking too much or being annoying or out of place or whatever, we have to be able to deal with that in the right way, enforcing a code of conduct. And I say “a code of conduct” and not “the” because it might well be that we need a different/adapted version considering the issue of who makes the decision and how (governance).

Reasons I see to have it closed:

  • non WG members might want to know the decisions we go on making, but not the whole process of how we got there. We could focus our communication efforts on requesting ideas or feedback from the whole community, and then communicating the results/decisions.

  • issue of language. Non English -native- speakers might feel less willing to comment on the forum if it is open to all, including those English natives that are very active on the forum and tend to monopolise/lead talks. Therefore undermining the efforts to make the decisions to be diverse and representative of all regions.

  • moderating takes time, a time we might not have in the next 2/3 months.

Reasons to have it open to only “view by everyone”, and editable only by us the WG members.

  • we wouldn’t have to work on moderating the posts, in the short term at least
  • it eases the process of documentation

Stay safe and use face masks :slight_smile:

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“Contextualizing openness: situating open science” This book is so interesting for
this thread and particularly the section 2 on “Governing Open Science”


In my experience, decision making becomes too complicated and delayed when conversations are open but not structured. While community governance is a desired model, the design of the model itself with the community requires a facilitated plan. Otherwise it can lead to chaos with too many opinions but not enough agreement, or the monopoly of few as @pazbernaldo mentions. I think it will be best to discuss this in the 1st meeting.

My experience facilitating collective decision making has been that it requires some key steps:

  1. The goal and objectives of the process, the key values and principles to follow, the expected role of the community in the process should be clear for everyone involved.
  2. Brainstorming should be open for all. The core team responsible for the process (WG here) should be able to pose questions that help streamline the discussion and should also share their thoughts on the questions with the community for feedback.
  3. Designing the strategy or model should be assigned to people who will do it keeping the inputs received in the brainstorming in mind (WG here).
  4. The proposed strategies/models should be re-shared with the community for another round of feedback before finalising it.

Once we have our process decided (which I hope the 1st meeting will help us to decide), we can decide which parts need to be open for all, or if all of it needs to be open. Transparency is a core value and cannot be compromised. However, if some processes need to be done internally to keep us on track with our timeline, we can decide to do that too.


Hi all, good to see this is moving.

Apologies if my idea didn’t go through. I didn’t mean this should be a non-structured discussion, or that the WG shouldn’t exist. In fact, quite the opposite.

I think this is the best option. Plus, from what I understood key decisions will be made in calls which only the WG will attend. So there is already an instance that is WG-only; the forum would be mostly documentation and sharing advances on what was agreed in calls.

Just an observation-- not for now, but if we all here take as normal that discussions in the forum are being dominated by certain users, then we should be doing something about that ASAP.


I think the easiest way to proceed it is work in a small group (the actual WG) point by point. Then open this point to the large community for comment, new ideas or rejection of our ideas. Then we can improve the document according to what the big group want.

I can ensure you that, only the 11 of us, it will not be easy to find a consensus. I cannot imagine if we are waiting for the whole group.

We are saying the same with other words, people.

I’m gonna move away a bit from this discussion now. I already filled in the doodle for the call and I hope we can advance there.

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Hi @thomasmboa! just to make a point: I don’t think Juli or Andre or anyone meant opening up every point of our discussions to the whole community.

Happy we are going to all speak soon about this and the rest. I also filled the doodle.

I am so sorry @pazbernaldo but this is not what I mean.