Governance model of a software project

At SocialHub I am involved in 2 discussions, related to - what should be 2 projects - specifying standard domains for Community and Governance. On the latter I just found some interesting information, that may also apply to FedeProxy. See this particular comment in the long ‘governance’ discussion on SocialHub.

Especially page 16 Use Cases of the mentioned research paper (PDF) which highlights the governance model of a software project, is interesting…

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Thanks for the reference to the paper. It is no mystery that my preferred governance model is horizontality, which is not the most widely spread model at the moment. In the context of federation, I’m inclined to think that the choice of governance is an element of diversity. In other words: organizations participating in a federation on a particular service / data flow are bound to have a diversity of governance models.

I edited the comment above, because it seemed I referred to the entire thread as being relevant, which is not the case. The folks at are working on a general approach to defining governance, which would allow that diversity of models to be tackled in FedeProxy product, as part of its social features (given that this is something you are interested to cover, of course).

I carefully read the particular comment you authored, which includes:

“For everyone to have the opportunity to be involved in a given group and to participate in its activities the structure must be explicit, not implicit. The rules of decision-making must be open and available to everyone, and this can happen only if they are formalized.” (Jo Freeman, “The Tyranny of Structurelessness”)

And I would like to emphasize that the horizontality of fedeproxy defines a structure that has no hierarchy which should not be confused with a lack of structure. For one thing, it is explicit and formalizes an inclusive and open decision-making process precisely.

It also includes a Code of Conduct, which is an essential part of any sound structure (horizontal or not). Although the benefits of a Code of Conduct are widely agreed on in most communities nowadays, it is absent in the Tyranny of Structurelessness which fails to address an issue that was probably less understood in the 70’: toxic behavior is orthogonal to governance. In other words, the lack of Code of Conduct makes the best governance vulnerable to toxic behavior.

The most frequent objection to the horizontal model is that anyone can destroy anything at any moment. In which case it must be restored from backups which is annoying. Hopefully it does not happen too often but there really is no way to predict this.

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Indeed. It is a well-known article, and a bit old. Not everything appealed to me equally. In a comment above in the same thread I quoted the best-practices from the end of the text for their relevancy to Governance domain analysis: Quotes from Tyranny of Structureless.

Btw, in your reaction it was not really clear to me the distinction between Fedeproxy, the Community and Fedeproxy, the Product. I feel if you are hardcoding a horizontal governance model in the product - while noble and bold - might potentially greatly limit how many people will use it (but tbh that also depends on the kinds of features you intend to offer, and their design).

Interesting point. At the moment fedeproxy is a community working on forge federation. Its members produce products from time to time. At the end of the week the User Research Report will be published and is a product. Other products will be software releases and their documentation.

That is not my intention and I don’t see how that would be possible.