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Proposal: Create a LibreTime Open Collective #796
Is your feature request related to a problem? Please describe.
Describe the solution you'd like
Describe alternatives you've considered
I would like to know what the thoughts are around this and if there are any queries or objections?
referenced this issue
Apr 9, 2019
I am interested in this concept, but perhaps as referenced in your previous suggestion that we move more open source radio projects under the auspices of LibreTime it makes more sense to build a free software radio project that can receive money to dedicate to developing free software. The challenge here is governance and determining a way to share decision making and responsibilities. As someone who has started a development cooperative and currently runs a 501c3 non profit in the US I understand that these sort of things take careful planning and consideration. So yeah I don't want to jump into getting money until we decide how we want to structure things since unlike a lot of free software projects we already have a community and are building off of the collaboration of a lot of people vs. the efforts of an any one individual.
Yeah we definitely need some sort of set structure before this can happen. The main things I see us needing are a governing body that can approve invoice payment requests and a set way that it is answerable to the community. Perhaps that is a set number of people nominated and voted for by the community with each having a set term on the body. Perhaps that is people that the maintainers appoint. Either way the process needs to be clearly defined and documented.
I quite like the Debian way of doing things where the DPL is elected yearly and delegates responsibility to various committees. The developers can also overrule the DPL (among other things) through a general resolution. There are some restrictions about responsibilities that the DPL must delegate, but cannot manage himself. The full description of the structure and procedure is listed in the Debian Constitution
To cut down duplication, we should reference contributor input from the Discourse post -https://discourse.libretime.org/t/opencollective-to-help-sustain-the-project-and-community/84
https://discourse.libretime.org/search?q=opencollective also brings up quite a bit of related discussion (mainly between myself and @Robbt)
My views can still probably be summarized in the following comments:
..and further followup in the thread - https://discourse.libretime.org/t/opencollective-to-help-sustain-the-project-and-community/84/24?u=gusaus
It would be ideal to get input from others regarding transparent financial incentive as an option to sustain the project and enable contributor time.
Quick followup wearing my Open Collective community member hat -
Many of the questions regarding how to set up, admin, approve payments can be found in this section - https://docs.opencollective.com/help/collectives
It also looks like @alannallama, the ED of Open Source Collective, might have also reached out to have a conversation regarding any questions or concerns. opencollective/opencollective#1864 (comment)
Might not be a bad idea to follow up with Alanna - we're also forming a #communitymedia collaboration space within the 1000+ member Open Collective Slack community https://slack.opencollective.com/
@gusaus the issue isn't how to physically set the collective up and pay people out. The decision we need to make before this can go ahead is the processes around it - who decides which invoices get approved, how the admins are appointed, etc.
So I think we need to decide the following to have any hope of this happening:
The project is lead by a board of Administrators. This board answers to the Contributors. It decides on the group of Maintainers (with the help of the existing maintainers) and administers the Open Collective. This means that members of the board have administrator accounts on the LibreTime Open Collective.
The maintainers are appointed by the board and are responsible for reviewing and merging patches as described in C4. They identify and recommend members of the community who should be made Contributors to the board. The board then considers the recommendation before making the final decision.
Contributors can override any decision by the Administrators or Maintainers by means of a General Resolution. This involves creating a bug report against the CoC repo with the proposal. This proposal then goes through a period of review and discussion before being voted on by the Contributors.
Any Contributor, Maintainer or Administrator can propose a project related to LibreTime (demo, website, documentation, etc) that will be funded by the LibreTime Open Collective. These proposals are considered by the board and if approved, the Contributor, Maintainer or Administrator can request refunds from the Open Collective by uploading the original hosting provider's invoice to be approved by the Administrators.
Any Contributor, Maintainer or Administrator can request reimbursement for costs incurred relating to LibreTime (travel, conference entrance, etc). These requests must occur before the event. The board then considers the request and either approves or denies it. After the event, the Contributor, Maintainer or Administrator must submit an invoice to the Open Collective to be approved by the Administrators.
Need to refine
Hi! Alanna from the Open Collective team here. If you have any questions about how the platform works or how other groups have approached these questions, I'm here to help.
Social.coop uses Open Collective in conjunction with Loomio to make decision-making and governance easier. Here's a case study where they discuss how it works for them. Loomio is an open source tool purpose-built for this kind of distributed decision-making. Although it can also make sense to stick with the tools you already use (Github issues for example) instead of having to add another.
It's great that this discussion is surfacing important questions about who makes decisions and internal governance processes. On the other hand, I'd like to offer that you can make a start without having it all figured out. You could allow money to start building up in the Collective and begin funding small, totally uncontroversial things first, and work up to larger budget decisions that need a more robust governance structure in the future. Because Open Collective is fully transparent, there's automatically accountability and nothing is hidden from the community. This creates a trust margin that gives you some flexibility. Like with software, iteratively building governance processes usually works better than waterfall planning everything ahead of time.
All the best for this next phase of LibreTime as a project! Let me know if there's anything I can do to help.
Thanks for unexpectedly chiming in here @alanna!
As Alanna suggested, we could begin by funding small, totally uncontroversial things first such as -
Similarly, there are several benefits LibreTime can provide backers and sponsors ranging from website credits, radio/podcast spots, to community-based barn-raisers and hackathons.
With Open Collective providing ways to transfer funds between projects, there are all sorts of ways both LibreTime and contributors can collaborate on related projects, events, to providing services.
I'm ok with the proposal that @paddatrapper has put together. Currently the only 2 admins of the project/github repo are @hairmare, myself and @jmtrivial . We haven't heard from Lucas for a few months and Jean-Marie Favreau was added when we first launched the project because he was one of the co-signers of our letter to SourceFabric regarding the fork. I don't think he has really contributed or participated much since the inception.
I think that we explicitly don't want to pay contributor's for any of the things that you mention @gusaus until we have a fair amount of surplus. I'd imagine that we are going to primarily be a volunteer project as LibreTime. If someone wanted to launch a business and do a SaaS competitor to all of the other tunekey radio automation systems using the LibreTime than that would be fine as long as they contributed all of their code and/or maintained a repo where they shared it as per the AGPLv3. I don't see this as being the role that LibreTime as a project would want to play.
We also don't really have any hosting costs aside from DNS registration. The discourse forum is provided free hosting via discourse. If we wanted to replace Slack with the more open Zulipchat they would give us an unlimited messages and free hosting as an opensource project. We have a free travisCI project as an opensource project.
I think the biggest challenge I foresee is maintaining whatever organizational infrastructure we create and keeping it flexible and resilient enough that it can continue without becoming a burden on whomever chooses or is chosen to facilitate it. We have been doing pretty well with the C4 thus far which focuses exclusively on the code. The original contributor suggested that you did indeed need money for a project ZeroMQ brought in money through a separate company that paid for the marketing etc of the project and also did consulting.
NextCloud is another open-source project and they have a successful company that provides service and support to large companies seeking to install the software. They have stayed away from software as a service and don't provide any kind of hosting and allow end providers to do this.
I also think we should be rather open about our goals and visions and personal reasons for wanting this to happen.
I personally am not against the idea but I don't necessarily see $ being an obstacle for the project right I have had some discussions with Ryan about the idea of seeking grants to fund a new overhaul of Libretime to get the UI modernized and mobile friendly and to finally deal with some of the underlying technical debt while refreshing what it is that we are trying to do.
I have been funded in part from work-trade with my Dad who also helps run the radio station I'm part of and via a grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council through my station's non-profit. I would be happy to continue receiving funds but I don't know that they need to go through the project itself.
As far as community governance goes, what I learned at Libreplanet was that you kind of have to boot the process by building something. Python built a governance model to deal with Guido stepping away as project lead. This project has always been made from the contributions of many and I think that the maintainers are a good stand-in for a governing council at this point. I don't know that we should necessarily bootstrap the C4 into our governing cycle.
I also don't know about how we would handle the idea that "Contributors can override any decision by the Administrators or Maintainers by means of a General Resolution. This involves creating a bug report against the CoC repo with the proposal. This proposal then goes through a period of review and discussion before being voted on by the Contributors."
This would also create a situation where we are equating stake in terms of contributions which makes sense from a code perspective but end-users could also be stakeholders in terms of the larger goals of the project.
I also am curious about Loomio.org, I think that it could be a useful tool to experiment with.
I guess my biggest hesitation in terms of creating an open collective is that it will just be a distraction from the goals of the project because there won't be sufficient funds for it to be worthwhile. I think we should have a pretty good idea that there are people who want to donate on a regular basis and also a list of specific goals we would spent the money on so as to encourage them to contribute.
Another thought on paying contributors is that it makes sense to fund things as an organization that we think are needed but nobody has taken the self initiative to actually do. We could also possibly integrate into something like https://www.bountysource.com/ to allow people to contribute to specific features.
I'm ok with the idea of starting an open collective but I would like there to be a consensus from the current participating maintainers that this is what we want to do. I'd also like to know who is planning on participating in the organization building and decision making process. If someone wants to setup an account on loomio.org to explore as a way to discuss this and other ideas to see if it helps guide us to consensus faster that might be a worthy endeavour.
Ideally, we can solidify what @Robbt brought up in the last paragraph and set up subsequent issues to solidify the process.
So it sounds like the only current participating maintainers we'd like to get consensus from would be @hairmare? I'd also take into consideration any other views from folks who previously chimed-in #796 (comment)
I'm assuming the current participating maintainers? Again it would be great to have folks chime in regarding what roles they could play in addition to what they're already contributing.
Seems like we just need
Perhaps we should look at appointing new/more admins?
I agree with this, my suggestion would be focus on hosting fees for the moment. I would like to see us host a demo site that gets wiped periodically and allows potential users to test LibreTime out. I am happy to spend time working on the mechanics of how that happens, but I'll probably only get a chance in a couple weeks (probably closer to in a month's time). DNS hosting fees will probably require much if not all of what we would receive from the Open Collective initially anyway, as I doubt we would see much money coming in, especially before 3.0.0 ships.
Ooh, Zulipchat looks cool! I definitely support moving off Slack to an open source alternative
I think it isn't an obstacle at the moment, but I also don't want to try iron out an entire governance structure under the pressure of getting money in.
Good point. I included it to ensure that Admins or Maintainers could not unilaterally dictate what was happening with the project. I modelled it off the Debian way of doing things, but it does not quite match up to how a software project like us do things. I am not sure how we ensure this works for us, or even if it is necessary... Perhaps if we do setup an Open Collective, certain tiers of contribution include voting rights in the project? Essentially users can contribute code or money and have a right to influence the direction of the project.
I am reluctant to add yet another platform to what we use at the moment. I think GitHub issues could work - use reactions for voting:
Well if it does not make money, then there is not much maintenance required to manage it. If it does make money, that can be used to further the goals. I definitely think our main focus should be on getting 3.0.0 out the door
I am happy to continue helping with this in whatever capacity needed.
Assuming you're referencing budgeting for project management, community, outreach, marketing, or fundraising? I was specifically mentioning those tasks/roles as, to @alannallama's point, they are usually uncontroversial (you're budgeting x amt of time as opposed to meeting a certain set of criteria when delivering code) and are usually necessary for developing, maintaining and growing an OSS project. I'm not saying budget should be allocated to these roles first... but many projects, like LibreTime, consist of contributors who would rather/need to focus on development priorities and milestones.
Open Collective is actively developing tools and a support structure for projects like LibreTime. As a pretty active member of the Open Collective community, I should be able to help make connections that will enable LibreTime to grow.
wow just now seeing this entire thread. as another of the maintainers i'll report in, but just to voice my support for whatever y'all decide. awesome that folks are putting energy into libretime surviving. perhaps set some future date before which the @LibreTime/administrators should also chime in before moving forward with whatever has been decided?
i'll say here cuz i know @Robbt won't, that him paying off some of his student debt would be sweet. many of us are grateful for all the time he's put in.
...also, making @paddatrapper an admin would simplify stuff like moving projects under the umbrella. i remember repo creation permissions were tough to give to maintainers. this could be another question for @hairmare
i didn't at all expect to have had to suddenly step back from libretime, but do plan on returning at some unknown time haha. i'd love to get time for a few more things under the umbrella:
take care everybody!
Assuming you're talking more about the decision making/governance model, I'd recommend having those discussions in Open Collective Slack where we can converse/collaborate with members of Open Collective and other projects and communities working towards similar goals.
The Slack is open for anyone who wants to join (even if you don't yet have a collective) and all the conversations are logged and easy to reference.
If we're still having a discussion about the merits and personal motivations for having a collective, I'd recommend everybody read through this issue, the related discourse thread, and either
I think the purpose here is to have an internal conversation, ideally with more than a few people. My preference would be for at least 3 out of the 5 maintainers set up time to meet and discuss this and make meaningful plans. As of late @paddatrapper and myself have been the people with the time to participate in LibreTime development and we haven't heard from @hairmare, @ned-kelly or @frecuencialibre much. If we want to just move forward with open collective and create a random donation point that in theory people could give money to I'm ok with that but I'd rather wait until we have a real plan to push for donations and make the project sustainable rather than adopting a philosophy of join it and they will come.
I'm going to be working on finishing up my paid LibreTime work for my station this month. So that is where my effort is going to be going for now.
Has there been any input from other maintainers outside of the discussion here? It seems like there's been more folks filing bugs, feature requests and inquiring about integrations. All of which could be furthered along with a budget.
All of which should provide for additional sources for maintaining, sustaining, and growing the project. Even if LibreTime is not yet set up with a collective https://opencollective.com/pledges/new
It would be ideal to have LibreTime on Open Collective and more contributors directly involved with the collaborations we’re ramping up. Myself, @alanna, and many folks in the Open Collective community are ready to help!
Based on the input here, the related thread in Discourse (summarized in #796 (comment)), and individual conversations, I don't think there are any of the 5 maintainers against having Open Collective as a tool to sustain.
Assuming the meeting would be about what @Robbt proposed in #796 (comment), I'm not sure
Most Slacks I'm part of have meetings within channels set up for a specific topic. Possibly we could create #sustain and direct anyone interested in participating or lurking there.
If you take a look at whose hanging in the #communitymedia channel, there's already 2 LibreTime maintainers in a room with leads from some complimentary orgs and projects (opencollective/opencollective#1864).
If one more LibreTime maintainer joins, we'd have 3 able to drive this forward in the open!
referenced this issue
Jun 11, 2019
i haven't read this whole thread, and continue to be very busy, but would like to be looped into a meeting. the 25th would be difficult as we'll be traveling that day. perhaps any day between the 26th and 3rd?…
On Sat, Jun 15, 2019 at 3:11 PM Robb ***@***.***> wrote: I'm good with the idea of meeting on June 25th. — You are receiving this because you were mentioned. Reply to this email directly, view it on GitHub <#796?email_source=notifications&email_token=AIYZEQLEMA7WSWREE3BSD7DP2VEILA5CNFSM4HEREQI2YY3PNVWWK3TUL52HS4DFVREXG43VMVBW63LNMVXHJKTDN5WW2ZLOORPWSZGODXY7J5A#issuecomment-502396148>, or mute the thread <https://github.com/notifications/unsubscribe-auth/AIYZEQIBCFKPDKRK5CKCPFDP2VEILANCNFSM4HEREQIQ> .
confirmed. 12.30 mexico city time. do we have an agenda? how much time are we thinking?…
On Tue, Jun 25, 2019 at 5:03 PM Kyle Robbertze ***@***.***> wrote: What's the format? Just a Slack chat thing? Yup. I'll convert the log into minutes and add them to the wiki afterwards — You are receiving this because you were mentioned. Reply to this email directly, view it on GitHub <#796?email_source=notifications&email_token=AIYZEQO5ZY4WKFYDRWJ4GM3P4KI4DA5CNFSM4HEREQI2YY3PNVWWK3TUL52HS4DFVREXG43VMVBW63LNMVXHJKTDN5WW2ZLOORPWSZGODYRXI6Q#issuecomment-505640058>, or mute the thread <https://github.com/notifications/unsubscribe-auth/AIYZEQOPSAXYFODV42EEEJTP4KI4DANCNFSM4HEREQIQ> .