OSE Open Collaboration Guidelines

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About Publishing Raw Content and Video Recording

OSE works openly. Part of Working Openly is recording and publishing working team and planning meetings, including planning documents. A lot of this content is raw - the intent being making the development process itself transparent.

Since OSE works openly - and specifically as a Distributive Enterprise organization, we publish just about everything - especially economically significant documentation. The exception is any sensitive material, including identities of individuals working in repressive regimes.

Many individuals find that to be an invasion of their privacy, but OSE's intent is enhanced collaboration.

The main objections to working openly and possible solutions are:

  1. It will take time to manage conversations initiated by raw published material. The solution is simple. There is no contract, formal or informal, that requires those who publish to respond. The creators control their creation - and they may or may not respond. Not responding as acceptable. It is ok. Yes, it is really ok. Don't believe me? It's really ok. This is a cultural point that indeed many are not comfortable with - but if one's focus is clear - one may choose which conversations to respond to. Remember also that you email inbox is a way for others to control your time - so do not fall for this trap.
  2. What about flame wars? Any community project will have differing opinions, and outside of a clear policy for respect - one should expect constructive conflict. If conflict is nonconstructive, moderators should step in. A conflict resolution policy should be part of any organization's infrastructure.
  3. I am not comfortable on camera. Outside of real threats to one's security, appearing in public are part of a movement entrepreneur's usual call of duty. For others who are not yet pursuing movement entrepreneurship but would like to - it is important to learn public speaking and comfort in public. It is a learned skill, like reading and writing.
  4. My work is not finished, I cannot publish raw material. Nothing is ever finished. Open collaboration is enhanced by 'publishing early and often' - as characteristic of the open source software movement. The idea is that the earlier that others gain access to your material - the quicker they can begin to help you. This is under the assumption that you are working in a collaborative, open source, team project. To be able to accept publishing early and often, one needs to have sufficient self-esteem to understand that unfinished work is ok - and that in fact the only work that exists in this world is unfinished. The critical point to understand is that making the development process transparent is a required foundation for Open Source Product Development.

There are 3 reasons for publishing that outweigh the disadvantages:

  1. Increased development velocity. OSE has seen numerous examples where publishing early and often has resulted in valuable contributions to the project. It is a regular event that an obscure video or piece of published information attracts a key developer to move the project forward significantly. Assistance offers included from small but highly impactful suggestions - to larger collaborations. For example - even the GVCS TED Talk would not exist today if Marcin did not take the time to publish a wealth of raw, early machine building videos during the early days of OSE. Granted - the large percentage of feedback does not lead anywhere - but it is that 1% of rare golden nuggets that provide forward momentum - and publishing early and often is critical to sparking interest. This magical 1% is the hidden gem that one has to be aware of.
  2. Transparency. For example, publishing the OSE Development Team meetings allows those people who do not have the time to commit as an official developer to keep up with our progress - and make useful suggestions as has recently happened regarding the Open Source Water Jet Cutter
  3. Team morale. The very fact of publishing shows that there is forward motion, and is good for team and community morale. If one were waiting to publish only when finished - the world would see no more new material.