Stewardship for the Long Journey: how we safeguard the Hexayurt Project (FOSS refugee shelters)

The Hexayurt Project is one of the world’s oldest (12 years old) and largest (more than $1m spent per year by > 1000 hexayurt builders, and growing fast) open hardware projects. Because of the extreme decentralization and debureaucratization of the project, it’s hard to know everything that is going on. This makes it a tough stewardship challenge.

I’m well-known for making simple models of complex things that aid conversations - not give answers, but help people from different backgrounds communicate their differing perspectives. I’m going to discuss four key aspects of stewardship:

  1. Mission - Who do you serve? Why do you do this?
  2. Assets - What are our advantages? What do we bring to the table? (and the dangers of property as a class of assets)
  3. The Legal System - What it's good for, what it's bad for, and how to approach the difficult stuff.
  4. Who's the us? - How to figure out tricky issues of inclusion, exclusion, power, roles and responsibilities.

I’ll take about 10 or 15 minutes to discuss the core models, and then we can use the rest of the session to discuss thorny stewardship questions from the perspective of the people present, focussing on practical lessons from projects in the past more than aspirational theories.

Hope to see you there!

Date: 2014-10-24 09:30:00 - 2014-10-24 09:30:00, Europe/Berlin Time.


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Patterns, lesser known policy issues and such

A little note from the curators here (which, for the digital stewardship track, happen to be Amelia and me).

I proposed here that we could try to document experiences with stewardship of digital stuff as a pattern language. Since you know IT, you know design patterns (the GoF book and all that), right? If you want to actively support our experiment, maybe you can already present some of your core models in a pattern shape? Might help other sessions, then (though for that purpose, we’d have to move yours to an earlier spot).

If it does not fit, not an issue, since I’m sure your conceptualization will be so clear that little transformation for the docs is needed. In any case, I’m esp. interested in your patterns / modes / hacks / tips for the economics of a project that has chosen not to sell anything, and if you have something to tell about hitting lesser-know issues with the legal system, that would be very interesting too (esp. for Amelia). Issues beyond the usual copyright / open source / patent law struggles, I mean.