POC: Provisioning Open Communities

I discussed in the past the possible role of FedeProxy server instances with @dachary which imho go far beyond a technnical proxy component between existing forge projects / products. It inspired me to write the idea of:

What follows is once again a far-future idea for FedeProxy direction…

FOSS Communities

So FedeProxy offers the ability for FOSS projects to be freed from the shackles of a particular forge, right? It liberates a FOSS community that way, and uses a technical protocol (DVCS) and a social protocol (ActivityPub) under the hood. The latter allows it to be broadly integrated in a whole host of other social apps that exist or will exist some day on the Fediverse.

FedeProxy exists to serve inclusive FOSS communities.

Let’s consider this a bit more holistically. In the following it doesn’t matter whether FedeProxy is an application integrated on a forge, or a self-host instance (a platform). Consider this question:

“Why doesn’t FedeProxy facilitate the creation, hosting and management of FOSS Communities?”

The whole she-bang as a federated social platform where many people can extend this platform with their own modules (similar to how NextCloud works in a different space).

Community Provisioning

Starting a FOSS community has many ins and outs, best-practices and pitfalls to avoid, management and procedures, community-building processes. All of these aspeccts need to be given proper attention to increase the likelyhood of the community being successful and its projects to take flight.

And this is also the weakness that many of technical-oriented people (mostly developers) have, when starting a project + community. How do you get contributors? How do you do marketing? Where to find designers? How to become a diverse community? How dow I get funding? Numerous things to address, and many different skills involved.

FedeProxy might be the social platform that helps to significantly ease all this, decrease the burden and increase chances for success.

How does it work?

I will just depict some vague notions of how things might work, to hopefully inspire.

  1. Start a new Community by selecting from pre-configured templates.
  2. Guided community wizard takes you through an onboarding process.
    • Provide a bunch of metadata (description, objectives, team, etc.)
    • Define community organization (channels, repositories, toolstack, etc.)
    • Configure software process elements (teams, procedures, artifacts, templates)
  3. Community is bootstrapped by the platform.
    • Project website placeholder generated in appropriate location (maybe hosted on FedeProxy platform itself).
    • Social fediverse integrations are set up.
    • Aggregated Software Knowledge channels are set up.
    • Community dashboards are prepared.
  4. Preparation phase starts.
    • The team starts working on providing details for all templates, fine-tunes configs, provides website information, etc.
  5. Launch of FOSS community
    • Platform helps manage the announcement and markeing via social integrations.

And now the new FOSS community is up and running :grin:

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Note that with this vision FedeProxy - an inclusive FOSS community too - could dogfood what it builds :thinking:

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I understand what you’re describing as something that would be useful to all Free Software communities, including those focused on creating a piece of software (such as fedeproxy). There exist guides for some of the topics you listed (attracting contributors etc.) but when a project such as fedeproxy begins, it is not trivial to compile them and decide on a sensible course of action.

Maybe a platform like you suggest would help. Or a guide that includes all aspects, a reference manual that people involved could rely on.

Or the other way around: FedeProxy would be one of many examples that a reference guide / template could use to demonstrate a particular facet of what makes a Free Software community. For instance:

I have the feeling that the real difficulty here is to create a consistent set of tools/methods that are a good fit for a wide range of projects in the Free Software world. For instance I’m very motivated to work in horizontal communities and a reference guide/platform that does not include that would not be a good fit for me.

Of course it is possible to try to create a guide/platform that covers both horizontal and democratic communities but it significantly increases the difficulty. Each have their own set of unresolved problems and they heavily influence other aspects such as communication or technical development.

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