Wed 12 Oct 2016 8:03PM

OuiShare OS: a project to open source OuiShare

F Francesca Public Seen by 461

I’d like to announce the kick-off of a new project that Antonin and I came up with and that I would like to start working on with Isabel Benitez and Hélène Vuaroqueaux ** over the next months which we are currently raising a bucket for on Cobudget: **open sourcing OuiShare.

With two of our core values being transparency and openness, we think it’s time to increase efforts on showing and explaining how OuiShare works and making knowledge within the network more accessible. Creating a culture of documentation and knowledge sharing is an integral part of being a learning organization to me, for which we hope to create a strong foundation with this project.

I am personally convinced that telling more stories about what we do is an important step to fulfilling our mission to build and nurture collaborative culture beyond our own network. It is also a critical element for increasing our impact - I see open sourcing as our way of scaling as a networked community.

Having done a first test with the development of the OuiShare Fest Toolkit this year, it seems natural to bulid on this work now and take it a step further.

For more details on what we would like to work from now till January, see:

>> Bucket on cobudget

>> Detailed project plan plan

An integral part of what we propose is designing how our open source documentation can grow over time through contributions from the community.

Comments and feedback is welcome!


Hugo Guyader Thu 13 Oct 2016 1:39PM

That sounds like a great project! But why not build on the Ouiki? I'm a bit confused on how the differences between both pages.


Jocelyn Ibarra Fri 14 Oct 2016 2:50PM

Huehue I also don't get it :p I thought we had everything outside/open? The Ouiki is great, we've put a lot of work there to make it 1) flexible to take more info, 2) work as an index to the OS universe (which was recently cleaned up), or 3) disappear as new websites took over.
Maybe we just need to know what this project will enable as it's finished?
Cheers everyone!


Francesca Sun 16 Oct 2016 10:57AM

Thanks for your comments @hugoguyader and @jocelynibarra , which are both totally on point :).

Firstly, it is not completely decided yet that we will aggregate information in a gitbook instead of the Wiki. Having been one of the people who has spent a lot of time filling up our wiki, I am of course keen to explore how we could make this existing tool work for that purpose. The main reason we have thought about using another tool is because one of the core aims of this project is to communicate externally about how OuiShare works, enable others to copy and build on our practices and get people from OuiShare to contribute documentation in the future, so it is a priority to use platforms that looks appealing and is as easy-to-use as possible. And from what I've observed in the past year is that it has been much easier for me to get people to contribute to our OuiShare Fest Gitbook than to the wiki, which I have been trying for a while.

In any case, regardless of what is chosen in the end, if it is not going to be the wiki, we need to define more clearly the relationship of the wiki to this new thing and what differentiates them.

Given all your work on the community hub on the wiki, Joss, it would be really great to get your input on this so we can make a good decision.

Isn't OuiShare already open source is a great question! I've been thinking a lot about that - and of course many things already are open - such as all our Loomio discussions on the global group, which is awesome!

However one key point in how we would like to interpret open source is that it should not just be about information being put "out there", but it being presented in an understandable form. Therefore the aim of this project is to 1) communicate more on what elements of OuiShare are already open and break them into easy to understand chunks of information (which for instance, we could present in an article series and newsletters, much the way buffer does) 2) Push things further in terms of what we can open and document. For instance, most of our projects are not documented at all for now, so by finishing the Fest toolkit we would like to create a benchmark for documentating projects, and thus encourage more of this in the future.

We're working on a brief Methodology here to explain why we are doing this and what open source actually means to us, so it would be great to hear your comments. Also, every Tuesday at 10 AM we're doing a standup call for the project, which we invite you to join if you'd like to share feedback!

Thanks for your questions <3


Allison Levine Sat 15 Oct 2016 2:27AM

Is the goal a OuiShare Toolkit that will help other orgs structure themselves like OuiShare? I could see that being really helpful for smaller civic tech groups.


Myriam Bouré Mon 17 Oct 2016 7:17AM

I am 100% aligned with this project, I think there is a need for this OuiShare OS project. Being transparent and sharing the info somewhere is not the same thing as being OS. For me an OS software means: I can fork it and in two minutes starts using it and build my own on it. Documentation is what makes the difference between real OS and fake OS. Odoo for example gave no documentation, so it's OS in theory, but in practice you have to buy some support service to be able to set it up. Isn't it the same for OuiShare today? Maybe a company who would like to organize a project in a distributed way like it's done for the Fest or th summit have to pay some OuiShare people to help them. If they could just fork a handbook and start using it, maybe that would mean the project is really OS... OS can also go with white labeling... for example building a "template" of a tool stacks that a company can just add their name and start playing with it. This is theory so need to see concretely how to do that in an easy and "one clic upgrade" way but I love the idea.


Isabel Benitez Mon 17 Oct 2016 8:28AM

Hi, Myriam! Thanks a lot for your comment :) In addition to that I'd add that, in fact, seeing the tools we use and how we work, people and organisations will feel more encouraged to speak to us and look for advice if needed :)


Gina Rembe Mon 17 Oct 2016 6:53PM

As someone who's poked their head through the OuiShare door and spent some time face to face with some of the OuiShare team in Berlin and Wellington, I've learnt that much of the context comes from more than reading an instruction, and is often based on interpersonal relationships. At Enspiral we struggle with the same thing of working out how to best open-source practices and processes and think we're getting better at telling more stories and documenting processes and agreements. My question is though if GitBook will be the repository for open-source cultural tech as much as it is for code?

I have similar questions for my work at Lifehack, we're we have open-source principles too. At the moment the primary approach is publishing our thinking in blog posts and in summary reports, but am generally curious quite what the most useful way is. Does the world really need more PDF reports?

One thing Michel Bauwens once said that really stuck with me was that 'unless you're documenting, you're not open source', meaning that if something is implicit and can only grasped through a situation, it can't be replicated easily enough. Keen to see if and how you take this forward. My friend Sam Rye, who's working with the Social Labs team, is chewing over similar questions and he's proactively looking for great approaches on this and most likely happy to speak to anyone who's committed to documentation and knowledge management.

So in essence, it feels like a bunch of us are thinking about the same thing from different angles—which is always rad. The more we each try, and share our learnings with each other (about what we're learning), the more we'll learn about how to do this in a way that's digestible, appreciative of context and replicable.


Francesca Sun 23 Oct 2016 9:17PM

Thanks a lot for your perspective and insights so far on this Gina, we are definitely all asking ourselves similar questions and I am very keen to share back learnings on how this goes for us when we have advanced further.

I'd definitely like to speak to Sam Rye in this context, I'll reach out to him through the Enspiral slack and try to chat with him :)


Maud Mon 24 Oct 2016 8:59AM

I also think it's a really important step to work on making what we do even more explicit and clear for everyone, so thanks for starting this project and thanks that different Ouishare "co-budget" contributors can help finance this work !


Khushboo Balwani Mon 24 Oct 2016 3:53PM

This is a really great idea. Totally agree on the project.
We should also find a more effective way to disseminate such information to the community once we start the project. I mean communicate more about our efforts. Like open sourcing OSfest was a great step and when I mention to people they love the idea. However I think talking about it just once (during the launch in September) was not enough and not many people know about it. We could combine with more often online comms + offline comms (maybe workshops?).


Isabel Benitez Thu 3 Nov 2016 10:00AM

Hi @khushboobalwani I totally agree with you and designing a proper communication strategy is part of the project and it will be ready before we launch it.
I also agree we do not tell people about what we do, at least, not enough but, personally, I am hoping we'll find the time and the energy to improve on that. I trust this project will be a good starting point. If you have any ideas or suggestions, your knowledge and expertise will be more than welcome! Thanks again!! :smiley:


Tiberius Brastaviceanu Fri 4 Nov 2016 7:22PM

Great initiative!!!
We did that with the Open Value Network (OVN) model, and we had a few groups adding to our main repository explaining how the model currently works.
We gained some experience over the years. If you need help, please send me an email. I don't have time to monitor Loomio on a daily basis.

You can also go on the SENSORICA website to dig into different layers of our organizations structure.

For example the Governance page

The Infrastructure development coordination page


Francesca Sat 5 Nov 2016 1:21PM

Thanks a lot for this @tiberiusbrastavice , very useful!


Josef Davies-Coates Mon 7 Nov 2016 7:04PM

Great idea :)