What would a fediverse "governance" body look like?

Another thing you have to be careful is “tyranny of the majority.” Most people think of “tyranny of the minority” and try to avoid individuals having to much power. That is a good thing. We don’t want individuals to have too much power over other people’s lives. But we have to face the issue that the majority is not always right.

For example, in the U.S., we had something called “Jim Crow” laws which were racist laws against people of color. They were not put in place by a dictator or powerful individual. They were voted in by the majority of the people. In the 1940s, people were pretty racist. Society has changed and we repealed these racist laws decades ago, but the struggle continues. The point being, you can’t always count on the majority to do the right thing.

I did read the FAQ before I posted my previous comment, and I still see flagging as a major issue because you can’t always trust the majority.

You also have the issue of a toxic majority. If the majority of a group becomes toxic, “good people” don’t want to associate with the group because of their reputation. Then you wind up with even less “good people” joining, which makes it harder, if not impossible, to displace the harmful ones.

What is needed is some sort of checks and balances. I have no ideal how that would look in OGB, but it needs to be there to prevent rogue groups sabotaging the mission or molding it to favor themselves.

Interesting, think all these issues are already covered on the wiki, remember this is a #fedivers native way of working, NOT a #mainstreaming way.

And it comes from lived expirence in my case of 40 years of directly working, setting up and solving recurring problems at hundreds of direct action protest camps, the traditional go back over much longer to the Diggers - Wikipedia

We have to put a stop to the #techchurn as we have piles of #techshit all ready to compost #nothingnew is a hashtag for this.

Good to focus on what we know works, as at mo almost nothing works for social good :slight_smile:

One challenge that we have as a society (and the fediverse is part of that society) is that much of the world is based on force. Political factions try to force their agenda on others. And even “direct action protest camps” are a way of forcing change through direct action.

The challenge with any organization structure is that no matter how you organize it, force can still be used, either by the admins or by the majority.

What we want is a cooperative and collaborative environment that does not use force to achieve our goals. Something voluntary and win-win.

And that means we cannot use traditional institutions and its opponents (like “direct action protest camps”) as models, because both of those are two sides of the same coin. Force vs. force.

I think a voluntary cooperative and collaborative alliance would be more suitable for the fediverse. We can play around with who has power and who does not, but in the end, the organization itself should wield little power to begin with, no matter how it is structured.

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You could think about this in your reply.

This is exactly what the #OGB project is all ready.

OK you are in danger of braking the #nothingnew tag here, to mediate this tell me examples of real world use of your ideas working, take me through 20 years of history of human beings developing and perfecting the ideas you are pushing in your replys.

We need to STOP the #techcurn rather than add to, the hashtag #stupidindividualism is a key one here, we can’t just each come up with academic ideas and code them, focus on grounded projects in lived expirence is a way outa this mess.

And the #OGB is NATIVE to the fedivers which it self is based on copying #dotcons that is #nothingnew is where the working value is.

This is clearly not true, have you been involved in protest culture? What am adding to this “success” story is doing grassroots DIY copying, it’s a simple idea that we know works, have a look at the #indymediaback project or the resistance exhibition set up a few years ago as examples of this.

We have to stop the #techcurn if we are going to use #openweb tech for social/ecological change/challenge, have a think about this please.

@WisTex totally agree with your points. But a conversation about governance (OP) is inherently about “force”. There’s no governance without force (in whatever is being governed). But I think what you’re proposing is not necessarily a “governance body” but a community support group?

I like that this group wouldn’t be driven by “force”. But the opposite can be a net negative as well. Having a group where everyone has a say, goes their own way and/or does their own thing can just put us back where we started. Decisions will need to be made based off of trade-offs–even if those decisions are from community feedback, someone somewhere is going to be disappointed and will think the group is doing more harm than good.

Where is the formal co-op anywhere organizing the fedivers… please point to the existing project you are copying with your formal co-op and are they a good fit for the fedivers?

This thread is the GOLD standard in #4opens process, thanks everyone who is taking part, please give lived experience of orgs, historical examples and academic thinking when answering questions, thanks.


We don’t need a governance body. We need a support organization. Considering how many in the fediverse are anti-establishment oriented, I doubt you will get a lot of traction with a governance body.

The support organization can have groups within it that work of specific projects that benefit the fediverse, and we can have some fair method of governance within the organization, but the organization itself should not be governing its members.

We can have groups that work on protocols. We can have groups that work on representing the community to the government and other actors. We can have groups that work on education. We can have groups concentrating on interoperability. Whatever we feel will benefit the fediverse.

But it should all be voluntary and collaborative as much as possible.

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You are directly laying out what we have already, this obviously suffers from this Tragedy of the commons - Wikipedia I should know as have been working here since before this current #activertypub based #openweb reboot.

Note, am in no way endorsing the “tragedy of the commons” but it is a good recurring description of the last 40 years of #stupidindividualism we have been shaped by, and it’s what you are not addressing here.

Do you realize you are “unthinking” in this thread, did you guys notice the repeating “this is what the #OGB all ready is” on each post?

Good to think on this in your next reply and try and bridge the gap, please think of this as a foundation stone to building a bridge.

Yes, you keep mentioning OGB. Based on a brief reading, I see that it has drawn a lot of concepts from grassroots movements, cooperatives, and democratically-run organizations. A lot of the names have been changed, but if you boil it down, it looks a lot like a bunch of ad-hoc committees that are formed using specific methods described in your documents. A lot of good concepts, but I also see some things missing. The lottery system and flagging people (i.e. blacklisting them) are interesting concepts, but I do not see how they are superior to democracy and I can see how it can be abused and manipulated. A lottery does not result in the best people being selected, and blacklisting (flagging) can be abused. The design of OGB is not something I would be interested in joining.

And I also notice from your blog and posts that you have a lot of complaints about #techshit and competing platforms, protocols, and ideas.

Is it your goal to create an organization that tells everyone what protocols and standards we should use in the fediverse? What exactly is your goal with such an organization or governance body?

The #OGB came out of this thread which itself came out of the outreaching #activitypub to the #EU a group of us organized, this was a kinda worked as they are now rolling out instances, hopeful this expands the scope of users.

Both the lottery, and flagging obviously does not work as described, what would be the point.

This is obviously not true of any projects outlined at the #OMN

This is obviously not true as well.

Now that is an interesting question, would you be up for talking about that in a positive way?


Let’s look at the current Fediverse governance model:

  1. Developers coordinating informally (and sometimes formally via FEP process).
  2. Users voting with their feet (and sometimes with their wallet via donations).

What’s exactly wrong with it? Why would anyone want additional governance body?

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I would love a positive discussion about that.

Since this is a different question, I opened a new topic specifically about what a fediverse organization should or could do here:

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To be fair, as someone who has studied political science, I tend to look at the worst case scenario when looking at any organization structure, rather than the ideals that it claims to live up to. So, while I do understand that the intent of many of the proposed features of OGB isn’t what I described, my cynical mind looks at how such a system might be abused despite its good intentions.


Yes I read the background before replying and stand by my comments. I did not ask you or anybody to pitch my software to the EU. I have no relationship with the EU and they have no relationship with me. If Mastodon wants to have a relationship with them, that’s a matter for Mastodon.

This was related to AS/AP open standards and the Fediverse in general, not particular apps, and where the 3-part ActivityPub for Administrations event was part of. Though that was a success, afterwards there wasn’t enough interest for the #meeting:fediverse-policy special interest group to give good follow-up, though some people tried their best to get this going.

This reply is related to an off-topic comment in What would an ideal fediverse organization do?

A formal organization can have a variety of structures and you can assign roles and power in a variety of ways. If you structure it in such a way where the working groups are autonomous and members have a way of influencing the working groups, then you don’t have the top down hierarchy that you describe. Even if you have someone at the top, you can give them little actual power.

This is sounding blike the #OGB, but without the sortation - people compete for popularity to take the key roles? Who decides who is a member to vote on this?

What roles are you thinking of?

So the would be majority voting for formal candidates for the permanent roles?

Would the be dues, and how would people be paid, domains, expenses covered etc. who would be the treasurer and hold the funds? Would this be voted on?

Which country would this be incorporated in?

This starts to sound VERY not like the libertarian fedivers we all love and very much like the mainstreaming we all want to get away from… so why go down this path at all, its alien.

Our current working models of “governance” in open-source projects are Monarchy (the dictator for life), Aristocracy (the devs), oligarchy (the NGO/ funders) and finally way out on the edge Democracy (the users).

Or you could create something where everyone has a voice, instead of picking whose voice is more important.

One possible way of structuring it is having an umbrella organization whose sole purpose is to facilitate and coordinate between autonomous member groups,

You can then have separate autonomous user groups related to:

  1. End Users - support for non-technical users.
  2. Communities - support for individual instances and their administrators.
  3. Technical Working Groups - works on technical projects such as interoperability.
  4. and perhaps others.

They all would have a say in the umbrella organization, but each would have their own structure.

  • Making the users group a democracy probably works best.
  • The group for Communities would probably work best as a cooperative or something similar.
  • And for technical stuff, unless you are paying people, you would probably have to rely on volunteers.
  • The communities and platforms themselves can be whatever structure they see fit to implement. Most likely a monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy for smaller projects, and democratic or semi-democratic for certain types of entities.

The goal is to get all of these diverse groups to work together for a common goal, not impose our notion of how an organization should be structured.