Peerlibrary - Governance Model

I think the governance model for Peerlibrary is the benevolent dictatorship. Peerlibrary's dictator would be Mi Tar, although a lovable and meek one at that. I feel that he is the public face of PeerLibrary and his strong leadership skills combined with a very thorough vision for Peerlibrary enables him to be a good, fair dictator. Being a dictator is definitely not an easy job as he has to be involved in every decision that any member suggests and deal with the endless discussions and arguments that follow. He has to satisfy as many conflicting needs as possible, while ensuring that the project survives in the long term. In my opinion, he certainly enjoys the process.

When I actually think about it, one can also make a case that Mi Tar established his meritocracy by contributing a lot to the project. He contributes the most to the project as can be seen in this contribution graph on Github. Then it would become the meritocratic governance model. But because the project is still a baby, there have been no other contributors that have contributed as much as him to gain more influence and power to overthrow or co-lead with Mi Tar.

Because Peerlibrary has only a small number of contributors who also meet in person frequently the benevolent dictator model is actually very conducive to development. This helps the team keep a check on all the new developments, keeps the team motivated and this is helps keep contributors from slacking off. Another advantage is that all the contributors meet in person at decided time and locations due to the small size. But as the project grows bigger I think it will become tougher for the dictator to control the entire project. I would suggest that the group starte preparing for such a future and make all discussion and decision making through an online voting process. This would ensure that the voices of all the people in the group get heard, and people get into the practice of documenting all decisions made. For example, recently the text on Peerlibrary's landing page was changed to include this sentence: "Open Knowledge. Open Access. Open Source. One team member was upset by the overuse of the word open, and how it wasn't clear what we mean by "open" as many companies like even Palantir use the word 'open' without defining what open really is. This discussion went on for hours in the BID lab between two team members and other members may never come to know of it. If this discussion was online people could have pitched in their opinion. In the future, newcomers could use these discussion to understand the ideology behind Peerlibrary.

added Comments Thomas 11/6/2013 (see commit description)