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June 27, 2006 » 1:40 pm

Identity Commons Sessions Summary (June 21, 2006)

There were two sessions on Identity Commons on the Open Space day (June 21, 2006) at the Identity Mashup at the MIT Media Lab last week. The first session was an open status meeting for the community at large. We described Identity Commons‘s purpose, told the history of the organization, then explained how the organization could serve the community today and why the existing organizational structure wasn’t adequate. We then announced that the current trustees had authorized a brand transfer, assuming that the new organization adopted purposes and principles consistent with the current purposes and principles.    (KQL)

Both sessions were well-attended, and there were a number of new faces. Interest in participation seemed strong.    (KQM)

In brief:    (KQN)

  • There are a number of grassroots community projects that involve multiple stakeholders and that are happening independently of any centralized direction.    (KQO)
  • These decentralized efforts could all benefit from some shared infrastructure, which could be as simple as a shared, neutral brand (i.e. “Identity Commons“) or as complicated as a set of rules that help ensure fair participation and governance among multiple parties.    (KQP)
  • Our strategy is to build an organization organically that addresses the needs of these different community projects.    (KQQ)

Current projects/interests (and stewards) include:    (KQR)

These projects could benefit from things like:    (KR1)

  • Shared name. The importance of this can’t be understated. It demonstrates solidarity, implicit community cooperation, which is particularly important for this community. There’s also an implicit reputation (hopefully positive) associated with a shared name that encourages participation in the community.    (KR2)
  • Bank account. Several of these projects need a bank account. A great example of this are the various community gatherings, which need the ability to accept registrations and spend money on things like space rental and food.    (KR3)
  • Online community space. Many of these groups are already using mailing lists and Wikis for discussion and group authoring. It would simplify things for new groups if these resources were easily available to those who wanted them. It would also benefit the community at large if some of these groups had their discussions on a shared space as opposed to separate silos.    (KR4)
  • Governance and process. Some fundamental guidelines can help all groups facilitate cooperation and participation from all stakeholders.    (KR5)

Eventually, what we’re currently calling “Identity Commons 2.0” will need:    (KR6)

  • legal entity w/ bylaws and membership criteria    (KR7)
  • financial model    (KR8)
  • intellectual property agreement (potentially using Apache Software Foundation as a model)    (KR9)

Our strategy for addressing these needs is to attack the low-hanging fruit first and to let the projects drive the priorities of the organization. We will start by forming an organizational working group consisting of the stewards of each of the working groups described above as well as anyone else from the community who wants to join. Its first meeting is a teleconference tentatively scheduled for next Thursday, July 6 at 9am PT, pending confirmation from the different stewards. (Details to be announced on the community mailing list.)    (KRA)

Organizational policy should be as lightweight as possible, giving each working group the option of customizing them to fit their needs.    (KRB)

We will use the community mailing list for discussion. We will also setup a Wiki, leveraging the work Jon Ramer did for Identity Mashup. We will look into merging some of the other Wikis, such as Identity Gang, into this new Wiki.    (KRC)

Who will decide what working groups form or what collaborative tools we’ll use? In general, if someone wants to propose something that’s consistent with the purposes and principles, the answer is “yes” — provided someone is going to steward the proposal.    (KRD)

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