Governance

Note

This document is a work in progress.

Introduction

OppiaMobile is an open source mobile learning platform specifically designed for delivering learning content, multimedia and quizzes in low-broadband settings and primarily used for health worker training.

Our goals in setting up the governance structures of OppiaMobile are to ensure that:

  1. There is a defined process that helps people participate in decisions regarding the OppiaMobile community and platform. It should be clear who is responsible for any given decision, and how others might contribute to the outcome.
  2. Decisions regarding the OppiaMobile platform and community are taken in an accountable, fair and transparent fashion.
  3. Necessary decisions are actually taken, even when there is no clear consensus among the community. There is a single path for the appeal or escalation of a decision when needed.

OppiaMobile Community Board

The community board is responsible for:

  1. Ensuring OppiaMobile meets the needs and demands of its end-users and implementers
  2. Support funding for core Oppia - eg contributing to funding applications etc
  3. Overseeing support provided for implementers and end-users (eg documentation is up to date)

Current Members

OppiaMobile Technical Board

The technical board is responsible for:

  1. Providing strategic direction for OppiaMobile technical developments
  2. Overseeing the approval process for new technical developments
  3. Prioritising technical developments
  4. Growing and supporting the technical development community for OppiaMobile (eg by ensuring appropriate technical documentation etc is kept up to date)

Current Members

Working Groups

Specific developments may not fall neatly into being the responsibility for Community or Technical Boards, instead requiring input and consensus from across the two boards. In this case temporary working groups would be created, drawing on members from both boards, and perhaps external experts. These working groups would work in the same way as the permanent boards, but temporary in nature for the lifetime of the development.

Current WGs and Members

Appointments and Removals

New appointments to either the Community/Technical Boards or Working Groups will be made by being proposed and seconded by existing members, with a simple majority voting system.

All members of the Community or Technical Boards need to provide meaningful input. If a board member has not provided meaningful input for over a year, they will automatically be removed as board members. Similarly, with any working groups, members need to provide meaningful input. If a working group member has not provided meaningful input for over 6 months, they will automatically be removed from the working group.

SABDFL

This is not a democracy, it’s a meritocracy. We try to operate more on consensus than on votes, seeking agreement from the people who will have to do the work. Alex Little, as self-appointed benevolent dictator for life (SABDFL), plays the happily undemocratic role as founding developer of OppiaMobile.

He also has a casting vote on the boards and working groups, should it come to a vote. This capacity is not used lightly.

The community functions best when it can reach broad consensus about a way forward. However, it is not uncommon in the open-source world for there to be multiple good arguments, no clear consensus, and for open questions to divide communities rather than enrich them. The debate absorbs the energy that might otherwise have gone towards the creation of a solution. In many cases, there is no one ‘right’ answer, and what is needed is a decision more than a debate. The SABDFL acts to provide clear leadership on difficult issues, and set the pace for the project.