Lessons in Leadership from Open Source

I would like to see a comparison one of these days between nations and open source projects in terms of how they are governed. There is much variety amongst open source projects in systems of government, including consensus (subversion), voting (debian), and benevolent dictatorship (python).

The video features lead developers from the subversion project, which has a consensus based community. During the presentation, they state that voting should be a last resort.

“If you find yourself voting on everything all the time then something is wrong, and you need to be more introspective. Voting means there is a winner and a loser … People need to learn how to make compromises, and hopefully you are bringing people into your community who are the kind of people who like to make compromises and are willing to deal with that.”

This is a gem of a comment to me, because it encapsulates so much of what I think is the problem with many communities – the lack of a common desire for sincere consensus. Many other significant points like this one are discussed, and I highly recommend watching the video.

One Response to “Lessons in Leadership from Open Source”

  1. chiaolun says:

    I have misgivings about consensus because I can’t clearly differentiate it from conformism. Diversity is clearly desirable to an extent, the problem is where to draw that line. When people are so different that they no longer convey their motivations convincingly to each other, that’s a little too much diversity. Maybe what is ultimately desired is some kind of meta-consensus, where people are able to maintain communication in the face of diverse means and backgrounds.