How do the Principles help?

Or: What’s the point?

This page explains the goals and intentions of the original authors of the Principles of Authentic Participation. There is a three-step approach to understand the goals of the Principles:

  1. Give Language

  2. Take Understanding

  3. Create Knowledge

Give Language

The Principles of Authentic Participation GIVE a common language for sustainable and authentic participation in open source communities.

The Principles were never intended to be absolute or foolproof. It is a tool to use when we talk about what participation in open source means. The Working Group realized early on that when two different people think of participation in open source, they might have two different definitions of participation. So, the Principles are a tool to give others a common, accepted language specifically focused on authentic participation.

Take Understanding

The Principles of Authentic Participation helps others TAKE away a deeper understanding of community-accepted norms for participating in open source.

Once you have a common language, you need to speak it. While those who actively participate in open source communities may understand the nuances and complexities of their communities, these nuances are rarely documented. Speaking this common language about what authentic participation means allows us to better communicate what is important to the sustainability of software development communities. When we can better communicate our needs and help others better empathesize with open source best practices, the challenge becomes a little easier.

Create Knowledge

The Principles of Authentic Participation encourages others to CREATE new knowledge by using them as a reference point.

The Principles provide common language, but this language is needed in conversations that are typically private. When someone advocates for open source best practices in their organization, it is typically in private conversations. Someone who wishes to create an internal best practices document or expand on the original Principles should be able to do so. It is recognized by this Working Group that all derivative knowledge associated to these Principles may not ever be known to upstream, and that is okay!