Opening up the Foundation

Opening up the Foundation

Matrix.org [[{„value“:“

Since the Foundation got itself a Managing Director at the end of last summer, it has been working on its independence. With lines more clearly defined between its major supporter Element and itself, the Foundation has been able to clarify its role. The Foundation’s major goal, alongside stewarding the specification, is to fill in the gaps where there is no direct organisational interest, to make the Matrix ecosystem grow.

There are two levels where the Foundation can have an impact: at the governance level, in the form of the Governing Board; and at the hands-on level, with working groups and projects.

See below what the coming year holds for us.

Setting the direction, together

The Foundation wants to be a place for the various entities who depend on Matrix to gather, share their insights and current situation, make decisions on what they want for the future of Matrix, and pool resources to make it happen.

A place that gives everyone in the ecosystem an opportunity to be proactive in their problem solving, sharing the cost of maintenance and development of projects that may lack commercial support.

It is also meant to be a place where all the members can discuss topics that need to be addressed, but that they cannot address on their own. Indeed, some components of the Matrix ecosystem receive attention because they are commercially viable, if not already sustainable. Some other projects might not be possible to monetise ethically. Or it might make sense for a neutral organisation to act as a point of reference. One example would be a strong Trust & Safety suite.

The Governing Board will help set the direction of the Foundation, so it can deliver on what matters the most to the ecosystem. For all the details on the Governing Board and its mission, please head to Josh’s excellent blog post. If you have an opinion on the direction the Foundation should follow, consider becoming a member and running for the board!

More room for the community

Joining the Governing Board is not the only way to contribute to the Matrix ecosystem. The Foundation hosts numerous projects, and directly contributes to some of them. But there are no guidelines regarding how a project becomes hosted or managed by the Foundation, nor any guidelines on who can gain or lose access to a repository.

In coordination with the Governing Board, the Foundation will set-up processes to better define what a Foundation project is, how it can join the matrix-org/ namespace on GitHub, how it is governed, and when it makes sense to contribute financially. This is particularly important to make sure that the Foundation is open to new contributors and projects.

We don’t want to define processes a priori and force them onto the project, creating unnecessary top-down bureaucracy. We would rather experiment, see what processes actually work in practice, and then formalise and generalise them.

We are starting with a couple of experiments: community member MTRNord and myself Thib have launched the Matrix.org Website Office Hours to onboard everyone who wants to contribute to the website. Web development is a rather widespread skill, and it should be a good testbed to gauge our ability to onboard a diverse group of contributors. You should join us!

A second initiative will be launched on a topic our community is full of energy and ideas about: a Trust & Safety working group, steered by myself. The working group will be tightly scoped to a single problem area, and tasked to come up with a single deliverable. We will spin up new working groups to tackle new problems. We will share the details of the first T&S working group in early April on this blog. You can subscribe to our RSS feed or follow us on our socials to stay tuned.

This experiment will establish a framework for collaborations on other important topics. This will help us make the Matrix ecosystem one that all individuals and organisations are able to contribute to.

This post is the second post in our roadmap series, and while governance isn’t the most exciting thing in open source, it makes the difference between a project that stands the test of time and a project that fails.

Support the Matrix ecosystem if you want to see it thrive, support the Foundation in its quest for inclusivity: become a member or a supporter today!

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