Guidelines for the future OSCEdays

Topic is part of the development of an OSCEdays Organisation.


Here is a sketch for the guidelines for the association and our future work using the stuff that was collected in the pad.

I already put it in the format we will need it in for the statutes of the association. I was looking at the statutes of the Wikimedia Germany – a german association supporting the Wikipedia/Wikimedia.

The english is of course shaky – I am not a native speaker – but, if not necessary for clarity, I don’t think we have to clean it up here that much. After we agreed on the stuff that should be in there and how the final version will have to be in german anyway. And once we have an almost final version in german we can make a precise translation back for final discussion.


The post is a wiki. Feel free to edit stuff in or use the comments below. If you make bigger changes using the wiki functionality please leave also a comment below in the thread about what you have changed and why.


„In the future … the focus will no longer be on the big, genius designer but more on the network – on architectures of collaboration and participation.“


#Objectives (german: “Ziele & Aufgaben”)

The purpose of the association is to stimulate the debate on Open Source for the development of a Circular Economy.

The association will educate, research and build the capacity as well as aid in developing skills, tools and best practise examples for an open source driven circular economy.

Our goal is to break down barriers and bring together a diverse, global community of people and organisations of all sizes, origins, genders and industries to collaboratively participate in and contribute to the invention and building of an open source circular economy.



Open Source is a term for software, artifacts or processes whose source data, design files and instructions have been released to the public in such a way that anyone can make, modify, distribute, sell and use those things as long as the source itself remains open.

Circular Economy –> See other topic

###(Concrete Activities)

The purpose of the association will be achieved by:

  • creating and providing as well as supporting the creation and publication of scientific works, open source resources, open source tools and open source hardware projects.

  • providing and evolving spaces online (forums, websites and others) for the community to meet, exchange ideas and resources, build alliances and be empowered and enabled to do practical work.

  • organising, facilitating and supporting events (like workshops, courses, working groups, informative meetings, talks, informal meet-ups)

  • [3.]

###(Guidelines for the projects)

The work of the OSCE-organisation will concentrate on projects

  • that are part of both worlds – Open Source and Circular Economy – at the same time,

  • that are useful for a broad variety of stakeholders and enables them to do own productive work and

  • that can in the short-term or mid-term sustain themselves, exist and grow further independently from this or any other specific organisation.

###(Transparency bit)

The association will operate and document its work das openly and transparently as possible. All work and projects will be published open source. [4.]




Just a suggestions. We can create a Preamble where we can add all kinds of introductory or general statements. Set the mood. I like the bit with “architectures of collaboration”.

Of course we need to explain what we mean with Open Source and Circular Economy.

I left “policy making” out. Because when you found an association in germany and write what it is about, you should really do (Maike: you have to prove that you actually do) that work. And I am not sure if we on short term will begin actions around policy making. In the framework layed out above, policy making work is possible. But not required.

We agreed to add something like “Anything that needs to happen intransparent (like sponsorship relations in early stages) has to be made clear upfront and agreed upon by the community.” And I am a big fan of it. However I am not sure how to put this here into the guidelines in a way that it will not irritate german authorities (that have to approve the statutes) or make us very unflexible. Maybe we can come up with another way to put it? Or we find another place for this rule – another document that we can change quicker and do not have to hand in to legal authorities for approval.

I really liked the bit I found in the pad: “To be constructively critical of our work and projects, to challenge and develop”. But I could not find a place for it. Ideas?

ping @sharmarval @TechnicalNature @cameralibre @unteem @keikreutler @hazem @Alice_audrey @Ina @sophia @transitionmica @Chris @lauren @RicardoR @Gien @Silvia (+ you, feel invited to join the task)

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Looks a great start, a few more additions detailing but could start translating to German too.


[1] Agree, a preamble would be good to set the tone!
[3] Also think this is the right thing to do. Policy-making take a long time and a lot of focus…not sure we have the capacity at the moment.
[4] Another place for this rule would work best I think. For one thing I think this comes down to creating a culture of trust from the outset. Also I think this can go too far (encourage sharing what is necessary and not just creating noise for the sake of it).

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@Lars2i is this whole document the guidelines? Or just the bit on 'guidelines for projects? Seems like there is more in the original hackpad that we talked about. Will have a look again.

I think i covered most/all aspects. Or at least i put all in that i tought would work in the statutes thinking about german authorities.

In the final document the order of the facts will probably be a bit different.

I made some changes that I hope are only linguistic in nature to make sure that the English is fully clear. I wasn’t so sure about the preamble though: what was meant by ‘it is about’?

Let me know when we need translations. I’d be happy to help making sure that nothing gets in the way of clear communication in both English and German.

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Great @transitionmaike - I made a german version. And once we have a clear german version, we can play it back to english. Would be great when you do it then :slight_smile:

Here is something from another discussion about the “Presidium” or “Board of Stewardship” that should be somehow reflected in the guidelines. Sam wrote:

"One additional task I see for these elected people is to keep an eye on OSCEdays at a meta-level - be wary of consolidation of power and knowledge, look for ways to effectively decentralize the network and organisation, and raise awareness of potentially damaging issues.

I have an additional suggestion though: that not only do the first elected representatives’ terms come to an end in 2 years, but this whole structure is also fully re-evaluated in 2 years. Obviously we should be constantly making small changes where necessary, but I find our current solution somewhat of a compromise: it’s not yet the structure that we would need to grow in a truly decentralized way, but it is an achievable and useful level of organisation for us to grow in the mid-term, something we can put together (relatively) quickly with a small group of people which will allow us to interact with other organisations, and get paid to spend more time on OSCE."

Hi everybody,

I got feedback from the finance authorities (see comments from Dec15). And following from that feedback we need to reconsider two things:

###(1) Definitions in statutes?
They have a bit of a problem with the definitions of Open Source and Circular Economy. Of course, both worlds talk about making business but when you want to go tax-free-status you are not allowed to run a business.

So they suggest to change this part or delete it.

I don’t see any way, how to change the definitions part in a way that does not conflict with what they are looking at and totally violating the definitions at the same time. So I would vote for: Deleting that part.

It does not necessarily have to be a problem. Like OSHWA did with the definition of Open Source Hardware we can still create our definition of OSCE and host it prominently. And whenever we have a problem to decide what to do and what not we look at this definition. It does not need to be in the statutes where it can be a source of trouble with law authorities on many occasions.

###(2) The Filter criteria for projects (“Guidelines for projects”)
When you want to receive tax free status in germany you are only allowed to collaborate with other organizations with the same status. So bit 2 and 3 of the “guidelines for projects” make them a bit nervous.

I came up with this solution, to put just this into the statues:

  • that are part of both worlds – Open Source and Circular Economy – at the same time,

  • and are of universal use.

The “universal use” bit explains the same as “that are useful for a broad variety of stakeholders and enables them to do own productive work” did before but does not mention other organizations.

And the 3rd bit (“that can in the short-term or mid-term sustain themselves, exist and grow further independently from this or any other specific organization.”) is just gone. I liked it. But i think in the combination of “universal use” and “must be open source” we have covered 90% of point three already.


Any objections?

###Tax free status vs. Sponsoring

Looking closely on what the finance authorities write: It might be very difficult to have sponsoring deals and tax free status at the same time… Cause, of course, sponsoring and especially the way we discussed it from time to time is a business-approach.

I will try to find out more about this…

Hi, I had another Chat with the Finanzamt on January 29, 2016. They requested more changes if we want to get tax-free-status. I followed there requests in Version 0.4

Now the whole part saying

“that we can only do projects that are Open Source & Circular Economy at the same time”

and the bit

“that we can only do projects that are of universal use”

is gone.

For some strange (and from me not understood) reason they see this as a “business” statement (“Geschäftsbetrieb”)

So I guess we have to come up with this rules some place else or just … hope that we will stick to them anyway … following to what the rest of the statutes say. (See also what was said above about “Deleting the Definitions”)

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