Parent Organisation Structure

What should be the MVP of the Codidact parent organisation?

If you build a company, you will focus on making (more) money. If you create a Non Profit Organisation, there is room for so much more then that.

With the code of Codidact already being open source, there are some choices made. But I think it is important to set this up clearly from the beginning.

(If I have missed something already put into place, please point toward that)

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I favor a foundation or other non-profit structure. One of the sorest spots, for me, about SE is that the free community labor has been given to a corporation that uses it to pursue a profit motive. That might be fine, but it also might not – the direction profits take things might be at odds with what is best for developers and the development community writ large. This would also apply to non-coding communities as well.

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Assuming this will/would be incorporated in the USA, I’d recommend a non-profit foundation.

Foundations have more control than charities over how many is used, are still tax-deductible to donate to, and are overall easier to manage (in my experience).

Really, the only need for any type of legal structure is for branding, trademarks, etc. The additional bonus is it would allow money to go to hosting, development, and what-not in a more organized and streamlined way.

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Another benefit of creating some sort of organization is to shield individuals from liability if, say, someone comes after us over content posted on our sites (copyright, libel, etc).

I would like the organization to be some flavor of non-profit. I’m not fluent in the different flavors.

What’s the easiest thing to set up that would meet our needs? (I’m not necessarily saying we should do that; I just want to establish a baseline.)

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An LLC is the easiest (I can put one together in 30mins online), but I don’t think it would meet our needs.

I really think something in the nonprofit space is necessary. An unspecified non-profit corporation would be the next “easiest” that meets our needs, but it’s not that much extra work to create a foundation, and (IMHO) is easier to manage going forward than an unspecified corporation. Again, assuming USA here.

The only things needed for a non-profit is a board and a registered agent (who is almost always one of the board members or a lawyer). There are some differences state-by-state, but in general you need at least three board members, and the president and secretary cannot be the same person.

So to create a nonprofit you need:
(1) Select your board, and who will be the point of contact for any/all paperwork with the gov’t (ie the “registered agent”).
(2) Agree on an Articles of Incorporation (I have templates; it’s easy)
(3) File paperwork with your state (usually done online in 15-20 mins, for a $50-$100 fee)
(4) Get an EIN from the IRS (15 minutes online, no charge)

To be a recognizable foundation, there’s one extra step:
(5) File for 501c3 status as a foundation (can be done online, is a one-time $500 fee). Then you wait 2-6 months for the IRS to process it. You don’t have to wait for them to process it to continue operations; you just have to have it filed. The IRS back-dates your tax-deductible status to the day you filed the paperwork.

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My suggestion is; look at the people who have done this before: wikipedia, Mozilla and Linux. Of these, Mozilla is in my opinion the best to emulate. What then leads to:

Codidact Manifesto, that will give answers to the 5WH:

  • Who
  • What
  • When*
  • Where*
  • Why

*Might be less detailed as the others.

Non Profit Entety to hold the funds, rights etc. Kind and place need to be adjusted to fit the needs. (probably USA based, but might be useful to checkout other countries like France, Germany, Australia or India)

Board of Directors to guide the NPE and keep it on course with the Manifesto.

Community of contributors that support the vision laid out in the Manifesto.

Development Team to develop the software needed to help with the Manifesto’s goal.

Moderator Team to keep the community healthy.

The organisation chart might look something like this:

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Having the community on the org chart is a nice touch. :slight_smile:

Why are you suggesting a commercial-company-like structure? Controlled from the top down? I’d say the NPE should be answerable and controlled by some combination of the community (including moderators), the developers, and NPE employees. (Note that “some combination” is a very wide term).

I have a strong opinion about the word “community”. Let’s not use it to mean “the users”. That’s a very corporate-owned-thing where the company has the real control and “community” is, at best super-fans. But in an open source project — and an open content project as well! — it doesn’t have to be limited like that.

We can have a real community comprised of everyone engaged in the project’s success — moderators, developers, and engaged users.

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