Who "owns" this?

I’ve been engaged for the last two or so days in some Agile training, and I’d like to understand a fundamental question before this gets too far.

Who owns this?

It seems like there’s a lot of good discussion happening about the site, and about what others seem that it wants to be. One thing that seems to be evading me, however, is that no one seems to “own” the actual direction of the site, including requirements, what MVP actually is, and what the first actual implementation community would look like.

At best, everyone involved in the discussions would be stakeholders. But I’m not entirely clear who’s really steering this whole operation.

Without a clear owner, there may be a lot more in the way of noise and side discussion without an actual clear direction to what needs to be done.

So…who’s the point person that owns this thing?


Depends in what sense you’re thinking about it. currently there are three roles - team lead, tech lead, and docs lead - that are @ArtOfCode, @Marc.2377, and @cellio respectively. As for site leadership, we haven’t decided on that yet.

I wouldn’t go so far to designate one person the leader since I think it is mostly shared among the lead roles. But if I had to choose, it would definitely be Marc, since he is the top Discord admin and basically the kick-starter of the project.


That is correct. We don’t have a legal “owner”, however these are our leads. I think they can be compared to “project owners” in the agile-management sense.

There is no “top Discord admin”.

I mean:
Technically, as I started the whole project (with this comment) and opened the server, I have several “server owner” rights (such as editing all roles).

However we have a rule in our admin-channel, that – if you are certain that something needs to be done – you should act without gathering consensus. Of course destructive (irreversible) decisions require some need of consensus among the administrators, but this is just an aspect of mutual trust.


The current organisational structure looks something like this:

Those team bubbles aren’t very big bubbles yet, and many of the people in them span across multiple teams. The leads are also very much team members themselves at the moment, while we need all the people we can get.


In the spirit of the project itself, we’ve been trying to conduct things in as flat of an hierarchy as we possibly can. In that sense, no single person or small group owns this project.

As for my involvement: in my initial comment on Meta.SE that prompted @luap42 to create the Discord server, I suggested I would like to defer the initiative and much of the management work to someone who’d be more willing to do it:

Paul created the server, Monica joined, then I did, and we kept gaining new members ever since.

Later, we pushed for some organizational structure, which was finally achieved, as seen from previous answers :slight_smile: .

Btw: The organizational structure is documented in the Wiki. I think the diagram chart by @ArtOfCode would make a nice addition to that page!


No offense meant to Marc, Paul and Art, but what triggered all this was Monica’s dismissal. Most people who’ve changed their username on SE have changed it to variations on ”support Monica“, not variations on “build Codidact”. What makes this project the potential alternative to SE is that Monica is on board. If Monica decides not to be associated with this project anymore, who will stay?

Regardless of whether Monica is the head of the project, she’s at least the figurehead of the project.

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@cellio is unquestionably the inspiration for Codidact and a key part of this project, and the figurehead too (but not by choice, and not the actual creator of the project). However, I think there are a bunch of technical and other very good reasons why she is not the “official” lead. That being said, I think anyone & everyone on this project is totally replaceable at this time, with the exception of Monica. But I don’t advocate such replacement. We have what seems to be a very dedicated and talented group of people who are interested in producing both a good product and a good organization, though it will take a lot of time and a lot of work.


I never wanted to be a champion. I just want to help communities I care about be awesome, and Codidact is a better bet for that than SE is now. I think it’s important that I was not the person who initiated Codidact; this was someone else’s idea, and I joined because I care and I think I can help, just like the rest of you. I want to help; I don’t want to take over.

I bring some skill with teasing out functional requirements and some knowledge of why SE is the way it is. I bring a lot of SE experience, like many (most?) others here. I bring the ability to articulate things in written form, both for us and for outreach. When we get to working out governance, I expect I’ll play a major role.

I’m not a programmer.1 I don’t plan to weigh in on most decisions about how we do things – what frameworks we use, deep database design, websockets vs whatever the alternatives are, those sorts of things. That’s for the rest of y’all, guided by our tech lead and team lead. Like anyone else I have opinions about what – that is, the outward-facing interfaces. I leave deciding on how to the technical experts. I might have questions and ask y’all to educate me (and others like me), but I’m definitely not in charge of that part.

1 I was a programmer in a past life. It was a long time ago. The world has changed since then.


Does it matter who started the project or who came first? I don’t think so. This is an open source project and no one is a leader. Everyone contributes to the codebase and make it better. Why do we need a leader? We have great leads as our tech lead is Marc and docs lead is Monica and Team lead is Art, we have amazing people and they are enough. No need for a “leader”.

Why? we have different people who maintain a clear direction to what needs to be done. That’s why they were elected, now we need a leader?


We don’t need a leader yet. But sooner or later a dispute will arise and we’ll need to settle it as a group. If no consensus can emerge, who decides? If it’s a collective decision, how is it taken?

There is no universal solution to this problem. The end result can be that the project forks. (Kind of how Codidact is forking from Stack Exchange.) This is not always a bad thing, but it isn’t always a good thing.

We don’t have to have a solution in mind for a situation like this, which is statistically plausible but is not at all in sight. But pretending that it can’t happen is not helpful.

Most open-source and open-governance projects have a charismatic leader, who doesn’t necessarily intervene in day-to-day decision but is perceived as a “sage” who can arbitrate and settle disputes. Jimbo Wales for Wikipedia, Richard Stallman for GNU, Linus Torvalds for Linux, Guido van Rossum for Python, Jeff Atwood for the first few years of Stack Overflow… This isn’t necessary (Debian comes to mind as a notable counterexample — and as a warning that not having a “benevolent dictator” makes for a somewhat chaotic community). You don’t get there by being elected, or at least not solely by being elected. You get there by being widely respected.


Hmm, what we have right now is an informal (as of yet) process where most of the important decisions are made following input from the body of contributors, and in the rare instances where that doesn’t make a lot of sense, a commitee composed of leads + admins must reach unanimity (or vast consensus, but preferably unanimity) about any certain action before it’s considered final.

I believe we can go quite far without an actual Project Manager, but that will be necessary later on. It is likely that even this person should not hold unilateral power over the commitee and the rest of the community, of course.

There are some relevant historical differences related to how these projects with a well-defined leader have come to be, in relation to our project. Torvalds certainly made Linux, Van Rossum is the actual creator of Python, and the same rationale applies to Jimmy Wales, Jeff and Stallman as well.

Things are a bit different in our case… Did any one one of us actually start all of it? Meaning: “I’m creating this project, I’m doing things in this and this manner, wanna join me”? – Nope, it didn’t happen that way.

Someone willing to try hard enough might be compelled to see Monica, Paul and myself as co-founders of this initiative, but it certainly doesn’t look like any of us are willing to be regarded as “owners for life”…


How did you make that flowchart? Draw.io? Visio?

The former, draw.io.

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