Six Characteristics to Define Commons-Oriented Entities

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= Six aspects (governance, juridic, sharing, contribution, finance,partnership) that help to describe a commons-based initiative

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Simon Sarazin:


Here are the 6 ingrédients (we decided to use only 6 finally) :

Or also on wikibooks (it's the same data) :

Each ingrédient has a long page description inside the wikibooks.

For exemple for the governance :

You also find on this page a sort of methodology to use this 6 ingrédients :

With a spreadheet to answer all the questions when you developp à "common" :

And this graph to make it more visible :

The platform can help to save each common analysis :

For example :

This is explained here in english :


Compilation of resources via Simon Sarazin:

Pour plus de clarté, le site unisson reprend les informations qui sont dans le wikibooks, et qui détaillent ingrédient par ingrédient les pratiques découvertes :

Voici 2 exemples d'analyse utilisant ces ingrédients

Ainsi qu'un tableau "template" pour aider à réfléchir autour d'une ressouce

Et un graphe :


Translated from french to english by Veronique Kaluila (robin hood cooperative)

This table presents six ingredients to be considered to build a free common, with each ingredient of the proposed resources. This tool will guide a reflection contributors to a common community and its partners involved in public or private types.

Pay attention that everyone has to make his own recipe and ajust the ingredients  ;-). It's not a matter of imposing a framework for 'common'.

Description Issues Resources/Exemples
Governance: How is thought

governance to enable all to appropriate the common without reducing individual initiative?

Your initiative progresses by horizontal collective

decisions. The organization is transparent. All project information (economic, human, etc ...) are public. There are online information on project funding and status. The discussions, in particular strategic, are on "open" spaces where everyone can participate. There is display of members and possible contacts, and internal procedures. Spaces to go back and address the tensions exist, and a mode of decision making has been chosen.

A well described governance fosters trust, inclusion

of the greatest number. No clear decision process, the collective decision-making remains limited and is then often taken by some people without that clear. If the process has not been defined, the project takes the risk, overnight, to see people at the head of the initiative or new entrants decide alone the great changes of direction.

Use a discussion list. Have an opportunity to go back

tensions or improve the project with a process to make choices (consent, vote). For example, all major decisions are discussed at Wikipedia, with decision methods vary choice made by groups of people.

Contribution: How the project allows the contribution

to all and in the long term? Which means to make the actions visible?

Everyone can contribute to the project in

kind and financially. The actions to be realized are visible and it is simple to come to propose improvements (for example, a link towards the information to contribute how, spaces of discussion). The used tools are easy and accessible to all (github, wiki, trello, etc. ...). Roles to play to make the project live are clear. It can be interesting to see if the collective attracted new members or if the collective lost members and why. The project posts indicators of his evaluation and updates them. The contributions of the participants are protected (free license, etc. ...)

This promotes the contribution of all to the project

and therefore a more rapid development of the initiative, and better adaptation to individual usage. If the project is appropriated, this avoids having competing projects that start because that can not be involved in this initiative.

Establishment of "contribution Sessions"

Tools Trello, Github, or Transifex translatewiki for languages, etc ... For example, Wikipedia encourages the contribution of each very simply. Example: By displaying the licenses used in free software, it is easy to get involved because the license protects the contributor.

Partage/Sharing: Who are the "common" close

or similar? Have they been contacted to try to share with them? How the "common" is working to encourage its replication, its release?

The project distributes its operating revenue to

easily reproduce. It is thought of "modular" way (separation of concerns ") to build itself from other" common "or produce multiple new common appropriated rather than one that can not be reused. It is thought to pool with other relatives initiatives to avoid competition proceedings and to bring the forces around a common project.

It is the ability to unite people around an issue

that will help it develop quickly. Also, document operation allows the replication of the project by others and facilitates ownership of the concept by all. Successfully pooling is a key to the development of outbuildings,

Share its

recipes or "codes-sources"(-springs") thanks to the site http: // for example. Join thematic working groups. For example, Disco Soup has posted all the information to easily start a discosoupe on its territory. As soon as an initiative starts, a monitoring job is to be realized to put itself in connection with people who have a similar project, or to join an already existing project. There is such an important pooling around the Wikipedia encyclopedia: Rather than hundreds of competing encyclopedias, the project managed to bring together a large number of players. Similar initiatives sometimes decide to get together to join forces.