Announcement of Guild Alpha

Guild Alpha

A Social Coding initiative

Today, we are taking the first step towards building an initiative based on the concept of “Software Guilds”. We hereby announce the formation of Guild Alpha, a “bootstrap guild” of sorts, intended to serve as a starting point. We call upon anyone with both the skills and motivation to join us.

If anything discussed here has your interest or you want to help grow Free Software and the Fediverse, fill out this form to let us know!

What is Social Coding?

Social coding is simply the recognition that “Coding is Social”. In navigating the complex IT landscape it is very easy — especially for free software projects — to become overly involved with technical aspects. Social coding focuses on people’s needs, and the social interaction — inclusive communication and collaboration — to translate those into great software.

Guild Alpha is part of the Social Coding Movement, where a loose conglomeration of independent initiatives cooperate, and gradually explore best practices that cover the entire Free Software Development Lifecycle, the FSDL.

What is a Guild?

In its simplest form, a Guild represents a small number of people with complementary interests, who collaborate on projects and anticipate each other’s needs in order to “be stronger together”.

As guilds evolve and improve their practices they are increasingly able to address the needs that exist in Free Software ecosystems and the Fediverse. They can operate strategically and develop and execute plans, to elevate their chances of success and to be long-term sustainable.

What we are announcing today is the inception of Guild Alpha, which is based on the Guild’s organizational model and principles.

Rationale for Guild Alpha

There currently exists a dissonance between the goals of the free-software movement and its methods. For many of us, we want to see free-software spread not just for ideological reasons, but especially as we see with the Fediverse, the survival of these projects often depends on their continued relevance and competitiveness.

These projects often started by individual hobbyists. Developing new software from the ground up isn’t easy, so unless one is lucky enough to get a grant, it’s very rare for these projects to make it to a point where others can contribute, much less a deliverable state. It also means that there’s little way for the community to collectively steer the direction of what kinds of software gets written, as individuals will work separately, sometimes where it’s less efficient.

By creating an organizational unit, what we are doing is not just connecting developers to pool their efforts towards a common goal, but creating a bridge between the discussions about what is most needed and the efforts to ensure they get done.

We keep things to two month sprints, as the focus is delivering results and the accompanying momentum with a successful completion. As a result, inspiration is taken from Agile frameworks and there is focus on planning and removing logistical hurdles.


May 26: Opening for proposals on the guild repository

June 3: Deadline for registration for first sprint and any proposals. Join the Matrix room and register on the forum by this date. Expect to be contacted on this date, and respond in a timely fashion.

June 4: Vote on actionable proposals created. An actionable proposal contains a README, ROADMAP and ARCHITECTURE file. See the repository’s README for details. Voting lasts 24 h from noon to noon (12:00 UTC - 12:00 UTC on June 5).

June 5: First weekly progress report with the selected proposal and result of the vote. Begin discussion on the division of tasks.

Weekly progress reports will be published to the forum every Monday from June 5 until the end of the guild’s work. Weekly reports are the summary of all the most important events and information that all guild need to know. All other means of communication are optional and guild members do not need to keep up-to-date with them. If something important is discussed or happened, please reach out to @tomat0 or @CSDUMMI, so that it can be included in the weekly report.


Given that this is a Free Software development initiative, we will make an effort to prioritize using free-software tools where possible. The following are the tools we’re using for communication and coordination of the Guild itself.

  • Projects hosted on Codeberg, CI done with Woodpecker. Code commits and pull requests should go to the project’s repository (which will be created when development begins).
    • Any technical discussions should be posted under the project repository’s Issues section.
    • Project proposals should be pushed to the Proposals repository using the format outlined in the repository’s documentation.
  • Registration and surveys will be conducted via Cryptpad Forms (typically sent out as links).
  • The Guild will have a Matrix room for quicker, but less important communications.
  • Announcements and weekly progress reports will be posted on the Discuss Social Coding forum. Check this regularly, as important information and links will be posted here.
    • If you have any logistical or organizational (as opposed to purely technical) issues or discussions, post it under the Guild’s forum category.
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