In Free Software circles working in public is important, and transparency is a precondition for that. The more transparent workflows and information are, the more is there a collective basis for collaboration and mutual trust.
In this forum topic we elavuate variations of Transparency that can be strategically applied, given circumstances and situation.
(Note: Just brainstorming, taking notes. Many more variations, different ways to slice, etc. Names are just made up on-the-fly, there may be a whole field of study here with well-defined terminology)
Real-time and information-complete…
This is the highest level of transparency attainable, the ultimate goal, where everything is 100% out in the open at any moment in time. This level is not always practical, desirable or even possible.
- Not practical: A squater registers domain names before you do → Need for preparation.
- Not desirable: Your visit to the toilet and archiving of the ‘message’ → Need for privacy.
- Not possible: WInning a war with war rooms broadcasted to Live TV → Need for secrecy.
Information-complete, but not real-time
Planned fully transparent
You plan to be fully transparent at a a certain moment in time, but before that you are not or only partially transparent. Leading ultimately to full transparency. This is a very natural approach:
- You are writing notes on paperr to publish them later online.
- You draft a proposal and want to publish once its understandable and of good enough quality.
Gradual full transparency
Where information becomes gradually transparent as soon as that is in any way possible, and there’s no longer a need for preparation / privacy / secrecy.
Hierarchical full transparency
Picture concentric circles where from the inner circles an information stream is published to the next circle, and the next, informing more people, until all information is public.
Update 13 April 2023: Hellekin calls this selective opacity.
Partially transparent trade-off
There are times when a cost / benefit must be weighed and the outcome can be a concession to the level of transparency.
An recent example came up in a collaboration proposal with Codeberg. The codeberg organization has private members and these again have a private Presidium, all defined in the bylaws of their non-profit organization.
Radical transparency is not possible because of this. Full transparency may still be possible.
Reason to accept the concession are the opportunity to have Codeberg as partner and custodian with their reputations and guarantees to Free Software they can offer. I.e. an opportunity was weighed.