Hey, I've got questions...

Answering Questions About the Nivenly Foundation

Hey, I’ve got questions…

The Nivenly Foundation is growing fast and our community has many questions. We’re dedicating time from our volunteers to answer them. This blog post describes why we think this is a critical step to take at this point in the growth of our community, how we prioritize which questions to answer when, and how you can engage with the process (see our Discourse). As a cooperative, our strength lies in our community. The better informed and engaged we are, the better we can deliver for our community.

I’ve asked questions that took a long time to answer.

First of all: thank you for your patience! Kris Nóva’s unexpected passing was a significant impact to us, and we’ve been working hard to catch up on the backlog of questions that have queued up. We ask that you continue to be patient with us as we process and catch up. We’re also expanding our volunteer team and we’ve created an area on our Discourse where anyone can ask questions about Nivenly and we will do our best to answer. Common questions will be to our documentation either on an upcoming FAQ page or other relevant pages.

What is happening to Nivenly after Nóva’s passing?

Kris Nóva was a source of strength to many of our members as a founding member and President of the Board. Her sudden passing has left us all with a hole in our hearts. If you knew her and wish to share a memorial, Nivenly has set up a memorial page that we will continue to maintain.

Given her stature in the tech community and her very visible association with the Nivenly Foundation, it is appropriate to ask what happens next. The answer is that the Foundation was built to succeed, even with changes to board membership. Nivenly is still run by the four remaining members of the board of directors as well as the Executive Director. Currently, the board is looking to backfill her seat on the board and to nominate a new President. The Executive Director, Quintessence, is actively recruiting more volunteers to support Nivenly’s non-profit operations including answering member questions as well as writing blog posts and documentation.

What are Nivenly Members?

As a cooperative, Nivenly is governed by its members. You can learn more about the kinds of members and how our governance actually works on our dedicated governance page. If you’re interested in becoming a general member, the process is quick and easy. Find more information in our membership documents. One of the main benefits of membership is participation in governance and access to the members-only area of our Discourse. We’d love to have you!

How does Nivenly relate to projects?

First, a little context. We at Nivenly strongly believe in project stewardship. To us, that means providing the tools and resources needed to be successful. Most commonly people think of money for this, and with good reason, but we are also focused on building a place where community, project maintainers, and trade organizations can come together and build toward common goals and resolve differences via governance resources.

This means that projects retain control of their own project, as we believe strongly that maintainers of each community or open source project should have independent control. Depending on how you wish to influence a project will determine which group you should engage with: the project maintainers or Nivenly. In general, when you wish to influence a project itself you must work with the project maintainers. If you wish to influence the interaction between Nivenly and projects in general, for example project application process, project differentiation (e.g. a proposal for incubated projects), and so forth then you would work with Nivenly. Our membership documents explain the process of joining and of establishing projects under Nivenly stewardship.

What about Hachyderm and the Fediverse?

One of our first projects was the Hachyderm Mastodon Server and although the Hachyderm community and the Nivenly Foundation have a significant overlap, they are governed separately. Nivenly supports the independent maintainers of Hachyderm. We also believe that the Fediverse in general lends itself well to independent, maintainer-controlled spaces. As a foundation, we are always looking for ways to improve the Fediverse tooling in that direction. We support other projects as well. You can find the full list on our projects page. And, if you’re a maintainer who is interested in our support, we have an intake process to help you get started including how to tell if we’re the right fit for you.

How can I tell when you’re wearing which hat?

Nivenly is a cooperative with many of the projects under our stewardship that are also run by members of our community. At times this may lead to confusion about “which hat” a particular person is wearing when they communicate: Nivenly? Their project? We’ll try to be as clear as possible, but this is definitely an area where we’ve got work to do. Recently, in particular, there has been some confusion about the relationship between Nivenly, Hachyderm, and the broader Fediverse ecosystem. This issue of transparency and accountability is at the heart of our decision to write this blog post. There will also be future blog posts and documentation to help clarify this.

Sounds complicated. How are you planning to address it?

As a cooperative, Nivenly doesn’t maintain staff specifically for the purpose of writing blog posts and web pages. Our volunteers take an hour or two out of their schedules to drop in and help out as their skills and availability meet our needs. In an effort to clarify how Nivenly works and where each project fits into the broader ecosystem, we’ve created an area on our Discourse where we can record questions as they come up. Questions can come from anyone, members and non-members alike. Our volunteers will do their best to prioritize answering questions that have the broadest impact on our community. Instructions and guidelines are in the pinned post. You can sign up for the discourse at nivenly.discourse.group. Where appropriate, we’ll convert the answers to our official Nivenly documentation.

That’s it!