# Digital Infrastructure Research Program Collaborative Notes
# Funded Project Presentations
## University of Washington (Kaylea Champion, Benjamin Mako Hill, Aaron Shaw, Morten Warncke-Wang) — Underproduction
* community data science collective
* mostly quantitative methods - conceptual and statistical models
* supply and demand - (someone else pls add notes on this)
* how to measure risk - projects that are low quality but highly used?
* Q: what do you mean by quality? A: severity of bugs, community dynamics& social structures, but focus mainly on bugs.
* Q: what project are you focusing on? A: Debian project, we have access to lots of data on that (Mel’s note: I don’t know what the W project is, can anyone expand? (answer from Kaylea: Debian not W :D had not noticed how similar those words sound when spoken!) (Mel response: OH. YES. That makes so much more sense - and of course the interpreters didn’t know Debian and thought they’d heard "W," and I didn’t think of the aural similarites.))
## Anushah Hossain — Supporting international OS communities
* looking at a FOSS project called "brave"
* case study
* mostly Western contributors (SFO hub), but there’s a Bangladesh community
* politics, economics, gender, comms channels, language, ideology, etc.
* Q: How active will Brave SF be? A: Bangladesh has become a model for other international groups for Brave (sorry, missed start of answer, can someone fill in?)
## Frank Timmes et al. ASU, UC Santa Barbara, U Wisconsin-Madison
* Relationship between money and sustainability in stellar astrophysics
* Injecting resources into a project: when does it help, when does it hurt?
* Science-based software - is it sustainable?
* Ecosystem of different astrophysics projects, we’re involved in Mesa
* Looking at bibliometric, $, dev, and user stats
* Will host 2-day workshop at Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics
* Looking at developing framework for how software dev can advance astrophysics
* Q: What are the metrics?
## Erin Ytsma and Jana Gallus (Carnegie Mellon and UCLA) — Studies into motivation with non-monetary incentives
* How can we leverage social feedback (e.g., upvotes, downvotes) that exists within platforms more effectively?
* What happens when feedback is private, public, when the content changes, etc. and how this impacts behavior and productivity
* How do this affect productivity: quantity and quality of work, not only code-related work
* Effect on people’s satisfaction through a survey (when/on what, missed this part or maybe they didn’t say yet?)
* Focused primarily on field experiment(s) dones in a naturalistic setting with observation.
* Interested in how these sorts of interventions and forms of feedback might "backfire."
* Q: Are you studying closed/inner source studies? A: Yes.
## NYU (Thomas Streinz presenting — Critical Digital Infrastructure: Legal Technologies and Institutional Design
* infrastructures as regulation (InfraReg): examines the regulatory dimensions of infrastructure at a global scale focusing on its legal elements www.iilj.org/infrareg
* What role does law play in digital infrascture and how does this affect human beavior that then feeds back into law? In particular: How does law contribute to the undersupply of digital infra maintenance?
* How can we change the law/institutions to support digital infrastructure?
* Group has built on work on law and global governance with a strong basis in social theory (e.g., Latour♥, Foucault♥)
* International law between nations - not always the right model, things are incredibly interconnected
* International organizations are increasingly reliant on open source code for humanitarian purposes
* Q: diagram that looks like exploding potato (💥🥔)?
* It's art that is supposed to visualize actor-network theory (ANT): https://www.pinterest.com/thomasstreinz/global-law/more_ideas/?ideas_referrer=9
## University of Canberra (Mathieu O’Neil et al. including with zack@debian) — Organizational hybridity
* organizational hybridity
* to what extent are F/OSS projects supported by waged labor, how does this affect project cohesion/sustainability?
* how does this affect what practices/rules/etc emerge in the project community?
* how do they manage commercial objectives in a project?
* content/network analysis of information tech media (news) outlets
* content & discourse analysis of 5 case studies from news outlets
* embedded ethnography in 2 conventions and in-depth semistructure interviews
* trace out relationships between entities/organizations
* looking at greater awareness of digital infra in society
* thinking about publishing in the Journal of Peer Production #13 OPEN (April 2019) (he's an editor/founder of the journal)
* thinking about publishing at least X% of pubs in Open Access venues (Q: why not 100%?)
## CMU (Laura Dabbish, Jim Herbsleb plus others not here) — Divisity and inclusion in digital infrastructure projects
* diversity and inclusion in digital infra projects
* women are underrepresented in technology and FLOSS seems to be much *worse* than the general technology field (23% of US programmers are women, 5% of FOSS contributors to public github repos are women)
* how do women become integrated into projects
* how do social network structures influence participation over time
* social network analysis
* interviews & observations to "zoom in" to understand why women/men stay in/drop out of projects
* e.g., Working groups in CHAOSS
* Asks: related works, connections, methods, deep thoughts, other people working on similar projects in similar spaces
* comment (steve jacobs, RIT): the “teaching open source” community has identified "friendly" projects for their students, can connect - http://teachingopensource.org
## Berkeley, San Diego, etc (Stu Geiger w/ Dorothy Howard presenting) —The Visible and Invisible Work of Maintaining Open Source Infrastructure
* maintainer labor - invisible labor especially
* sample on various projects based on size, importance, etc. but w/ a focus on bigger/more important projects
* ethnographic interviews (plan to do ~30-40)
* quantitative/trace ethnographic studies
* looking at contributor burnout - psychological/emotional experiences: what does it mean and how can we build a better understanding of what this looks like by talking to people
* contributors in FLOSS are often asked to do things that are maybe not the kinds of things that they "signed up for" (e.g., community management, project planning)
* Mel’s note: wrote a magazine column related to this http://www.asee-prism.org/unstable-equilibrium-sep/ - possibly also relevant to previous project on diversity/inclusion: short version is "what happens when you have to terraform a project in order to simply exist within it?"
* Stu: Yes! We're definitely thinking about this, would love to chat more. We have a recent article on the work of documentation [[link]](https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10606-018-9333-1), which also raised these issues. Like what is considered a "technical" contribution and who "cleans up" after others.
* important to set expectations, esp with funding --- number of code commits might go down when someone is funded, b/c they are doing more invisible work
## Stanford from Digital Civil Society Lab (Lucy Bernholz and ???) —
* definition of 'critical' - definition of 'digital infrastructure'
* Going back to conversations about infrastructure in the physical space (telecommunication, etc) and what are the principles that are brought from there
* Three different discplinary/methodological approaches (what are they?)
* democracy theory
* legal scholarship
* looking the history of physical infrastructure
* Q: how do we want to think about National Security? A: It should be critical and we should focus.
* Focused primarily on EU and US
* Q: When is it OK to let infrastructure die?
* Q: Will you be focusing on how different groups define things?
## Martin Michlmayr — FOSS Foundations
* Many examples of foundations in this space: Linux Foundation, Software (Freedom?) Conservancy, Apache Foundation.etc
* These organizations tend to do a lot of the bureaucratic stuff like bookkeeping, fundraising, holding assets, providing neutral venues, etc.
* RQ: How do these foundations contribute to the sustainability and success of the projects that form digital infrastructure?
* Understanding foundations - what do they do? Create classifications, share best practices, identify challenges
* Analyze and share best practices
* Identify challenges between them (many of the problems that affect organizations are common across many of them)
* Qualitative - interview-based, also using public data
* Begin by interviewing people to talk to them about the RQs above
* Focused on being very practical: what do these foundations do, how could do they be it better?
* Hopefully will result in more resources going to foundation (e.g., volunteers and money)
* Produce a list of funding priorities
* Foundations are like the garbage collection. They do a lot of work and people typicaly don't notice their presence until they go away and stop doing it.
* Challenges: I can do the work but disseminating it is going to be challenging (e.g., how to make things pretty, how to move them)
## RIT (Mel Chua + Stephen Jacobs) — How do people define sustainable?
* looking at upstream maintainer/contributors to a digital infra project AND downstream developers whose technical work uses that project as a dependency
* asking all these people what they think of that project’s sustainability, what they mean by "sustainability” (what are the elements of it, etc.) and who’s responsible for each element - will look at narratives/answers to \
* qualitative approach:
* three rounds of narrative interviews (all of which are going to be shared publicly at every stage of the research)
* will focus on a single project (but haven't decided which one yet, pls help)
* mapping both upstreams/downstreams by asking people in projects what they rely on (and do so recusrively)
* narratives with all those people what they rely on at each of those recursive levels that try to unpack questions about sustainability
* Focused on ontology building, looking at and celebrating a diversity of conceptualizations, building awareness of this diveristy, not attempting to build a grand theory of sustainability or to find the "best" definition
* "radically transparent qualitative research" -- posting materials publically and encouraging reflection between multiple levels
## Implicit Development Environments based in Berlin
* Runs a small foundations that has distributed millions of € to FLOSS projects
* Focused on the needs of small teams working on infrastructure
* how can funders/leaders meet the needs of digital infra projects?
* How are these needs (of infra projects) different from the needs of applications-level projects?
* Especially curious about governance structures, etc.
* Combine grounded theory and social shaping of technology
* Currently focused on literature review and interviews
* Will conduct expert interviews
* Will conduct 5 case studies
* thinking about zines/podcasts for dissemination
* Mel does research comics (one-page-ish graphical abstracts), would love to draw for the cohort - see https://www.scribd.com/document/331464370/7-Techniques-Adapted-From-Cognitive-Apprenticeship-Making-Thinking-Visible-in-spontaneous-complex-learning-environments for examples
# Subject Matter Experts
## Matt Germonprez (University of Nebraska, Omaha)
* fieldwork - participant observation, etc.
* Looking at [CHAOSS project](https://chaoss.community/) - community health analytics open source software, started by Linux foundation 1.5 years ago
* What are the tools & methods we can use to see what we want to see?
* seeks to support work of this body of projects
## Nadia Eghbal (Independent Researcher at Protocol Labs)
* trying to summarize previous research on FOSS
* what are the limitations of physical infra as a metaphor for digital infra?
* focusing on larger projects/communities (did I get that right?)
* coming up with definitions related to the project
* I live in SFO, lmk if you are nearby
## Ben Nickolls (octobox)
* here because he's interested
* worked doing service-based work at My Society
* Has been building businesses in a "small way" on top of FLOSS projects for years
* Worked on libraries.io, worked at tidelift.com (yep)
* current project: octobox
* interested and has a broad appreciation of both economic and social issues
## Anna Filippova (GitHub)
* works with stakeholders on figuring out what to build/not/etc.
* a collaborator/contributors for [the octoverse report](https://octoverse.github.com/)
* What does sustainability mean to maintainers/users/etc
* Going to be running a survey of GitHub folks and is willing to put questions onto the survey (especially things around questions of sustainability)
* Has a background in communication and has used/loved social theory
* can help with uses of github dataset
## Benjamin Mako Hill (University of Washington)
## Common Questions that seem to apply to many projects:
* How are you going to measure and/or define sustainability, quality, productivity, and similar?
* The Stanford project seems to be focused at least in part on answering this question in its attempt to define "critical"
* The RIT project will be looking at how upstreams/downstreams of digital infra define "sustainable"
* How will you identify projects/participants?
* how to understand hybrid structure of volunteers/government/non-profit/corporate interests
# Resources / Links
[Polis poll report](https://pol.is/report/r6mrwjmv3yemhdar6sniw)
## Reading list
Organized by category
### Open source basics
* YouTube documentary "Revolution OS": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw8K460vx1c
* Chris Kelty, Two Bits https://www.dukeupress.edu/Two-Bits/
* Steven Weber, The Success of Open Source
* Biella Coleman, Coding Freedom
* Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks
* Coase's Penguin, or, Linux and the Nature of the Firm: http://www.benkler.org/CoasesPenguin.PDF
* Sharing Nicely
* Penguin and Leviathan
* Karl Fogel: https://producingoss.com
* Levine et al, The Cluetrain Manifesto http://www.cluetrain.com/book/index.html
* Eric Raymond, The Cathedral and the Bazaar
* Open Source Guides https://opensource.guide/best-practices/
* Eric von Hippel
* Free Innovation: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2866571
* Democratizing Innovation: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=712763
* Carl Shapiro & Hal Varian: Information Rules
* Eric Posner & Glen Weyl: Radical Markets https://press.princeton.edu/titles/11222.html
* Eben Moglen http://moglen.law.columbia.edu/
* Larry Lessig
* Yochai Benkler
* Jorge Contreras https://faculty.utah.edu/u0989706-JORGE_L_CONTRERAS/hm/index.hml
* Martin Husovec https://www.tilburguniversity.edu/webwijs/show/m.husovec.htm
* Pam Samuelson
* Jamie Boyle https://law.duke.edu/fac/boyle/
* Rosemary Cumbs?
* Shun-Ling Chen http://www.iias.sinica.edu.tw/en/content/researcher/contents/2013110517175075138/?MSID=2014090310101576713
#### Case Studies
* Elinor Ostrom (commons theory)
* Understanding Knowledge Commons
* Governing Knowledge Commons
* Charlie Schweig (Amherst) http://madisonian.net/downloads/papers/GKC.pdf
* Privacy Commons (forthcoming)
* Tiziana Terranova: Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age https://compthink.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/terranova-network-culture.pdf
### Security (personal/institutional/national)
Note: This is a quite random selection of "infrastructure" literature curated by NYU's IILJ project on "infrastructures as regulation" (InfraReg): www.iilj.org/infrareg
* Nikhil Anand, Akhil Gupta, Hannah Appel (eds), 'The Promise of Infrastructure' (2018): https://www.dukeupress.edu/the-promise-of-infrastructure
* Jean-François Auger, Jan Jaap Bouma and Rolf Künneke, eds., Internationalization of Infrastructures (Delft: Delft University of Technology, 2009).
* Baldwin, J. R., & Dixon, J. (2008). Infrastructure Capital: What Is It?Where Is It? How Much of It Is There? (Research Paper, Statistics Canada, Micro-economic Analysis Division, Canadian Ministry of Industry No. 16)
* Calderon, C., & Serven, L. (2004). The Effects of Infrastructure Development on Growth and Income Distribution. World Bank Working Papers, (WPS 3400)
* Ashley Carse, ‘Keyword: Infrastructure -- How a humble French engineering term shaped the modern world’, in Penelope Harvey, Casper Bruun Jensen, and Atsuro Morita (eds), Infrastructures and Social Complexity : A Companion (Routledge, 2016), pp. 39-49
* Paul Edwards, ‘Infrastructure and Modernity: Force, Time, and Social Organization in the History of Sociotechnical Systems’, in TJ Misa, P Brey, A Feenberg (eds) Modernity and Technology (MIT Press, 2002), pp. 185–225
* Frischmann, Brett, "Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources" (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2012)
* Gramlich, E.M.: "Infrastructure Investment: A Review Essay", Journal of Economic Literature, 32(3), 1176–1196 (1994)
* P. Harvey, C. Jensen, & A. Morita (eds.), "Infrastructures and Social Complexity" (New York: Routledge 2017).
* Brian Larkin, “The Politics and Poetics of Infrastructure”, Annual Review of Anthropology 42, no. 1 (2013): 327 – 343
* Brian Larkin, ‘Promising Forms: The Political Aesthetics of Infrastructure’, in The Promise of Infrastructure, N. Anand, A. Gupta, and H. Appel (eds), Duke University Press (2018), pp. 175-202
* Shannon Mattern, "Scaffolding, Hard and Soft: Media Infrastructures as Critical and Generative Structures" In Jentery Sayers, Ed., The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities (Routledge, 2018)
* Star, S. L. (1999). The Ethnography of Infrastructure. American Behavioral Scientist, 43(3), 377–391.
* Mariana Valverde, Fleur Johns and Jennifer Raso, 'Governing Infrastructure in the Age of the "Art of the Deal": Logics of Governance and Scales of Visibility' (2018) 41(1) Political and Legal Anthropology Review 118
* Chris Kelty: Two Bits
* Yuri Takhteyev: Coding Places https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/coding-places
* Biella Coleman: Coding Freedom (and reviews of ethnographies)
### Published literature reviews
* Peer Production https://mako.cc/academic/benkler_shaw_hill-peer_production_ci.pdf
* Data about OSS
* Flossmole https://flossmole.org/
* Big data factories
* CHAOSS project https://chaoss.community/
* Libraries.io https://libraries.io/
* Debian Popcon https://popcon.debian.org/
* Homebrew https://brew.sh/
* Octoverse https://octoverse.github.com/
* GitHub Data Blog https://github.blog/category/insights/
* Open data / access to data
* Kate Crawford
* Data & Society
* Viktor Mayer-Schönberger & Thomas Ramge, Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data
* Access to Knowledge (A2K) https://law.yale.edu/isp/about/initiatives/access-knowledge
* OSS Surveys
* F/LOSS Survey 2013 & 2003 (Laura Arjoina Reines et al)
* Case Studies on specific domains/Genre
* workshop on open source software (conf)
* maintenance of ethereum
* Tools for managing OSS communities: https://todogroup.org/guides/management-tools/
### Cohort Recommendations
* Benjamin read all of this: https://mako.cc/-> https://acawiki.org/User:Benjamin_Mako_Hill
## Maintainer Survey conversation notes
* Technical Debt
* How much tech debt is your project carrying?
* Different projects different definitions
* Categories of tech debt
- Duplicate code
- Need for refactoring
- Difficulty in dependency management
* Internal collaboration practices
* Intentionality behind the role of a maintainer
* Did someone fall into this or was it an intentional choice?
* Governance structure
* how are decisions being made?
* Why software is not being maintained? Another way to think about it: competencies
* Competencies in: accessibility, localization, memory management, optimization, licensing, memory management, diversity and inclusion, other?
* Matrix: I have expertise in this area, I know where to go for help, this is something I need more resources for, This is not a concern for me
* Time use for maintainers
* how much time are they spending?
* Fine grained view on how they spend their time? Communication with members answering issues?
* How do people decide how they allocate their effort?
* Maintainers how to allocate
* Developer maintenance effort - do they draw boundaries about who gets their request honored?
* Do they have discretion in how they allocate their time?
* Economics of engagement
* Are they paid at all?
* How do people make money? Patreon, company funded?
* If the role is paid, how did it work out that way?
* Return on investment - how does that occur? How is it quantified? Is it?
* Ideas for how to spend money
* Some projects find it easier to raise money than spend it
* How do maintainers/community managers grow their contributor base? How they bring people onboard?
* How do they identify new contributors? Process to become one?
* Is this different for different kinds of projects (end user vs infrastructure)
* How do maintainers/community managers perceive their audience? Do they think they have one?
* How maintainers think about success
* How do you measure success?
* What do you look at to understand your project state? (Are they limiting themself to things already visible on GitHub?)
* Extent to which maintainers are thinking about those things? How important is community health to them?
* (open ended) What are you most concerned about / what keeps you up at night? (Already in a survey)
* Repeat survey on a regular basis? Track over time
* Demographics: type of project, respondent demographics
* Tool ecosystem
* What other tools do you use and why?
* Break out by types of tools: communication tools, project management tools, bug tracking tools etc
* Maintainer's self perceived role
* Community management
* Dependency management
* Code management e.g. Merging other's PRs
* Others, overlap?
* How close are you to burnout?
* Do you see yourself as a maintainer a year from now?
* Is there a succession plan?
* Does your work feel rewarding?
* What are outcome measures: satisfaction with process, satisfaction with outcomes?
* Culture component: values like meritocracy
* Can we reuse job satisfaction work and measures?
If we interview:
- Is it clear what is and is not being maintained? Does that play a part in their decision making process?
- What are signals of a maintained project vs user looking at?