Evolving OTF as a platform


#1

What is this?

This is an acknowledgement that OTF as a funding platform has a lot of room for improvement. We’ve just kicked off our 5th year and hear you, it’s time to add some more goodness into the mix, make things easier, make things more exciting, evolve our processes, share back more information, and introduce new entry points. Fortunately, in those 5 years, y’all have been incredible and shared some amazing ideas. And we’ve spend a lot of time listening, below is a list of the things we’ve heard most often.

The list of ideas (grouped, not in order of priority)

  • Perform a full usability assessment of the proposal system and implement improvements;
  • Features that allow multiple entity and collaborative applications;
  • Features that allow additional peer/public-review of applications;
  • A feature rich AppBot (Signal, WhatsApp, XMPP, Slack interface) to applications functions and submissions;
  • Other features that allow end-to-end encrypted submissions (PGP/miniLock);
  • Deploying .onion address for all OTF services;
  • An OTF browser-extension for a alternate access when/if blocked;
  • Project payments via Bitcoin and/or other online currencies;
  • Publicly release the open-source code behind the proposal system;
  • Service to perform deeper analysis of submitted proposals (making public as much as responsibly possible);
  • Service to improve upon existing project monitoring and evaluation, deeper analysis of progress, outcomes, effects, and impact (making as much of this public as responsibly possible);
  • Service that responsibly increases OTF fiscal transparency to the public;
  • A better responsible data policy;
  • ‘Double-bind’ VPN payment service for intermediaries;
  • Supporting pluggable transport integration as a service offering;
  • Supporting Tor Hidden Service integration as a service offering;
  • Android Tor and Security integrations as a service offering (NetCipher, SQLCipher, IOCipher);
  • Supporting domain-fronting as a service offering;
  • Accept individual donor payments as a conduit to projects and for OTF;
  • A crowdfunded OTF Distributed Automated Organization (DAO); and,
  • What else?

We can’t commit to doing all of these things, but we want to list them as interesting things we’re considering based on demand and available resources. We also don’t think they have to happen only within OTF or that we should be the only folks hording this list. In our non-competitive spirit, we’re putting what we’ve heard back out here and will commit to engaging in discussions here openly.

That said, we are going do some of these things! We want your thoughts, your opinions, we want you to add things that are missing from this list, and we want you to directly affect what we choose to do first. We consider you our peers and stakeholders. This is one new actions we’re doing that engages you as such (more coming).

Ultimately, we hope discussion here helps us prioritize and focus on key considerations. We’ll take what we hear from these discussions and for those that are right for us, post a request for partners on our website, looking for individuals and organizations who can help us build and maintain the ideas we choose to work on. As we begin deploying things, we’ll continue listening to feedback here, and evolving.


#2

I like the ideas around making OTF operations more public, that can make it a lot more accessible to people to seeing how this stuff works. Its also a pattern that many technical people are familiar with since that’s how so much key software is developed: the whole process on public forums. So things like publishing M&E and fiscal transparency.

It would also be great to see OTF also draw from other pools of funds, I could see it operating something like Linux Foundation, but obviously with a different focus. With the new data privacy regulation coming into effect in Europe, I could see large companies taking an interest in sponsoring the development of free software to make “private by design” and “private by default” a lot easier.


#3
  • Features that allow additional peer/public-review of applications;
  • Service to perform deeper analysis of submitted proposals (making public as much as responsibly possible);
  • Service to improve upon existing project monitoring and evaluation, deeper analysis of progress, outcomes, effects, and impact (making as much of this public as responsibly possible);
  • Service that responsibly increases OTF fiscal transparency to the public;

I like these.

  • ‘Double-bind’ VPN payment service for intermediaries;

I don’t know what this means.

  • Supporting pluggable transport integration as a service offering;
  • Supporting Tor Hidden Service integration as a service offering;
  • Android Tor and Security integrations as a service offering (NetCipher, SQLCipher, IOCipher);
  • Supporting domain-fronting as a service offering;

I don’t know what ‘supporting’ means, I take it to mean “Help pay an individual/organization to do this work, with other organizations/companies for free.” I think this is work that should be done. It would be ideal if this individual/organization could just get the orgs/companies to pay them directly though.

  • Accept individual donor payments as a conduit to projects and for OTF;

I think this is a great one. I like hans’ idea of evolving OTF into something like the LF.

  • Project payments via Bitcoin and/or other online currencies;

Would this allow for fully anonymous submissions? That would be cool.

  • A crowdfunded OTF Distributed Automated Organization (DAO); and,

This would be cool, but I would not want OTF to invest significantly in it, it just seems too experimental. But I would love for OTF to hook up with some cryptocurrency wonks and let them do all the heavy lifting!


#4

Thanks for the feedback here folks. We’ve just released a couple RFP’s hoping to directly address some of the the bits here.

and


#5

Here’s a super scratchy document outlining an idea around this: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kzs89YMmGrImnJfPgH6BjZdOCy7qxR6n5VQ0JFOVXWU/edit

Yeah, you’ve pretty much nailed what we’re thinking here. I’d say we’re about a week or two away from releasing an request for these partners. Totally hear you on the last bit, that it’s more ideal for groups to work directly with those service offering groups (not through OTF as an intermediary). We completely agree. Our general hope with doing this is that our initial support can be a sort of seed for groups to mature their service offerings and demonstrate to others the utility (knowing we can’t possible support all the efforts anyway).

Yeah, this is another RFP that @Nat and I are also working on. There are some great efforts out there on our radar to model off, partner with directly, or just point folks to (Linux Foundation, Open Collective, Fractured Atlas, Social Good Labs, Commit Change, are just some we’ve bumped into. Any others y’all know of?

Agreed. Our biggest limitation to this now is our more traditional back-office :expressionless:

Yeah, agreed. We had some really amazing conversations with Backfeed folks last year on this topic. We’re hoping to dig into those again and share some thoughts back here to y’all.