Author Topic: What is a "Benevolent Dictator"?  (Read 2074 times)

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Offline W1RC

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What is a "Benevolent Dictator"?
« on: February 01, 2014, 01:12:59 PM »
From a most unlikely source, a computer book, comes this description of "Benevolent Dictator" which is the title that has been bestowed upon Michael Crestohl, W1RC, the Chief Executive Officer of the NEAR-Fest.

"As a project evolves various people emerge as leaders.  This leader is often known as the project's benevolent dictator.  A person who becomes benevolent dictator has probably spent more time  than anyone else on a particular problem and often has some unique insight.  Normally the words democratic and dictator are never paired in the same sentence, but the open source software model is a very democratic process that endorses the reign of a benevolent dictator.

He ultimately decides what features are added to the project (hamfest) and what features are not.  The community trusts his vision and discretion.  In the event that he loses interest in the project, or the community decides he has gone senile, a new leader will emerge from amongst the highly competent people working with him."
from LINUX FOR DUMMIES, Wiley Publishing Company, Hoboken NJ 2006
 
The fine folks who are the NEAR-Fest staff and management duly endorse this concept of leadership and reaffirmed it at a general staff meeting held at Deerfield NH on May 3rd 2014.

On volunteers:  Someone who donates time to a project isn't necessarily providing a second-rate effort (or only working on weekends and holidays).  In fact, any human resource expert will tell you that people who choose to do a job of their own free will will produce the highest quality work.

Read a more academic overview of the concept: 
http://oss-watch.ac.uk/resources/benevolentdictatorgovernancemodel

In certain situations and scenarios the Benevolent Dictator model has proved to work extremely well and efficiently.  This hamfest is apparently one of them.