Why We Share

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  • Rectangular sheets of paper, standard printer size
  • Writing materials


To conduct a Why We Share workshop, you need enough letter-size paper that every participant can have a few sheets. Distribute the paper, and then request a volunteer for every 5-10 participants. If the volunteers already know how to make a paper boat or a paper plane, they can teach either to their group. If not, teach the volunteers how to do so and then have them teach the rest of their group. Group members are encouraged to make suggestions or alterations to the basic code, to iterate through multiple designs, and to test their designs, as many times as they like. While they are working, the facilitator contextualizes the activity within the scope of open source and within the philosophical framework of shared, communal knowledge transmission and creation. The workshop is friendly and playful and welcoming, meant to bring attention to the inclination to share and collaborate that underlies the movement towards open information.


Why We Share is the simplest of all the workshops. It illustrates most of the principles of open source – community, transparency, collaboration, and quick, frequent releases – while also illustrating the philosophy of communal, shared knowledge. The participants are brought into a collaborative effort while having a conversation about openness and the history of knowledge transmission, and the need for open efforts to have support to perpetuate the communal side of human nature. The participants are now a part of an open source community.