At the start of the Discord, we had #πŸ–Œ-design and #πŸ€– -engineering channels.

However, it was incredibly difficult to make progress on things like the design system. It quickly became clear that we needed to improve the signal-to-noise ratio between designers and non-designers, contributors and non-contributors.

So we made private channels, and now Athens has a top-notch design system to build an amazing product and tool!

However, it has become evident that the more private channels we have, the harder it would be for new contributors to get started. They'd be missing out on perhaps the most important context to orient themselves: the conversations between contributors.

Thus, we are "open-sourcing" these conversations now (#engineers #designers #product). Like our GitHub, anyone can read. But to write, you'll need to submit a Pull Request (or designs, research, etc.).

It's possible that these channels should've always been read-only. It was, in fact, brought up and considered. It's also possible that it was the right decision, at the time.

Either way, we do believe making these work channels public is the right move now and for the foreseeable future.

Democracy is a balancing act between empowering everyone and empowering those that have contributed with their power. At Athens, we want to empower everyone by making the "Commons" as accessible as possible. We also want to empower those that have contributed by giving them more [voice](https://github.com/athensresearch/athens/blob/master/CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md#user-content-table-of-contents:~:text=you have two options%3A Voice or Exit.), particularly with one another.

We’re still figuring out governance at Athens, on the internet, and in the world. At least at Athens, I think we’re doing a good job. And we will continue to do better! πŸ›

Note: this was mainly about design because we had a disproportionately high number of designers early on. Furthermore, everyone has an opinion on design regardless if they have domain expertise, which is less the case in engineering.