Generative Identity Group Charter


Any digital system designed to accommodate any cultural understanding of human identity must encompass relationships and the subjective nature of the associated interactions. In simple terms, “who I am” at any moment in time, in any given context, both feeds into and is a product of “what I do” and “who I do it with”.

Who I am encompasses the constant flux of informational diffusion and intermixing, interfacial constructions and experiences, continuously revised narratives, arrangings and organizings.

We are more than the sum of our parts, more complex than legal identity accommodates, and digital identity systems which don’t respect that truth may result in negative consequences. The Group plans to explore possible negative consequences that may emerge as a result of digital identity systems becoming more common, and look for ways to guide implementers so that these negative consequences might be avoided.


The Group will:

  1. Gather data and insights from a wide range of experts, including sociologists, psychologists, ecologists, historians, and political scientists.
  2. Host inter-disciplinary discussion.
  3. Curate a library of information.
  4. Refine a set of generative identity principles.
  5. Synthesize a number of concrete recommendations for the development and deployment of digital systems of identity for psychological, sociological, and ecological health.
  6. Engage with developers, policymakers, and deployers of digital systems of identity to raise awareness and encourage the adoption of generative identity principles.
  7. Warn against specific possible outcomes that may arise from the poor design, misapplication, or misuse of digital systems of identity.

Out of scope

The Group will not:

  1. Recommend any particular digital identity technology or technology company, though it may identify such technologies or companies that pledge to uphold generative identity principles.
  2. Define APIs, interfaces, cryptographic algorithms, or any system of digital identity.

Success criteria

Any productive group must have guideposts by which to evaluate progress. We plan to make that evaluation according to the criteria below.

  1. Tangible evidence of the interdisciplinary sharing of data, insight and expertise.
  2. Policymakers consider the Group’s members and our resources a primary source of expertise, engaging members and referencing our resources in their work.
  3. Our principles and recommendations are referenced widely; there is evidence that they have influenced the design and development of systems of digital identity; there is evidence that they have helped avoid distressing outcomes.


This charter identifies the following deliverables and recognizes that this may need revision as the Group evolves.

  1. A curated library of information that explores, develops, and supports the notion of generative identity.
  2. A set of generative identity principles.
  3. A set of concrete recommendations for developers of digital systems of identity.
  4. A set of concrete recommendations for deployers of digital systems of identity.


By definition, the Group needs to attract diverse disciplinary expertise to be successful. We are open to any approach that may further our purpose, and have an inclination towards appreciative inquiry. We encourage leads for each relevant discipline, necessarily including but not limited to psychology, sociology, cultural studies, political science, ecology, and technology.

There is no formal appointment to lead roles, although this may change as the Group sees fit. Rather, leads will emerge through participation and contribution, often entailing several hours of involvement most weeks.

Other roles within the Group, such as chairs or editors, will be determined according to needs and by consensus.

Membership is open to everyone.

We encourage all who join to strive to live up to the four agreements:

  • Be impeccable with your word
  • Don’t take anything personally
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Always do your best.

By extension, we encourage members to be excellent to one another. We will have disagreements, and we focus on the argument rather than the person making it.

You may be excluded / asked to leave the Group if you fall short of this standard.

In addition, anyone who participates in Group meetings, or otherwise contributes to work items, statements, or other Group output, agrees to release their contributions per the licensing stated in this charter.


Discussions for this Working Group are conducted in public: the meeting minutes from teleconference and face-to-face meetings will be archived for public review, and technical discussions and issue tracking will be conducted in a manner that can be both read and written to by the general public. Working Drafts and Editor's Drafts of specifications will be developed on a public repository, and may permit direct public contribution requests.

The meetings themselves are open to public participation for everyone who agrees
to the guidelines in this charter.

Information about the Group (including details about deliverables, issues, actions, status, participants, and meetings) will be available from our Github repo.

Most Generative Identity Group teleconferences will focus on discussion of particular aspects of our work, and will be conducted on an as-needed basis.

The Group will publish minutes for each teleconference on our Github repo.

Decision policy

The Group will seek to make decisions through the principle of strong consensus. Typically, an editor or other participant makes an initial proposal, which is then refined in discussion with members of the group and other reviewers, and consensus emerges with little formal voting being required.

However, if a decision is necessary for timely progress, but consensus is not achieved after careful consideration of the range of views presented, the leads or chair may call for a Group vote, and record a decision along with any objections.

Published documents may not necessarily have the consensus of the group.

To afford asynchronous decisions and organizational deliberation, any resolution (including publication decisions) taken in a face-to-face meeting or teleconference will be considered provisional.

A call for consensus (CfC) will be issued for all resolutions, with a response period from one week to ten working days, depending on the lead or chair’s evaluation of the Group consensus on the issue.

If no objections are raised by the end of the response period, the resolution will be considered to have consensus as a resolution of the Group.

All decisions made by the Group should be considered resolved unless and until new information becomes available, or unless reopened at the discretion of the leads or chair.

Patent policy

The Working Group operates in public. To promote the widest adoption of our principles and recommendations, our work will always be made available on a royalty-free basis. Participants agree to provide their contributions free of patent constraints.


The Group's output is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (free use, with attribution) license.

About this Charter

This charter is a draft.