The governance of a project sets its fairness and ethical values.
The flaws of meritocracy
Meritocracy is a beloved concept in open-source communities. But although it seems to be remarkably efficient (see the Debian project, and generally speaking all major free software organisations), it is not necessarily ethical. Many voices [ 1, 2 ], and studies have shown that organizational cultures that value meritocracy often result in greater inequality. People with "merit" are also often excused for their bad behavior in public spaces based on the value of their technical contributions.
More references and food for thoughts:
- Why Meritocracy Doesn’t Work by Tristan Kromer.
- The works from Emilio J. Castilla brings many figures and provides sound analysis on this subject. Notably: