I’ll let someone else respond to the question about namespaces. I do know that GitLab has an abuse department that looks for multi-group creation abuse though.
The Gold project vs Gold group feature offering is something that’s confusing and we’re trying to improve, so I can see why you’d have this question. Here’s more information:
What are Gold features?
First, I’d like to clarify the distinction between GitLab’s features and the CI minutes that we offer. These are separate.
Gold features refer to the list here: https://about.gitlab.com/pricing/gitlab-com/feature-comparison/ You’ll notice that the list does not mention the amount of CI minutes per tier. Instead, we mention the CI minutes per tier on the main pricing page: https://about.gitlab.com/pricing/
Gold features per project vs per group
As you mentioned, Gold features are automatically provided at the project level to publicly visible projects.
However, there are some Gold features that only apply to groups. Those are features like roadmaps and epics. Here’s the list of group level Gold features (the side bar has the list). So, if an open source project needs group-level Gold features, they’ll need to apply to the open source program.
We don’t want to make it harder for people to contribute to open source projects on GitLab. Thanks for the feedback you’re providing!
I believe that due to a known bug, public projects’ CI minutes are not being counted. This gives us some time to think through the open source contribution story in regards to the new CI minute change. That means that only Free accounts with private projects will see an immediate impact to their CI minutes.
I’d really like to see that it keeps getting easier to contribute to open source projects on GitLab, so again, thanks for the feedback!