[Osmf-talk] Chairman

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemeD.net
Mon Aug 3 16:36:15 UTC 2009

Nick Black wrote:

> So I've totally dodged you question ;-)  As an OSM-F member, I'd like
> to hear some more from the other members and Board members about what
> they are looking for in a Board members, and whether they intend to
> stand?

My personal view is that all good things in OSM come from the strong  
community. The stronger and happier the community, the better the map  
gets, and the faster its coverage expands. A strong, happy community  
will promote itself, build itself better tools, and so on.

But if there is discontent or argument in the community, we are less  
likely to attract newcomers or build good stuff.

So the primary role of OSMF, as I see it, is to encourage the  
community to thrive. SoTM is the best example of this so far. The work  
on resolving edit wars is another.

A secondary role is to offer practical support for those decisions  
already taken, or widely supported, by the community. Co-ordinated  
fundraising, and gathering legal advice on ODbL, are two good examples  
where this has already happened.

I believe strongly that everything else should still come from the  
community, not from OSMF and its board. OSMF shouldn't be setting  
mapping priorities, or saying what should appear on openstreetmap.org,  
for example. Rather, OSMF should work to help the community take these  
decisions for itself.

That's what will guide my decision as to who to vote for as OSMF directors.

The reason I ask specifically about the Chairman is that they can't  
help but steer OSMF, not least by the very mundane and unenviable job  
of chairing meetings. I've served on boards in the past which have  
drifted due to the lack of a competent chair, and conversely on those  
which have thrived because of a keen, thoughtful one. It's an  
important role.

So when Peter says:

> I [...] would suggest that the allocation of chairman is decided  
> after the elections by the board itself when it knows who is on the  
> board.

then I disagree absolutely. Insofar as one vote can make a difference,  
I want to cast it in a way that ensures the eventual Chairman is  
someone who places the same value on community decision-making as I  
do. I'm less likely to vote for someone who wants to see the OSMF  
guide, instead of support, the project; and I'm less likely to vote  
for someone who might support the election of such a person as  
Chairman. It would be good to have that information before voting!

On your final point, Nick, I don't intend to stand myself, simply  
because I don't like teleconferences; it's not how I work best. But I  
do of course wish the best of luck to all those brave souls who are  
standing. :)


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