Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Wed Aug 19 23:55:12 UTC 2009

Dear everyone,

    this is a personal call on every OSMF member to please cast a vote 
in the election to the board of directors.

List of candidates is here:


and you can vote for (up to) 7 of the 11 candidates. You have roughly 24
hours left at the time of writing (voting by email closes at midnight
BST (GMT+1) on Thursday).

To vote, include the (up to) 7 names of people you want to vote for in 
an E-Mail and send it:

To: secretary at osmfoundation.org    (Blackadder, OSMF secretary)
cc: osmvotes2009 at randomjunk.co.uk (randomjunk, Independent scrutineer)
cc: osmvotes2009 at bleah.co.uk  (sward, Independent scrutineer)
Subject: OSMF Board Vote 2009

I am writing this to increase member participation because I feel that
unless enough members participate in the election, it will be largely
controlled by one single business entity - CloudMade. Read details below.

Last year, about 30 OSMF members participated in the election of board
members - that's probably one in four members who cast a vote or so.

At the time, about 5 OSMF members were also employed by CloudMade, and
assuming that they all cast a vote, that's somewhere between 15% and 20%
of actual votes cast by CM employees - no big deal.

This year, more than 30 OSMF members are employed by CloudMade (about 20
of which, based in Kiev, have joined en-bloc very recently), plus a few
who are not employed but who are CM investors or consultants.

If election participation is about the same as last year (i.e. one in
four OSMF members vote at all), and assuming that all CloudMade
employees intend to vote (why would 20 of them join OSMF a few days
before the vote otherwise?), then this would mean that roughly 50 votes
will be cast altogehter, more than 30 of which will come from CloudMade
employees, putting 60% of the vote in CloudMade hands.

I find this situation deeply disturbing. Especially given the
discussions we had about the question of how many board members should
be allowed to be from one company; Nick Black and Jim Brown, both from
CloudMade, were adamant that this should be the decision of the
electorate - I wonder if, at the time, they did the same maths? It
sounds a bit hollow now, given these numbers.

And that's why I hope that many people actually bother to cast a vote;
if not one in four, but one in two OSMF members vote, then the CloudMade
employee portion of votes would only be 30% which would feel better to
me (no matter what the outcome of the vote is).

As you probably know my personal preference is not to have any
commercial influence on the OSMF board - but I am democrat enough to
accept a different outcome if it is carried by a majority of members. I
would just wish that if a majority of members decides to vote for Steve
and Nick, that majority is not one consisting of their own employees.

I must apologise for not being able to give exact numbers - all the
"roughly"s and "probably"s and "approximately"s stem from the fact that
I only have access to the list of members of this mailing list and must
assume that this is more or less equivalent to the list of OSMF members.
When I say that 21 CM employees joined "very recently" then I mean they
have been subscribed to this list only a few hours ago but since this is
not an automatic process, their membership applications might also be a
few weeks old. Whether I count someone as a CloudMade employee is based
on looking at their E-Mail address and/or checking with Google and
that's of course another possible source of errors. Also, no exact
information is available about last year's vote (how many people were
eligible to vote, and how many did vote). But while all this has the
potential to change the numbers slightly, it is very unlikely to change
the overall situation that CloudMade employees are very likely to cast
more than half of the votes at the upcoming election if the 
non-CloudMade members vote as lazily as they did last year - and hence 
this E-Mail.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

More information about the osmf-talk mailing list