James Livingston doctau at mac.com
Thu Aug 20 08:40:17 UTC 2009

Let me say at the start that people's corporate affiliation is playing  
no part in how I vote, it's going on how well people have performed  
(for existing board members), whether I think they will do a good job,  
and trying to get decent geographic diversity.

On 20/08/2009, at 5:34 PM, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> the Foundation will have a big influence on how the relicensing  
> processs will be
> handled, and so on.

The will definitely have some influence, because how you word the  
question asking whether contributors want to re-license their work  
will affect the outcome. That said, I don't believe the board had the  
final say on this. If the map data is copyright-able (please skip that  
argument), then only the contributors can decide because OSMF (board  
or membership) can't just decide to re-license.

I would like to know exactly what people are worried about a board  
with multiple company members doing, and what we could do to overrule  
that. Is it that people are worried CM or another company will turn  
evil, re-license the map data so they can sell it to people? If so, we  
need to ensure that the board without the approval of everyone else.

A question I asked on IRC, which Steve said he didn't know the answer  
to, was "Is there a way for the membership to overrule the board?".  
All the associations I've been part of here in Australia, where I've  
cared enough to look at the constitution/articles, have had a clause  
that said if you can get enough members to agree, you can force an  
Extraordinary General Meeting. In one of those meetings, the  
membership can vote on resolutions which bind the board, or remove  
them from office and force new elections.

Does anyone know whether the same applies in the UK, and specifically  
to OSMF? I don't expect to ever need to, but I'd be in knowing.

> This is simply not a situation where I want any business entity to
> dominate the OSM foundation. (And, if I were a business entity  
> involved
> in OSM-F, I would stay the hell clear of maneuovring myself into a
> dominant position!)

I'd say that having two people on a seven member board isn't exactly  
domination. I wouldn't oppose a "no more than 40%" or "less than half"  
kind of rule, but personally don't think it's necessary.

One of many reasons I don't like this kind of rule, is that if it is  
ever used you usually end up finding that the way it was worded wasn't  
quite what you meant. For example in the GNOME Foundation case, I  
believe that if someone is excluded their votes don't get distributed  
to the next preference. Another case I saw back at Uni was that four  
people in a group would have been elected but only three of them were  
allowed on the committee, but the lowest two vote-getters had the same  
number of votes, so according to the way it was worded, both got  
excluded instead of one.

The only way to avoid that kind of headache is to tie the rule in  
closely to the voting system, but the voting system often isn't  
specified in the articles (as with Gnome, which changed from Most  
Votes to Franctional STV).

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