Nick Black nick at blacksworld.net
Thu Aug 20 07:54:25 UTC 2009

Hi Guys,

Over the last year, the ongoing barrage of accusations relating to the  
integrity of me, Steve and other CloudMade employees has been tiring  
at best and insulting at worst.  They are significantly lessened by  
the fact that with OSM we are building something that is so incredible  
it defies words.

The unauthorized use of Foundation membership details to pursue a  
personal agenda - membership details that I have personally been  
arguing long and hard within the Foundation and the Board should be  
released publicly - is a new low.

For complete transparency, let me shed some light on things.   
CloudMade have 32 people in Kyiv, 8 in London and 6 in the US.  I  
don't know   We encourage everyone in the company to get involved in  
community organizations related to what we do - not just OSM, though  
OSM is clearly a big focus.  In line with everything I've said on  
these lists in the past, we have a strong belief in the democratic  
process.  That includes things like anonymous voting and the right to  
self determination.  I personally believe that growing the Foundation  
membership is right way to strengthen the democratic process.  In line  
with all of that, I've been encouraging everyone I know who has an  
interest in OSM to join the OSM Foundation and to vote.  Where I draw  
the line is instructing people how to vote.  Quite honestly, I find it  
deeply insulting to me that anyone could suggest I would "order" my  
colleagues how to vote.  I find it even more insulting to suggest that  
CloudMade employees are unable to make up their own minds.  Lets not  
forget that each person has 7 votes - 7 votes that they are free to  
place as they wish.

It was only yesterday, after talking with Mike Collinson (OSM-F  
Membership Secretary) and Etienne (OSM-F Treasurer) about the sudden  
large number of CloudMade related sign-ups, that I got access to the  
OSM Foundation membership list.  I can tell you that all of the  
CloudMade people who have joined have been actively participating in  
mapping communities in the US, UK and Kyiv (http://mapping.in.ua/).   
Many of them attended events like WhereCamp and SOTM and are actively  
contributing to the OSM code base and to other related projects -  
Mapnik being a great example.

As Steve pointed out, CloudMade makes mistakes.  The mistake in this  
case was leaving it very late in the year before we supported most of  
the team in Kyiv joining the Foundation.  Joining the OSM-F from  
Ukraine, and indeed from many other countries, is complex.  Most  
people do not have credit cards or paypal accounts that can be used to  
join the Foundation, so they relied on their co-workers in the UK to  
sign them up.  I think Jim, CloudMade's CTO who manages our 36  
engineers, has explained this is good detail.

I think the way to rectify some of the suspicions that are probably  
brewing in many people's minds right now, would be for the OSM-F  
Membership list to be made public, so the membership can monitor  
what's going on with new sign-ups.  This is on the agenda to the Board  
meeting on Saturday.  Its almost definitely going to require Data  
Protection Act registration, so its going to take some time to  
achieve.  I will personally push this through the Foundation, as I  
believe that full transparency is required for a body like the OSM-F  
to remain healthy.

On 20 Aug 2009, at 08:42, Jim Brown wrote:

> Hi Peter (and Peter J ),
> Thanks for the comments.  I’d like to clarify the events over the  
> last few weeks for people…  And explain why the bump this week in  
> signups (which I think has been from a wider group than CloudMade,  
> but I don’t have access to the lists to know).
> I have been encouraging everyone I know, who is interested in maps,  
> to join OSM and the OSMF.  This includes friends, co workers and  
> suppliers…  Over the last week or so a number of people have  
> indicated to me that they could not join because of either the lack  
> of a credit card (in a couple cases) or the inability to authorize a  
> Ukrainian card in PayPal (in most cases).  I told them they could  
> register with my card if needed and that I’d do the transaction for  
> them.  I did the transaction in one go which is why the one day bump.
> I’ve asked the people to then follow up with Mike C to be sure the  
> membership records were correct (which I think most of them have  
> done).  And I reached out to Mike as well to clarify what was going  
> on.
> What these people do with their membership is up to them.  I have  
> been adament that each time I encourage people to sign up, I make it  
> clear that they are to vote exactly as they see fit.  I do not, in  
> any way, direct their vote, nor do I want to know how they vote…   
> What matters to me is having a strong, healthy organization.
> I'd like to add that I completely agree with the comments about  
> oversight and questioning being  important and that a sign of a  
> healthy community is people caring about things like this – hence my  
> desire for transparency.  And I take no offence at the questioning.   
> I’ve tried to do what I can to strengthen OSM and OSMF and I’m happy  
> to tell people about it.
> I’d happily discuss this with anyone who wanted to reach out to me.
> Best Regards,
> Jim
> Jim Brown - CTO CloudMade
> mobile: +44 (0)7595 367 664
> email:   jim at cloudmade.com
> skype:  jamesbrown_uk
> From: osmf-talk-bounces at openstreetmap.org [mailto:osmf-talk-bounces at openstreetmap.org 
> ] On Behalf Of Peter Miller
> Sent: 20 August 2009 07:45
> To: Peter Batty
> Cc: osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
> Subject: Re: [Osmf-talk] EVERYONE: PLEASE VOTE
> On 20 Aug 2009, at 06:14, Peter Batty wrote:
> One other brief comment I would make about all this sudden alarm at  
> the prospect of Cloudmade having two board members is just to  
> observe that this has already been the case for the past year.
> During this time the OSMF board seems to have functioned perfectly  
> well as far as I can see. I am unaware of any inappropriate behavior  
> by the board during this time to favor Cloudmade (and if anybody  
> knows of any then they should raise the specific concerns that they  
> have). I agree with James that it is really inappropriate to  
> suddenly raise such a big fuss 24 hours before the vote closes, when  
> we have already been in the situation that is supposedly such a  
> concern for a year, without any apparent problems.
> I reiterate that it is my opinion that Nick and Steve both have made  
> and will continue to make outstanding contributions as individuals  
> to OSMF, and that their company affiliation is incidental to the  
> work they do in this regard. I support both of them continuing as  
> board members.
> In fairness to Frederik the 'alarm' was the sudden joining of enough  
> new members who are employed by CM to theoretically change the  
> outcome of the election in a major way and I think that was  
> justified. Frederik has access to list of members because it was  
> him, I understand, who got the list set up in the first place and  
> until then there was no place for members to discuss issues of  
> concern to them with other members. I find this list very useful. I  
> don't  believe that he has revealed any personal information so I  
> don't believe the Data Protection Act is a relevant issue to raise.
> I agree that the issue about having more than one director from the  
> same company on the board is a separate one that was been discussed  
> in the past month on the list with a general view that disclosure  
> was important but that a codified limit was not practical or  
> desirable. There is a live proposal that we should limit board  
> members from a single company to 40% but it is not an 'alarming'  
> issue that needs to be raised again at this late hour.
> I appreciate Steve's comment that CM, Nick and him are in 'a very  
> difficult position and don't always make the right choices'. The  
> OSMF is a very young organisation that is having to find its feet  
> very fast and is doing so by bumping into issues along the way and  
> resolving them in a typical messy human way. What is good is that it  
> is making huge progress.
> Personally I think we will continue to need people to being watching  
> for issues from the outside and 'helping' the organisation grow up  
> nice and strong and healthy and that is exactly what seems to be  
> happening and something I support.
> On this particular issue I do strongly advocate a system where  
> membership of the foundation can be earned by the 'sweat of the  
> brow' (ie sustained contribution to OSM over a period of time)  
> rather than only with cash. I believe this would dramatically  
> increase the number of members (some of whom might actually vote)  
> and remove the current bias towards the west and towards those with  
> spare cash. I raised the question on the foundation list last month  
> [1] and there was a useful discussion about it but the view of a  
> board member was that it was not an issue that was getting  
> attention. Possibly in light of the above it should do.
> For the record, I renewed my lapsed membership last month and an  
> additional member of ITO's staff joined recently and will, I  
> understand, be voting. As a company policy I have provided no  
> guidance to our staff on whether to join, whether to vote or who to  
> vote for. I have however put work into the wiki and on the lists  
> over the past month to ensure that the relevant information about  
> candidates is available to all members.
> My personal view is that we have an excellent selection of  
> candidates to choose from and that any combination of 7 of them  
> would make a great board.
> Regards,
> Peter
> [1] http://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2009-August/000131.html
> -- 
> Peter Batty - President, Spatial Networking
> W: +1 303 339 0957  M: +1 720 346 3954
> Blog: http://geothought.blogspot.com
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Nick Black
nick at blacksworld.net

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