[Osmf-talk] Results of OSMF Member Vote

Matt Amos matt at asklater.com
Sun Dec 27 11:49:42 UTC 2009

Lars Francke wrote:
> On Sun, Dec 27, 2009 at 02:31, Matt Amos <matt at asklater.com> wrote:
>> the OSMF member vote has been closed, and the results from 270 members
>> polled** are:
>>  Approved the process:        132
>>  Did not approve the process:  16
>>  Didn't vote:                 122
> Having read the license proposal file and the Implementation Plan I
> wonder what exactly the question and possible answers were for this
> vote[1].

the question asked (in english, but with translations in dutch and 
german) was:

Do you approve the process of moving OpenStreetMap to the ODbL?
  - Yes, I approve.
  - No, I do not approve.

> I'm not sure if this result means that we'll switch to ODbL
> now (as per [2]) or if some other _process_ was approved that might
> include further votes (possibly by all OSM members) as was brought up
> on the mailing lists in the past weeks. It was hard to keep track of
> all those license discussions

the process being voted on was the one outlined in the proposal document 

>> alternatively,
>>  Approval rate: 89%
>>  Turnout rate:  55%
> This is neither criticism nor should it be seen as an expression of my
> opinion: I _believe_ that those who are in favor of the license change
> were more likely to vote as a non-vote can be more easily seen as a
> rejection of the process.

i _believe_ that those who didn't vote wanted me to have a pony ;-)

more seriously, the point of the vote was to measure the opinion of the 
OSMF membership and get some hard data for the support, or lack of, for 
the process. so a non-vote should be more accurately read as "this 
member either didn't want to vote, or was unaware that the vote was 
occurring". given the amount of coverage on this, and other OSM related, 
lists i think the latter is unlikely to represent significant numbers of 
those not voting.

even if you assume (and i don't) that it's valid to count those not 
voting, and you further assume their vote was split 60/40 against the 
process then that's still 67% approval, 33% disapproval (where 82% of 
the disapproving votes are being manufactured out of non-votes).

> So to put those numbers in another way:
> Explicit approval rate across all those OSMF members that were
> eligible to vote: 48,9 %
> Rate of explicit disapprovals:
>                                     5,9 %
> Didn't vote:
>                                           45,2 %
> Or to put it in words:
> The simple majority approved the process.
> The absolute majority did not approve the process.

let's do the same for the 2008 USA presidential election:

   voting for Obama: 52.9%
   voting for McCain: 45.7%
   average turnout: 63% (approximately, see [2])

by an equivalent analysis (and assuming that this was a 2-horse race, 
which it very nearly was)

   explicit approval of Obama: 33.3%
   explicit rejection of Obama: 29.7%
   didn't vote: 37%

or to put it in words:
the simple majority approved Obama.
the absolute majority did not approve Obama.

and yet the turnout was the highest since 1968, and he's still 
president. of course i was hoping for a higher turnout... but i didn't 
get a pony for christmas either ;-)

> The simple two-thirds majority approved the process.
> The absolute two-thirds majority did not approve the process.
> And I just had a look through the archives and the wiki but the only
> thing I could find was: "What follows is based on a positive response
> from the ODbL adoption vote...".
> Has it been decided which type of majority is needed to qualify this
> vote as a "positive response"?


but this is a moot point, since the approval rate was 89% of voters. and 
  it's hard to argue that's not a large majority.



[1] http://www.osmfoundation.org/wiki/File:License_Proposal.pdf

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