[Osmf-talk] OSMF and evangelism (was: Conflict of interest)

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Thu Jul 30 15:28:32 UTC 2009


This is developing into a nice discussion on the very question of what 
OSMF should be and what it shouldn't. I wish we had had this long ago.

Nick Black wrote:
> I want a project that actively goes out, 
> finds mappers who don't know they are mappers yet and helps them learn 
> how to map.

Nice if individuals do this - but it cannot be, in my eyes, the job of 
OSMF. We (OSMF) are not there to preach to the world about the goodness 
of OSM. We are not there to carry OSM into countries that are not 
interested. We are not in the business of selling OSM to the world. If 
there are places where OSM doesn't work as good as it could, then our 
natural reaction should be to just wait until they're ready rather than 
spending time and money to inseminate them with something that didn't 
come to them naturally. (You of all people should know that this is a 
difficult undertaking at the very least.)

We, OSMF, are in the business of helping OSMers reach *their* goals - 
but it is *them* who set these goals, not us.

> A project that helps as many people as possible join the fun.

No, not really my thinking. Once they knock on our door and *want* to 
join the fun - yes. But I don't see *us* knocking on doors to tell 
people how great OSM is.

> When you've got great news isn't it natural to want to share it with 
> people?

Too much PR speak for my taste. *If* OSM project members want to go out 
and share their good news with the world - all right, it's something I 
do all the time. If someone comes to OSMF and says "I'm a lone mapper 
here in Kenya and can you help me to get some leaflets printed" - I 
wouldn't hesitate for a moment to allocate funds and find people to help 
him. But that's where I draw the line. If I see that the map in Kenya 
leaves things to be desired, I would *not* want OSMF to allocate funds 
to go search for people we can send to Kenya to improve mapping there, 
or whatever.

I believe the OSMF must be a catalyst - helping out where OSM project 
members are active and ask for help. Also, if we go away from the 
regional thinking into thematic areas: If there are some people in the 
community who say "we should really do a hacking weekend to get X done", 
and they ask OSMF for help in organising the event or perhaps stepping 
in for some of the travel costs or whatever - good idea. I would not 
want OSMF, however, to try and second guess, or even lead, the project 
("we really think the community should work more on X so let's sponsor 
them a hacking weekend they haven't asked for").

OSMF can afford to let the community lead and simply follow whereever 
they go. A business couldn't, or at least would be expected to be more 
in control than OSMF ever has to be.


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

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