[Osmf-talk] Project leadership (was: Conflict of Interest)

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Thu Jul 30 20:16:33 UTC 2009


Gervase Markham wrote:
> (I'm assuming you don't think the project should have nobody doing 
> leadership and direction-setting!)

Actually I do. It is you (and Nick) who's invoking the past - so where 
was OSMF and the project leadership then when OSM started? I don't know 
what Steve tells people nowadays but the stories that I have heard were 
not ones of leadership and direction-setting.

> This seems to me in some way analagous to your attitude to tagging, 
> where my understanding is that you are also opposed to people doing 
> things that look like formal leadership.

Yes, not everthing that works for Mozilla automatically also works for 
OSM ;-)

> It does make me wonder how, in 
> your vision, OSM actually decides to do something - is it that anyone 
> can decide to do anything and try and persuade people to join them, 
> except for if they are on the OSMF Board?

I never said just because you're on the OSMF board you shouldn't invent 
tags like everyone else does if that's what you're implying?

>> If, for example, there were a country where people are simply not
>> interested in OSM and no OSM community establishes itself, then that's
>> just fine, we'll wait until it eventually happens
> As Nick says, how would OSM have started if that was the plan?

I think that's content-free rhetoric. When OSM started there was no OSMF 
and indeed OSM got quite far without OSMF - just carried by the spirit 
and willpower of SteveC and a few more individuals. OSM grew through 
personal effort, not by asking people for donations to fund an 
organisation that would then reach out to spread the word. So I don't 
really think that what was then is relevant for what is now - or else if 
it were, then we should perhaps disband OSMF and go back to the good old 
days ;-)

>> I wouldn't expect
>> OSMF to compile a list of "problem regions" together with an action plan
>> on how to improve the map there. I wouldn't even expect OSMF to analyse
>> why OSM doesn't work in that country - if it doesn't then it doesn't, no
>> reason to get upset about it.
> I would expect it to do both those things and more. I wouldn't expect it 
> to feel it has the power to tell people "do this", but I would expect it 
> to start initiatives and explain to the community why they are a good 
> idea, and encourage people to support them.

Right... in that case, OSMF would surely have to start by taking a step 
back and analysing all other sources of free geospatial data (referring 
to AndyR's post citing the Memorandum of Association) besides 
OpenStreetMap, and maybe, depending on what country/area wer're talking 
about, also decide to support an existing non-OSM project in that region 
instead of slapping OSM onto that bit of the world, would it not?

With my "we'll discuss Kenya if someone from Kenya asks us for support" 
approach it is relatively easy to fulfil that very broad promise - if 
someone from another project comes asking for help we'll happily 
evaluate whether that project meets our statues and help them out as 
well. If you now say that you expect OSMF to be proactive and "start 
initiatives" then these initiatives must certainly not be limited to 
supporting OpenStreetMap... I see a hard time ahead explaining that to 
those paying for OSMF.


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

More information about the osmf-talk mailing list