[Osmf-talk] A bit of a brain dump!
peter.miller at itoworld.com
Fri Jul 31 10:34:26 UTC 2009
When I first contributed to OSM in November 2006 there were 3,000
contributors. Three years later there are 133,000 contributors. In a
further 3 years there will be lots and lots of contributors which will
continually lead to new challenges for the project and the foundation.
I would suggest that until about a year ago the foundation was pretty
invisible. It possibly did stuff, but I certainly wasn't very aware of
it and I don't think I was alone in that. I would suggest that people
standing for the board at the last election didn't know what was about
to hit them and since then huge demands have been placed on the board
around, licenses, openness, conflict of issues etc etc etc. In
parallel the community has been trying to decide what the foundation
is for and what it should be doing and should not be doing.
I would suggest that the overall foundation and community has
responded very well indeed and the foundation is a far more mature
organisation than the one we elected. I also think it is encouraging
that every board member from last year is re-standing this year. I
promise you that this is not a role that doesn't have hard work and
grief attached to it, so there must be some serious commitment as
well. There are new challenges ahead of it in the coming year for
sure, but the foundation has been tested in stormy weather and didn't
I agree with the conclusion of the discussion about limiting board
applicants from one company is not something that one can codify. The
most important thing is that everyone is aware of the risks and that
we have a place to air our concerns (this list).
I am standing for election because I have been such a nuisance to the
board for the past year that I though I should do. As an interested
outsider I think I have useful perspective that I can turn to good
effect by being on the inside. At this stage I am only intending to
stand for one year (no promises though).
I haven't been participating in this discussion for the past few days
but have been working on Foundation related pages on the wiki,
bringing them up to a better standard and ensuring that they link
together in a coherent way. Personally I think the wiki should be used
much more by the foundation - for sure the organisation needs its own
web-site but we have processes in place to translate wiki pages and a
wiki is a fundamentally democratic space so should be supported. You
can check out my edits here:
I have updated the Election to the Board page (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Foundation/AGM09/Election_to_Board
) to include a bit more information about the candidates. In
particular I have added a link to their manifesto (where a relevant
one exist) and added a 'to be added' comment where one doesn't. I have
added a section for nationality and county of residence in response to
comments that we should be more diverse (I have only filled in
sections where I am sure of the answers!). I have added a section for
people to say how long they have been directors (I have not filled
this in because I don't know who was a director in the first year). I
have also added a section for the roles people have taken on the board
and when they have held them. Could people standing please fill out
the missing details.
Declaration of Interests. I suggest that people should ensure that
they declare in their manifestos any potential conflicts of interest.
I note that Nick doesn't mention on his user page that he is a
director of CloudMade and that the CloudMade article (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/CloudMade
) doesn't mention that he is a director of the company. Now, I think
we all know that he is by now, but I have added this to the election
page and I think it is important that we don't make assumptions on
this stuff and should be sensitive about this.
On the subject of communication, could I first say that the minutes
are excellent - very readable and clear, however could I remind the
board that the minutes on the foundation website we pretty out of date
again. We have had no minutes published since April and the minutes
for April are still marked 'draft'.
Staff: A small word, but one that will need a good discussion about
who should be paid to do what and how we decide who should be paid to
do what. I believe that directors should *not* be paid, except for
travel if they can't reasonably cover it or get an employer to pay for
it. I do think it would make sense to pay for some administrative help
to write minutes etc, organise events etc- possibly this is a part
time role for someone.
Funding: Again, and small work, but one where we have not thought
about what we want. I think the foundation should take a pretty
minimal role here, but that the role should mainly be as an enabler.
The board will need funds to operate and pay for essential functions,
but beyond that it should support the creation of funding channels to
support various worthy activities. I don't think the board should be
deciding if certainly people should be funded to go on certain places
- I do think that the board should ensure that there is guidance
available saying which grant-giving bodies might respond favourably to
such a request.
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