[Osmf-talk] A bit of a brain dump!

Peter Miller 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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