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

Nick Black nick at blacksworld.net
Fri Jul 31 17:53:35 UTC 2009

On 30 Jul 2009, at 21:16, Frederik Ramm wrote:

> Hi,
> 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?

The point I was making was that OSM has always relied on evangelism to  
grow into new domains.  This has now been partially formalised with  
the Foundation.  The Foundation is there to _support_ the OSM  
community not to take it over.  OSM-F should be supporting the work of  
mappers who want to promote OSM.

> I don't know
> what Steve tells people nowadays but the stories that I have heard  
> were
> not ones of leadership and direction-setting.

Its true that Steve held off setting up the OSM-F for a while, feeling  
that too much bureaucracy could have a bad impact on the young OSM.   
Since OSM-F has been set up though, I don't hear many people  
complaining about the achievements it makes, that include:

* Providing an official legal body that can own OSM resources,  
allowing the project to grow
* Fundraising
* Purchasing servers and hardware
* Managing servers
* Managing possibly copyrighted data
* Running awesome conferences ;-)

The OSM-F was the natural and right extension as the OSM community  
started to grow.


>> 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  
> 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.
> Bye
> Frederik
> -- 
> Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09"  
> E008°23'33"
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Nick Black
nick at blacksworld.net

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