[Osmf-talk] OSMF board elections - slight repost

Mikel Maron mikel_maron at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 31 15:33:52 UTC 2011

Love this entire discussion. 

The crux (IMO): setting the conditions so that all these thoughts, complaints, rants, suggestions, discussion, etc into action is the point of the OSMF. 

Making sure the necessary resources are there is the responsibility of the Board.

Judging what that takes is hard. Many things take more than the current setup of organization in OSM/F ... this is plain, because gaps remain.

We have succeeded at this when it comes to mapping, for particular segments of the population ... it takes some infrastructure mostly, and the right idea. Even if we are doing it separately, we've all agreed to some basic principles and ways of doing it. No one is considering that OSMF should change how OSM basically functions.

Being clear on what is it we want to happen (vision, mission, objectives) is a step to take. It's a painful process, but helpful and entirely possible.

How we actually get there is the second step. It doesn't necessarily mean a substantially larger or more active OSMF. It just means being smart and having a plan.

JFDI is another way, and always the better way. We never want to lose that. But it's not always there, just accept that.

There's so much we could do better. Can we as a project start thinking 
and asking "what can I do right now to improve this? what do I need in order to make this happen?"

For instance, a manual for the Board would be excellent.

Here's one way to do it: Start a wiki page with a list of questions you have of the Board. Ask current and prior Board members for their help in answering these questions. You might need to contact them directly (not everyone can read every single email that comes over the list). Fill in the wiki page. Iterate.

Here's some answers: 

Board meetings are now quarterly. Management Team meetings are bi-weekly. These are over the phone, a conference call line ... I forget who's providing this. We try to get an agenda together a few days before the meeting, at least. Minutes are supposed to be published in draft after the meeting, and approved at the next meeting. We also try to decide things over email, when simple and possible.

You're also expected to participate in Working Groups, and chair at least one. We might consider changing this requirement now that there's the Management Team.
(Yes, I've missed a lot of Strategic meetings, due to travel ... it's tough).

I'd say expected commitment time is a couple days per month.

Face to face travel expenses are covered in part, based on need. It's discussed on a case by case basis.

We have liability insurance so that Board members are personally protected from lawsuits against OSMF

Being on the Board is pretty thankless and hard. I only recommend it if you really care about OSM. Be prepared to have that feeling challenged.
That being said, I so wish that the very smart people like Richard and Frederik and anyone else who's deeply engaging in these questions run for the Board.


== Mikel Maron ==
+14152835207 @mikel s:mikelmaron

>From: Richard Fairhurst <richard at systemeD.net>
>To: osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
>Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 10:01 AM
>Subject: Re: [Osmf-talk] OSMF board elections - slight repost
>Frederik Ramm wrote:
>> The way I see it, it is the OSMF members who run the shop, and they
>> elect a board to do the running on their behalf in between AGMs.
>Indeed. So if the new board members feel they have a mandate from members
>to stage daily board meetings by standing on top of their respective
>houses and shouting very loudly at each other, that can in theory happen.
>Might be fun!
>In practice, however, the way in which meetings are staged isn't likely to
>be a campaigning issue for board candidates, let alone an AGM/EGM issue.
>It's one of the minutiae that you elect a board to "just get on with".
>(Plus, in most years, only a minority of seats will be up for election,
>which will militate in favour of the status quo.)
>At the very least, there is a reasonable expectation that the current
>arrangement will continue, and a prospective candidate would be
>ill-advised to stand without being sure they could commit themselves to
>it. But that requires knowing what it is.
>In trying to find out the current position, I've had four conflicting
>- meetings are weekly (last official OSMF statement, from
>- meetings are fortnightly (asking someone who knows)
>- meetings are now quarterly (asking someone else who knows, reputedly
>decided at a face-to-face meeting whose minutes have not been released
>- meetings are sporadic at best (OSMF website lists 1st June, 22nd July -
>presumably an error for 22nd June - 11th/12th July, and 17th August)
>(My experience on the Strategic Working Group suggests it's often a
>lottery as to whether any Board member turns up - without which the
>meeting is invalid -  which lends credence to the latter. :) )
>For the avoidance of doubt, I haven't and am not asking for a handbook,
>though I think one would be a good idea in due course; just public answers
>to a few very simple questions about what the workload of an OSMF board
>member might be.
>osmf-talk mailing list
>osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
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