[Osmf-talk] Elections: Avoid Mandate Creep

Holger Schöner numenor at ancalime.de
Sat Nov 12 10:24:22 UTC 2011


Am Sa, 12. November 2011 schrieb Frederik Ramm:
> Now I'm reading this report from the recent board meeting in the US:
> http://opengeodata.org/thanks-to-the-2012-openstreetmap-foundation-b

I can see a definite need to define clear goals for the work of the OSMF, 
regarding the board as well as the management team and the working groups. 
Especially, because the actual work of the OSMF is now split across several 
groups of people, to me this seems to be a necessary basis.

In formulating these goals I am in principle in favor of the line Frederik 
has recalled now as being the basis of the foundations work since its 
beginning: to support the project, not to control it.

Some of the goals outlined on the blog seem to me to be in line with this 
principle; I believe that some "marketing work" will be helpful, as is the 
work concerning the new license. And the board seems to be well staffed with 
knowledgable people regarding these topics, and I welcome the obvious 
enthusiasm put into this.

Concerning the motto "We are the Board! Shape the project!", I find this has 
the potential for some misunderstanding. Except in the case, that the board 
really means to steer the project and the people involved, it should maybe 
be reformulated to something like "We are the Board! Shape the Foundations 
Work!" or similar. It must be the role of the board to define the role of 
the foundation and guide its work. And the main goal should be to support, 
not shape, the (OSM-)project. The specialization of this would be the main 
task of the board, in my opinion.

Regarding the provision of direction, guidance, steering of the whole 
(OSM-)project, I would like everybody involved to at least consider the 
following questions, as they would have been answered at the start of ones 
involvment in the project (even if the answers might now be different):

- what was the initial fascination making me want to be part of the project?
- in which way did I care about how my contributions as a 
mapper/developer/documenter/... would be used?

Of course, there will be very different answers by different people. And 
this, I think, is the main strength of the project: very very many people 
can find a place for their own goals/intentions in the whole of the project. 
And that, in my opinion, is at least partially because there is in general 
no one wanting to steer/direct/control the direction of the project. Of 
course there are sensible sub-projects to raise the quality of the data 
(project of the week, ...) by trying to guide/coordinate several mappers 
using some common goal. But there are many of these, and everybody is free 
to participate or not.

With more "guidance", even if in principle nothing would change regarding 
everyones freedom of his/her contributions, the impression should be 
avoided, that certain contributions are more welcome than others (excepting 
vandalism, of course; and not counting sensible suggestions for beginners 
work ...).

At least for me the impression of all the possibilities of the project was 
and is one of the greatest motivation factors for the work in the project. 
Even if this might incur a longer period until a certain aspect of the data 
can be considered to be complete (e.g. road infrastructure or addresses), it 
is necessary to attract a large number of mappers.

So far there has been great success in relying on the initiatives of 
individual persons/groups instead of a central guiding body to improve the 
data, as I found during all of the last years.

Please consider these aspects when deciding on the future course of the 
foundation and maybe the whole project!

Holger Schoener		numenor at ancalime.de

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