[Osmf-talk] Elections: Avoid Mandate Creep

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Sat Nov 12 14:23:43 UTC 2011


On 11/12/2011 01:52 PM, Serge Wroclawski wrote:
> Do you believe your views have greater importance than other voters?

The point is that I would like to *discuss* my views with the other 
voters, most of whom I assume are on this list. I think democracy 
benefits from options being publicly discussed among the elctorate, 
rather than everyone silently and secretly posting their vote.

If you don't share my views then I would be happy to hear a 
counter-argument, for example "no, Fred, I think you're wrong in saying 
that OSMF must be run differently than a commercial organisation; the 
management and goal-setting and goal-achievement and stuff is really the 
same in both kinds of organisation because...", or "no, Fred, I think 
you're wrong in saying that OSM works well enough without strong 
leadership and steering because...", or "no, Fred, I think that it is 
entirely correct that emergency measures have to be taken in order to 
steer OSM away from the brink because...".

Any of those and more. But not "no, Fred, you're wrong to even talk 
about what the board does on this list". What kind of democracy is that 
supposed to be? This is not osmf-announce, this is a membership list 
with the aim of aiding the political processes, the building of 
consensus and the making of decisions inside OSMF. And public discourse 
is an essential component of any democracy,

Certainly voters have not been asked "do you think that OSM is on the 
brink of collapse and a face-to-face board meeting is required to set 
short term goals to avoid that fate", neither in this election nor in 
any previous election. And they don't *have* to be asked that. But still 
it may well be possible that voters have something to say about it; 
after all, electing someone for board means that you let them govern in 
your place but the membership doesn't lose its democratic powers just 
because they elect someone. Even if you have elected someone - and the 
majority of board members are where they are in part because I have 
voted for them - that doesn't mean that you stop looking at what they 
do, at least not in my understanding of democracy.

(For example, it is technically possible that the board makes a decision 
that a large majority of voters find wrong. Technically the board could 
decide to spend all of OSMF's money for a week-long F2F meeting on 
Barbados. I'm not saying they are doing anything like that but they 
*could*. If they *did*, and if someone complained, would you then reply 
with a shrug and say "well we elected them, we have to live with what 
they do and anyone asking questions must be a self-important 
troublemaker"? If your answer to this is "no", then where would you draw 
the line - what questions are legitimate, and what questions make the 
person asking them into someone who "believes that his views have 
greater importance than that of other voters"?)


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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