[Osmf-talk] Elections: Avoid Mandate Creep

Matt Amos matt at asklater.com
Sat Nov 12 15:39:28 UTC 2011

On Sat, Nov 12, 2011 at 6:08 AM, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
> Quote: "... insular community, lack of direction, and no innovation. That's
> what we have to avoid."
> My interpretation: "We have to provide direction else those simple-minded
> mapper ants won't know what to do!"

i think that's a rather harsh interpretation. and i don't think anyone
wants to sign up to a project which is insular, lacks direction and
innovation. i would have thought that we would all want to be an
inclusive community full of direction and innovation.

> Quote: "We are the Board! Shape the project!"
> My comment: Pure hubris. Our board is not the board of a corporation; our
> members and those who do most of the work are not our employees to be shaped
> into whatever we'd like.

it's a fact of language that statements short enough to be used as
rallying cries necessarily are open to interpretation. when people
write things intended not to be open to interpretation they often run
to several pages of dense jargon, often called "legalese", which
no-one can get enthusiastic about.

i think the interpretation amongst the board was less "we are the
board (and we are in control)! shape the project (by telling everyone
what to do)!" and more "we are the (elected) board! shape the project
(by leading by example)!".

furthermore, our board *is* the board of a company and the membership
are not the employees but the "shareholders" - we were elected by you
to direct the resources of OSMF on your behalf. everyone on the board
is passionate about the project and each has many different ideas
about how to go about it, which doesn't make for easy meetings, but by
the election process is intended to be representative of the views of
the majority of members. if you think your view isn't being heard
loudly enough in these meetings then you're welcome to stand at the
next election, or call for an EGM if you can't wait.

> Quote: "To meet goals, we can take action, we can guide and steer, we can
> spend money."
> My comment: Again, this is a typical management idea - that things go
> nowhere if they are not driven by clever people at the top.

things do go nowhere if they aren't driven by clever people. whether
at the top or anywhere else doesn't matter. one thing that's certain
to ensure things go nowhere is by *not* doing things, and simply
talking in circles all the time. ;-)

> Sure we can have
> goals but if we don't accomplish them then who cares - maybe they were the
> wrong goals, or we'll accomplish them next year. It's not as if our bonuses
> were linked to our percentage of goals reached.

we should all be disappointed in ourselves if we do not meet our
goals. i know i am.

> It sounds to me as if this whole meeting was based on the misconception that
> OSMF was somehow something like a startup that has to reach maturity before
> the venture capitalists lose patience.
> For example, the first "goal for 2012" mentioned is clearly to beat Google
> maps although it is vaguely worded as "The world's most used map". I'll
> dwell on this a bit, although I could use any other goal just as well.
> Why?
> Why do we have to be "the world's most used map"? Would the second-most used
> map not do? And why in 2012? Is it really important if we reach this goal a
> little slower or a little faster?
> I'm sorry but this sounds like pure PR fodder - as if someone had in mind
> the press release "OSM aims to become #1 world map in 2012". But in my eyes
> it is exactly this kind of hollow, arbitrary phrase-producing leadership
> that is *not* desirable for OSM.

should we not be the worlds most used map? it's not a commercial
matter of "beating" google in any way - we're a non-profit - but
doesn't our map deserve to be the most used map in the world? the goal
is audacious and although we might not meet it, and it's not the end
of the world if we don't, we should certainly feel disappointed if we
don't try.



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