[Osmf-talk] Question to Board Members - Taking Responsibility

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Sat Aug 25 15:25:27 UTC 2012

Two comments:

1. Staff need not be executive.

Please consider staff who exist to facilitate, support, and amplify the
work of the osm community.  They do not have an executive function (save to
manage their own catalyst-project and find ways to be effective faclitators)

2. Also please think of the difference between being accountable for the
end result of some work, and being directly responsible for getting it
done. Accountability often comes with the ultimate authority to apporve or
reject work, and often comes with 'trust to confirm something is done
right'.  Responsibility often comes with a firm time commitment, e.g., with
dedicated volunteers or staff who focus on little else. It comes with
'trust to do something reliably and to a standard'.

On Aug 25, 2012 7:26 AM, "Steve Coast" <steve at asklater.com> wrote:

> Frederik
> Is it really necessary to compare having an osmf which hires people to
> voting for hitler?
> I think you can make your points about how the osmf should not do anything
> without that.
> Steve
> On Aug 25, 2012, at 1:54 AM, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
> > Steven,
> >
> > On 25.08.2012 10:06, Steven Feldman wrote:
> >> Today I don't know who is responsible
> >
> > [...]
> >
> >> It
> >> can't be the board meeting a few times a year as a part time role,
> >
> > The board will always be responsible for every aspect of OSMF work; even
> if they hire an executive director and 10 technicians it is still the board
> who will ultimately be accountable.
> >
> > However you are mixing up OSM and OSMF in your post; of course the board
> is *not* responsible for what the sum of OSM participants does. Many people
> do what you seem to do, and equate OSMF with OSM. They inherently believe
> that whatever happens in the OSM project must have been due to OSMF having
> steered the project there; it's a world view in which people cannot make a
> meaninful contribution unless somehow instructed by an organisation that
> has defined goals for them. I don't subscribe to this world view and I
> think that OSM as it is now proves that this world view is not universally
> correct.
> >
> >> Steve suggested that now might be the time to consider an OSM staff
> >> team, I think he is right. OSM is a big project, it needs people
> >> to commit time and take responsibility for some of the key strands that
> >> have been discussed endlessly of the lists
> >
> > Many of the strands that have been discussed endlessly are completely
> outside the scope of anything where OSMF could "take responsibility",
> please don't forget that.
> >
> > To give just one example: Every now and again we have people calling for
> a "tagging czar" because they are tired of discussing how to tag something.
> But in my view while the process of finding the right tags for something
> and building a consensus is often arduous, takes a lot of time and
> trial-and-error, and can certainly be improved, it cannot be simply solved
> by installing an authority that, in your words, "takes responsibility".
> >
> > If you were to install a staff team then its main function would have to
> be to facilitate the consensus building in the community (which, needless
> to say, is some orders of magnitude more complex than simply doing a doodle
> poll).
> >
> >> and most importantly those
> >> people need to be given the trust to get on and do something by the
> >> community rather than having to gain consensus on every detail.
> >
> > Trust is not given, trust is earned. You would have to find a staff team
> with solid roots in the community, long-time OSMers who can be trusted to
> do the right thing. You can't just post a job offer somewhere and hope the
> right people would turn up. It would be difficult, and it would be
> dangerous. I try to resist drawing political parallels but whenever I hear
> people say what you're saying above - and you are by far not the first! - I
> think of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enabling_Act_of_1933; a state
> handing over power to an individual because they believe that then at least
> someone makes the decisions.
> >
> > It is so easy - point to one of the various 100-article threads about
> the web site design on the mailing list, claim that this is proof that the
> project is mired in controversy and cannot make the "necessary" (for some
> definition of necessary) decisions, appoint people to do it for them.
> >
> >> It would
> >> be a big change and it would ruffle even more collars than the license
> >> change but I think it would be worth it.
> >
> > You would have to explain in very much detail what "it" would be and how
> it would be worth it. This will probably involve explaining your vision for
> OSM, and I have a suspicion that you, like quite a few others, are viewing
> OSM with the same eyes that you would view a startup company, and therefore
> also applying similar criteria for what is desirable and what counts as
> "success". I think that OSM must not be confused with a startup company.
> >
> >> This is a discussion that we should be having, it is possibly the key
> >> strategic decision for OSM.
> >
> > I don't think that there is a key strategic decision to be taken at this
> point in time.
> >
> > I think it is prudent to first define what OSMF wants to do, then attach
> price tags to these "desirables", then decide which of those we can afford
> (or what we have to do to afford them), and then proceed. Whether or not
> doign the things we want requires us to hire staff is, in my eyes,
> secondary.
> >
> > Bye
> > Frederik
> >
> > --
> > Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"
> >
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