[Osmf-talk] OSMF membership applications rejected

Kai Krueger kakrueger at gmail.com
Sat Aug 25 18:21:07 UTC 2012

Excluding people from a project based on their opinion is always a 
problematic, if not outright dangerous thing to do. OSMF has to be 
tolerant towards opposing and controversial topic views. I.e. imho it 
has to accept that people disagree on the license decisions and even 
actively "fight" to change OSMF's policy on the license or contributor 
terms. It imho also has to accept that some members might have 
"non-mainstream" views like distributing the database over git or the 
likes. For board members these are then up to the democratic process of 
the elections to decide whether the larger OSMF body agrees with these 
views or not.

What OSMF however does not have to tolerate are people who resort to 
personal attacks or are inflammatory towards individuals or groups of 
individuals, or deliberately spreading lies and falsehoods about the 
project or its community. In a vastly diverse and international 
community Nazi-like behaviour particularly should not have any place 
(well for that matter it shouldn't have a place anywhere).

It imho also doesn't have to accept individuals who are actively and 
deliberately trying to destroy the project as a whole. E.g. because they 
have commercial or other interests in seeing OSM fail.

Therefore imho if the only objection to Mike is that he hasn't agreed to 
the license change process or that he has "non-mainstream" views, then 
that is not a reason to exclude him from OSMF membership nor from 
running for the board. If there is a case to exclude him, it has to be 
based on him being offensive, intolerant and or actively and 
deliberately campaigning to harm the project.

In the case of Edwin, given that he has been an active mapper of quality 
data, I would probably grant him OSMF membership and thus allow him to 
vote, but deny him the right to run for the OSMF board. Board members, 
as representatives of osm, have to be held to high standards of conduct. 
Edwin clearly does not meet the standard of respectful and tolerant 
communication as he has shown over a long period on the forums, as well 
as in his manifesto.

Is there a legal framework to allow OSMF membership, but deny candidacy 
for board elections?


On 8/25/2012 10:25 AM, Henk Hoff wrote:
> As you mentioned Mike is also active in a competing project.
> With Mike being an outspoken opponent of the way OSMF is going 
> forward, I would suggest that Mike focusses his time on the competing 
> project where (I hope) he's not seen as such an outspoken opponent.
> Henk
> 2012/8/25 Tobias Knerr <osm at tobias-knerr.de <mailto:osm at tobias-knerr.de>>
>     Mike's behavior in the past was controversial for one fundamental
>     reason: Because he is an outspoken opponent of the current Board's
>     policy, and has repeatedly and loudly voiced this opinion. His
>     decision
>     to not accept the Contributor Terms with his original account is
>     one of
>     the, rather extreme, actions that he took based on that position.
>     However, disagreement with Board policy is not necessarily the same as
>     opposition to OSMF, or even OSM as a whole.
>     The decision to reject his membership application may justifiable
>     based
>     on his conflict of interest as a supporter of a competing project.
>     However, I'm not aware that such a strict standard was applied to
>     membership applications in the past, and I must therefore assume that
>     his intention to be a candidate in the upcoming election has
>     influenced
>     the decision.
>     This is troubling because it effectively limits the choices of
>     voters to
>     candidates who are more or less in line with the current board's
>     opinions. This is not what the board's power to deny membership should
>     be used for!
>     I believe that it would have been wise to accept Mike's membership
>     application, and trust the OSMF members to use their votes
>     responsibly.
>     Tobias
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