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

Mikel Maron mikel_maron at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 25 19:14:01 UTC 2012


I suggest we set aside the quickly heated rhetoric on this thread, and stick to the substance. As Steven said, this has been a productive, wide ranging thread, and I don't think we need to lose that.

Frederik actually laid down a good systematic approach to OSMF goals and resources. One the Board has agreed to as sensible before.

> 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.

And Sam made a very good distinction.

> 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'.

This is the point I've been making with talking about the redaction bot. The OSMF wanted the license change to (finally) happen. Was determined that volunteer resources were not sufficient. We drew up a proposal, and had a reasonable offer for professional help. The ToR was clear, accountable to the Board, with responsibility of Andy. This worked great.

There is a wide range of organizational alternatives, from completely and totally volunteer, to completely and totally professional under the direction of an Executive Director, with Board oversight. Jumping to a full time staff is a big step, and we're not at that point yet.

However, there is a wide middle ground that we can explore. And what I see emerging from this thread is a consensus that there are some things for which volunteer effort has not been sufficient; we need an efficient process for determining what those things are; and a way to engage people to take on this work under a paid contract. I think that's huge progress for OSMF organizationally and strategically.


* Mikel Maron * +14152835207 @mikel s:mikelmaron
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