[Osmf-talk] Candidates: How will you know ... ?

Alex Barth alex at mapbox.com
Tue Aug 28 17:46:40 UTC 2012

Richard - I think Kate and Henk made good points in regards to the fact that the we, the OSM community is a quite heterogeneous bunch and that mappers aren't actually the only constituency whose interest the OSMF should have in mind. 

That said, let me read your question aiming mostly at this point: "how do you see the community participating in board decisions?"

I think there's a whole range of activities and principles to be pursued in order to make sure we've got legitimate decisions.

## Elections

The manifesto all candidates including myself have written up function to a large degree as a mandate when elected. Together with the trust in the individual it's what we're electing our board members for and I will take a vote for myself as a vote for the ideas I shared in my manifesto.

## Shared experience

This is almost trivial, but important, so here we go: We all draw so many of our views from personal experiences. Board members should strive to be familiar with as many ways of interacting with OpenStreetMap as possible. The direct experience comes first: being involved. Henk has emphasized this as well. In my case that's working on giving OpenStreetMap workshops, mapping my own neighborhoods, improving OSM data using cues from our work with MapBox streets, using OSM data for data visualizations. Obviously, nobody's going to be mapper, cartographer, traffic planner, business owner, researcher, government GIS person and OSM founder at once, that's where plain talking and corresponding with each other comes in :)

## High profile decisions

I actually don't see high profile decisions being taken in a closed board room. There has to be an open decision making process to make sure all options are well weighed. I guess the licensing change with all its woes is an example such a decision.

## Timely communication

Board communications right now seems to be on the last minute side. Giving people enough time to respond matters. For instance, I wonder whether we would have had one or the other candidate more if the schedule hadn't been announced just 10 days before the nominations close.

## Transparency

It's hard to make your voice heard if you don't know what's going on. Full disclosure of decisions and the rationale behind them, complete and full desclosure of financials, membership numbers etc. Right now I'm missing the 2011 income and balance sheets (I know it's been a BUSY year). The OSMF site does offer a lot of information - I wouldn't blame the board with trying to obscure matters - but it's sometimes challenging to the point of impossible to find what you're looking for on the current web site.


## Research

In short: data. Stuff like Pascal's and Alex's work is really helpful, we should have more of this. There's nothing like creating consensus based on hard data. I could even see the OSMF commission such work.


## Outreach

There's a very plugged in portion of the community who follows daily chatter and generally knows what's going on, these are also the people who tend to pay close attention to what the OpenStreetMap foundation is up to and provide vital feedback and a healthy check on board decisions. But very clearly, this isn't even a substantial portion of all "active mappers". This situation is further illustrated by the low membership numbers. I think the board needs to actively work to broaden its basis to ensure its relevance.

On Aug 27, 2012, at 4:14 PM, Richard Weait <richard at weait.com> wrote:

> Dear Candidates,
> Presume that the board exists to serve the OpenStreetMap community of
> mappers.  If (re)elected, how will you know what the interests of that
> community are?  How will you know that you are representing the
> interests of that community in a way that that approve?
> _______________________________________________
> osmf-talk mailing list
> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
> http://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk

Alex Barth
tel (+1) 202 250 3633

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