[Osmf-talk] Board Cohesion/Confidentiality

Kate Chapman kate at maploser.com
Fri Oct 5 10:18:15 UTC 2012

Hi All,

I wanted to bring up the recent discussion between Frederik(1) and
Oliver(2) on their perspective blogs. Honestly I find this method of
communication to be a bit silly. I question the rationale of members
of the OSMF board not bringing this sort of disagreement to the OSMF
membership or the OSM community through our mailing lists first. The
board is supposed to represent the interests of the OpenStreetMap

Meaning often I attend meetings or meet with groups interested in
contributing to OpenStreetMap such as government, universities, or
humanitarian organizations. Occasionally one of them will ask me about
a blog post or other communication within the OSM community and say
"is that really what people want/think?" These posts of course are
individuals from the community the same as the posts from Oliver and
Frederik. My response is along the lines of "well OSM is a large
informal internet project, so there are many differing views." The
difference in this case however is the nature of these posts. Oliver
and Frederik are specific stating there status on the OSMF board and
discussion the problems. If I was a large organization or a company
about to launch product I would be hesitant to discuss at all with the
OSMF at this point for free of information being released that I did
not intend.

That said, I think we should be having a discussion as to what the
role is of the board. Personally I'm on the side of having a certain
level of confidentiality. To be honest in HOT we don't disclose all
information immediately and we do have agreements with some
organizations that when we communicate publicly we will run it by each
other first. We probably allow more leeway with this than I would want
within OSMF, because of the humanitarian nature of our work. I
wouldn't want the OSMF to have a long term agreement with an
organization where they would check each others communications. I
think it is reasonable though if we want to have a free map of the
entire world that we be pragmatic and realize sometimes not everyone
is going to be allowed to know everything all of the time.

I would like to see better communication from the board in terms of
minutes and other updates though. The thought process should be
initially towards open at all times and an exception would be when
things aren't publicly shared, versus a blanket confidentiality rule.
The first step of this would be for me not to discover issues from



(1) http://osm.gryph.de/2012/10/transparency-and-confidentiality/
(2) http://www.abalakov.com/openstreetmap-an-inhomogeneous-new-osmf-board

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