[Osmf-talk] Board Cohesion/Confidentiality

Steve Coast steve at asklater.com
Fri Oct 5 13:55:39 UTC 2012


The membership has voted in member(s) to the board who don't think the board should exist, or at the least do anything at all.

That at minimum makes the job of all the other board members very difficult.

What you're seeing is only one symptom but there are others. As you allude to, if BigCorp now wants to bring something confidential to the board like "Hey Founder Steve, we'd like to bounce the idea of us doing X with OSM off the board but we don't want it leaked to our competition as it's just an idea" then, as an example, it is now very difficult for me to do so since some board member(s) don't believe confidentiality should exist and might make a public blog post about it. Since I don't want to damage my reputation, it is now hard for me to pass things on to the board.

Since the membership voted in member(s) with this point of view I think the board has to work with it, but I honestly don't think much will be achieved.


On Oct 5, 2012, at 3:18 AM, Kate Chapman <kate at maploser.com> wrote:
> 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
> project.
> 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
> @FakeSteveC.
> Thanks,
> -Kate
> (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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