[Osmf-talk] Losing faith

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Wed Jan 16 08:27:29 UTC 2013


On 01/16/2013 12:08 AM, Ivo Stankov wrote:
> None of the names in this list, apart from Steve Coast, say anything to
> me and everything I know about Steve comes from the contents of his
> Wikipedia entry.


> 2. Can the community trust Steve Coast, the founder of OSM and
> definitely the most well known face of OSM from the point of view of the
> broad public, to be sensible enough to write tweets from @openstreetmap
> that are beneficial for OSM and not partisan or potentially questionable?

The fact that when someone wants to interview someone about OSM they go 
to Steve, instead of to our Communications Working Group, is a problem, 
for several reasons:

1. Steve doesn't scale.

2. Steve is not elected and not answerable to an electorate, like board 
members are. He can, and will, say anything he wants without discussing 
this with the rest of the organisation. This would be ok for a one-man 
project but this isn't a one-man project.

3. Steve has openly criticized OSMF and working groups in the past; if 
you had taken the time to skim through his personal blog entries you 
would have found quite a few that are partisan and potentially questionable.

All that is ok for someone who just writes his personal blog, but not ok 
for someone who is perceived by the public (for example, you) to be 
talking "for OSM".

But the point of this whole discussion is something else - not "should 
Steve be allowed to post things" but "is our system of democracy and 
delegation worth anything at all"?

As an OSMF member, I very much want the organisation to control what is 
published in the name of the organisation, and if there are things I 
don't like then I want to know who is responsible and vote for someone 
else at the next election.

If the organisation takes a decision and Steve doesn't like it there are 
several things he could do about this without damaging the organisation; 
what he has instead done is trying to rally those who, like you 
confessed yourself, don't know anyone in OSMF except for SteveC and of 
him they know only that he is the founder and for some reason they 
naturally assume that he should still decide anything he wants. "Look, 
Richard, more people know my name than yours, I win". But this is 
exactly the mode of operation we were moving away from, and for good! 
Steve is not OSM (and he's not not @openstreetmap either); Steve doesn't 
speak for OSM any more than any mapper does.

> I do not know him well, but somehow I think this should be a given.

The project has evolved, and is carried by the work of very many people; 
the amount of work, time, blood, sweat, toil that Steve has invested in 
OSM is certainly commendable but far surpassed by the work that tens of 
thousands of others have done in the mean time. I don't see why Steve 
should get preferential treatment.

That CWG wants their tweets created by a group and in a reviewed process 
is good; it makes it less likely to publish rash reactions and 
off-the-cuff remarks that one might regret later.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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