[Osmf-talk] Losing faith

Robert Barr r.barr at peartrees.com
Wed Jan 16 12:40:40 UTC 2013

I have resisted involving myself in this passionate debate so far, and will probably continue to observe rather than participate. However I agree fully with Oliver's very appropriate commentary. I might put it differently as the inevitable tension between Pirates and Pilots.....

Best wishes

From: Oliver Kühn [mailto:oliver.kuehn at skobbler.com]
Sent: 16 January 2013 10:09
To: osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [Osmf-talk] Losing faith

Dear Ivo and all those who support the comment,

you are absolutely right with your mail. And I also fully support what was written here.

Nonetheless, I want to give a short explanation what has happened in OSMF and put it into perspective:

(1) There has been tensions in the past. Steve sometimes has his own way of communicating - while being mostly right in what he is saying. This has caused wounds that haven't been healed despite being very old.
(2) There are long-standing people who are very active in OSM. Those who made OpenStreetMap what it is today. However, some of these people seem to have tried to escape the real world and find "their" world in the OSM project - with the intentions to find a world of real democracy, politics-free, competition-free, free of bad habits of big corporations - an isolated world that is much better than the real world.

And instead of adapting to current situation, accepting that competition has evolved for volunteers in the mapping space from Google and co and therefore trying to improve an environment for volunteering mappers and map data users at the same time - these people fight for keeping the organization as they found it in the beginning. This leads to the fact that too much energy is put in "dealing with ourselves" rather than looking outwards and fight and outperform our competition from Google and co.

We are currently seeing one of the typical - non avoidable - crises that organizations run through as part of their growth process. The organization is facing the challenge of professionalizing. Unfortunately the difficulties on they way are carried out to the non-active members.

This said you should take away that OSM and OSMF is on the right track but dealing with the typical challenges of growth and a changing environment. Don't worry much about the "drama" which is part of the growth process. And Steve is good guy with his heart beating for OSM.

Happy mapping!


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