[Osmf-talk] Communications and osmf-talk (Was: Reaching out and diversity (Was: Re: AGM and board elections))

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Thu Oct 2 21:26:29 UTC 2014


   I think I have to set a few things straight and/or provide some
background here.

On 10/02/2014 07:10 PM, Luigi Toscano wrote:
> Following the discussions, it seems that there is no public osm-community-like 
> list (I guess most lists are the "technical" ones like it was in KDE).

There are literally hundreds of osm-community mailing lists which are
free for anyone to join. There's a general talk list, there are regional
(country-wide) lists, in many different languages, there are developer
lists and lists concerning themselves with specific topics like
diversity in OSM or maps for blind people, and there are technical
specialist things like a list for routing or rendering, and there's a
list specifically for data imports, for tagging, and for newbies, and
for almost everything else you could think of.

Sadly, many people have a certain elitist attitude towards the mailing
lists and prefer to make fun of them in social media and elsewhere. That
includes people who have used the lists for a long time (hello RichardF
and your SOTM-US 2013 talk!) as well as people who have never been on
any. Being a long-time member of the mailing list community myself I
find that attitude offensive and disrespectful but I have learnt to live
with it.

The OSMF-talk list is specifically meant for those people who are
interested in participating in the organisation and political processes
of the OSM Foundation, a privilege reserved for members of said foundation.

Incidentally, it was me who insisted years ago that the OSMF-talk list
should be created, for basic democratic reasons - at the time, as a
member of OSMF, you had no chance of knowing who the other members were,
and no chance to contact them, and I felt that if at any time the
members wanted to assert their power vis-a-vis the board, their options
were severely limited without a communication channel. So after much
ado, the list was created and every OSMF member automatically subscribed
to it, in the hope of strengthening the democratic process in the OSMF.

Since the OSM Foundation, by its own rules, *supports* the OSM project
but does not *control* the project, the foundation isn't really all that
important. Most people over-estimate the OSMF because they think that
convincing the OSMF of something means it will automatically be
implemented across the project, which is something that will only work
in very specific cases like the license change (and you know how long
that took us). It is a common fallacy to think that power ultimately
resides with the OSMF and that therefore the membership fee is a barrier
to exclude people from power in OSM. Your influence in OSM isn't
determined by whether or not you are a member and therefore able to post
to osmf-talk.

The membership fee is £15 per year (and not £35 as has been claimed).
The board is aware of the fact that this is still a lot of money for
people in developing countries and has been looking into ways of solving
that problem for a while now. Results aren't out yet, but it is unlikely
that wealthy people will see a reduction of their membership fee below
the current £15 (and as far as I can see, all those who have complained
about a "paywall" would fall under our definition of "wealthy").


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

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