[Osmf-talk] Moderator statement: please read before posting

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Thu Oct 30 09:21:45 UTC 2014


   in your statement you're expressing a desire, echoed by a couple of
others on this list, for peace at all costs. I think that while this is
an understandable human desire, one must be very careful with such demands.

On 10/30/2014 09:01 AM, Michael Collinson wrote:
> Hold off from posting if you can; posting volume down please. Otherwise,
> please limit what you want to say to summaries that are postive and
> forward, not backward, looking. Whether you are a principal player or
> not, please completely refrain from attacking or making negative remarks
> about others.

Let's assume for a moment that you strongly disagree with the views or
actions of one particular other person, and because that other person is
either in office or seeking office, you would like to make the
membership aware of the issues that you are seeing.

Where, if not on osmf-talk, would be the appropriate place for that?

Of course you can complain about others on Twitter or on your personal
blog but isn't that much worse than doing so in a forum where you can
actually be refuted and corrected by others? You might be wrong after all.

I think that there must be a place for a discourse among OSMF members
about the organisation itself, and that also includes watching and
commenting on what the board and its individual members are doing. Such
comments cannot be limited to polite general disagreement; I actively
*want* our members to ask questions like: Who in the board was
responsible for this? Why did the meeting on <date> not discuss <item>?
Who were the people who voted against <resolution>? And I *want* our
members to discuss openly whom they want to have on the board.

I think it is ok to request that negative remarks about someone's
character should be avoided, but criticising someone's actions, or lack
of actions, must be possible.

If I could not say, on this list or another suitable forum, "I disagree
with board member X who claims that we should do Y", or "I challenge
board member A to explain why they think that their job in organisation
B does not pose a conflict of interest", or "why does board member Z not
resign when obviously they haven't seen fit to attend more than a third
of board meetings", then that would severely limit accountability and
the democratic process in OSMF.

I give you that we should establish a culture where such issues can be
discussed calmly and without personal attacks. But they still must be
discussed in public, or else you're sweeping what little democracy we
have under a sunshine rug, allowing conflicts to fester in the shadows,
until once again the pressure becomes too big.

As a side note, about your insistence on "looking forward". Much as I'd
love to be cleared of all blame for any past action I've done, I still
think that especially when someone asks for office, their past actions
*should* inform the voters, should they not? If, for example, I were to
write a nice sounding manifesto about how it is time to bury all the
conflicts and be friends, can I really expect people *not* to point out
my history of bringing conflicts out into the open? Do you really want
people to restrict themselves to ominous postings like: "I'd like to
call on everyone to closely check the history of each candidate", rather
than speaking their mind and linking to suitable material? Cloudy,
unspecific accusations that could mean something but maybe also could
not, and can neither be proven nor refuted?

I think that the "sunshine culture" is actually responsible for much of
the problems we're having. It's actually very much similar to the "code
of conduct" discussion on diversity-talk: People want codes of conduct
because they feel that without such codes, there's too much blaming the
messenger. If someone at a conference claims they were harassed, the
sunshine culture means that they will be sidelined as a troublemaker -
nobody wants to be at a conference where people are harassed, therefore
let's just pretend it didn't happen.

Demanding such a sunshine culture for osmf-talk would be entirely the
wrong step.


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

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