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

Michael Collinson mike at ayeltd.biz
Thu Oct 30 10:23:30 UTC 2014

Thank you Frederik for your as always well-argued email.  (And as this 
is email and I am British, no, I am not being sarcastic or ironic).

Personally, I am really, really uncomfortable doing any kind of 
moderation as it can also be censorship.  But I stand by my comments.  
The "dirty washing has been aired", we all, I hope, understand the 
general situation and the players, and it is time to go the next level.

I am not sure what others think, but for me, you have just done that 
with your contribution on handling OSMF finances. An important issue has 
been raised amongst all the noise, you have pinpointed it, and are 
looking forward.  I respectfully suggest more brevity (yep, I also find 
this difficult!), at least over the next few days. I am a native English 
speaker and a scan-reader (I can read lots of text very fast), so I have 
no problem, but I am speaking for those that do.

And, again for the next few days, anyone who wants to respond, please 
help with the volume issue by delaying immediate responses. Collect your 
thoughts and write just one thoughtful response.


On 30/10/2014 10:21, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> Michael,
>     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.
> Bye
> Frederik

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