[Osmf-talk] AGM and board elections

Simon Poole simon at poole.ch
Sat Sep 20 16:05:05 UTC 2014

Am 20.09.2014 13:10, schrieb Frederik Ramm:
> Hi,
> On 09/20/2014 10:47 AM, Severin Menard wrote:
>> Representation of all the (sub-) continents would also improve the
>> diversity.
> As would representation of all the religions, and I think we should not
> ignore the LGBT community.

And all relevant age groups.

Seriously now:

The OSMF board is not a representative political body (IMHO), it is the
elected body of the OSMF with a quite narrow remit that oversees our day
to day operations, sets policies and strategies where necessary and
carries the ultimate legal responsibility for the foundation.

Yes, the OSMF board is not very diverse in any dimension at all. But
given its consistency and the pool from which candidates are mostly
drawn and the people our members elect in the end, that shouldn't be a

Simply adding people not involved in OSM to make the board more diverse
might be a nice publicity stunt (they wouldn't even have to be elected),
but doesn't change the underlying mechanisms that leads to OSM and the
OSMF having the make up that it does (and the OSMF board is definitely
not visible enough that you could use a role model argument).

Where we need really need more diversity is in the OSMF membership (in
the end that is our representative political body), for example by
making it financially easier to join. It is not quite clear if we will
have a proposal for the November GM, but it is being worked on.

A further dimension is that the board is expected to do actual work,
making practical and financial concerns issues. Right now, for all
practical purposes, all board members are either financially independent
or sponsored by the organisations that they are affiliated with. They
neither get paid for their time nor do most submit and receive expenses.
Substantially expanding the geographical, language and affluence spread
will have the impact of making things a lot more complicated and expensive.

The equivalent body with the WMF with slightly more members (10) is not
all that more diverse, and costs roughly $1'000'000 to organize, pay
expenses and cart around the globe. In other words a good 6 times the
total budget of the OSMF (I believe the costs for the OSMF board this
year to be limited to the unheard of splurge of printing business cards
for the board members).

Now I don't believe the current situation with 6 of 7 board members,
more or less in the same time zone and a zero cost board should or will
continue, changing it is just slightly more involved than stating that
things should be different.


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