[Osmf-talk] Balancing the presence of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT US Inc) in the OpenStreetMap Foundation

nicolas chavent nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
Fri Nov 27 19:13:17 UTC 2015

Hi all,

In this email [Balancing the presence of the US NGO HOT US Inc within
OSMF], I shared my concern about a possible over-representation of HOT
US Inc organization viewpoint over OpenStreetMap at the OSMF Board, a
consequent shrinking of diversity and an change in terms of checks and
balances beneficial for HOT US Inc and detrimental for other OSM

I did so in the context of the OSMF Board election, on the right
places for discussion for this election (the osmf, osm and hot mailing
lists) as per the OSMF election calendar and as encouraged to do so
like any OSMF members by the very same Foundation.

Those views are mine, they have been forged over the last 7/8 years
through my experiences as :
- a cofounder of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) project
which started as an OSM informal collective,
- a co-founder of the US NGO HOT US Inc, the first legal body of the
HOT Project which works as a mix of an association (playing de facto
the rôle of an OSMF chapter for the humanitarian action and
development aid sectors as well as a support-providing entity for
local OSM groups)
- a Project Manager and then the Operations Director of HOT US Inc in
charge of HOT US Inc field work in Haiti (2010-2013) and Western
Africa (2012-2013)
- a Board Member of HOT US Inc Aug 2010 – March 2014

As pointed out by Severin, and as noticed by some people on the
osmf-talk mailing list, the simple public expression of this concern
in this time of election triggered condemnations by Blake Girardot and
Kate Chapman both members of HOT US Inc.

On the HOT US Inc's members mailing list, this simple expression of a
different view point over the running of 3 members of the organization
triggered :
- similar condamnations
- the HOT US Inc President (Heather Lesson) announcing that as next
steps action on that matter, the HOT US Inc Code Of Conduct might be
use to determine disciplinary actions towards those who did share the
same concern that I have.

This is just an example of how HOT US Inc internally can deal with
diversity of opinions and is one of the reasons why I, like others
inside HOT US Inc, do think that it's important for OSMF voting
members to think about balancing the HOT US Inc presence within the
OSMF Board prior casting their ballots in the coming hours and days


On 11/26/15, Severin Menard <severin.menard at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Blake and fellow OSMF members,
> Concerns about the representation of the OSMF directors have already been
> raised in the past and discussed within the mailing list. It is still not
> well gender balanced, with no representation of countries from the South
> and entirely populated by professionals in Geomatics. It may improve for
> some of these aspects through the next election. More women, people from
> South America, Africa, Asia and non professionals would better represent
> the whole OSM community, whatever the qualities of every candidate.
> In his email, Nicolas raised his concerns about the fact an organization,
> whose he is part and has been a director and co-founder (fact that I do not
> think he is hiding or would like to), would be actually much represented
> within the OSMF board, that is supposed to represent the whole OSM
> community as best as possible. As a director of HOT myself, I would also
> consider that “Hotties” (as we use to call ourselves) should avoid standing
> up to the OSMF if they can potentially be in majority and naturally raise
> concerns from the OSMF membership. It is an opinion, and there is nothing
> scandalous in it.
> Therefore, I do not understand why you use such a tone and uses
> inappropriate words, as quoted by Christoph. I will also add in it your
> final sentence, that may be appropriate to use for a child you are
> reprimanding, not for an adult. It is, unfortunately, so symptomatic of the
> way the people expressing a different view than the one in majority of the
> board since 2013 have been treated. Eventually, in a sense, the way you
> stand up exaggeratedly to protect what you feel being the reputation of a
> corporation and people from it, and the way you express how different
> opinions about governance can be considered within HOT, is actually the
> best advocacy you could make for the concerns raised by Nicolas.
> Sincerely,
> Severin
> On Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 12:51 AM, Blake Girardot <bgirardot at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Hi again Nico and fellow OSMF members.
>> You know, I was entertained by your original email Nico because it was so
>> divorced from reality and lacking any substance, but now after not very
>> long thinking more about it I am much less entertained.
>> You are intentionally feeding the idea that there is a divide between HOT
>> and OSM and there is NO divide: Great HOT people are great OSM people. We
>> all are dedicated to growing and strengthening OSM and the OSM community
>> worldwide.
>> The people running for OSMF Board (all of them) are good people and great
>> supporters of OSM and you have now ignored that and cast doubt on the
>> candidacy of 3 people who will be nothing but experienced, tireless
>> supporters of OSM (elected to the board or not). And not based on their
>> qualifications or dedication, because those are unassailable, but based
>> on
>> some unfounded idea that HOT will have anything to do with the OSMF board
>> if these people are elected.
>> It is a cynical, intentionally negative view of the OSM and HOT community
>> and I had a great deal more respect for you.
>> It is really disappointing that you would send this email based on
>> nothing, obviously no evidence or history, based on nothing but pure
>> innuendo and suggestion to cast these people in a negative light for no
>> reason.
>> I miss the old Nico, please try and find him.
>> Regards,
>> Blake
>> On 11/24/2015 11:56 PM, nicolas chavent wrote:
>>> Dear OSMF voting members and mappers,
>>> This short note (also published in my diary [1]) to draw your
>>> attention on the danger for OSMF (and the OSM project) in the case the
>>> United States NGO "Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team US Inc" (aka HOT US
>>> Inc) got a majority at the OSMF Board after this 2015 election.
>>> Mikel Maron, Joseph Reeves and Yantisa Akhadi, all members of the NGO
>>> HOT US Inc, are running for the OSMF Board [2]; Kate Chapman, the
>>> former ED of HOT US Inc serves already as Board Officer in OSMF.
>>> Shall Mikel Maron, Joseph Reeves and Yantisa Akhadi be elected, HOT US
>>> Inc will get a majority at the Board of the Foundation.
>>> This will provide a single organization of the OSM ecosystem (HOT US
>>> Inc) with an unprecedented and excessive power of influence over the
>>> Foundation.
>>> This running of three candidates from the same organization is
>>> puzzling and troublesome when one considers that HOT US Inc (and
>>> therefore its perspective around OpenStreetMap) is already represented
>>> at the OSMF Board since Sept 2013. Why extending its presence and
>>> influence and consequently diminishing the OSM diversity represented
>>> at the OSMF Board?
>>> A greater HOT US Inc presence at the OSMF Board would be a matter of
>>> concern in terms of :
>>> - balance of powers
>>> - diversity of visions, thoughts and practices around OSM
>>> - board dynamics: a collective of HOT US Inc Boardees would interact
>>> with single individuals.
>>> This is a bad practice which is not followed by any Organizations;
>>> this is specifically true for representative bodies (organization
>>> representing organizations) such as OSMF
>>> Here are some elements that OSMF voting members shall have in ming
>>> prior casting their ballot 28-Nov onwards bearing in minds that HOT US
>>> Inc and this perspective about OSM is already represented at the OSMF
>>> Board through Kate Chapman.
>>> The HOT US Inc perspective informs, like other perspectives, the work
>>> of the Foundation and has its effect on the OSM project, there is no
>>> need to take risks in providing this group with more room in the
>>> Foundation which is hot enough in these times of winter.
>>> Best,
>>> Nicolas
>>> [1]: https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Nicolas Chavent/diary/36750
>>> [2]:
>>> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Foundation/AGM15/Election_to_Board
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Nicolas Chavent
Projet OpenStreetMap (OSM)
Projet Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT)
Projet Espace OSM Francophone (EOF)
Mobile (FRA): +33 (0)6 52 40 78 20
Mobile (CIV): +225 78 12 76 99
<nicolas.chavent at hotosm.org>
Email: nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
Skype: c_nicolas
Twitter: nicolas_chavent

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