[Osmf-talk] HOT US Inc use of Code Of Conduct (CoC) for Membership control after 2015 OSMF Board election

Rihards richlv at nakts.net
Fri Dec 1 14:44:52 UTC 2017

On 2017.12.01. 16:24, nicolas chavent wrote:
> Dear all,
> I expressed a /principled position/ about why it's important to balance
> the representation of the "Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team US Inc" (aka
> HOT US Inc) at the OpenStreetMap Foundation Board (OSMF) Board to favour
> the diversity of OpenStreetMap perspectives in this institutional body [1].
> Rightly, Code Of Conduct (CoC) has been one topics discussed since the
> beginning of the OSMF election [2] .
> Interestingly, Heather Leson (who served HOT US Inc as a Board Officer
> for 4 years through many positions including the presidency), featured
> in his manifesto [3] her background of community manager, her work at
> the HOT US Inc Governance Working Group to deliver a CoC and how CoC
> would be fundamental for OSMF succeeding in achieving its mandate.
> The way Heather Leson triggered in HOT US Inc the use of CoC after the
> 2015 OSMF Board elections show how a CoC can be used for membership
> control and constitutes a /specific reason /for balancing the presence
> of HOT US Inc reps at the OSMF Board.
> In Nov 2015, HOT US Inc was with no official position about the presence
> of its members at the OSMF Board: the subject had not been discussed at
> Board or membership levels; there is no official position yet. Four HOT
> US Inc members ran for the OSMF Board. As both a HOT US inc and an OSMF
> member, I spoke on the OSMF mailing list in favour of diversity and
> balanced respresentation of HOT US Inc at the Foundation Board [4] and
> posted 3 emails ([5],[6],[7]). I had not been the only “hottie” (with
> double membership) to do so. Some posts (like Roderic Bera for example)
> were harsher than mine [8] .
> Soon after the discussion around HOT US Inc presence at OSMF began,
> members were notified about CoC complaints being issued without further
> notice
> In lieu of an official notification, it’s through a random talk I had
> with Severin Menard (at that time Board Officer ) that I knew about it.
> Severin having genuinely asked me about how I was feeling about this CoC
> process ; even him (in his position) was not aware that the CoC
> complaint had not been been communicated to me.
> I had to email the Chairman and the Board to figure out that there was a
> CoC complaint against me had been decided at the Board without further
> notification nor specification of its ground for this. I was left
> without any basic element of knowledge to decide about my course of
> action in that matter.
> Since the basic right of the defense were not in place, Severin Menard,
> decided to disclose these facts to me.
> On 27-November 2015, Heather Leson triggered a CoC complaint because of
> my OSMF emails ([5],[6],[7]) on the below ground:
> /In those emails, his words were //unbecoming//of a member
> representative of HOT. He questioned the integrity of fellow members and
> made some claims about HOT as an organization which do not respect the
> community and organization./

this is deeply troubling and smells more like a cabal than an open
you know the movies about bad cops protecting other bad cops ? that's
what this seems similar to.

silencing criticism by bringing down the coc-hammer is a bad idea. coc
is touted as a way to avoid harassment and encourage participation. if
you go "oh my, never criticise things or we'll throw you out of our
pal's club" - you harm the whole goal of inclusiveness.

i support coc in general and find the original Severin's email seriously
out of line, but the latest coc suggestions that were floated on this
list were so vague, i look at them with more suspicion than welcoming.

> 4-Feb In the Board terms, the CoC complaints reads as below:
>  /The HOT Board of Directors carefully considered an outstanding Code of
> Conduct complaint made against you. By a majority vote, the Board has
> upheld these complaints as clear demonstration of behavior injurious to
> HOT. /
>  /It is resolved that you intentionally defamed fellow members during
> the 2015 OSMF elections. These actions are a clear violation of the HOT
> Code of Conduct, specifically section II - points 2 and 4. Your actions
> harmed your fellow members’ reputation in their personal ventures. HOT
> has a responsibility to build and promote the next generation of leaders
> within the larger OSM community. Your actions also questioned the
> integrity of HOT, contributions of members, and disparaged two existing
> HOT employees. /
>  /Therefore, I hereby require you to cease and desist from using
> language that is damaging to HOT, or your fellow members, while
> communicating in any relation to or mention of the Humanitarian
> OpenStreetMap Team while representing yourself as a member. Continuing
> this behavior beyond 30 days may result in the membership needing to
> consider restricting or even discontinuing your relationship with HOT as
> a member./
>  /You are allowed to appeal this instruction by bringing it up at any
> annual or special meeting of the Voting Members. The original complaint
> documentation will be kept on record and/or the complainant may present
> to the membership in any furtherance of this issue./
> Discussions on the internal membership mailing list (on the below items)
> had not effect :
> - the ground for this CoC complaint:
> - Its “targeted’ aspect: why singling out two members only out of the
> many involved in discussions.
> - the process which was not granting a HOT US Inc member basic defense
> right.
> Outcomes :
> - I got a warning
> - Severin Menard disclosing my CoC complaint (author and ground) was
> used by the Board to trigger and complete a process to remove him from
> his Boad Officer position via an Assembly of the Members.

i feel that there might be way more backstory to this, but it provides
some background to the Severin's tone.

> This whole process, facilitated by the HOT US inc Board and Chairman, is
> illustrative of:
> - the limits of Check and Balances in place and the role of its Chairman
> - the limits of Freedom of Speech tolerated by HOT US Inc for the public
> communications of its members (with double affiliation with OSMF) in a
> specific forum the OSMF Election.
> - Possible future limits about Freedom of Speech on the HOT US Inc
> membership list since two topics sparkled during the emails exchanges
> like “exploratoring” how to address “heavy” mailing list traffic issues
> by considering to restrict the volume of email communications by members
> by the Chairman.
> The whole story suggests the need to carefully consider and discuss CoC
> in OSMF and possible mis-uses prior moving in that direction to avoid
> developing membership and community control mechanisms.
> It’s also a specific reason to balance HOT US Inc presence at the OSMF
> Board.
> Best,
> Nicolas
> [1]: https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Nicolas%20Chavent/diary/42842
> [2]:
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2017-November/thread.html
> [3]: http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Heather%20Leson/diary/42706
> [4]: https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Nicolas%20Chavent/diary/36750
> [5]: https://lists <https://lists/>.openstreetmap.pipermail/osmf-talk/2015-
> [6]: https://lists <https://lists/>.openstreetmap.pipermail/osmf-talk/2015-
> [7]: https://lists <https://lists/>.openstreetmap.pipermail/osmf-talk/2015-
> [8]:
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2015-November/thread.html
> -- 
> Nicolas Chavent
> Les Libres Géographes
> Projet OpenStreetMap (OSM)
> Projet Espace OSM Francophone (EOF)
> Projet GeOrchestra
> Mobile (FR): +33 (0)6 52 40 78 20
> Mobile (Bénin): +22962 55 85 91
> Email: nicolas.chavent at gmail.com <mailto:nicolas.chavent at gmail.com>
> Skype: c_nicolas
> Twitter: nicolas_chavent
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