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

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Fri Dec 1 15:50:19 UTC 2017

This to me looks like a valuable perspective and important context on 
the inner workings of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team US inc. (i 
think i got the name right this time).  I had looked at the documents 
available about the internal rules of HOT after the recent discussions 
related to it myself and quite a few things about the procedures you 
describe can be figured out from those as well (an i also concluded 
that Severin Menard was likely expelled from HOT on grounds of the 
CoC - you seem to confirm this).

It is probably not surprising to most people that what you describe to 
be the practical functions/effects of the HOT CoC are often the primary 
intentional effects of a CoC when it is imposed by a Corporation on 
their public multidirectional communication activities (think of 
facebook groups, a user support forum or some crowd sourcing project).  
Preventing such activities resulting in communication that is negative 
for the corporation in some form from the perspective of the leadership 
of the corporation, ensuring a comfortable environment for high value 
participants - if deemed necessary at the cost of taking actions 
against troublesome, inconvenient and lower value participants, such 
things are the main purposes of a CoC in such cases.

If the intentions for establishing the HOT CoC were similar is something 
i don't know (and you do not seem to give any indication to that 
either).  But since most CoCs are similar in structure and wording it 
is clear that most CoCs can be (ab)used to such purposes.

Regarding a hypothetical OSMF CoC - so far no serious advance has taken 
place towards this.  If such a thing happened the first things to 
discuss would be the purposes of such a CoC and the scope where it is 
meant to apply.  Depending on what is the result of such discussion it 
seems to me that given the nature of the OpenStreetMap project as a 
global, decentralized multicultural community creating a morally 
defensible CoC is likely an impossible task.

Something i have not figured out by the way is if the HOT CoC only 
applies on HOT related matters or if it is meant to apply with 
universal scope (i.e. if HOT members are required to follow it even 
when doing things unrelated to their HOT membership).  There are a 
number of comments by HOT members in recent discussion on this mailing 
list that i would deem in violation of the HOT CoC - but this assumes 
the CoC applies to HOT members here - which i am not sure about.

Christoph Hormann

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