[Osmf-talk] May 2017 use of Code Of Conduct (CoC) for Membership control in HOT US Inc internal governance

Nathaniel V. Kelso nvkelso at gmail.com
Sat Dec 2 00:37:05 UTC 2017

We seriously need to move on from the bullying here (there's no other way
to describe it) if we are as a community to grow up and focus on the
mapping at hand.


On Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 2:13 PM, Michelle Steigerwalt <msteigerwalt at gmail.com
> wrote:

> > I have no problem with convincing the community to move in another
> direction if done in a civil way.
> That last qualifier is pretty ambiguous and could be used against almost
> anyone who disagrees with the person who has the power to determine what
> constitutes a "civil" discussion.
> > The fact that he has continually brought the issue here shows how much
> he does not respect HOT and civility.
> For example, I'd have a different definition.  To me, a new member and
> impartial observer, he seems perfectly civil.
> Perhaps he continues to bring the issue out because he continues to
> believe it's relevant to the discussion.
> > Our membership is now much more civil and the tone of our conversations
> is positive.
> Are you equating "civil" and "positive"?  I've found the most valuable
> contributions to discussions tend to be the ones that make uncomfortable
> observations and force the community to be self reflective.
> Positivity is great to maintain the impression that everything is working
> smoothly, but it can't address serious problems or facilitate open and
> earnest debates.
> > But the time has come for enough to be enough and call out the bully
> for who and what he is.
> This impression might be related to the fact that the two of you seem to
> have a serious disagreement.
> What do you mean by "bully" in a general sense, besides someone who
> strongly states his opposition to you on policy matters?
> -- Michelle
> On Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 5:00 PM, Dale Kunce <dale.kunce at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Michelle,
>> Both great points.
>> I have no problem with convincing the community to move in another
>> direction if done in a civil way. Unfortunately, Nico did harass members
>> after several private and written warnings. The fact that he has
>> continually brought the issue here shows how much he does not respect HOT
>> and civility. As Mikel said earlier the HOT community welcomes all internal
>> conversations and debates. We have elections and a board to help settle
>> these issues. What we do not welcome are lies, name calling, and
>> non-positive communication.
>> I agree that simply asking rude members to go away is not good for the
>> community. We struggled for years with the issue, finding the right amount
>> of debate and conversation. Trust me when I say that we've heard these
>> issues out before. We had many votes and board elections. All of which
>> illustrated Nico's, ability to lie, disregard facts, and be hurtful to
>> other members of the community. The membership and the board chose to go in
>> a direction that Nico disagrees with that he will never agree with. Our
>> membership is now much more civil and the tone of our conversations is
>> positive. We do not continually chase him around OSM forums to disparage
>> his name as he has done to Heather and other HOT members here, even though
>> I would have facts on my side. We are trying to move on.
>> I'm not a frequent poster to this email list or any list for that matter.
>> But the time has come for enough to be enough and call out the bully for
>> who and what he is.
>> On Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 1:34 PM, Michelle Steigerwalt <
>> msteigerwalt at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> > Not because HOT has some anti-democratic bent but because you [...]
>>> sought to split the HOT community.
>>> What's the difference between splitting the community and convincing
>>> segments of the community to move in a new direction?
>>> Codes of Conduct are great, but they should be limited to preventing
>>> harassment against members, and perhaps encouraging (but not enforcing) a
>>> particular style of communication through some well-written guidelines that
>>> can be cited during heated discussions.
>>> They definitely shouldn't be used to suppress passionate debates and
>>> member-driven movements in the name of community cohesion.
>>> If "rude" members are expressing themselves in an angry manner, it's
>>> critical to understand why they're so angry, and to make changes to
>>> alleviate these concerns.  Voting the angry members off the island doesn't
>>> solve the root problem.
>>> -- Michelle
>>> On Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 4:16 PM, Dale Kunce <dale.kunce at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Nico,
>>>> I'm responding here but please consider this a response to all of your
>>>> posts on multiple threads.
>>>> You and Sev bullied the HOT community for years, now subjecting others
>>>> to the same bullying all to try and settle old scores. It needs to stop.
>>>> The HOT community suffered from these types of posts and false accusations
>>>> for years and collectively decided you are wrong. Your vitriol and constant
>>>> accusations are devoid of fact, were and are detrimental to the positive
>>>> community we are focused on modeling and building. Yes, you've been subject
>>>> to Code of Conduct violations in the past, with reason. Not because HOT has
>>>> some anti-democratic bent but because you were rude, lied, violated
>>>> confidentially and conflict of interest policies, and sought to split the
>>>> HOT community.
>>>> Sev continually violated his legal obligations as a HOT Board. No one
>>>> incident lead to his removal but a pattern of repeated violations of his
>>>> legal obligations as a board member, which put HOT in legal risk. I won't
>>>> go into detail because I'm under legal obligation not to as a member of
>>>> that board. I was on the board and voted to for his removal, it was one of
>>>> the hardest things I've had to do in HOT. Following our bylaws, we asked
>>>> the membership to vote for his dismissal. The reasons presented to the
>>>> membership at that time was sufficient that a 2/3 majority voted to remove
>>>> him.
>>>> HOT is a better place now that these types of things don't happen. They
>>>> don't happen anymore because we enforce our Code of Conduct. Creating a
>>>> safe place and kicking out the bullies is hard work. It took HOT years to
>>>> recognize the cause of our internal animosity and to work on ways to build
>>>> a more inclusive collaborative community. We did this through the creation
>>>> of Community and Governance Working Groups (open to all members). We
>>>> developed mechanisms, approved by the membership, to help make our
>>>> conversations more productive. This is the HOT Code of Conduct
>>>> <https://www.hotosm.org/hot_code_of_conduct>. Nothing here is
>>>> offensive, nothing here should cause you to not discuss an issue, or speak
>>>> your mind. There are positive ways to talk with and respect one another and
>>>> still have disagreements. You've shown repeatedly that you cannot, thus the
>>>> code of conduct violations.
>>>> I'm sad to see that the old wounds, slights, and arguments from HOTs
>>>> past continue to be resurrected every year by the same few. I wish and hope
>>>> that we could focus on the future of OSM instead of continually looking
>>>> backward at the same arguments from the same people.
>>>> Dale
>>>> On Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 11:36 AM, nicolas chavent <
>>>> nicolas.chavent at gmail.com> 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] and Heather Leson featured in
>>>>> his manifesto [3] 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.
>>>>> How Heather Leson triggered in HOT US Inc the use of CoC after the
>>>>> 2015 OSMF Board elections against only two (myself and Severin
>>>>> Menard) of many “hotties” with a double affiliation at the OSMF who
>>>>> took part in the electoral discussions of the Foundation showed 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. [4].
>>>>> In May 2017, the HOT US Inc Board used again CoC to prevent a
>>>>> discussion about Conflict Of Interest (CoI) and the solution to
>>>>> replace a Board Member who had to resign in order to comply with the
>>>>> CoI polity of its organization. That’s another CoC case and another *specific
>>>>> reason *for balancing the presence of HOT US Inc reps at the OSMF
>>>>> Board.
>>>>> After April 2017 HOT US Inc Board election [5], in May 2017 Jorieke
>>>>> Vyckle decided to step down from the Board of HOT US Inc. She joined
>>>>> Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) as TheMissingMap project coordinator.
>>>>> And with Pete Masters (MSF) staff there were 2 MSF staffs at the HOT
>>>>> US Inc Board. MSF CoI policy is strict and does not allow more than 1
>>>>> MSF Employee at the Board of a partnering organization.
>>>>> The Board via Mikel Maron, Chair of Voting Members (or Chairman),
>>>>> communicated to the members that the Board had decided to call for a
>>>>> General Assembly and appoint as Board Officer the first non elected
>>>>> candidate of April 2017.
>>>>> In the past similar situations developed in HOT US Inc (due to
>>>>> compliance of Boad Officers with CoI of their organizations World
>>>>> Bank, White House, MSF). Never the solution decided at Board level
>>>>> had been implemented. Either an election was run (Feb 2013 [6], June 2015
>>>>> [7])
>>>>> When I was at the Board with Pierre Beland, the World Bank CoI forced
>>>>> a Board Member to step down, and Mikel sought already to enforce the
>>>>> appointment of Heather Leson as first non-elected candidate of the
>>>>> 2012 Election. The rationale for this was to "save time" shall this result
>>>>> into a gray democratic legitimacy for someone who had then NO experience in
>>>>> OSM and HOT. Pierre and I opposed Mikel and organized an election
>>>>> process which brought Heather Leson to the Board.
>>>>> I therefore emailed the membership on two points :
>>>>> * Call for discussions on how to best replace the resigning member and
>>>>> stick to best past practises so that the membership gave full legitimacy to
>>>>> the new Board officer.
>>>>> * Call for discussions on CoI in HOT US Inc and making clear that we
>>>>> were loosing our autonomy as an Org with respect to the
>>>>> partner-organization represented at our Board.
>>>>> I used the same contents and tone that I used in my 2015 HOT US Inc
>>>>> run up for the Board as well as one post on the public hot-mailing list [8]
>>>>> on this matter since they had been found acceptable like all election
>>>>> communications of this election by Russel Deffner the Chair of Voting
>>>>> Members.
>>>>> The result has been two fold :
>>>>> 1.  Mikel Maron as Chairman warned the members to contribute to the
>>>>> discussions that I initiated on the internal hot membership list that
>>>>> depending on their writing and contents they would be subject to CoC
>>>>> Discussions about alternatives to the Board decision were stopped with
>>>>> CoC complaints procedures stressed out by the Chair of Voting members
>>>>> ; email reads as below:
>>>>> * ---------- Forwarded message ----------*
>>>>> * From: <mikel.maron at hotosm.org>*
>>>>> * Date: Sat, May 13, 2017 at 2:02 AM*
>>>>> * Subject: Re: [hotosm-membership] Changes on the Board*
>>>>> * To: Membership <membership at hotosm.org>*
>>>>> * Members*
>>>>> * Allow me to clarify after the previous message. HOT maintains a
>>>>> strong Conflict of Interest policy that requires disclosure and recusal
>>>>> from any decision making that may impact a material interest of a Board
>>>>> member. This policy has served HOT well. Other organizations have different
>>>>> requirements in handling Conflict of Interest. In the case of Jorieke, she
>>>>> is following MSF requirements, and we are sad to see her go but
>>>>> understanding.*
>>>>> * The Board is recommending a Special Meeting where the membership
>>>>> will vote to fill the vacancy left by Jorieke with Slayer. We have only
>>>>> last month completed an election process. Slayer was the only additional
>>>>> member to run for the Board. Considering this, the sensible decision of the
>>>>> Board is to ask the membership to vote on Slayer at an upcoming Special
>>>>> Meeting. If a majority of those present at the meeting vote for Slayer, he
>>>>> will be elected. This is in accordance with the Bylaws governing HOT.*
>>>>> * If you have any other questions on Conflict of Interest or the
>>>>> upcoming election, please contact me directly at this point, and I will
>>>>> answer any questions. Please also keep in mind our Code of Conduct in any
>>>>> further posts on this mailing list.*
>>>>> * -Mikel*
>>>>> 2. I was notified about the initiation of CoC complaint procedure
>>>>> which read as follow
>>>>> Apparently the topics and contents of discussions carried out on the
>>>>> internal HOT US Inc membership list which were deemed compliant with
>>>>> CoC requirements in 2015 HOT US Inc Election by our Chairman Russell
>>>>> Deffner, is no longer compliant with CoC requirements in 2017 by his
>>>>> replacement Mikel Maron.
>>>>> That’s indicative of a significant shrinking of Freedom Of Speech
>>>>> within HOT US Inc which singles itself out from other OSM
>>>>> organizations and OSMF to start with
>>>>> *---------- Forwarded message ----------*
>>>>> * From: Mikel Maron <mikel.maron at hotosm.org>*
>>>>> * Date: Sun, May 14, 2017 at 4:13 PM*
>>>>> * Subject: Moderation*
>>>>> * To: Nicolas Chavent <nicolas.chavent at gmail.com <http://gmail.com>>*
>>>>> * Cc: HOT Board <board at hotosm.org>*
>>>>> * Nicolas*
>>>>> * Code of Conduct complaint procedures have been initiated following
>>>>> your post to the HOT membership mailing list. You will be hearing
>>>>> additional information as the process takes the next steps. No actions or
>>>>> communications are required from you at the moment.*
>>>>> * During the process, your messages to the membership mailing list
>>>>> will be moderated. Messages from you on different topics than the current
>>>>> complaint, and that meet the standard for good communication, may be
>>>>> approved. The complaint procedures may take into account any subsequent
>>>>> communications by you, whether direct, attempted public posts, or public
>>>>> posts.*
>>>>> * Sincerely*
>>>>> * Chair of Voting Members*
>>>>> So far, I did not hear back from my Chair of Voting Members nor my
>>>>> Board, which suggests:
>>>>> - A basic lack of respect for the person: “moderation” or limitation
>>>>> of Freedom of Speeches is not a trivial thing
>>>>> - A complete lack of the Right of the Defendant in this process
>>>>> - HOT US Inc CoC freshly released package and its enforcement has its
>>>>> flaws.
>>>>> Overall for the OSMF 2017 this episode stresses that:
>>>>> - CoC has to be approached carefully shall we do not want them to be
>>>>> part of membership/community control mechanisms
>>>>> - The way that CoC has been used in HOT US Inc in 2015 and 2017 to
>>>>> sanction, exclude, silent members and prevent discussions to happen on
>>>>> given topics (CoI, governance…) is indicative of a specific
>>>>> organizational democratic culture which singled it out. This culture
>>>>> contradicts the principles of internal democracy (right to information,
>>>>> freedom of speech, right of the defendants…) which form the basis of any
>>>>> real active and informed membership based organizations that
>>>>> OpenSource, OpenData and OpenStreetMap organizations are putting
>>>>> rightfully upfront.
>>>>> *Hence why there are both principled and specific reasons to balance
>>>>> HOT US Inc influence at the OSMF, favor diversity and mitigate the risks
>>>>> that go with this HOT US Inc organizational culture*
>>>>> Best,
>>>>> Nicolas
>>>>> [1]: https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Nicolas%20Chavent/diary/42842
>>>>> [2]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2017-Nov
>>>>> ember/thread.html
>>>>> [3]: http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Heather%20Leson/diary/42706
>>>>> [4]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2017-Dec
>>>>> ember/004576.html
>>>>> [5]: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Humanitarian_OSM_Team/Boa
>>>>> rd_Elections_2017#Board_Election_Results
>>>>> [6]: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Humanitarian_OSM_Team/Boa
>>>>> rd_Elections_2013_02#Nominations_to_replace_the_vacant_Board_Seat
>>>>> [7]: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Humanitarian_OSM_Team/Boa
>>>>> rd_Elections_June_2015
>>>>> [8]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/hot/2015-March/007650.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 <+33%206%2052%2040%2078%2020>
>>>>> Mobile (Bénin): +22962 55 85 91 <+229%2062%2055%2085%2091>
>>>>> Email: nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
>>>>> Skype: c_nicolas
>>>>> Twitter: nicolas_chavent
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> osmf-talk mailing list
>>>>> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
>>>>> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk
>>>> --
>>>> sent from my mobile device
>>>> Dale Kunce
>>>> http://normalhabit.com
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> osmf-talk mailing list
>>>> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
>>>> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk
>> --
>> sent from my mobile device
>> Dale Kunce
>> http://normalhabit.com
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