[Osmf-talk] Balancing the presence of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team at the OSM Foundation in 2017

Rod Bera rod at goarem.org
Sun Dec 3 20:54:27 UTC 2017

Hi there,

I haven't been active recently on the mapping front by lack of time, and
I certainly hadn't planned to put my 2 cents into this year's election

But like a number of other people I am worried by this feeling of déjà
vu, which brings us back to 2015's OSMF board election.

Nico reminded us of the "[Osmf-talk] Balancing the presence of the
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT US Inc) in the OpenStreetMap
Foundation" thread from december 2015.

There is also "[Osmf-talk] HOT discontent - what can we learn?"
and "[Osmf-talk] balancing the presence.... (short)" for those who care.

On Dec. 3 2015 I wrote the following, which still holds.

The risk I see, would a specific group take control of OSM, is to have
the harmony broken, with some people in charge having discretionary
prerogatives, even a power to eject individuals from OSM.
Having OSM run for the benefits of a minority rather than the community
would also create anger, distrust, and harm the project as a whole. This
is what happened in HOT, and now some of those responsible for what HOT
has become are now running for OSMF board.
And this is precisely what I don't want to risk for OSM.

Of course I can't be sure of how a HOT majority at OSMF board would
behave, but I have a negative feeling, with the tasking manager of HOT
now putting itself as the OSM tasking manager with at the same time
mechanisms set by HOT to increase the control they have on this tool
which had before become a de facto common asset of OSM (as long as HOT
was not exerting too much control on it, i.e. on who can or can't post a
task). And still at the same time they added there a donate button...
for the benefit of HOT.

Now, are these candidacies a concerted effort from HOT (or from those
who took over HOT some years ago) to take over OSM, I can't tell for
sure, but my insight from HOT makes me worry.

Besides, in my opinion it is not right nor good to have a group
over-represented on OSMF's board, as it doesn't reflect the diversity of
the community.

So, nothing new, really (except: I left HOT in disgust. And also, things
evolved on the TM issue...).

Please carefully consider the danger of increasing the weight of a
single organisation in the board.
Please also keep in mind that the CoC in HOT membership has been
consistently used to repress and silent minorities.
Please be careful not to let the then deleterious practices and rules in
use in HOT be imported into the OSMF board and OSM as a whole.

I myself obviously share Frederik's opinion on proportional representation.



On 29/11/17 17:33, Christoph Hormann wrote:
> On Wednesday 29 November 2017, Frederik Ramm wrote:
>> I think you might have a misconception about the OSMF board, that
>> might lead to a point where you don't even want to talk to them
>> because you think they are "HOT dominated" anyway. Please understand
>> that this is not the case; even those on our current board who have
>> the closest ties to HOT, have never suggested anything that would
>> give HOT an unfair advantage. If, say, Projet EOF contacted us about
>> something, they would be treated exactly the same as HOT.
> But i think the Board also needs to understand that this is about 
> perception just as much as about anything else.  If the OSM community 
> to a significant percentage has the impression the OSMF is dominated by 
> certain special interest - be that HOT or corporate interests due to 
> many of the board members being employed by corporations connected to 
> OSM in some form - this will have a negative impact on the OSMFs 
> ability to fulfill its mission.
> You can influence perception through communication (like you did with 
> your mail or candidates do with their campaigns) and through policy 
> changes like rules about conflicts of interest but the most weighty 
> influences on perception are always actions - either present or past 
> ones.
> Dismissing the perception of an unbalance in the representation of the 
> OSM community by the board as misguided, offensive or irrelevant is not 
> a very sensible thing to do.
> Long story short: Proportional representation of the OSM community in 
> the OSMF members and on the OSMF board is very important - no matter 
> how capable the board members consider themselves to be to distance 
> themselves from their own background and personal interests and 
> selflessly represent the OSM community.

Rod Béra,  MCF Géomatique                /   Lecturer, Geomatics
           et SIG pour l'Environnement  /    and Environmental GIS
Agrocampus-Ouest|65 r.Saint-Brieuc|CS84215|35042 Rennes cedex|France
+33 (0) 223 48 5553 - roderic.bera at agrocampus-ouest.fr

More information about the osmf-talk mailing list