[Osmf-talk] What's all this stuff about HOT, and how is it relevant for OSMF.

Mikel Maron mikel.maron at gmail.com
Mon Dec 4 03:21:08 UTC 2017

Hey everybody

A few notes, on all this discussion of HOT, and what’s actually relevant
from that for the OSMF.

I understand that this recent flurry of emails about HOT are pretty
confusing. We all had the same audacious dream to bring OpenStreetMap to
the humanitarian world, but we believed in different ways to accomplish it.
Whenever there has been a HOT election over the past four years, we’ve had
these arguments within HOT. It’s impossible for me to discuss adequately
without providing a tremendous amount of missing context in years of
history in HOT -- going all the way back to when I first started developing
the idea of OSM for disaster response in 2005 (
http://brainoff.com/weblog/2005/12/22/16). For those that are interested,
and to hopefully head off repeating these discussions again in the future,
I am working on writing up a full public history.

For now, sufficient to say, Nicolas and Severin are upset that HOT did not
take the direction they wanted. Both of them were employed by HOT and
served on the Board. As an organization with partnerships and contracts
with humanitarian organizations, and that works closely with responders
amidst disaster activations, I felt and still strongly feel HOT required
clear lines of accountability for some key roles and responsibilities
within the bigger open community. This is standard for any organization
operating in the humanitarian field at anything beyond small scale, and
really most any organization anywhere in the world.

This is settled within HOT. I think it is unfortunate that the largely
irrelevant fight continues in OSMF. There is no one standing in the way of
their efforts with Projet EOF, which has had good results, and they can
operate however they see fit. There is no monopoly of working with OSM in
disasters and preparedness, and Nicolas and Severin would find support for
their work from the broader community -- including from me. HOT is just one
of many interrelated organizations and initiatives working to better the
world within the OSM community.

So what about this is relevant for OSMF?

The main point of bringing up HOT seems to imply that the HOT Code of
Conduct led to silencing over disagreements, and that the same is a risk
for OSMF. However, HOT developed its code after the OSMF, and the starting
point as we developed that policy was the OSMF very own etiquette and
moderation rules. Etiquette rules have not been used unfairly in OSMF. And
neither have they in HOT. A few are understandably upset about that HOT was
not shaped in their vision, but that’s a separate issue from the Code of

The OSM Foundation serves a much different purpose and is very different
kind of organization than HOT. OSMF is the supporting legal entity at the
nexus of the complex and multifaceted OSM community. There are hundreds of
individual members, tens of thousands of mappers and organizers, local
groups in various states of organization to very informal meetups to formal
Local Chapters in their own right, developers companies and institutions
working within OSM some of which are Corporate Members. In short, OSMF
helps hold the enabling environment for an incredibly diverse array of
interests to work together in the map. It’s pretty unprecedented, and very
different from HOT.

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