[Osmf-talk] OSMF 2017: HOT US Inc's candidate silences and partiality, organizational storytelling why this has to be limited at the OSMF Board [was Re: What's all this stuff about HOT, and how is it relevant for OSMF.]

nicolas chavent nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
Fri Dec 8 16:31:22 UTC 2017

Hi all,

The OSMF Board election is coming to its end and our discussions
rightfully channel positions, questions and facts about OpenStreetMap
in all its aspects to the osmf list so that the membership makes an
informed vote electing its two representatives at the Board to help
supporting without controlling the project.

Among other key discussion topics, these election talks rightfully
feature the current influence of HOT US Inc over the foundation board
and its increased influence shall Heather Leson be elected.

Members (myself included) question Heather Leson run up as a matter of
principle [1].

Her OSMF agenda [2] and how it affects the election has been nicely
summed up by Simon Pool:

“It [“All that stuff about HOT and its relance to the OSMF election”
Mikel Maron] does show why it both current threads on osmf-talk are
completely on topic, Heathers election platform essentially offers to
(re-)form the OSMF (and by extension OSM) just as you did HOT. Hearing
out to a certain point those that lost out in HOT due to such a course
is just a part of determining if we want to elect somebody that is
proposing a similar course.” Simon Pool.

As it is normal for any candidate running in an election, Heather
Leson’s agenda has been questioned with respect to her professional
background in community management tied this to her four years of
service at the HOT US Inc Board. Out of those four years, she chose to
solely focus on her leading work to the delivery of a CoC for this
organization [3] she views as a critical asset for OSM. Yet Heather
Leson decided to excuse herself from answering clearly:

- Why the presence of many “hotties” at the Foundation Board is
beneficial for both organizations?

- Why as a relatively newcomer to OSMF, she chose to run for the OSMF
Board when serious and impact-full work can happen outside of the
Board (Working Groups, Advisory Board…)?

- Why as a HOT US Inc leaders she did not act and foster an internal
discussion about HOT US Inc presence at the OSMF Board prior and after
the 2015 OSMF election leaving HOT US Inc in Dec 2017, still without
any position on the matter?

- Why instead of favoring dialogue, she triggered a targeted use of
CoC complaints to silent two out of many hotties (and OSMF members0
who spoke in favor of diversity at OSMF in the 2015 election and act
to remove one of these two from its Board position? [4]

- Why she remained silent on May 2017 HOT US Inc CoC use case and my
questions in these election times about candidate designation process
and status of Conflict Of Interest (CoI) [5]?

- Why she did not comment upon how she had been instrumental during
her four years at the HOT US Inc Board working together with other
leaders to build and enforce that “specific” culture in the NGO. This
culture that singles HOT US Inc out from OSMF and other OSM
organizations where Freedom of Speech, Transparency and inclusivity is
more developed and membership more active and better informed than in
HOT US Inc [6].

This HOT US Inc specific culture is not without effects as shows
Heather Leson’s “selective” indignation when it comes to “difficult”
conversations over emails in this 2017 election. She is not without a
paradox here. On the one hand, reacting to Severin Menard yet tensed
but fact-grounded email, she strongly stated that “No one (full stop).
And, No one, OSMF and OSM should be treated this way. We can do more,
we can do better.”[7]. Sadly, she did not act upon Dale Kunce (HOT US
Inc president) replies [8],[9] to my two messages documenting 2015 [4]
& 2017 [5] disciplinary uses of CoC by HOT US Inc. I had been charged
without the support of any facts as of today of having “bullyied”, of
being “rude, [having] lied, [having] violated confidentially and
conflict of interest policies, and [having] sought to split the HOT
community [rather HOT US Inc members]”, having ”harass[ed] members”
and of having proved my “ability to lie, disregard facts, and be
hurtful to other members of the community [rather HOT US Inc members]”
in 2014 and 2015 HOT US Inc Board Elections. That’s unfortunately not
a surprise, Heather Leson, as a HOT US Inc member and director,
repeatedly remained silent about similar emails of that kind shot at
me during 2014 and 2015 elections. Yet. there is nothing in my 2015
OSMF election emails [10],[11],[12] of the violence embedded in Dale
2017 OSMF elections libelous emails yet deprived of facts [8],[9].
Strangely while my 2015 OSMF election emails [10],[11],[12] formed for
Heather Leson enough ground to instantly trigger a HOT US Inc CoC
procedure, Dale emails caused no reaction. Yet to quote her, as a
candidate, one can minimally say that Dale “questioned the integrity
of fellow members”. The same goes for the text of the CoC complaint
produced by the HOT US Inc Board (see details in email [4]). One would
have expect from Heather Leson to act by her own words and “do more
and to do better” as both an OSMF member in 2017 and a candidate
advocating for CoC in defense of minorities in the OSMF membership.
The silence observed so far questions her ability to act impartially
as an OSMF director in her future dealing with the OSMF members and
OSM community members.

It’s her choice to run for the OSMF Board without answering on facts
from her past in HOT US Inc despite having put her four years at its
Board where she made her way into OSM at the core of her manifesto.
Although it’s her very own right, yet it’s detrimental for OSMF
members knowledge of their candidate. It’s also puzzling as per her
ability to handle and answer OSM members and OSMF membership
questions, while the whole election discussions indicate that no easy
topics and choices are ahead of us in the OSMF to keep building OSM.
Such has been also her attitude in her past run-ups at HOT US Inc
Board elections or on similar uneasy questions.

Instead of hearing the candidate speaking directly, we have heard her
supporters out of which Dale and Mikel Maron (Chair Of Voting Members)
have been the more vocal. If Dale emails [8],[9] are illustrative of
the violent HOT US Inc internal communication style, Mikel’s messages
[13] are more subtle and allow to further describe the status of
storytelling (and not history) in HOT US Inc as a membership control

One can read Mikel’s emails [13] as an attempt to create convenient
smokescreens and not reply to:

- a series of articulated facts-grounded thematic conversations which
are descriptive of HOT US Inc

- Dale’s emails [8],[9].

Here’s how this works:

First, Mikel persists in his denial of HOT US Inc influence at the OSMF Board.

Second, Mikel strangely resorts to History in these conversations. We
learned that he is working on writing an history of HOT. Weirdly this
promise of his story of HOT US Inc in the making, seems sufficient in
his own eyes to provide enough facts for things to (magically?)
settle. Yet one has noticed:

- Like Heather Leson (former HOT US Inc Board Officer), Mikel (Chair
Of Voting Members) is silent on Dale (President) emails [8],[9].

- No fact has been brought to the knowledge of the OSMF members on my
3 emails (HOT US Inc 2015 [4], 2017 [5] CoC disciplinary uses and its
“specifics” organizational culture [6]) nor on Severin Menard detailed
timeline of the NGO [13].

Shall Mikel had been successful at producing his story of HOT US Inc,
OSMF members would only have been provided by solely a one-sided
version of the facts, his storytelling that is. A storytelling
regardless of its merits is by no means an history of HOT US inc, and
as such unlikely to settle things.

For an history of HOT US Inc to be written, archives need to be
opened, accessible and dealt with by "professional" historians along
the requirement of History as a discipline. But this contradicts HOT
US Inc information management practises and for given pieces of
information (like personal contracts among other items) is unlikely to
come forth anytime soon. Hence why a comprehensive history of the past
of HOT US Inc is yet to come and that the past of its organization
will only be accessible through fragmented sided possibly conflicting

Lastly there’s a form of paradox in Mikel Maron’s sudden interest in
the osmf list for History. Internally in the hot membership list, he
never shows any of such interest. Rather all elections or difficult
topics in the organization have been systematically approached by the
majority of HOT US Inc membership without any interest for things from
the Past. Bringing up things from the Past, or timelines was harshly
criticized as backward looking. As if an organization (or a
collective) can shape and build a robust future overcoming its
differences and difficulties without being cognizant of its past.
That’s another reason why this “specific” HOT US Inc culture has to be
limited in its influence at the Board of the foundation.


[1]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2017-November/004520.html

[2]: http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Heather%20Leson/diary/42706

[3]: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xb-SPADtSbgwl6mAgglHMPHpknt-E7lKRoIcSbW431A/edit

[4]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2017-December/004576.html

[5]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2017-December/004590.html

[6]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2017-December/004740.html

[7]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2017-November/004445.html

[8]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2017-December/004595.html

[9]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2017-December/004607.html

[10]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2015-November/003500.html

[11]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2015-November/003518.html

[12]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2015-December/003603.html

[13]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2017-December/004716.html

[14]: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2017-December/004609.html

On Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 7:30 PM, Simon Poole <simon at poole.ch> wrote:
> Am 04.12.2017 um 18:14 schrieb Mikel Maron:
> > everybody can decide for themselves
> Amen!
> > that is all not true
> That's all true history, but I just don't think you know me well enough to know my whole history, and we're focusing on HOT because it's been (unfairly) made an election issue.
> What I disagree with -- that I represent the humanitarian sector on the Board. Any more than I represent the UK community or craftmappers (I mapped an entire city by bicycle) or Mapbox (my employer) or the DWG (which I started) or State of the Map (which I am actively engaged in).
> I specifically avoided using "represent", and wrote "..limiting itself to a presence of a maximum of two seats .." to avoid yet another discussion of if representation is a thing on the OSMF board. There is no requirement to disclose any arrangements of any kind around standing for election so in the end we don't and can't know except if voluntarily declared.  What we can reasonably deduce is that the direct employers are OK with it.
> So the question is more: are you heavily involved in the humanitarian sector or not?
> Simon
> On Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 11:42 AM, Simon Poole <simon at poole.ch> wrote:
>> Am 04.12.2017 um 17:14 schrieb Mikel Maron:
>> Simon, thanks. I think there's a couple misunderstandings though.
>> > Heathers election platform essentially offers to (re-)form the OSMF (and by extension OSM) just as you did HOT
>> I've seen nothing from Heather that suggests "reforming" OSMF and OSM. Rather her vision fits nicely with the current course and ideas which the Board and Foundation. Helping to engage more members and volunteers in our efforts is something we all want.
>> Do I really have to start quoting page after page from Heather, I suspect we've all already read her manifest, and everybody can decide for themselves.
>> > the humanitarian sector voluntarily  limiting itself to a presence of a maximum of two seats on the OSMF board  (note a limit not an entitlement). This should encompasses employees and equivalent of such organisations, larger funders and organisations that derive a majority of their income from such organisations.
>> So, there are currently zero people on the Board "from the humanitarian sector". I don't know if this limit would be valid or not, but it's definitely not relevant for the current election.
>> Sorry you just linked to a piece with the history of HOT mainly featuring you, made a longish statement that boils down to that HOT was all your idea  and formed according to your vision, you work for a company that, well it was actually you, announced strategic alignment with HOT, you've worked professionally in the filed, you hold a formal position inside HOT and are a voting member and then you turn around and say that is all not true?
>> Simon
>> -Mikel
>> On Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 7:09 AM, Simon Poole <simon at poole.ch> wrote:
>>> Am 04.12.2017 um 04:21 schrieb Mikel Maron:
>>> Hey everybody
>>> A few notes, on all this discussion of HOT, and what’s actually relevant from that for the OSMF.
>>> Thank Mikel for clarifying this.
>>> It does show why it both current threads on osmf-talk are completely on topic, Heathers election platform essentially offers to (re-)form the OSMF (and by extension OSM) just as you did HOT. Hearing out to a certain point those that lost out in HOT due to such a course is just a part of determining if we want to elect somebody that is proposing a similar course.
>>> Now I'm not sure there is much point in hearing the nitty-gritty details of who did what, because in the end what does count, is that in the end an identifiable sub-group couldn't continue on working inside HOT, including the co-founder. That is quite OK in a startuppy kind of way (we can wait for the cinematic version in "The Humanitarian Network" :-)), but as you say it can not be a role model for OSM.
>>> Given the perceived need for strong leadership, clear command structures and responsibilities in the humanitarian sector that you describe, it is unlikely the the influence of the humanitarian sector topic will be going away and will continue to have the potential for lots of strife: what about the humanitarian sector voluntarily  limiting itself to a presence of a maximum of two seats on the OSMF board (note a limit not an entitlement). This should encompasses employees and equivalent of such organisations, larger funders and organisations that derive a majority of their income from such organisations.
>>> Simon
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> osmf-talk mailing list
>>> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
>>> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk
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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
Skype: c_nicolas
Twitter: nicolas_chavent

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