[Osmf-talk] Candidacy: OSMF Board

Heather Leson heatherleson at gmail.com
Thu Nov 23 17:36:21 UTC 2017

Dear OSMF members,

Community is hard and beautiful. [1] Thanks Sev, for sharing the data and
for your feedback on the quality of my mapping. While I believe that it
would be helpful to give feedback on mapping to the person rather than
posting to a public list, as a contributor to OSM, we try to have thicker
skin. In my time volunteering to support OSM, I have never claimed to be a
master editor of the map. Should we really organize ourselves in a way
where a volunteer willing to offer skills and time to our community must
follow this prescriptive path? Does this behaviour encourage new mappers?
How might we learn from engagement tactics from other open source
organizations?[2]  To be honest, I dream of OSM having a culture of
kindness and mentorship in person and on all our community channels.

Thank you for sharing some examples of events. At the Nairobi Crisismappers
Conference, I worked with the organizers to support this event and
conducted outreach. This included supporting Sev, Ketty, Olu, Josh, Mikel,
Chad, and others. It was indeed a team effort and much fun. The IEEE event
happened because I negotiated with the organizers then invited Pierre and
Samuel to speak. I also spent time in my network to gain support for the
talk and to have OSM featured. Part of being a leader is putting others in
the spotlight and doing the activities to support the ‘mapping’. The
November 15th event was hosted at my workplace. I made all the arrangements
(location, food, advertising, outreach) including recruiting participants,
speakers, and mappers to support. It takes all kinds, and many skill sets,
to pull this off at the scale at which we work. It seems unfair that I
would be publicly discredited for my contributions because those
contributions do not match your definition of community volunteer and
champion. This brings up the point - what kind of culture do we have at OSM
if the leaders or those who want to help are treated with such eager
malalignment? I am not alone in this targeting, but is this really the user
experience we want at OSM? And, is this how we want people to perceive OSM
and OSMF when they read public lists or hear about this type of behaviour?

Being a Board Member is about strategic planning, organizational
development, and decision-making. HOT’s board in the early years was an
operational board. We have finally moved to more of a strategic board,
which I think fits with the goals of OSM for boards. I appreciate that you
have your viewpoints during my 4 years on the HOT board, even if the tone
is less than respectful. It is true that I aimed to focus on fundraising
when I joined. The reality was that the issues of governance,
organizational development, and community became a higher priority. That
being said, I helped Kate Chapman write grant applications including the
successful Humanitarian Innovation Fund grant which resulted in
OpenAerialMap Funding [3] and other grants. I encourage people to review
the HOT board minutes [4]

In 2015, HOT’s Board did indeed have a multiple number of priority issues,
including finances. That year, in addition to my other board duties, I lead
the hiring process and procedures for recruitment for a new Executive
Director. Board members, in general, for any organization, are not expected
to volunteer their time more than 5 -10 hours a month.[5] I can honestly
say that there were weeks that I volunteered upwards of 15 - 20 hours
responding to the changes in HOT that year, including the Nepal Earthquake
activation. Yes, I wanted it to be around 5 hours a week, because I had a
full time job and wanted a personal life. Not that I should ever have to
justify my contributions as a volunteer to an open source project, but part
of the reason that I did not map during that period is that my time
contributing was fully focused on the other responsibilities.
Organizational Development is at the core of any community. This means
accepting diverse skills and people to expand and support the ‘core
operation’.  We simply need to be more functional and honest with ourselves
- why is it so hard in OMSF to open up? Anyways, it is inappropriate of me
to comment on all the board activites that year due to disclosure rules.
The Board and Member meeting minutes have details.

The comments to this thread are indicative to the true state of experience.
I am thankful for the supportive comments and to redirect the conversation
to running the OSMF board. However, I will state again, as I mentioned in
my diary entry[6], that OSMF needs a Code of Conduct that is enforced. This
is a standard practice in open source communities.

Lastly, this note is unbecoming in tone and content. It attacks my
character, my professionalism, my volunteer contributions, and my career. I
can honestly say that I would spend my time as your OSMF leader helping us
have a culture of trust and kindness with accountability. No one should
have to suffer this kind of mistreatment.



[2] Community Roundtable  http://www.communityroundtable.com/ ; Art of
Community http://www.artofcommunityonline.org/ ; David Eaves on Django
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzGi1DfbZMI ; and opensource.com

[3] https://openaerialmap.org/

[4] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Humanitarian_OSM_Team/Meetings

[5] https://boardsource.org/

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

Heather Leson
heatherleson at gmail.com
Twitter/skype: HeatherLeson
Blog: textontechs.com

On Thu, Nov 23, 2017 at 12:07 AM, Severin Menard <severin.menard at gmail.com>

> Heather,
> As of today, since you created your OSM account in July 11th, 2011, you
> have been active as a mapper over 11 days, adding a total of 1 new highway,
> 2 names, and 302 buildings[1]. No activity at all during two years during
> which you were a HOT US Inc board director then its President. With 331
> changesets, I guess you are one of the very rarest mappers to have produced
> more changesets than buildings, actually because you have the totally
> newbie habit to upload every single building you trace with your very
> favourite editor iD[2], some of them being not even squared[3]... Seeking
> to join the board of the OSM Foundation with such a high OSM profile is
> really shameless.
> Of course you do not emphasize this and you prefer argue in the Election
> wiki talk page that you have been an intense promoter of OSM and “hosted
> mapathons”. But actually no, you have not. In any event you are part of,
> you manage to have someone else having the required skills to run the
> mapathon or deliver the . It was myself in 2013 International Conference of
> Crisis Mappers in Nairobi, Pierre Béland and Samuel Paul Alcé in 2014 IEEE
> Canada International Humanitarian Technology Conference in Toronto and
> apparently on November 15th it was this lady[4] during the 35 people
> mapathon you mention in the Election wiki talk page.
> The goals you present in your Manifesto about community building and
> governance mix platitudes (thank you for teaching the OSM community that
> « Community-building is an essential ingredient in building good governance
> and expanding support », I am sure that it had never come in mind to any
> member of this list before) and issues that have been discussing for years
> like diversity, though it is strange that you did not figure out so far
> that the OSM ecosystem, including the one involved in the Foundation, is
> not reduced only to “editing and building technology” people but has a
> large diversity of skills. The diversity issue is much more related to
> gender, language and economical context balances.
> Anyway, you might compensate by a huge involvement in board related
> activities. But not even this. For HOT US Inc, then totally unknown both
> from OSM and the humanitarian field, you managed to directly join the board
> in 2013, especially to make the NGO benefit of your high capacity in
> fund-raising. For years, you did not disclose anything about it, pretending
> confidentiality, but emphasized this supposed activity for being
> re-elected, even if you did not collect a dime during this period. I was
> also member of the HOT US Inc board when the NGO faced financial issues mid
> 2015 due to jeopardized management and, having to make the fund-raising
> becomes a reality, we discovered that you had not even produced a basic
> strategic document so far, and other board members had to do it. And during
> these hard weeks, you even complained once that you had to dedicate 5 hours
> a week to HOT US Inc. I do not know if you realize how many hours many here
> dedicate to OSM every week.
> So, why are you willing so much to join the board of a community of doers
> without being a doer yourself within this community? Just to pin the OSMF
> board in your collection of voluntary based and open projects you “led” the
> same way, and therefore continue to boost your CV: according to your HOT US
> Inc profile[5], OSMF would at least join the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap
> Team, Crisis Mappers Network, Open Knowledge Foundation, Ushahidi, Random
> Hacks of Kindness, Mozilla.
> But if ever someone in this list thinks it might somehow be interesting to
> have among the OSMF board members a totally inactive contributor with a
> very limited knowledge about what OSM is, but with links with other open
> source based communities, please keep in mind that Heather is not an
> inoffensive collector of open source projects board medals.
> Electing Heather at the OSMF Board membership would reconstitute the
> former trio who in the past turned the originally open, horizontal, and
> community rooted project into the very classic NGO HOT US Inc become,
> highly tight with many organizations from the USA soft power (American Red
> Cross, USAID, Peace Corps, US State Department...[6]), with quite an opaque
> governance even for its voting members and internal repressive mechanisms
> for any member defending other vision and practices for the NGO or
> complaining about what is going on. I am not surprised at all to learn that
> Heather is currently focus on reviewing the HOT US Inc Code of Conduct (for
> everyone to understand: this means turning it more severe for members).
> I really encourage the OSMF voting members not to make this happen.
> Sincerely,
> Severin (sev_osm)
> [1] http://hdyc.neis-one.org/?Heather%20Leson
> [2] https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Heather%20Leson/history#
> map=15/18.9953/-72.4767
> [3] https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/53780169
> [4] https://twitter.com/HeatherLeson/status/930800399451410433
> [5] https://www.hotosm.org/users/heather
> [6] https://www.hotosm.org/partnerships
> 2017-11-13 20:02 GMT+01:00 Heather Leson <heatherleson at gmail.com>:
>> Dear colleagues,
>> I seek your support for the position of OSMF Board Member. Over the
>> years, I have been so happy to meet and connect with OSMers. Please find my
>> candidate statement:
>> http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Heather%20Leson/diary/42706
>> Thanks in advance for your consideration.  Looking forward to our
>> conversations.
>> Heather
>> Heather Leson
>> heatherleson at gmail.com
>> Twitter/skype: HeatherLeson
>> Blog: textontechs.com
>> _______________________________________________
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>> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
>> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk
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