[Osmf-talk] Candidacy: OSMF Board

martin at noblecourt.eu martin at noblecourt.eu
Thu Nov 23 18:46:43 UTC 2017

Dear OSMF members,

I have always been supportive of Mikel's effort to bring more members 
into the Foundation, and was considering trying to push more of our 
volunteers to join. However, this kind of discussions is clearly a 
reason not to do it.

I strongly dislike the hierarchy between members set up by some on this 
thread based on particular affiliations. If you want full disclosure, 
here are my affiliations by order of attachment (subjectively):
1) CartONG, the organization I work for and in which I do most of my OSM 
mapping (as well as a lot of other non-OSM related activities). That 
being said, I speak here on my own behalf and not the organization's
2) the global OSM ecosystem, not represented by any organization in 
particular, for the wonderful people it includes and fantastic promises 
of the project
3) the OSM French community, both a great ecosystem, and also friends 
4) HOT as an organization, on which I'm a voting member, which doesn't 
mean I agree to all the choices made by this NGO and speak on its behalf 
5) OSM Foundation I joined last year, with which the only contacts I've 
had so far are messages on this list alternating heated discussions 
about old hatred and debates newbies cannot even start to grasp - plus a 
few institutional announcements

I'm also French, I cannot tell what the "French culture" deems 
acceptable in general but in my (personal) opinion Séverin's words were 
hurtful, and he could have expressed exactly the same ideas without 
using this tone. As some mentioned, he's actually raising a relevant 
debate (should we select good mappers or rather advocates for the board? 
or people doing both?) that we'll now never have because of his tone. 
And no, to me saying that is not "deflecting", it's expressing my point 
of view.

To conclude, I think this discussion is a sad illustration of why so 
many mappers (including serious ones according to Séverin's criteria) 
and even whole chapters are not more involved in the OSMF and more 
largely OSM community governance. I also question the actual 
representativeness of the discussion on this list compared to what we'd 
heard if listening to the global OSM ecosystem.

I must also acknowledge the fact I don't provide any solution here (not 
a big fan of code of conducts) but given the recurring issues large 
volunteers and open-sources effort undertake, it would certainly be 
useful to look a bit outside of our tiny ecosystem.

Finally, I support Simon's last message to rather ask candidates to 
clarify their positions towards key choices for the OSM community today. 
It would certainly create a more useful and pleasant discussion.

Best regards.


On 23/11/2017 18:36, Heather Leson wrote:
> 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.
> Heather
> [1]
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Humanitarian_OSM_Team/Working_groups/Community/HOT_Resolution_Process
> [8]
> [2] Community Roundtable  http://www.communityroundtable.com/ [9] ;
> Art of Community http://www.artofcommunityonline.org/ [10] ; David
> Eaves on Django http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzGi1DfbZMI [11] ; and
> opensource.com [12]
> [3] https://openaerialmap.org/ [13]
> [4] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Humanitarian_OSM_Team/Meetings
> [14]
> [5] https://boardsource.org/ [15]
> [6] http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Heather%20Leson/diary/42706 [1]
> Heather Leson
> heatherleson at gmail.com
> Twitter/skype: HeatherLeson
> Blog: textontechs.com [2]
> On Thu, Nov 23, 2017 at 12:07 AM, Severin Menard
> <severin.menard at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 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 [4]
>> [2]
> https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Heather%20Leson/history#map=15/18.9953/-72.4767
>> [3] https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/53780169 [5]
>> [4] https://twitter.com/HeatherLeson/status/930800399451410433 [6]
>> [5] https://www.hotosm.org/users/heather [7]
>> [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 [1]
>>> Thanks in advance for your consideration. Looking forward to our
>>> conversations.
>>> Heather
>>> Heather Leson
>>> heatherleson at gmail.com
>>> Twitter/skype: HeatherLeson
>>> Blog: textontechs.com [2]
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> osmf-talk mailing list
>>> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
>>> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk [3]
>> _______________________________________________
>> osmf-talk mailing list
>> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
>> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk [3]
> Links:
> ------
> [1] http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Heather%20Leson/diary/42706
> [2] http://textontechs.com
> [3] https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk
> [4] http://hdyc.neis-one.org/?Heather%20Leson
> [5] https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/53780169
> [6] https://twitter.com/HeatherLeson/status/930800399451410433
> [7] https://www.hotosm.org/users/heather
> [8]
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Humanitarian_OSM_Team/Working_groups/Community/HOT_Resolution_Process
> [9] http://www.communityroundtable.com/
> [10] http://www.artofcommunityonline.org/
> [11] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzGi1DfbZMI
> [12] http://opensource.com
> [13] https://openaerialmap.org/
> [14] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Humanitarian_OSM_Team/Meetings
> [15] https://boardsource.org/
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