[Osmf-talk] Fwd: Candidacy: OSMF Board

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Fri Nov 24 11:15:54 UTC 2017

On Friday 24 November 2017, Kate Chapman wrote:
> I'm curious as to what it means to be HOT affiliated from the
> outside. I resigned from HOT staff 2 and a half years ago. Since then
> I have only been a voting member, I don't volunteer for HOT and I'd
> consider resigning if then I somehow didn't count as close to HOT. I
> somehow doubt that would change the view though.

I am glad you ask and not - like many other HOT members seem to do - 
take it as granted that it cannot mean anything.

For me and according to my observation HOT members (and sometimes HOT 
volunteers working a lot with HOT who are not a member) often seem to 
have a fairly distinct cultural background that manifests in their 
reactions in conversations and that often differs significantly from 
other normal 'mapping their home town' mappers.

This is kind of similar to the specific views and more or less subtle 
differences in communication style you can observe in OSM community 
members with a strong Wikipedia background.

I don't know enough about how HOT works practically to analyze this in 
more depth but my working theory is that when you spend a lot of time 
on a project like HOT or Wikipedia you pick up on certain things in 
terms of communication style and problem solving approaches and if 
you - afterwards or in parallel - get active on OSM you tend to 
unconsciously transfer these experiences.

Now there is nothing wrong with that in principle - it is not different 
from the behavioural particularities everyone has because of their 
individual background and as a culturally diverse community we should 
welcome and accept all of this.  But as Stefan said it needs to be 
balanced in intensity.  OSM has over the years developed its own 
distinct cultural traits in terms of style of communication, problem 
solving methods and other things.  Changing and developing these should 
happen from the inside - welcoming outside ideas where they are deemed 
useful and steadfast in matters where we can be rightfully proud of our 
culture.  And not with the native culture being displaced by singular 
dominant external influence.

If i am right about this you resigning from HOT membership would indeed 
not change anything - even if it would be a visible statement of 
course.  I don't think many people would brand you as a 'HOT-gal' 
forever if they see you engage with the local and global OSM community 
as one of them.

You should probably keep in mind that for someone new to OSM it usually 
takes several years to become a true OSM native so-to-speak.  I started 
contributing to OSM in 2013, joined the OSMF in 2015 and i still pretty 
much feel like an outsider in many things.

Me pointing out who is a HOT member in this discussion by the way is not 
because i keep track of this and have a HOT label on those who are a 
HOT member.  I just wondered about the strong and kind of uniform 
reaction of a larger number of people and on a hunch i looked up the 
participants in the discussion on the HOT membership list.

> I'm curious as to why people think joining a membership where you
> just pay your fees and become a member is somehow better than first
> showing commitment to an organization in the first place.

It is not my place to judge how HOT organizes itself and as i have said 
before i find the payment hurdle of the OSMF membership to be a 
significant issue regarding democratic representation but in terms of 
openness and transparency there seems to be a huge difference to a 
closed membership where existing members have to deem you worthy to be 
accepted into the inner circle.

Consequently this also means i am highly critical of the membership fee 
waiver idea which is kind of a light version of the HOT membership 
concept (existing members have to deem you worthy to be granted a 

Christoph Hormann

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