[Osmf-talk] Standing for board election

Paul Norman penorman at mac.com
Sat Nov 25 05:37:43 UTC 2017

I've announced my standing for board previously, after feedback from a 
few people. I've now posted my manifesto, at 

I'm Paul Norman, OSM user pnorman. I've been mapping since 2010, and 
involved in other facets of OpenStreetMap since 2011. For the last three 
years, I’ve been on the OSMF board, and am running for re-election. 
During my time I’ve seen the board grow in productivity, the finances 
become more stable, and us make good strides in transparency.

Outside the board, I’m also involved with the OSMF on the Data Working 
Group, License Working Group, and Membership Working Group. As a 
software developer, I’m a maintainer of OpenStreetMap Carto and 
osm2pgsql, as well as being involved in many parts of rendering toolchain.

In my work life I’m an independent software developer, working on map 
rendering, cartography, and PostGIS for clients. My main contract right 
now is with Wikimedia Foundation, as the developer on their maps team. 
In the past I’ve worked for CartoDB, Mapquest, and other companies.

Looking back at what I put in my 2014 manifesto, I’m moderately pleased 
with the progress we’ve made in both transparency and productive board 
meetings. Neither are perfect, but they’re a vast improvement over three 
years. Overall, I’m satisfied with my time on the board. I accomplished 
some of what I wanted to, and think my manifesto desires were realistic.

My concerns are now

*Conflicts of interest*

6/7 board members work with OSM somehow in their jobs. This includes 
four with employers who sell services based on OSM data and can easily 
run into conflicts of interest. We are not managing this, which might 
have worked in the past, but is not a good practice. There’s stuff we 
need to set up like having an email discussion out of sight of the 
people with conflicts. Right now it’s considered acceptable for a board 
member to take part in discussions where they have a conflict of 
interest. Clear rules would also protect board members from pressure 
from their employer.

On a working group whenever there’s occasionally been an intersection 
between my work and the WG. In these cases I’ve removed myself from the 
discussion. This is what we should all be doing on the board.

Unfortunately, as someone who is paid to work with OSM data, I run into 
conflicts of interest myself, but in practice, I have less than most 
with the nature of who I work for.

*Support, but not control*

The job of the OSMF board is to support the mappers building the map, 
but not control them. I worry we are losing sight of that, and people 
increasingly want to exert control and consider the mappers secondary. 
We need to protect the ability for people to independently do 
activities, even if it’s not something the board agrees with.

*Volunteer capacity*

A lack of volunteers was an issue when I ran three years ago. It’s a bit 
better, but still one of the biggest issues facing the OSMF. Working 
groups need more people. A growing number of members have been attending 
board meetings, but I’d like to see multiple ones at every meeting. We 
need good people on the board, but we also need an active membership who 
are interested in what we do, watch us, what we do, track that we 
deliver, and offer appreciation in return.

Paul Norman

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