[Osmf-talk] Paying Board/WG was: Standing for board election

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Sun Nov 26 12:12:26 UTC 2017

On Sunday 26 November 2017, John Crowley wrote:
> Up to a certain organizational scale, I agree with you. It is
> possible to manage many crowd-based communities with volunteers.
> However, once a group takes on responsibility for providing reliable
> services at a global scale, with industries of small, medium, and
> global businesses depending on the underlying infrastructure and
> millions of contributors, amateur structures break down.

I do not necessarily disagree but as said if that is the case this would 
mean OSM with its current goals (the best map of the world as a map by 
the people for the people) would be destined to fail because becoming 
the best map of the world universally would inevitably require further 
growth of the community and if that community needs to be managed and 
that management needs to be professional on this scale that would mean 
an end of the map by the people for the people (it would be more a map 
the production of which is organized by its professional management 
through crowd-sourcing - which is not much different from facebook, 
twitter etc.)

But i think the flaw in your argument is that you assume that a large 
community needs to be managed by a central authority.  I would question 
this assumption.  At the moment the OSMF and the OSM community are 
built on the assumption that no such central management is necessary 
and the OSMF does only support, external representation and a few other 
things - see


If this can work in the long term is an open question.  To my knowledge 
nothing like that has every been tried on this scale.  Wikipedia (which 
is often used for comparison) has always been much more centrally 
managed than OSM.

My own impression at the moment is that if OSM fails in the long term in 
this form this would likely not be due to internal centrifugal forces 
but due to outside forces (a project of the economic importance of OSM 
obviously has grudgers and enemies as well as outside interests that 
try to shape it to their advantage).

Christoph Hormann

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