[Osmf-talk] Balancing the presence of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team at the OSM Foundation in 2017

Rihards richlv at nakts.net
Wed Nov 29 18:29:42 UTC 2017

On 2017.11.29. 20:21, Martijn van Exel wrote:
>> On Nov 29, 2017, at 10:02 AM, Christoph Hormann <chris_hormann at gmx.de> wrote:
>> On Wednesday 29 November 2017, Martijn van Exel wrote:
>>> [...] Merely
>>> having an affiliation DOES NOT represent a conflict of interest. A
>>> conflict of interest only arises when a topic is being addressed
>>> where a board member has an interest in the topic stemming from their
>>> outside affiliation that may not align with the interest of OSMF.
>> I am no expert on conflicts of interests but i think this is not quite 
>> correct.  As i understand it a conflict of interest exists based on the 
>> possibility of an undue influence of a secondary interest, not just if 
>> such an influence is actually exercised in a meaningful way.
>> My understanding is that even if you know/believe your secondary 
>> interests (for example as a Telenav employee) align perfectly with the 
>> interests of the OSMF on a certain matter or even if you intend to act 
>> against these secondary interests you would still have to recuse 
>> yourself from participation in a decision making process on matters 
>> where your employer has an interest in due to the possibility that 
>> these interests do not align perfectly and you might put these 
>> interests above your obligation as a board member.
> Correct, but there still needs to be a situation to give rise to a conflict of interest, as the Companies Act states clearly. Merely having an affiliation does not constitute a conflict of interest in and of itself.

the biggest problem seems to be not a legal one, but more of the
perception, the image. harsh reaction and bringing up the companies act
might do the opposite - convince the concerned that their concerns have
been valid and things are "legally clean but ugly".

personally, i trust the HOT members in osmf, but i am concerned with the
perception angle. as an example, what if all osmf board members were
from HOT, would it make the concern more clear ?

this might be a slight difference between the eu/usa viewpoints (sorry
to other regions, i'm less familiar with the cultural nuances there).
european contributors sometimes view usa as a very corporate-centered
place with little grassroots activity and volunteering, and HOT has been
run more as a company, less as a community.

the suggestion regarding the working groups was very interesting. if the
HOT members who are on or are running for the board would explain why
they are aiming for the board instead of contributing at the working
groups (where they might even be able to have a bigger impact), that
might help to reduce the concerns that have been expressed here and

> I think I caused confusion where I stated that the board has been able to self-regulate this. This may have implied that we rely on each other to call each other out on potential CoI. This is not the case, I trust my fellow board members to disclose when needed, and this has happened on a few occasions.
> Martijn
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