[Osmf-talk] sponsored membership

Steve Friedl steve at unixwiz.net
Wed Sep 27 16:49:09 UTC 2017

Yes, this indirectly came up in the Membership Working Group that’s working on the fee waiver: we decided to drop the “financial hardship” part because (in part) this is very hard to verify, certainly less easy to verify than the lack of a reasonable money transfer facility.


I think we all can understand the general benefits of sponsored memberships, but the details can easily get us sent out into the weeds.


The determination of who deserves/qualifies for one of these sponsored memberships seems like it’s going to be a sticky part (likely managed by the MWG), rules crafted and then then applied to people we’ve never met in real life. Will we need notarized statements? Is this open to real abuse? Etc.


As far as designated memberships, I’m not sure this solves a real problem: somebody can just give cash to some other person: “here ya go”, and this is exactly what a larger enterprise might do if it wanted to influence things, by reimbursing all its employees for joining OSMF.




From: Donal Hunt [mailto:donal.hunt at gmail.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 9:21 AM
To: Christoph Hormann <chris_hormann at gmx.de>
Cc: osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [Osmf-talk] sponsored membership


One other comment: Making it easy to gift membership has lots of benefits. e.g. you pay the fee for the year and get a token that someone else can use to register. Would need to ensure that it wasn't open to abuse but covers the original use case I feel.




On Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 5:18 PM, Donal Hunt <donal.hunt at gmail.com <mailto:donal.hunt at gmail.com> > wrote:

This seems to somewhat overlap with the thread on the Membership Waiver Program. Allowing members to support such programs financially when joining / renewing may be a way to offset the cost to the organisation. e.g. pay 10% extra and support program X.

The individual programs would be able to set their own criteria and report on status of buy-in / engagement levels.




On Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 4:36 PM, Christoph Hormann <chris_hormann at gmx.de <mailto:chris_hormann at gmx.de> > wrote:

On Wednesday 27 September 2017, joost schouppe wrote:
> [...]
> So a very simple proposition: make it possible for a person to pay
> the price of two memberships, with the express condition that someone
> is allowed to join for free in return.
> The safest is possibly to just allow donating into a pool, and then
> have people applying for the open spaces created in that pool.
> The alternative would be that the donator chooses to whom it goes.
> But that might seem paternalistic and opens the door to worries of
> influence-buying, especially if institutional donors would open their
> purses.

I had thought about this in context of my suggestion for making the
membership fee optional as well - kind of as a cost neutral version of
my suggestion.

The problem for me is that allowing the donors to choose who they
sponsor is really problematic.  The most important task for OSMF
members is to vote on resolutions and elect the board and even the mere
implication there is some duty of those who got a sponsored membership
to vote in the interest of their sponsor would be unacceptable IMO.

And as a potential sponsor i would not want my money to be given to an
applicant based on the subjective selection by a third party (i.e. the
MWG or whatever committee evaluates the applications).

So the only way i would see this working is

a) based on an anonymous pool.
b) granted based on transparent, objective and neutral criteria for the
applicants.  This could be either on a first come - first served basis
with constant requirements, i.e. there would be a waiting list in case
there are more qualified applicants than there are sponsors or with
dynamic requirements (the smaller the sponsor pool the higher the
thresholds for being accepted as member without paying a fee).

As Martin indicated you would also need to think about if to give
renewals of previously sponsored memberships priority over new

Christoph Hormann

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