[Osmf-talk] 2018 a third episode of entryism by HOT US Inc at OSMF Board after 2015 and 2017: call 4 action (candidates/members) for a balanced OSMF Board

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Wed Dec 12 11:23:36 UTC 2018

By the way we discussed more or less the same matter in the German 
RadioOSM podcast.

Since the reaction of some to this discussion inevitably will be that a 
HOT membership does not constitute a bias per se i would like to 
explain a bit more context here.

To become a HOT member people need to apply and be elected - you cannot 
simply sign up (like when you become an OSM mapper) or pay a fee (like 
for OSMF membership).  This means there is a selection process and this 
selection process is based on certain criteria - not necessarily formal 
criteria but de facto there are criteria imposed - either deliberately 
or subconsciously - by those who make the selection.

This means while there might not be a causal relationship between HOT 
membership and certain opinions on OSM and OSMF politics there 
definitely is a correlation between them.  Or in other words:  I am 
pretty sure that if all the French and German hobby mappers would apply 
for HOT membership almost none of them would be accepted, largely 
because - as we say in German - they lack the "Stallgeruch" of HOT.

This means that in the absence of specific statements from candidates 
taking into account their HOT membership as an indicator for what view 
of OSM they have is a valid and perfectly reasonable approach.  Nothing 
prevents candidates from distancing themselves from general HOT 
positions as well as from the positions of HOT members currently on the 
OSMF board if they want to emphasize their independence.

I would also like to add a bit of a warning to those who think HOT 
members dominating the OSMF board is not undesirable - for example 
because they think the OSMF could use more of the HOT Stallgeruch.  I 
already indicated this in my blog post about the elections:


There is a clearly widening gap between the OSMF board and the local 
hobby mapper communities that form the backbone of OSM.  To those of 
you who only sporadically engage with the local hobby mapper 
communities like many hotties and employees of corporations in the OSM 
context this is probably not readily apparent.  If you'd make a poll 
among mappers if they feel represented by the OSMF board the results 
would probably be pretty bad and significantly worse than 2-3 years 
back.  Ignoring this problem when electing new board members is not a 
good idea - because it would sooner or later fall back onto your feet.

Regarding the idea of Tobias for a one board member per organization 
quota - this certainly would not hurt but i have my doubts about how 
much effect this would have because as indicated above people just 
resigning their HOT membership would not really change anything in 
substance.  As i have said several times before i would take a more 
radical approach and say anyone with a professional relationship to OSM 
(as employee or entrepreneur) and anyone with a formal position in an 
organizational OSM stakeholder should be disqualified from serving on 
the board.  I would combine such measure with limiting the role of the 
board to supervision and policy decisions and assign most executive 
roles to a separate body which may include people with professional 
connections to OSM but which would be supervised by the board.

Christoph Hormann

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