[Osmf-talk] Board members with similar background (was: 2018 a third episode...)

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Fri Dec 14 11:34:37 UTC 2018

On Friday 14 December 2018, Eugene Alvin Villar wrote:
> You brought up "culture" as a reason to limit HOT US Inc voting
> members being part of the OSMF Board. You have also brought up
> Tobias' proposal to "limit board members from the same org to 1
> seat". But unless the OSM Wiki is badly outdated regarding FOSSGIS
> e.V. membership[1], Tobias is himself violating his own proposal
> because Frederik and Tobias are both members of FOSSGIS e.V. [...]

Since i explained at length the difference between HOT membership and 
open/paid membership organizations like the OSMF and FOSSGIS this seems 
a fairly cheap and transparent attempt to discredit Tobias.

Trying to equate the exclusive invitation based HOT membership club with 
an open membership Verein like FOSSGIS is just ridiculous.

In addition to the different nature of the membership there is another 
very fundamental difference between HOT and OSM related corporations on 
the one hand and organizations like FOSSGIS on the other:

HOT depends on OSM and could not exist without it while OSM could 
perfectly exist without HOT.

Both FOSSGIS and OSM could each perfectly function without each other.

And even if you interpret the suggestion from Tobias to apply to FOSSGIS 
membership, why do you assume that Tobias cannot want to introduce a 
rule that - once introduced - will require either him or Frederik to 
leave the board?  This is no different from Frederik advocating "let's 
keep the business world out of the OSMF board altogether" - which would 
disqualify himself as well.  Apart from being somewhat atypically 
selfless for a board member historically (term limits anyone?) this is 
a perfectly reasonable approach to making politics.

All of this of course does not mean it would not be a perfectly valid 
reason to consider the common cultural background of Frederik and 
Tobias (they are both Germans after all) as a reason not to vote for 
Tobias in the elections.  I myself have always been somewhat 
dissatisfied with two Germans on the board and thereby a German 
over-representation but as long as other over-representations on the 
board - like the ones mentioned: HOT members, people with business 
connections to OSM - are much more severe and distorting for the 
cultural balance i don't consider this a particularly significant 

And by the way - if you look at the current board composition Germany is 
clearly the least over-represented country in there. ;-)

Christoph Hormann

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