[Osmf-talk] Conflict of interest (was: Remarks and question regarding board meeting minutes and circulars)

Andy Allan gravitystorm at gmail.com
Wed Dec 19 11:38:53 UTC 2018

On Wed, 19 Dec 2018 at 12:09, Christoph Hormann <chris_hormann at gmx.de> wrote:

> I have already made my most basic suggestion on the matter - to not have
> anyone with business or organizational involvement related to OSM on
> the board.  This would enourmeously reduce the likelyness of CoIs
> occurring because the vast majority of CoI are related to business and
> organizational connections.

Christoph, you make many good suggestions, but this is not one of
them! You are attempting to avoid all conflicts of interest entirely,
by pre-disqualifying a large number of OSMF members from our board
elections, regardless of whether or not a conflict actually arises in
the future, and regardless of the nature of these future conflicts of
interest - that might not even warrant any action anyway. Your
suggestion is an enormous over-reaction.

It's also unworkable. Imagine that a candidate has no organisational
involvement in OSM through work or otherwise, they are instead a
geography researcher at a university working on unrelated matters. So
you would allow them to stand for election. But what happens if their
supervisor suggests that they should put in a SotM bid? Oh no! A
conflict of interest has arisen! And we are trying to avoid CoIs
completely. So we should ban all university researchers from board
elections too, just in case.

Still, another OSMF member has nothing to do with the geo world, they
are employed making sandwiches in the catering industry. But the next
SotM needs some local catering - so let's disqualify anyone in the
catering industry from the board elections too, just in case.

I hope you see how this pre-disqualification idea is both unworkable,
and unnecessary. The better way forward is to realise that conflicts
of interest are natural, to declare them when they arise, and to deal
with them when necessary - rather than trying to avoid them in the
first place.


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