[Osmf-talk] OSMF board face to face meeting (F2F) facilitation.

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Fri Dec 21 10:11:28 UTC 2018

On Friday 21 December 2018, nicolas chavent wrote:
> [...]
> Allen Gunn is a very talented person in his field of practices, no
> doubt about this. But this field of practices is wide and not bound
> to the limits of the US West Coast, US, or Anglo-saxon's culture.
> Given the global nature of the OSM project and OSMF, and to keep
> ensuring cultural diversity, it might be interesting to consider
> changing facilitator and identifying someone as talented as Allen
> Gunn in his field, coming from another cultural area. This way the
> OSMF can still rely on the added value brought by facilitation's work
> and make sure its F2F is as productive as possible, shall
> facilitation is required; this seems to be the case for the directors
> yesterday.

I had a similar thought yesterday when i heard this being discussed so i 
think it is good you bring it up here.

As discussed quite extensively recently and as it has also been 
recognized by many of the candidates in the past elections among the 
most fundamental problems of the OSMF is that it currently does not 
represent the cultural and geographic diversity of the OSM community.

I don't know Allen personally but i share your observation that his work 
and experience seem to have a focus on fields that happen to be exactly 
those fields that have an over-proportional weight in the OSMF at the 

I have no specific recommendation for the board here but i distinctly 
notice that there is currently no visible awareness of this problem (at 
least none was articulated in the meeting).

It ultimately boils down to if the aim of facilitating a meeting is to 
make the current board members feel comfortable with their current 
cultural focus or if facilitation includes the specific aim to widen 
the perspective of the board members for example in cultural questions 
and specifically provide guidance towards a better representation of 
the global OSM community.

I can see a basis for following either of these approaches and i would 
consider it perfectly reasonable to say that the second approach would 
not be within the scope of simple meeting facilitation but you should 
be aware that you are making a choice here and going with the first one 
means specifically not going with the second.  You can't have both 
since being confronted with your own cultural bias and preconceptions 
is always going to be uncomfortable.

You could of course also argue completely independent of these 
considerations that getting some new perspective into things by going 
with a different person is a good idea anyway.

Christoph Hormann

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