[Osmf-talk] Voting "recommendations" by employers (straw poll)

Paul Norman paul.norman at osmfoundation.org
Thu Nov 1 22:12:06 UTC 2018

I have also heard confidential reports similar to what Frederik has, and 
they worry me greatly.

On 2018-11-01 1:03 PM, nebulon42 wrote:
> I think asking your fellow board members e.g. Mikel, Martijn and Paul
> who have worked or work for companies involved in OSM might give you
> first-hand answers, if they would have any and would tell you.

When I first ran for the board I was at MapQuest, management didn't show 
a great interest in how OSM was run or the OSMF, so my experience isn't 
relevant to how companies which take an interest in how the OSMF is run. 
I know some companies allow people to work on OSMF work on company time 
or claim expenses incurred doing OSMF work, but I've never been at one 
of those.

At MapQuest, there was no program I was aware of during my time there to 
get people to become OSMF members, to pay their membership fee, or to 
get them to vote a certain way. There may have been a program that 
allowed general membership fees to organizations to be reimbursed, but I 
never looked into it.

As a self-employed freelancer, I could claim membership fees on my 
taxes, but don't think I have done so.

> I think "suggestions" from employers have a smell and should be avoided
> since you are in a dependent relationship to your employer and are more
> likely to follow the suggestion.
> I have nothing against encouraging people to become OSMF members, but
> paying their fee is wrong even more so because of the dependent
> relationship (see above) and there should be a rule that forbids this.

In the past, the OSMF has rejected membership in a case where someone 
paid for the membership of a couple people to have them run for board. 
There was also the Skobbler case where a bunch of employees signed up 
right before an election, and their memberships were held back until 
after the election.

My first response to hearing of companies encouraging people to sign up, 
pay for their memberships, and have them vote a particular way is "this 
can't be legal." Without reviewing the law or asking a lawyer, I don't 
know if it's legal, but I think it's wrong.

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