[Osmf-talk] Board decision on recent OSMF membership registrations

Rob Nickerson rob.j.nickerson at gmail.com
Sat Nov 24 21:43:17 UTC 2018

Thanks Peter,

A couple of small points for the Board to consider:

1. To help with the definition of 30 days, may I suggest that you consider
using "Clear days" which is common across UK legalise. You can find example
uses and a glossary definition in the (most recent than OSMF), model
articles of association for "companies limited by guarantee with a large
membership" (like OSMF). Here is the version [1] which has the additional
text in to make it a Community Interest Company - something else for the
board to consider as it brings extra protection.
2. When it comes to the timezone, I would suggest counting your days
according to the time you publish on the AGM notice. So if you make an AGM
announcement in UTC, then use UTC days. Being a England&Wales company, the
logical alternative is to announce in local time in London. In winter this
is same as UTC. Combining this with 30 Clear days would have given the
deadline for voting members as 23:59:59 UTC on 14th November 2018.
3. OSMF AoA [2] does allow you to expel members under article 17(4). Given
that members need to be real people (or real companies for our corporate
members), if found to be fake then there is a clear route for expulsion.
I'm not sure how you determine if someone is real or not, but with over 100
members in one place, a visit in person seems like a reasonable idea - if
only to welcome them on board and present about OSMF events and


With best regards,

On Sat, 24 Nov 2018 at 18:21, Peter Barth <osm at won2.de> wrote:

> Dear all,
> On November 19, the Board received an email request to reject a number
> of recent applications for OpenStreetMap Foundation Membership. The
> stated concern was that an atypical pattern of sign ups suggested that
> an outsourcing company had been hired to create fake memberships in
> order to sway the upcoming election.
> A circular was created and rapidly voted on, in order for a decision
> to be made within 7 days of the sign up; from the Articles of
> Assocation, "the board may reject an application for membership or
> associate membership within 7 days of receipt of the appropriate fee
> in cleared funds"
> The circular read as follows and did not pass:
> > Preliminarily reject and individually inspect all membership
> > applications from India from 15.11.2018
> > There had been a mass sign-up of 100 new accounts on 15.11.2018 from
> > India, most coming from one single IP address from a company "well
> > known" to OpenStreetMap. There had been a larger amount of complaints
> > regarding edits from that company, who provide "mapping services"
> > to other companies. This circular preliminarily rejects all of those
> > applications and tasks MWG to further investigate them. There's a
> > precedence case for similar action with the Skobbler-case back in
> > 2011 (see
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2011-August/001139.html
> ).
> Frederik Ramm, Peter Barth and Paul Norman voted in favor. Mikel Maron,
> Martijn van Exel, Kate Chapman and Heather Leson voted against.
> Details:
> Those in favor argued that given the circumstances under which the
> registrations happened, the memberships should be investigated and
> decided on later. There is no assumption of ill intent.
> Those against argued that the original complaint -- the suspicion that
> these newly created accounts were fabricated with ill intent and
> required further investigation-- was not supported, and thus did not
> have a sound legal basis for delaying membership per our current
> membership requirements.
> All Board members are against the creation of artificial OSMF
> membership accounts.
> There is another related outstanding question about membership
> timings. The Articles of Association state a member is eligible to
> vote when they are "a member or associate member (as the case may be)
> throughout the period of 30 days prior to the date on which the
> meeting is held". In years past this has been interpreted as the
> start of the day 30 days prior to the meeting, according to the
> timezone in CiviCRM. This is how OSMF will proceed this year, meaning
> eligible voters need to be signed up prior to November 15. That is
> before the time of creation of accounts in question in the circular.
> This is not the only legal interpretation of the AoA, and something we
> will deliberate further next year.
> Sincerely,
> OSMF Board of Directors
> _______________________________________________
> osmf-talk mailing list
> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
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