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

Simon Poole simon at poole.ch
Sun Nov 25 10:23:27 UTC 2018

I'm slightly surprised that the board, given that the sign-ups are not
eligible for voting this year ("schwein gehabt"), but will be next year,
didn't resolve to investigate the matter  regardless of accepting the
new members or not.  Surely the best course of action would be to simply
ask both the sign ups and the company in question for information, which
could be completely harmless.


Am 24.11.2018 um 19:15 schrieb Peter Barth:
> 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
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk

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