[Osmf-talk] Board statement - Membership Working Group report on unusual signups before OSMF election

joost schouppe joost.schouppe at gmail.com
Fri Feb 1 08:55:59 UTC 2019


I personally did sign the candidates letter to the board. In fact I was
actively involved in the proces that Guillaume led. Supporting this letter
was a difficult decision for me. After all, you are actively working on
changing the electorate you are a candidate for. There are other honourable
reasons why you would not want to support such an initiative. At the time,
we did not know all the details we know now - and even now, we can only
make assumptions on several things. So it does feel like a bit of a
witch-hunt to want to identify the non-signers.
For me, at the time, the most important issue was a quick and clean
solution - which IMHO the board found when they discovered the
subscriptions were from after the registration deadline. This took away
most of the sense of urgency for me: while it's still obviously a huge
issue, it means there is no immediate impact on the organization. I thought
that would give us time to deal with things more slowly.

However the new board, being new and being on a break*, did not properly
involve the MWG researchers in further action. MWG was left with the
impression that the board simply did not care and would not take any
further action after rejecting Guillaume's proposals. When the MWG let us
know about their research and their deadline, we reacted extremely poorly
as a Board. For the MWG only strengthened their beliefs about the board.
We were only able to start actual work on the content of the research after
we stomached the MWG-deadline and its implications on what that says about
the relation between board and working groups. By the time we had confirmed
we actually wante to talk to Global Logic, and managed to do so, the
deadline was three days away. It then took us two days to finally set a
course of further action. Which somehow turned out to be exactly what the
MWG had wanted us to do - send out the report ourselves. We did not
consider that the MWG was that annoyed with us that a minor delay to allow
us to act on this would further insult them. And then when they offered a
paragraph in their e-mail, we failed to let them know we didn't have
consensus about doing that (trying and failing at this is mostly my
personal responsibilty BTW).

I was only able to understand things as outlined above after extensive
chats with Steve and Guillaume helped me see how things felt from their
perspective. There are many ways in which we as a Board could have done
better - but it mostly comes to better communication. There seems to be a
pattern of us "forgetting" about properly engaging our partners (this BTW
cannot be attributed to any one fraction of the Board). But that should be
relatively easy to fix. We probably should have involved them more in our
thought processes - at least then they would have known, for example, that
anything close to suppressing the report never was proposed by anyone.
There are also things that the MWG researchers could have done better, like
giving more arguments why a strict timeline was necessary. In absence of
those arguments, it was easy to see it as purely a lack of trust. This of
course does not set the stage for productive discussions either.

I have the feeling (and have seen clear evidence of this happening) that we
act on assumptions about other people's ideas - which then sometimes forces
people to act in exactly the way you would have assumed them to act. That's
nice, because then we don't have to re-evaluate our own beliefs. I know
mistakes have been made (plenty), but this war-like mentality only makes it
worse. As a Board member, I will do everything I can to not go along in
this and try to keep looking at problems from all possible angles -
including yours.

Looking forward to the dissection of this message**,

* The break might not have been official, but you simply can't work on a
difficult case like this with several people not present.
** Not really
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/attachments/20190201/7925d761/attachment.html>

More information about the osmf-talk mailing list