[Osmf-talk] voting fraud

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Fri Feb 1 11:42:14 UTC 2019

On Thursday 31 January 2019, Rihards wrote:
> Perceived conflicts of interest can cause more damage than actual
> conflicts of interest.

Actually that statement is pretty hairy on two levels:

1) It can easily be interpreted as a suggestion to ignore perceived 
conflicts of interest (because that would avoid a lot of damage)

2) Perception is the key to defusing/mitigating conflicts of interest.  
Most measures to address conflicts of interest will attempt one of the 
a) try to improve perception/awareness for them among people involved.
b) introduce additional people whose task and training is to perceive 
conflicts of interest and make others aware of them.
c) preemtively establish overall rules to reduce the number of 
non-recognized conflicts of interest by avoiding situations where they 
are likely to occur independent of case-by-case perception.

This also means that blanket statements of board members here along the 
lines of "i have no conflict of interest" are pretty disturbing because 
they mainly illustrate a lack of problem awareness and of awareness of 
the limitations of their own perception.  Kind of like what we in 
German call "Pfeifen im Walde".

And this gets me back to the topic of this thread - the lack of 
sovereign and courageous actions on the side of those in a position of 
power, which is widely perceived to be a "muddling through", is the main 
reason why speculations and rumors abound.  When the reasoning behind 
decisions made and the reasons why decisions are not made is not 
transparently communicated people tend to fill in the blanks with 
whatever they come up with as plausible explanation.  And even if we 
have bits and pieces now being mentioned on this mailing list that 
create a somewhat more consistent picture - not everyone follows this, 
especially not non-OSMF-members, so this is no replacement for the 
board being proactively transparent about their decisions and their 

And this now also contrasts sharply with the MWG who present a clear 
case supported by solid data and analysis.  Everyone can follow why 
they came to the conclusions they came to.  Granted they have the 
advantage of not having to make a decision and carry it through.  But 
that's ultimately just the different roles of board and working groups.

And simply rejecting suspicions from the community does not help at all 
if you do not offer a plausible explanation yourself (that is not 
retroactively engineered of course).  If the board wants to get ahead 
of things a good start with this particular subject would be that 
those who voted against 2018/Res12 (rejecting the bulk membership 
registrations from Nov 15 within seven days) would explain either that 
they think in light of the MWG report their decision was wrong or 
explain why they still think it is right in a way that people can 
understand and relate to.

Christoph Hormann

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