[Osmf-talk] My November 2018 email to the board about the GlobalLogic signups

Simon Poole simon at poole.ch
Sun Feb 3 16:12:15 UTC 2019

A couple of relevant points:

- prior to the the 2013 AoA revision the board should have accepted
every membership application individually, there was -legally- no
automatic acceptance and there is nothing in the board minutes
indicating that the board ever accepted anybody as a member. And yes
somebody with bad will at the time  could have argued that the OSMF had
no other members that the original handful (with lots of interesting
consequences). Definitely prior boards didn't spend a lot of time
thinking about their legal obligations and addressing issues related to

- when the board proposed revised AoAs in 2013 we on purpose changed the
model to one with automatic acceptance in which the board can intervene
within one week if there is reason to believe that a membership
application is not in good faith. We put this in place so that
situations like the one under discussion could still be addressed,
without having to approve every single application at the same time.

- in the case at hand the board decided not to exercise the rights we
gave it with the 2013 AoAs. That doesn't mean the process itself is
broken, as I pointed out earlier, it was completely clear that the
danger of mass signups to gain control of the foundation was a
possibility, and we gave the board the right to intervene to combat
exactly that.

All that said, I don't believe that there is any real way we can address
this outside of getting in the 10s of thousands of contributors as
members, and the board actually exercising the rights we've provided it


PS: no, changing to a self-elected cabal model a la HOT is not a solution.

On 02.02.2019 18:41, Mikel Maron wrote:
> And btw there has been a few references to the situation with mass
> sign up situation Skobbler back in 2011, when I was previously on the
> Board.
> > There is a historical precedent
> at https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2011-August/001139.html.
> The minutes don’t say much, but Mikel, who was on the board then too,
> can maybe remember?
> The Skobbler situation was much more straightforward in that
> everything about it was known to the Board up front. One Board Member
> worked for Skobbler, and had tried to openly pay en mass for those
> sign ups directly to the Membership Secretary (before we had the MWG,
> this was a board position). It was heated and messy, but everyone on
> the Board quickly agreed that mass sign ups are not the intention of
> membership. The membership payment was withdrawn, and the OSMF
> notified the membership within one day of it being raised as a Board
> issue.
> I checked my email and this was my initial response. I still stick by
> this view today.
> > I think a collective sign up or renewal is a problem. That's what a
> corporate/organizational membership would be for. Why not sign up as
> individuals? If they each really really want this, they'll go to the
> small bother of registering as individuals. I don't care who
> ultimately pays for it. Their company can encourage them. But it
> really should be an individual decision. The whole point of
> memberships process is to have a small barrier, so they really do want
> to be a part. Otherwise, it would be just as simple as signing up for
> an osm.org account.
> And here's an interesting note from SteveC from the time.
> > I can see an arms race with companies signing everyone up. CloudMade,
> skobbler. What if someone with 100 employees does this? Or 1,000? It
> doesn't work going forward. What if I signed up the 10,000 people from
> bing mobile, or 300 people in maps (I don't know the figures, but you
> get the point).
> We've known the membership model in OSMF was not perfect the first day
> we opened membership in 2006 for 5 GBP. This was 2006 -- osm.org was a
> wildly ambitious but absurd and not really functional idea by a very
> small collection of folks mainly in the UK and northern Europe. We
> knew on that very day that it was vulnerable and not going to be
> adequate in the future for our governance. But we did the simplest
> thing at the time. This governance model worked remarkably well for
> all its haphazard weakness. 
> 13 years on, it's time to figure out what kind of governance we need
> for a project of global scope and world changing impact.
> -Mikel
> * Mikel Maron * +14152835207 @mikel s:mikelmaron
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