[Osmf-talk] voting fraud

Rihards richlv at nakts.net
Thu Jan 31 21:44:44 UTC 2019

On 31.01.19 22:06, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> Hi,
> I fully agree that this is a serious issue and this is the board opinion
> too. We are acutely aware that there are many companies who could easily
> muster 1000 employees to join the OSMF, and they would then essentially
> own our domain, our trademarks, and most of the project. In the months
> to come, we will have to discuss how to inoculate the project against
> hostile takeovers. There are many possible approaches to this.
> Independent of that forward-looking work we'll also have to decide what
> should happen to the 100 memberships in question.
> It would also be interesting to get to the bottom of this issue - i.e.
> find out exactly who did what when and what they had in mind.

Thank you for the detailed and well thought response, as usual, Frederik.
Even though you did what I tried to caution against and went for
individual items ;)

> On 1/31/19 18:17, Rihards wrote:
>> The suspicions listed below are not mine - all of the information is
>> already floating around in various discussion channels/forums. Not
>> dispersing those suspicions causes harm for the potentially involved
>> individuals and OSM community in general.
> I'm not sure that dispersing them helps.

It does. The sooner the people with knowledge come forward and reveal
the detail, the less bad image for those connected.

>> * GlobalLogic (GL) employees have clashed with individual mappers, DWG
>> and other OSM entities regarding their map changes (when Grab-contracted
>> or otherwise).
> This is undoubtedly true and can be verified e.g. by some publicly
> available block messages and diary entries.
>> * GL employees have worked with HOT and have similarly relaxed attitude
>> towards the quality of map data.
> Some GL managers mention participation in HOT projects in their LinkedIn
> profiles, but I don't have reliable information on any cooperation
> between HOT and GL.
>> * Organised editing policy has been disliked by corporate-related
>> mappers and board members.
> This is undoubtedly true and can be seen from the initial survey and
> from board meeting minutes.
>> * GL is unlikely to waste 1500+ GBP (2000 USD; just the membership fees)
>> without certain confidence that this expense will pay back.
> This amount of money is negligible for an organisation that has 12,000
> employees.

It is very true until we entertain that thought.

a) GlobalLogic authorised the expenses on a very short notice. This
would require participation of a few levels of management. I don't doubt
that GL tries to hire smart people and I find it implausible that they
would have so daft management.
b) Somebody paid this expense out of their pocket and tried to use the
company as their front. Does not seem plausible either, as the company
has not come forward with any information indicating that.

>> * It is unlikely that none of the board members or candidates had not
>> the slightest clue this was happening.
> Let me put it this way: If *I* was good friends with someone in a
> company and they told me they plan to sign up 100 members on the last
> day of the voting deadline, I would tell them not to do it because it is
> obvious that it will cause an outcry. None of my colleagues on the board
> are stupid; they would very likely have issued the same warning.
> Therefore I do not suspect that any board member knew anything about this.

Right? For the sake of keeping it short I left out any scenarios, but
I've tried to play out a few since the report.
On top of options a) and b), we can also think about side scenarios.

If you search online, there are enough of senior people at GL who would
have it very easy to contact the board (info revealed by the GL
employees themselves). It is impossible that none of them had the
slightest idea of what's going on. It would be extremely bad judgment on
their side not to give the slightest notice to the board members they
know personally, or through side channels.
Again, I give them more credit than that.

>> * It is likely that some had a role in organising this.
> A board member, certainly not. One would have to be desperate to take
> such a risk. Now if the 2018 board candidates had been a bunch of total
> extremists, to a degree where one would think "OMG if this person gets
> elected then everything goes down the drain", then maybe, just maybe,
> someone who cares too much could be tempted to participate in
> manipulation. But the 2018 field of candidates did not have anyone to
> strike fear into the heart of existing board members.

Absolutely. Out of all the theories floating around, this item I
personally do not believe much. I highly respect all members of OSMF
board and value their contributions a lot.

Let me state that again - I do not believe that board members or
candidates were primary organisers of this event.

Now, what could be plausible - having some knowledge and taking the
wrong decision. The decision of not bringing this up _as a minimum_ as a
sensitive topic in a closed board meeting.

I'm giving a lot of room of wiggle here, but the longer it takes for
somebody to come forward, the less respect I have. I cut a bigger slack
for the board on the communication front - there's no dedicated PR
person or even agency, the luxury companies have. I find the public
communication here significantly lacking, even making things worse.

A few times I hinted at "the sooner..." and "the longer..." - that is, I
have high confidence that we will eventually find out. It might be a
leaked email, leaked chat log - or worse, rumours that seem extremely

What if community pooled some compensation for evidence to a
whistleblower? There must be awfully many people at GL who know at least
who organised it internally. Now GL has to treat them all very nice - if
they fire somebody on bad terms, guess what information they suddenly
might feel compelled to share.

> This is one of the biggest riddles for me here - what would someone need
> these 100 votes for so urgently.
>> * Various dismissals (contrasting GL employee influx with population of
>> India) and delays regarding the MWG report make all the suspicions more
>> valid.
> Oh dear, now I have made the suspicions even more valid :)

Heeey, I tried to caution y'all :)

>> It might be same as with the child-molesting priests. Lack of strong
>> denouncement shifts the public perception against the accused.
> Yeah let's discuss the child-molesting priests another time, and in
> another forum, shall we?

Frederik, did you have to...
The analogy here is that sweeping bad things under the rug reduces the
trust and gives fuel to various accusations.
If you thought it's been sometimes rough so far, imagine the
pre-election period next time...

> Bye
> Frederik

More information about the osmf-talk mailing list