[Osmf-talk] do-ocracy and volunteering (was: OSMF & Video Chat | Re: Next OSMF board meeting on Friday 17 April 2020, at 17:00 London time)

Allan Mustard allan at mustard.net
Fri Apr 17 14:50:51 UTC 2020

Christoph, by that logic nobody should use the iD editor, OSM's default
editor (and I suspect most used editor), which has been heavily
supported by private companies.  By that logic we should also reject
corporate sponsorship of tile caches.

Corporate involvement in OSM is a fact of life.  OSM has evolved away
from only being a hobby for craft mappers dependent on cast-off
equipment into something else.  We can ignore that evolution at our
peril, or we can seek to deal with the evolution, retaining as much of
the spirit of individual do-ocracy as possible while acknowledging that
corporate involvement is not going to go away.

One other point--the corporations have made clear in my conversations
with them that local knowledge from volunteer mappers is the key to the
value of OSM to them, and they therefore have no interest in "taking
over" the project or indeed in activities that would discourage local
craft mappers.  Some of them are in fact supporting local communities of
volunteer mappers in Asia.  I believe the threat to OSM emanates not
from the corporations supporting us now, but rather from external actors
who either view OSM as a competitor or simply may want ownership of the
current very valuable data without concern for potentially damaging or
killing the project.  I do not believe it is useful for us to denigrate
our current corporate sponsors and supporters, who appear to grok OSM,
while ignoring more realistic potential threats.


On 4/17/2020 6:28 AM, Christoph Hormann wrote:
> On Thursday 16 April 2020, Rory McCann wrote:
>> OSM is a do-ocracy. 😉 FOSSGIS (or others) hasn't set up or arranged
>> an alternative. We have one option. Ergo that options wins. 😉😉
> I am sorry for drifting a bit off-topic in this thread - but the above 
> indicates potentially a rather problematic mixing of two things that do 
> not mix well.  I am not sure if this is meant ironically - but to make 
> sure, even if it is, that it is not widely read and taken at face 
> value - the following comment.
> OSM can in the long term only work as a do-ocracy as far as volunteer 
> work of individual independent volunteers is concerned.  Mixing in 
> organized and especially corporate activity into the do-ocratic domain 
> would destabilize the whole thing.  A company like Google could 
> essentially take over the project by donating sufficient manpower and 
> resources if do-ocratic principles are interpreted to apply to 
> organized and corporate activities as well.
> People are much less likely to volunteer their personal time and 
> resources if they see these being just used and purely valued as a 
> cheap substitute for commercial services.  Saying:  "We take whatever 
> option is offered to us according to 'Einem geschenkten Gaul schaut man 
> nicht ins Maul' and - should that fail at some point we will take money 
> to buy a substitute" is much less likely to motivate volunteers than 
> saying "We use this commercial service for testing now but in the long 
> term we would rather use and depend on volunteer provided and managed 
> services - even if that means we cannot just use our checkbook to make 
> them do what we want them to do".
> Again - this comment is not meant to criticize what has been done, it is 
> meant to raise problem awareness for the future.
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