[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)

Mikel Maron mikel.maron at gmail.com
Fri Apr 17 15:05:58 UTC 2020

> 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.
I know I keep repeating myself on this point Allan. Companies and organizations have been a part of OSM since practically day 1. There’s been evolution and major growth, but not ever from a pure hobby endeavor.


On Friday, April 17, 2020, 10:50 AM, Allan Mustard <allan at mustard.net> wrote:

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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