[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 15:19:50 UTC 2020

The fact that emergency services now use online maps generated from OSM
data to respond to fire, police, and ambulance calls is a strong
indication that OSM is more than only a hobby at this point.  Yes, it is
a hobby, still, but not exclusively or purely.

On 4/17/2020 11:05 AM, Mikel Maron wrote:
> > 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.
> Mikel
> 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.
>     apm
>     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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