[Osmf-talk] Funding of iD Development and Maintenance

Andy Allan gravitystorm at gmail.com
Wed Aug 5 12:55:23 UTC 2020

On Wed, 5 Aug 2020 at 14:17, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:

> Perhaps the OSMF could concentrate on the "operative business" - having
> members, collecting money, running servers, employing staff, etc. - and
> there could be a nondescript charity somewhere that holds domain names,
> trademarks, and database rights.
> Or the other way round, possibly you meant that by "arms-length
> organisations", that the OSMF becomes the nondescript charity that only
> has a couple of trademarks and rights, and all the operative business is
> run by the "OpenStreetMap Services Ltd." or whatever, which would be the
> organisation that can fail without tearing down the project.

As I said in my first email, I'm not advocating a bare-minimum
do-nothing approach for the OSMF (nor achieving the same thing by
switching the bare minimum to another organisation). There's room for
OSMF to do plenty of things while balancing the risks.

But I haven't seen anything to suggest these risks are being balanced,
or even assessed. None of the proposals have even hinted that there
might be downsides, or alternative approaches, that the members should
consider. They've just been presented as an unequivocal good thing,
leaving many of the responses with "sounds good" and little more than

Two small examples might illustrate my point:

1) The decision was made to make the SSRE job permanent from the
get-go, rather than other options such as a fixed-term contract. But
there's nothing to indicate that the Board have considered or
mitigated any risks, like around terminating the contract if we decide
that something different is required. Perhaps those risks were
discussed? But they haven't been shared.
2) The iD contract will be funded by "earmarked donations from
companies, chapters and organisations", which notably leaves out
individuals. It's a marked shift from our previous approach to
fundraising, and risks a disconnect between members and what the OSMF
spends money on, and also increases the risks of large-company
capture. We've spent many years working on the principle that we
should fundraise from individuals to ensure our ongoing independence.
Again, nothing showing consideration of these risks have been shared.
3) The board is going to appoint members of the new dispute resolution
committee. This is again a significant departure from what we normally
do in OSMF, where few (if any?) groups have ever been appointed like
this. Maybe it's a better way? I dont' have a strong opinion. But we
have nothing showing that the risks have been considered.


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