[Osmf-talk] Framework for the foundation's hiring practices

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Tue May 12 09:52:10 UTC 2020

I am pleasantly surprised that in contrast to a lot of more recent
discussion here most of the comments seem dominated by reason and a
non-selfish concern for the good of the project rather than special
interests - which is a very nice thing to see for a change.

The comments by Severin and Frederik in particular reflect a lot of the
thoughts and concerns i also have w.r.t. the ideas presented by Tobias.
While it is positive that the board encourages input from the members
it is questionable that this is quite clearly not an open ended
discussion IF but purely a hearing as to HOW paid work is to be
integrated on a larger scale into the OSMF.

What i would like to add to what has been commented already is that it
seems to me the perspective on the dynamics between the volunteer
community of OSM and the professional domain presented by the board here
is dangerously simplistic.  Note i phrase this in such a generic form
because employees and contractors of the OSMF are not the only field
where these dynamics play in - the number of people active in the OSMF
that contribute here as part of their professional career already by
far exceeds the number of people the OSMF could hire in the forseeable

So the one-dimensional and monocausal view that "paid work can have a
chilling effect on volunteering" is from my perspective at best an
understatement.  I would in addition like to point out that deriving
the need to hire paid work from the inability to motivate volunteers as
a one-to-one substitute for the envisioned paid position is a self
fulfilling prophecy.

My hypothesis based on reading the various comments made here and past
observations is that the OSMF is currently not able to manage paid work
on a regular basis for day-to-day business in a way that is compatible
with the goal of developing the OSMF into an organization firmly
grounded in and carried by the OSM community in its whole diversity.
The OSMF has already fairly massive deficits in that regard as it is
and moving to hiring people without first addressing those would
aggrevate the problems.

As said this is a hypothesis - i would welcome evidence that this is
wrong or suggestions for a solid strategy for the OSMF to work on
itself to avoid these problems and for clear parameters (clearer than
the rather vague ideas you cited to have derived from the
screen2screen) how professional work can be managed in a way less
likely to clash with the egalitarian volunteer do-ocracy elsewhere in

Christoph Hormann

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