[Osmf-talk] Resources of OpenStreetMap Foundation (OMSF) and OSMF Local Chapters (LC): the question and status of paid services.

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Thu Feb 4 11:29:34 UTC 2021

On Thursday 04 February 2021, nicolas chavent wrote:
> In the context of the community consultations phase of OpenStreetMap
> Uganda (see email [1]), Poland (see email [2]) and Japan (see email
> [3]) Local Chapter LC applications, I shared my thoughts about paid
> services as a means of resources for OSMF and LCs. I have been
> invited to start a discussion of its own about this topic, hence this
> email.
> [...]

I think this is an important consideration and as you say in particular
in light of the significantly widening economic activities of the OSMF
it deserves getting priority.

However i also think that limiting these thoughts to a potential policy
on "paid services" would not sufficiently address the underlying issues
in terms of social dynamics within the larger OSM community.  Within
today's economic context if some activities receive direct
reimbursement or not (i.e. paid vs. unpaid services) often does not
make such a big difference.

My thought is that a clear and universal subsidarity principle within
and among organizations in the OSM world could help addressing some of
the same problems you mention in context of paid services as well as
more broadly negative social and economic implications of economic
activities of organizations whose primary purpose is non-economic in

In a nutshell subsidarity would mean that in an organization (be that
the OSMF or a local chapter or even within one of them, like in the
board - working groups relationship), no one should engage in
activities or aim to fulfill functions that could be or are covered by
more localized activities within the community.

That would pertain to the OSMF-LC relationship just like the
relationship between a local chapter and the businesses, more local
organizations and individual volunteers within its realm.  In the above
form the principle is too vague and abstract to be very useful, it
would need to be put into more concrete practical rules, this is just
meant to give an idea what i mean.

I don't think the OSMF should try to impose such a principle onto local
chapters as a hard requirement for recognition, it would more be
something that works through leading by example - the OSMF would impose
such a restriction on itself (which could be a tough sell and might
only work through a direct initiative from the OSMF members) and
suggest to local organizations to handle things similarly.

Christoph Hormann

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