[Talk-it] Una mappa migliore Fwd: [OSM-talk] A Better Map

Cristian Consonni kikkocristian a gmail.com
Mer 22 Ott 2014 12:23:59 UTC

(Rinomino l'oggetto in italiano per attirare di più l'attenzione ed
evitare il cross posting)

Steve dice:
* dobbiamo concentrarci sugli indirizzi
* in 3 anni diventeremo la migliore mappa del mondo sotto gni aspeto
* abbiamo bisogno di board (per OSMf) più snello e funzionante,
possibilmente affiancato da uno staff.

Che ne dite?



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Steve Coast <steve a asklater.com>
Date: 2014-10-22 12:15 GMT+02:00
Subject: [OSM-talk] A Better Map
To: "<osmf-talk a openstreetmap.org>" <osmf-talk a openstreetmap.org>,
"talk a openstreetmap.org Talk" <talk a openstreetmap.org>

Why are we here on these mailing lists? Why do we spend so much time
making maps? I think ultimately because it’s fun. It’s a neat hobby
and we’re making the world a slightly better place.

You need the right environment for things to be fun. Someone has to
install the toys in the playground. Someone needs to pay for the
slides and install the swings so that the kids can run around. Then
someone else needs to fix them when they fail and make sure you don’t
break your neck unexpectedly.

In the past I’ve tried hard to make OSM a fun playground, by doing
things like taking all the warning labels off and letting people do
whatever they like. Things like open tagging or letting anyone edit,
which were crazy ideas in 2004. I’ve also at times been responsible
for it not being fun. Partly because I was a kid learning the hard way
and partly because sometimes you need to make decisions.

I agree that in some ways OSM isn’t a fun playground right now. But
that doesn’t mean it can’t be again.

We had a lot of fun with our swings and our slides. But now there are
a lot more people to join the fun from far away places and we’re
older. Maybe we now prefer bumper cars and video games to the old
swings and slides.

We should keep the swings and the slides. People new to the playground
will still enjoy them. But we should also build a bumper car arena and
maybe a video game arcade. Sometimes we might go back and play on the
slide too. We need some new skills to build these new toys.

Together, we need a mission and then a couple of course corrections to
make it happen.

I think addressing should be our mission. We built the worlds best
display map already. We won. If you print out any OSM map of
practically anywhere, it’s the best. But we can’t find anything on it
without comprehensive and global addressing information. It’s the
hidden data behind the map we now need to go after. All the other
things we need to do are also good things. Diversity in all it’s
forms, faster servers, better tools, easier documentation and more.

A clear mission provides a framework and guidance for achieving those
things. “Map more stuff” got us very, very far. But now, we should
focus on what’s stopping us replacing proprietary maps. And that is

How would we go achieve that?

There are two basic fixes. Make the board functional and give the
board bandwidth.

The board is too big. It grew for good reasons but now it’s just hard
to achieve anything. Seven people mean that if everyone speaks for
five minutes in a conversation on some issue, you use over half an
hour. In an hour-long meeting that means you can barely discuss two
things. Ignoring all the other issues, just the pure mechanics shows
you how hard it is to talk through something let alone achieve a
consensus. The board needs to be 3 people. 5 at maximum.

Being on the board is a difficult job, especially as a volunteer. Most
people aren’t used to such roles. They may think like I did that they
need to please everybody all the time. They aren’t able to attend
meetings because they have a day job and other life commitments. The
board needs to meet in person regularly with a facilitator and also
have guidance about what it means to be on a board. We can’t expect
volunteers to naturally figure all this stuff out by themselves and
then also devote the time to also achieve goals.

The board needs paid staff. There are a variety of things those paid
staff can do which the board can decide. It’s clear that there are
things that volunteers don’t have fun doing and therefore they don’t
happen at all, but are still very important for a functioning
organization. Having paid staff isn’t about deprecating volunteer
involvement, it’s about plugging the gaps. It’s not a perfect solution
but the alternative is to rely on companies to do many of these
things, and that really isn’t perfect either.

In terms of the mechanics,

1. Change the mission statement of OSM to be something like “The
world’s best addressable map”
2. The board figures out how to voluntarily shrink to 3-5 people, and,
meets in person 2-4 times a year
3. Consulting with the community on exact roles and remit, hire 1-3 people [*]

Together, we could do this in 6-12 months and finish addressing in 1-3
years. At that point we wouldn’t have just made the world slightly
better, we would have put a big dent in the universe. Nobody would use
a closed map ever again, and it would be people like you that made it

So why don’t we go do that?


A digression.

In Peter Thiel’s book “Zero-to-One” he catalogs the fate of HP’s
board. HP used to be a very innovative place and then it wasn’t any
more. Thiel posits that there were two board factions at a critical
time. On the one hand there were people who wanted to chart out things
to build and then go build them. On the other hand there was a group
who felt the board wasn’t competent to do that, and they should focus
on making sure all the rules were being followed. The latter
apparently won.

What happened next is that HP's board blew up over wiretapping in
search of someone leaking things to the press. HP collapsed in value
making sure all the rules were followed while people who build new
things did very well, like Apple.

Let’s not be HP. Let’s be Apple.


[*] - I could speak at length on funding, but I don’t think finding
money will be a hard problem.
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