[OSM-talk] OSM community organisation and decision-making process
ce at christeck.de
Sun Jul 1 11:19:05 BST 2007
fortunately our cool project is growing exponentially and becomes more
and more professional. OSM, initially started as a small hobbyist
project, finally takes off. Even that most contributors still reside in
the EU, OSM will soon become a global project.
Recently, several improvements have been applied to the server software.
I hope all agree their gratefulness for most of the efforts, e.g. wiki
server stabilisation, the new slippy map, the API improvements or the
rails port. Very cool stuff to prepare the project for the future.
But the discussion about ads and cost recovery also shows that we need
to consider how we want our community to be organized and how decicions
shall be made in the future.
There have been changes to the central infrastructure which IMO needed a
bit more community consideration and discussion instead of simply
applying them. E.g. redirecting our main URL from the (reliable) wiki
to the (unfortunately less reliable) map or the recent introduction of
advertising directly on the map.
Our infrastructure needs further changes to cope with the growing amount
of data and the equally growing user base. The data model needs to be
improved so we can achieve proper autorouting without messing up our
data with redundant and unreliable tags. The central server needs
replication to balance CPU load and bandwidth usage.
Unfortunately, there's some resistance (or at least disregard) in these
efforts, which already caused one excellent developer to quit his
membership. That's not an personal offense at all, but my personal
observations make me feel that we not only need to talk about the sunny
sides of our project, but also to discuss the difficult things without
Currently, only few people control the core hardware and the core
software. It is impossible for engaged osm developers to get an account
on our server machines. Neither there's a "No", nor is there a "Go".
Several request emails simply got ignored. I'd really like to avoid
further loss of developers, as we need any resource for our project.
I even wonder if we sometimes are reluctant to accept that other people
may have good ideas, valid points and valuable skills. If so, it
shouldn't lead in displacing potential project members.
Our community consists of many people, doing various jobs: managing
hardware, writing software or contributing data. While developers are
the people who build the engines, mappers do the important job of
providing the content that makes OSM our beloved project. The project
additionally needs leadership, as anarchy or even democracy from the
bottom up often leads to chaos and could harm the health of the
Thus, I'm personally not unhappy with the current constellation - but
I'd really like to see a bit more community participation in
decicion-making processes. So what do you think? Did you also notice
the need for more participation - or even not? What kind of
participation can you imagine? Should participation be limited to
openstreetmap foundation members only or should the whole community be
involved? In the latter case, how can we avoid abuse (e.g. by teleatlas
Please participate :-) .
HTH & best regards,
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