[OSM-talk] OSM community organisation and decision-making process

Sebastian Spaeth Sebastian at SSpaeth.de
Mon Jul 2 09:22:48 BST 2007

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Thanks for you insightful post Steve

> So, to double the number of rails coders / sys admins / conference
> organisers again we need to move to 16,000 users.

Well, debating on an academic level you should also know that
"correlation is not causation" :-). So adding another 8,000 community
members will automatically give you those core people. It might take
more to get those.

> I say in general because I learnt my lesson with the isle of wight
> party, I asked when people wanted to go. Mistake. Think also about
> 'consensus' on a new data model or the use of postgres. Mao would be
> pleased at our thousands of schools of thought contending - but someone
> actually has to do it. Neal Stephenson has this great quote in the
> diamond age about it being the hardest thing in the world to get
> educated westerners to pull together.

I see what you are saying, but there is one thing which is even less
constructive than the horrors of design by committee as you describe
them: ambiguity and power vacuum. I boldy state that OSM doesn't know
how it is organized and that is even worse.

If it were a command-and-control structure with some (you?) as
benevolent dictators at the top, things might judt work out smoothly.
If things are based on an anarchistic DIY-if-you-need-it base, things
might work (less efficiently) still work out nicely if people had the
opportunity to do stuff.

But as it is right now, people like Fredrik Ramm could be way more
productive if given the opportunity to actually change/implement stuff.
These people want to *DO* and *IMPLEMENT* stuff,  and don't want to get
lost in endless discussions with no or little relevance or consequence.
I know that Fredrik has been asking for weeks for an account on dev with
no reply.

It seems we are currently set up as an dictatorship with no dictator (an
empty seat with a sign "do it yourself"), hindering many of the
bottom-up initiatives which could be evolving right now. I have the
feeling that this is a major source of frustration for many. But I'll be
happy to be proven wrong :-). Plus, I don't know how to "fix" this, so
I'll better shut up now.


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