[OSM-talk] [Osmf-talk] Modus operandi of the board

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Tue Oct 21 13:47:03 UTC 2014


On 10/21/14 13:42, Kathleen Danielson wrote:
> more interested in what we (as
> members) can do to make it a more functional place. 

Even when I was not a board member, I tended to be a little bit
frustrated by how little the OSMF membership in general were interested
in what their board (or theur foundation) does.

There is no history in OSMF for the members trying to hold their board
to account. The OSMF board can neglect to put important stuff on their
agenda, neglect to hold board meetings, individual board members can
skip board meetings many times in a row without explaining themselves,
or we can postpone stuff indefinitely, and nobody will even so much as
raise an eyebrow in public.

In theory, the OSMF members are the boss and board is just a group of
people asked by the members to run business for them until they convene
next time. In similar organisations I know in Germany, it is absolutely
not uncommmon for members to discuss and submit proposals to the AGM
that would be binding for the board; and for people to actually discuss
and argue and vote at an AGM.

OSMF has no culture of democracy really; and this is most likely due to
the founding story: This is not a political body, it's mainly a
safeguard for things like our trademarks and a legal entity to operate
our servers.

And who would, as a member, get in the way of that? Why engage,
emotionally, with another area of politics when all of us have enough of
that in their lives already? OSMF itself says it doesn't want to be
important, so maybe it shouldn't be important to me either.

So we're all happy as long as things work somehow, and we vote for
whichever name we've heard before, and don't bother asking questions, or
reading minutes, or whatever.

For me as a board member, it would have been very helpful to have an
active membership actually watching what I do (or don't do), and asking
the questions that may arise from in between the lines of some meeting
minutes. I would have considered it normal to be held accountable; but
that *may* be a cultural difference - there seems to be a certain school
of thought whereby the democratic participation of members is reduced to
voting for board once a year and asking questions would mean "you don't
trust your board", and even while I was not yet on the board I was
occasional chided by other members for asking critical questions.

In short, what I'd like to see is (a) more people joining OSMF, and (b)
at least some these people actually following and commenting on what the
board does, or doesn't do, in their name.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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