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

Simon Poole simon at poole.ch
Thu Oct 23 11:06:52 UTC 2014

Hi Kathleen

Am 23.10.2014 10:47, schrieb Kathleen Danielson:
>     There has been some discussion between Michael, the board and myself on
>     changing the inner workings of the OSMF a bit which potentially could
>     address some of the remaining issues, however these are at a very early
>     discussion stage.
> Simon, would you care to shed light on this? This seems like a good time
> to bring conversation out into the open, so that the community can give
> input, rather than waiting until things have already been decided. The
> deadline for someone to announce their candidacy is in just over 12
> hours, so today is rather critical for OSMF. I would hate for something
> to come out in a day or a week that could have compelled someone to run.

I don't believe any of the changes would or should effect anybody
wanting to run for the upcoming election. Any change would not be short
term in any case and likely discussed to death before anything happens.

The issues in discussion are not new, it is simply a renewed attempt at
addressing them:

- role of the board: strategic? oversight? operational? Right now the
OSMF board is a mash up of all three.
- in the same vein revisit the management team concept, given that is
has struggled to get off the ground, does it need changing?
- more participation from the community in the OSMF outside of the
working groups and the board. Do we need to provide additional
structures to facilitate that? For example an advisory board?
- can we do anything to help the working groups? Kate pointed out her
animal shelter experience, however it seems at odds with OSM reality.
The "shoveling manure" working groups are doing fairly well, foremost
the DWG, but naturally the OWG and the LWG too, all the others seem to
have participation and motivation problems.

... and probably a couple of points that I've forgot.

> Speaking of timelines, I'd like to register my disappointment that it
> wasn't made more obviously known that the deadline has already passed to
> join the foundation to be eligible to vote in the upcoming election [1].
> I certainly understand why the 30 day rule is in place, but we talk
> about how few community members are actually OSMF members, and yet the
> AGM wasn't formally announced until *yesterday*, [2] only 17 days in
> advance. I also absolutely understand the challenges around scheduling
> at conferences, but I wasn't aware of this rule, and I think it's fair
> to assume many other people weren't as well.  By failing to publicize
> this important deadline to the larger community, a key opportunity has
> been lost to increase the membership as well as to hear the voices of
> more community members in our annual election. To me, this communicates
> either satisfaction with the status quo ("why expand the voting base if
> we're happy with how elections have gone in the past?"), or simply
> apathy. Both are disappointing.

The 30 day rule is -very- new, this is actually the first time it will
apply, so I apologize if anybody was surprised by it. The scheduling
issue is real and it flatly wouldn't have been possible to formally
announce in time (which would have had to been 60 days back to give
enough time to avoid the cut off without undue haste). The solution to
this will likely be to disassociate GM scheduling from the SOTM event so
that we can plan the GM well in advance.

> There is still quite a bit that I want to say in response to the
> messages of the past few days, but it's taking me some time to formulate
> the bulk of my thoughts. That said, I would like to voice my support for
> Richard's suggestion that the full board step down. I hope most of them
> will stand for re-election, but I think we've heard that whichever 2
> people we elect are likely to be burnt out and sapped of whatever energy
> they have going into the election. Don't think that I don't understand
> the challenge that comes with the potential loss of institutional
> memory. It's something we've discussed many times on the OSM-US board. I
> do think that it's a drastic option, but I can't see anything short of a
> drastic option making a substantial difference.

It simply is a very unrealistic option given that it would require a
mechanism that doesn't exist to force all board members to resign.

Kate was complaining about the on boarding of new board members, she got
at least an order of magnitude more support than Frederik and myself
did, I don't think that there is any -accessible- board related
institutional memory of note that is tied to board members. I do have to
point to and thank Andy Robinson for his support in providing filing and
mail services to the foundation for a very long time.

>                                                 If the past few days
> have taught us anything, it's that the OSMF is fundamentally broken and
> doesn't have the energy needed to fix that. This project can and should
> be able to and *has* done great things, but it could be so much more.
> No, we don't always agree with what "more" means, but with a governing
> body (which is what OSMF is, even if that isn't made explicit) that
> cannot accomplish things, we're not going to see any version of "more". 

The OSMF is many different things for many different people, from a
potential way to grab control of the project, to a tiny UK non-profit
that somehow manages to keep the worlds most amazing project running

Yes, it is very many things, but it is not fundamentally broken.

The OSM does not fit in to classical hierarchical models very well and
even less to rather corny leadership memes. If German media is to be
believed even the WMF is thinking about becoming more OSMFish, so we
must be doing something right.

> Yes, I've decided to stand for election, and no, I don't expect my view
> to make me particularly popular (or electable), but I truly care about
> this project, and I want to see our community become a healthy one. I
> think a shakeup in leadership could help us get there.

If ever a community project was healthy than it is OSM, trying to force
it to conform to conventional notions of structure and governance is
likely not going to improve anything. The price of not fiddling around
is that we have evolution and not a series of big bangs (the later
clearly being more marketable).

Yes, the OSMF could do more to support our contributors and bridge some
gaps in our tools, anybody who has been present at a talk from me knows
that is what is dear to my heart and yes the membership should be larger
and more inclusive. Things which the current board has put on the table
and has supported with action, despite being a bit dysfunctional.

In any case thank you for throwing your hat in and participating in the


PS: I've noted that Frederik is the sole candidate that has answered the
questions here
could all candidates please make the effort and monitor and answer any
questions that turn up there?

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