Talk:Foundation/AGM13/Election to Board

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Proposed new/changed AoA and coporate involvement

Can someone please clarify Item 7 on the Agenda? Where can I find the precise wording of the proposal and can the candidates each give their opinion/stance on Corporate involvement, influence and voting in a future OSM? Thanks. Jonathan (bigfatfrog67)

Reply from Roland

To qoute Frederik for the facts: The new AoA do allow for corporate members but don't give them voting rights (as written explicitily in item 75 of the new AoA. The new AoA cover privacy improvements as well as the option for corporate members, with or without voting rights. There are some people who would like to have corporate members voting rights as well. To avoid that this mixes up with the adoption of the new AoA in general, this question has been moved to a separate topic. If you vote "yes" on topic 6 and "no" on topic 7, you vote for the new AoA, but deny corporate members voting rights. If you want voting rights for coporate members, you could vote "yes" and "yes". If you don't want the new AoA altogether, you could vote "no" on topic 6, topic 7 would then be void.
For my opinion: What is the fear about a company having strong influence on OSM? It is that OSM might get driven into a too narrow direction that oneself doesn't like. Or positively: We want OSM to stay an open platform that is application-agnostic. Do corporate voting rights change that much? Actually, a company could much more easily hijack a general meeting by letting their employees becoming OSMF members. Or offer tools that let users migrate away from OSM. So voting rights for companies are more a symbolic question. I will vote against granting voting right to companies because this best reflects the application-agnostic policy I would like for OSM. -- Roland

Reply from Gregory

Like Roland, I too would use Frederik's summarised explanation, which can be seen here, from the mailing list archives. Frederick also reminded us that it has always been in the AoA that corporations can join. I'm undecided on their voting rights, but swaying towards not allowing it(vote against agenda item 7). I expect larger corporations(the ones that some might fear could take over with their interests) would not be interested in using voting rights, and smaller corporations would be closer to the heart of OSM and likely have several employees that were OSMF members anyway.
It would be good to start openly accepting/encouraging corporation membership as this would give a more regular income to the foundation and allow for planning. It would also make relationships more settled. We would need to find selling points for corporate membership (even if it included voting rights) but I think that can come from logos to use "we proudly support OSMF" and I don't think it would be a hard sell at all. The OSMF board has no set fee for coporate members and would need to decide this, however item 23 of the new AoA allow this to be "computed by reference to that corporation's economic activity such as turnover or annual profit" if desired.
Still, lets not forget that there is still a low number of natural people as OSMF members and plenty of work that could be done on that too. -- Gregory

Reply from Dermot

Let us reflect on today's OSMF situation with regard to corporate involvement - in the absence of any specific provision to allow a corporation to get involved as a corporation, the option that remains is for one or more individuals within the corporation to join as members. Doing so will gain them voting rights (as many votes as persons) and will cost them a small amount of money because they will pay a rate that was intended for "productive" mappers. This is the status quo.
A break with status quo that is proposed is to formally acknowledge the interest of corporations to be involved as well as their readiness to pay more for their membership. It is not suggested, nor do I believe, that this extra payment would be seen as an improper attempt to steer OSMF policy in the company's favour. Any company with such an intention would be far better served by making a discretionary donation conditional on some assurance or indeed by simple bribery. Our defence against all of these potential causes of improper influence remains as ever the integrity of the OSMF board members and the scruples of the OSMF membership (and for most useful purposes, the OSM Community as a whole), since important policy decisions will inevitably be referred to them.
That being so, I believe that we have nothing to fear and a certain amount to gain from admitting corporate members under such adapted terms. I am also in favour of granting such a corporate member once single vote, just like any normal mapper. This is a symbolic thank you for their support for (and I suggest, involvement in) the Community and conveys no advantage whatsoever - again, an evil organisation would be better served sparing the expense and visibility of a corporate membership and could (even today) simply pay for several sock puppet individual memberships. In short, democracy is not affected either way either by admitting corporate members or by granting them a vote.

-- --Mackerski (talk) 17:31, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Proposed AoA and objects

In a few days time the OSMF members present in Birmingham will have the chance to decide upon the objects of the OSMF. For the proposed AoA it has been decided not to change the objectives of the 2006 MoA. So the objects still are (1) encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data; and (2) providing geospatial data for anybody to use and share.

For me this is somewhat confusing:

- I noticed that there is a recent (Autumn 2012) list of 7 objectives for OSMF ([1]).
- This mission statement contains other valuable ingredients not present in the 2006 MoA/proposed AoA like 'protect the OSM database' and 'open'.
- There hasn't been a serious discussion yet -that I know of- why it's better for the project that OSMF does not engage into strategic processes.
- In contrast to the 2006 MoA/proposed AoA Kai writes in his (summary) manifesto: 'OSMF has always had the goal of "supporting the community" '.

I would like to know, preferrably from all candidates, what your thoughts are on the objects in the proposed AoA. I prefer an answer on process over an answer on content. --It's so funny (talk) 22:01, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Reply from Roland

Different objectives in different documents are fine, as long as they do not significantly contradict. The AoA and therefore the objectives in it can only be changed once in a couple of years. At least in Germany they also determine whether the entity is tax exempt and therefore address lawyers and judges as audience. So I'm not concerned that these goals in the AoA are very borad and general. The mission statement is a message from the board reflecting the OSMF member's view as accurate as possible and therefore exepected to change once a year if at all. It can and does define the role of the OSMF inside the OSM ecosystem, in contrast to the AoA.
Concerning the non-discussion: you are free to start a discussion on the OSMF mailinglists, as an OSMF member you have write access to the list. There even is an initiative to collect meaningful ideas in the wiki. But this has a significant potential of bikeshedding, so most OSMF members do prefer mapping, coding or other beneficial work over such discussions. There is more than rough consensus about the goals of both OSM and OSMF, and is has been codified quite well in the mission statement. --Roland

Reply from Gregory

The objectives in the AoA are what the OSMF Board must leagally seek to do and we (as OSMF members) can call them out if we think they are deviating. I believe the Mission Statement is a working out of more specific/clear and measurable objectives that are within the objectives of the AoA. I think it is good to have a mission statement in this way, as it is a way of saying what should be actively persued and what we might achieve.
However you have raised a point that should be addressed. The Mission Statement page should at least make a reference and link to the AoA. The board may want to look at and consider the connection between the Mission Statement and AoA and if it is good enough, but I don't think it is critical they do that. - LastGrape/Gregory

Reply from Dermot

Each year the revised board discusses objectives for the year and, for me, it remains valid to consider new objectives each new year based on the circumstances pertaining. The only limitations on us are the AoA and, more generally "what we say we'll do". On the specific issue of the strategic destiny of the project - I feel strongly about this and believe that it is within scope for the OSMF, being consistent with both of the numbered points above. The OSMF board has traditionally avoided being a top-down decision maker, preferring to involve as many interested parties as possible in important decisions. We have had a Strategic Working Group, which became inactive and has now been declared so officially, leaving room for interested parties to come forward and offer to fill that gap.

--Mackerski (talk) 17:43, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Working Groups

The OSMF working groups carry out most of the work of the foundation. What working groups are you currently on, and do you anticipate having to step down from any for time reasons if you are elected? Pnorman (talk) 22:30, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Reply from Gregory

I am on the StateoftheMap Organizing Committee. Although not OSMF Working Groups, I have subscribed to more mailing lists than need be (all the regional GB lists, talk-GB, talk-ca, OSM-dev, OSM-talk, imports, and some less-frequent ones).
Part of deciding to run this year is that I can see myself more constantly having time to be availble, especially in responding to messages reguarly/quickly as needed by board members. As I'm not involved in several Working Groups this allows me to avoid dropping involvement in them and increase involement as needed through board duties.
I understand this is a bit of shortcut attempt to the top in terms of OSMF involvement. I don't think there is anything bad about doing that and glad it avoids having to drop existing involvement.
LastGrape/Gregory 00:09, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Reply from Roland

I've so far supported the working groups without being a formal member and I will continue to do so. Please note that the working groups differ in their notion of "membership": While DWG and OWG have definite lists, EWG relies on participating in the IRC meeting, and CWG doesn't look active at all. I plan to continue with ad hoc support. --Roland

Reply from Dermot

I'm on the Licence Working Group and have been since I took a board position 2 years ago. I am also active in the OSMF Management Team. I joined LWG motivated mainly by the desire to help achieve the best possible (meaning least data loss) licence change possible. I know that some of you experienced more pain than others in this regard, but believe me, we worked very hard to get the best outcome and we saved a lot of data in the process. As a sitting board member, I can say that the time commitment for participation should continue to be OK for me - it is expected that each WG should have at least one board member participating, meaning that any candidate must expect to sit on at least one as part of the normal commitment of time and effort.

Edit: While the Strategic Working Group was active I participated in that too and will be pleased to participate in any successor group concerned with the future direction of OSM.


Mackerski (talk) 17:37, 2 September 2013 (UTC)