User:Peda/2015 OSMF Board Elections Manifesto
I'm Peter Barth, known as Peda in OSM. I've joined the community in 2007 and have been contributing to the data since that time but I'm also contributing code at different places. Since this year I'm working for the Wochennotiz (and WeeklyOSM for that matter) and joined the Data Working Group to help where possible. I'm an active member of the local community of my home town as well, where I'm organizing various mapping events and cooperating with the local authorities to enhance and increase the usage of our database but you may also find me at conferences and hack weekends, whenever time permits it.
I am a reasearch assistant at the University of Passau in the field of computer vision. As such, I'm not affiliated to OSM. It is a leisure project to which I'm dedicating almost all of my spare time. However, I'm trying to supervise student projects and theses related to OSM as part of my work, especially to promote OSM but also to increase the visibility of OSM in science.
In the past, I heard a lot of complaints about the OSMF's board and I complained myself, too. You don't know what the board is doing, you don't know who's doing actual work and who's just sitting on their ass and so on. Without going into much detail, I'd like to note, that it's easy to complain but harder to improve on something. But that's what I'd like to do: I'd like to prove that it can be done better and I'd like to join and support those on the board who were doing a good job already.
Besides my answers to the questions on the talk page, I'd like to give a brief overview of how I look at things and what might be things to work on.
Role of OSMF
According to the OSMF's website, the Foundation is a not-for-profit organization supporting, but not controlling, the OpenStreetMap Project and I would like to see it stay that way.
OpenStreetMap is a community project and, given its size, it makes sense for it to have an organization that formally represents it. However, the credibility of such an organization depends on a large membership. In my opinion it is essential to enlarge the number of members in the OSMF and I'd even say that, ideally, every single mapper should join the OSMF. The Foundation as a supporting organization could not only run the main site and host the SOTM conference but could also support local mappers in different ways, do press relations or even make sponsorship to special developments or services and the like. However, I'm a strong opponent to paid staff in the board or in any working group. The OSMF and OpenStreetMap has to stay an open and free community project of volunteers. This doesn't prohibit individuals to earn their money with OpenStreetMap, that's even a great thing, but the community as that should stay voluntary. I think that lesson has to be learned from the WMF, which acts similar to a company and scares off many volunteers which view it as a "commercial product" rather than "their project".
Transparency is an important issue and every candidate in the past had it on their agenda. In my opinion, transparency has been increased with Paul Norman joining the board last year, however, there's still room for further improvement and I hope I can help to work on that. As outlined above, the OSMF shall be the voice of OpenStreetMap in my opinion. As that, *every* mapper should be allowed to know about every aspect of the Foundation's work. Except for privacy protection I can not think of a single event that should not be published, including publication of board member's votes.
Press relations is an important aspect of the public visibility of a project. This is something that could be extended and where the OSMF might help with.
For the local mappers I'm working with, we have printed flyers, we ordered merchandise articles and we're regularly hosting events and introducing those to the press. We're also trying to setup regular meetings with the local authorities, which e.g. lead us to an dataset of all address data in our city.
This is important work and I think there are certain aspects where the OSMF might help. I can't argue what can be done and what not, but things that come to my mind include
- Providing flyers to mappers
- Organize the creation of fan articles (T-shirts, mugs,...) and factor them via a partner
- Supporting local mapping parties
- Helping with public relations
As a supporting organisation, the OSMF could present local conferences that are comparable to SOTM on their site. The initiative for such conferences has to come from local mappers, but the Foundation could simply advertise those. Additionally, the main site might link to wiki pages of local communities or even promote local mapping events.
As a supporter of open source and free data, I think it is essential for a project like OpenStreetMap to advocate and use free and open tools which is not always the case.
For example, there are still documents within the OSMF that are provided as google documents and the like. This has been improved in the last year but there is still a way to go.
Similarly, open data should be easily obtainable by users. This is the case for our data base but not for the wiki (or help). I'd like to have regular dumps for those at well.
I'd be happy to join the board and I'm sure I'd cooperate well with most members left on the board. Although I'm dedicating already much work for OSM (Mapping, Wochennotiz/WeeklyOSM and Data Working Group), I'm only running as I can and will afford the time to work and help the OSMF.