User:TimSC/The Process

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This was posted on the OSM fork group and I wanted another copy. Discussion to usual forums or the talk page.

Original Message

On 14/08/10 08:53, Liz wrote:

I looked again at the "process" for deciding on a licence change and indeed, the once offered vote by contributors has just been dropped entirely. [ disputed ]

This is my main objection, too. This is partly because I don't fully grasp the legal issues. Ironically, I would be happy if OSMF just admitted to the fact and promised to do better in future. Ideally, they would do a poll but now I don't trust them not to mess it up.

One specific detail that really concerns me is they have a "vote" along side a pro-OBdL campaign. The proposal being voted on was entirely biased for relicensing. So the intention of the OSMF vote was not to actually seek consensus, it was to seek approval of their committee decision.

Secondly, the democratic attitude of some board members are at odds with my view. When discussing other issues with Iv n S nchez Ortega (of the OSMF board), he advised me to exercise my democratic influence by joining the board! That is not how representative democratic systems work, as far as I am concerned.

See, on one hand, OSMF is a democratically run entity. If the community wants the OSMF to steer in some direction, people wanting so will step up for the board. Which is why I urge you to step up for board elections next year.

http://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/legal-general/2010-July/0001...

Thirdly, the relicense vote was only OSMF members, not contributors generally. I can't think of any valid reason to limit the vote in that way. When I talked to SteveC, I think he said he didn't want to spam the contributors, but I was in argument mode and I can't remember clearly. (And contributors don't vote in OSMF board elections.)

Fourthly, the option of going PD was ignored because it was considered too divisive. The LWG seems to have been founded on that assumption. This of course doesn't seek consensus; it just imposes a decision. If no consensus in a public forum could be reached, it should have been put to a vote.

Considering the previous points, I conclude OSMF board believe they can legitimately take decisions without seeking a mandate from mapping contributors. For them, being board members and approval of the OSMF membership is enough. Considering OSM is a collaborative mapping project that that is only supported by OSMF, I consider their attitude as undemocratic. They probably argue that they can get a majority, if it were put to a vote of all contributors. But this is irrelevant, because that is merely rubber stamping their committee lead decision.

I might add that Mike Collinson has had a constructive attitude throughout, at least when dealing with me. My discussion with him:

http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Questions_to_LWG_on_ODbL#Protests_...

As for the way ahead, we are in a bad situation. It's basically too late to really address these fundamental issues. (Unless ODbL relicensing is derailed, but I don't expect that.) The best I hope for is strong assurances that things will improve.

I have been reading a fair amount of Popper, Thoreau and Rousseau recently, so I probably have weird ideas about democracy! Rant finished!

TimSC