Foundation/AGM21/Election to Board/Answers and manifestos/Q8 Dealing with disputes, mediation

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Dealing with disputes, mediation

We all have different opinions and cannot always easily agree. A role of a board member is to resolve and move forward. How will you deal with conflicts with other board members and with other key people or groups? Do you have previous experience?

Guillaume Rischard

I think we’ve done better than previous boards, not because we were less difficult people, but mostly thanks to Allan’s leadership. He always reminded us that we ultimately shared the same goals, and that we all volunteered to be on the board. I have privately, and sometimes less privately, called out other board members who were arguing with each other.

I think that I’ve built mutual respect with my fellow board members, even over disagreement.

The video meetings have been one of the few positive sides of the pandemic. It’s a lot easier to read the emotions of the other person when you can see their faces. I would never want to go back to Mumble.

In a wider context, I’m glad that the board has asked LCCWG to revise the etiquette guidelines and help instate a moderator team for the OSMF-talk and talk mailing lists. I’m hoping that there’s less drama on the mailing lists this year as a result.

Michal Migurski

I’ve held managerial positions adjacent to open geospatial data for most of my career which gives me experience advocating for positions, finding common ground, and developing compromises. The most valuable asset for resolving conflicts is high-quality shared information, something that the 2021 Board supported with the global community survey. I hope to continue the survey annually. By seeking input from the broader OSM population on project priorities we can build consensus decisions about the future direction of OSM.

Amanda McCann

I've been on a board for 2 years now, so I know a little about this now. If you disagree with someone, it's important to look at their other contributions, and if they are doing a lot, to cut them some slack. Gender Transitioning has made me much happier and relaxed, so I'm better at dealing with disagreements.

Mikel Maron

This is similar question to a previous one about handling challenging situations. To share again in another way, I think it's super important to acknowledge different points of view explicitly, try to understand the driving factors for someone's perspective and then look to find common ground that addresses the fundamental needs. There are certainly different perspectives on the Board, but fundamentally their is solid basis of shared values and alignment in priorities.

Roland Olbricht

The appropriate channels and acceptable or inacceptable delays to resolve conflicts are different for each conflict. I'm meanwhile a member of the OpenStreetMap community for more than ten years, thus I have quite some experience which conflicts are new, which conflicts are severe, and which conflicts simply will reoccur every now and then.

Bryan Housel

Do I have experience dealing with conflicts with board members? Yes.

Disagreement is a normal and expected effect when working with other people. Learning how to disagree in a healthy way involves: listening first, being honest, keeping in mind the overall goals of the project, and being willing to change your mind when presented with new information.

My preference is to work out disagreements one-on-one in private, but I’m not afraid to call people out publicly for being dishonest, disrespectful, or arguing in bad faith.

More information about how to have healthy disagreements can be found here:

OSM Foundation's board election 2021: official questions

All board candidates' manifestos

OSM Foundation's board election 2021 - OSM Foundation's Annual General Meeting 2021: information and agenda