Talk:Foundation/AGM12/Election to Board

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Hypothetical situations for all candidates

  • Imagine that you have been elected to the board. A potential sponsor contacts the board and asks for details to contribute to OpenStreetMap. You learn that another board member has responded by contacting that potential sponsor and suggesting that they sponsor another project that is interesting to that board member. What is your reaction? What should be the board reaction?
Answer from SimonPoole
For clarification: "another project" is a non-OSM project? My take on this is that it is a very different if this was a bad faith redirection of funds to somewhere else, than a good faith not adhering to internal processes. The former is legally a clear violation of the duties of a board member and would probablly require formal action by the board, at least I would ask the board member to step down.
In the later case: it is not out of the question that we might want to redirect a sponsor to a different project if he was mistaken about the nature of OSM and there is no good fit (imagine a company wanting to sponser yet another JS map framework). Depending on how the board has delegated and organized such tasks I would expect at least that the board would be informed that a member is going to take action on such a request, or to be included on any such communication. If that didn't happen I would express my opinion to the member in question and ask to improve such communication in the future. Outside of the specific question there is naturally the general issue of how we build a smoothly working and effective team out of the board members with good internal communications.
Answer from Frederik Ramm
I concur with what Simon has written above. I would like to stress that learning that another board member has replied to an external inquiry, or even started negotiations on OSMF's behalf, without consulting the others is something that I hope not to see, ever.

For current board members who are standing again

  • What did you accomplish in your previous term(s), that are uniquely your accomplishments?

Answer from Henk Hoff:
I see my work in the OSMF as a joint effort. The OSMF should not be a group of individuals each only interested in their personal goals. All volunteers within the OSMF (and especially the Board) are working together in making the project successful. Labeling accomplishments as uniquely mine, is not how I see we should be operating.
Having said that, just to mention some items that I've been involved with:
  • Secretary: doing all the grunt work for board meetings (organizing, minuting, etc)
  • State of the Map: I'm organizer of SotM09, SotM10, SotM11, SotM12.
  • Management Team: In order to have a better (operational) structure of the Foundation. Although, still room for improvement. I'm the chair of the MT.
  • Communication WG: Participating member.
  • License WG: Although the last couple of months not able to attend meeting frequently.
Unfortunately I had to drop several things due to time restrictions. I hope I will be able to pick these up in the near future.
  • AoA rewrite
  • Local Chapters
My work within the OSMF focusses on the behind-the-scenes organizational things. Keeping the organization running as effectively as possible.
Needless to say that all mentioned here has been done on a voluntary basis.

  • How do your accomplishments on the board align with your previously published position statements or manifestos?

Answer from Henk Hoff:
From 2009:
  • SotM: I'm still organizer of SotM
  • Evangelism: I've been talking about OSM on different business conferences (like Location Business Summit) and open data conference (like the FOSS4G).

  • How much time did you devote to Board meetings and other board obligations?

Answer from Henk Hoff:
On average I would say 8 hours a week. But during weeks like these (with the upcoming AGM and SotM), it's more like 20+ hours a week: several hours each day and even more during the weekend.
Next to that, I try to go to several OSM meetings, for some fun. Like the Toronto Hackweekend and the OSM Birthday party in London. (In case you want to know: on own expenses)

  • How much time and other resources would you advise new board members to expect to devote to board meetings and other obligations?

Answer from Henk Hoff:
I would seriously advise new board members to be able to spend at least 8 hours a week on OSMF related matters. Board members should be able to respond quickly to e-mail (< 24 hours), because issues can arise quickly and may need a swift response. Be a team-player. Also willingness and ability to travel: at least twice a year for a face-to-face board weekend.

For all candidates

  • How much time and other resources do you expect to devote to board meetings and other board obligations?
  • Which of the unique skills that you bring to the board will be most beneficial to the OpenStreetMap community? And how?
  • What do you think of paid work that has been funded by OSMF, and if you see a need for paid OSMF staff in the next 3 years, what do you think they should be doing? - LastGrape/Gregory 23:18, 27 August 2012 (BST)
  • How much time/percentage do you aim to spend mapping(surveying/editing), on OSMF board duties, and on other OSM tasks? Will your time for the board duties encroach on the other OSM time you spend? - LastGrape/Gregory 23:18, 27 August 2012 (BST)
Answer from SimonPoole
  • in my opinion our organisational structure in somewhat in flux. Should the curernt modus operandi continue with the "operational" busness handled by the mangement team, I expect a day or two per month on average (not taking in to account my current involvment in the LWG).
  • I'm not convinced that I have unique skills. I'm used to working in multi-cultural organisations with difficult and unconventional structures plus I have substantial experience in delivering high-quality and reliable IT services both at a nuts and bolts and at a mangerial level. I do admit that the later has made me a bit of a cycnic. On top of that I know a fair bit about accounting.
Answers to LastGrape from SimonPoole
  • I consider contracting out things "that nobody wants to do" quite ok, as long as a good case is made and we are not talking about multi-million consulting contracts. Touchy issues are funding such excercises and our process for awarding such contracts. In particular because our central SW infrastructure is not exactly run of the mill stuff, we currently only have a very very small number of people that such contracts could realisticly be awarded too. I'm fairly sure that in the time frame of three years we will not be able to avoid having a paid part time secretary of sorts for the more mundane administrative tasks (this could be eassily outsourced though).
  • right now my expectation is that the board time will be on top of other OSM related activities.
Answer from Frederik Ramm
  • I think that board work must be organised so that it can be easily done by a volunteer who does other things in OSM as well and has a day job and a private life. Otherwise we end up with a board of people floating mile-high over the project, totally absorbed in "board work" and forgetting what OSM is for everyone else. In my manifesto I've said that you cannot expect a board member to do more than 10 hours in a month, and I will not expect anyone on the board to do more than that. It's not healthy.
  • I don't have any unique skills. But of anyone who has even been or still is on the board, I am probably the person who participates most in our various public communications channels. I hope that this will naturally reduce the distance between board and the community by increasing the flow of information. But that's a hope, not a promise.
Answer from Kate Chapman
  • I agree with Frederik that board work specifically should not be a huge commitment beyond a day or two a month. That said I would expect board members to be involved in other parts of OpenStreetMap and there may be times where more work is required. For example there is a difference between attending a board meeting and belonging to a working group, but board members likely would be involved in both.
  • My unique skill that I bring to the board is that I interact with newer communities with sometimes less technical backgrounds though my work with HOT. It is easy sometimes to forget about the whole community and focus on North American or European interests.
  • I think there is going to be a need for targeted paid staff in the next couple years. I think having someone to help with administrative tasks, such as SotM and the finances will be necessary. Perhaps there is some things that board is doing now which are not purely "board" duties that are more administrative that could be put to an administrative person. HOT has an admin assistant that helps with administrative tasks, such as editing documents, reimbursements, and accounting. It can help to have someone who is very organized and good at these types of tasks. Other tasks I could see an admin helping with would be publishing of minutes from board meetings, seeking sponsors, and arranging logistics for those receiving scholarships to SotM. I also think at some point the OSM project will grow too big for the servers to be entirely administered by a volunteers. I'm not sure where that breaking point is, but I think it is likely that the point will be reached in the next 3 years. It will be important to look at the effects of changing from completely volunteers to partially staff before such as change were to be made.
  • Currently I work for HOT full-time. The amount of time I spend editing and surveying each week really varies right now depending on what workshops/projects we are doing in Indonesia in a given week. There have been weeks where a team of us surveyed and edited full-time for example. I don't see that changing or the regular mapping I do in my travels (e.g. adding missing restaurants I eat at, etc). If I was still living in the U.S. something would have to give in my schedule to make time for board duties. Living in Indonesia though I spend less time speaking at conferences and also find I have more free-time for volunteering, simply because my life is a bit quieter here.

Question from SunCobalt to Simon Poole

Three of your topic in the "Supporting the Community" sections are about imports. As far as I understood OSM, community guidelines including the import/mechanical edit guideline are set by the community not by the OSMF board. The guidelines are then enforced by the community itself or by a working group, usually the DWG. Why do yo think the OSMF board would be better in enforcing guidelines? I am right if you want to change the current set up so the OSMF board will set and enforce guidelines?

As already pointed out to you on the German forum, you are substantially misquoting me. In fact I wrote exactly the opposite of what you are claiming (I said that the community should enforce the guidelines, and didn't even remotely mention the OSMF board). SimonPoole 22:07, 23 August 2012 (BST)
For the record, I fully support Simon's statements on imports. The relationship between board and DWG has been good in the past, but DWG occasionally seeks board approval for things that might be controversial. DWG has long been discussing tightening the import policies (as a direct result of the number of complaints received) but it sure helps if board stands behind DWG in this! --Frederik Ramm 23:27, 23 August 2012 (BST)

Invalid joke candidate nominations

Something like an edit war has occurred here, which should always trigger a discussion to settle the matter. For that reason I laid things out in the discussion here a little too much detail. View page history to see theses details. However after this, further discussion happened on the mailing list, and at a board level our joke candidates were blocked from becoming members. But candidates are fixed now so... -- Harry Wood 23:21, 27 August 2012 (BST)


For the non native speakers: What exactly does "Nomination seconded" mean and why can Mikel appear there several times? --Lulu-Ann 14:56, 27 August 2012 (BST)

In this context, "seconding" is offering a nominal amount of support for a candidate. To my knowledge we have no requirement that a candidate be "seconded" to be legitimate. In some parliamentary systems, a matter put to a vote must be proposed, and then seconded before a vote may be properly called. Wikipedia tells us more [1]
- User:Rw 20:40, 27 August 2012
It's a bit confusing to have this column on there really. As "seconding" is not part of the process, the table would be clearer if this was removed. Maybe a bit late now though. Just something to remember for next time perhaps -- Harry Wood 23:15, 27 August 2012 (BST)
"there shall have been given to the Secretary notice in writing, by some member duly qualified to be present and vote at the meeting for which such notice is given, of his intention to propose such person for election" - from the Articles of Association. I'd say therefore that a proposer is indeed needed, but perhaps the column can be renamed as such. Gravitystorm 15:06, 28 August 2012 (BST)
Ah, looks like we've been doing it backwards by self-proposing and allowing seconds to add themselves later. Is self-proposing permitted? Rw 16:06, 28 August 2012 (BST)
Hmmm. Guess there's a bit of red tape we've decided skip over here in the past. It says that candidates must give written notice, with a signature from the proposer, to the secretary. Things written with signatures are too much hassle. I guess going via the secretary was also deemed too much hassle in the past too. Instead we allow people to slap their names on a wiki page even if they're just dicking around (above discussion) Maybe we've got the balance a bit wrong. Note that neither of the two joke candidates bothered to list anyone in this column which suggests that just requiring a proposer could be enough of a barrier to discourage this. Trouble is it may be a barrier to some genuine candidates having the confidence to step forwards. I think this is something we should discuss in just less than a years time, before opening candidate nominations, unless we have a change to the AoA by then anyway. -- Harry Wood 11:02, 29 August 2012 (BST)