Talk:Foundation/AGM14/Election to Board

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This page is also one possible channel for putting questions to the candidates. Mailing lists including the members only 'osmf-talk' are another key channel for discussions


Increasing diversity has been a term used a lot lately in OSM circles, however, the topic has largely remained isolated to gender diversity. Looking at diversity from a purely geographical perspective, how would you see the OSMF's role in increasing the diversity of OSM with regards to engaging with non-western and non-english speaking communities? --DaCor (talk) 03:53, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

Personally, I'm not in favour of active outreach. I think that other countries and other cultures will discover OSM when the time is right for them, and trying to force OSM onto them from afar will only distort what OSM is. We could partner with organisations or even governments in non-western and non-english-speaking countries to bring OSM to the masses (or even seek funds to set up outreach offices liki Wikipedia does) but that would then lead to OSM being viewed not as the grassroots thing that enables people to make their own map, but as the thing brought in by the government or the Red Cross or whomever we partner with. I want us to be welcoming to people who knock on our door, but if they don't knock, then we don't have to engage in a marketing crusade. OSM might not even be right for all cultures. We're not a business, and if it takes another ten years for OSM to be taken up in a country, or if it is rejected in a country altogether, then so be it. I'd rather have people make OSM "their" thing, than selling OSM to people. If someone from a non-western or non-english-speaking community should contact OSMF asking for help with anything - setting up a local chapter, running a mapping party, whatever - then OSMF should definitely help them, and OSMF should make it clear that such help is available, but that's where I'd draw the line. Not out of ignorance, but out of respect. Who am I to know what's good for someone from a totally different culture? --Frederik Ramm (talk) 10:04, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
From my manifesto: "I want to improve the diversity of membership within OSMF by reaching out to engaged communities in local chapters and other initiatives (including HOT and organizations like Maptime) because those voices are the lifeblood of the OpenStreetMap project. I want the foundation as a whole to have the same kind of success that these grassroots initiatives have had, and I think that can be achieved in part by emulating the accessible and welcoming tone that those projects set. That requires work on a lot of other things, such as actually implementing transparency and being in active dialogue with Foundation members and OSM users." At the moment, we are not a diverse Foundation in any sense of the word. By focusing on expanding the OSMF to reflect those who care about OSM, the Foundation will have the membership to do outreach that makes sense. --Randy Meech 00:49, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that diversity will magically happen if a group is left to its own devices. I think that a lack of diversity isn't an accident, even if it wasn't intentionally or maliciously plotted. Groups of people lack diversity because birds of a feather flock together. This isn't an inherently bad thing at its most fundamental levels, but when as a group grows, a lack of diversity is a huge disadvantage. Because I believe that diversity must be intentionally and thoughtfully pursued, I absolutely believe it is the place of OSMF the lead the charge on this front. In terms of geographic and language diversity, I think the people who know most about this are the people who aren't a part of the dominant group (meaning me). I would prioritize listening to the non-western, non-English speaking communities that already exist. They can provide insights into barriers to engagement that I wouldn't be able to see. After talking with them, I would work with them, the board, the diversity list, and the larger community to put new initiatives to foster a more diverse, welcoming environment. -- Kathleen Danielson 07:10, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
I think geographical diversity is a very important aspect of OSM and is (or should be) a key aspect of OSMFs work. Looking at the map one sees an amazing map with tremendous details in Germany or most of Europe and in the US, too. However, looking at other places in the earth there's still a lot to be done. There are huge areas where not only many highways are missing but also many cities, even big ones. But as I stated in my manifesto, I don't want the OSMF to act like a company, it is the mapper who makes the map and we need to approach them. Anyway, there are still many possible ways the Foundation could help and support the increase of mappers in these countries.
I'd really like to see a flexible membership fee. For me as an employee from Europe £15 per year is the cheapest association I know of, for a student from my country the fee is probably ok and for an average person from developing countries it might just be far too expensive. I'm in favor to change to a flexible fee, perhaps even introduce "supporting members" (with no advantages over normal members but to know they're able to afford it).
Helping with press relations, advertising or even coordinating non-OSMF SOTMs, providing (localised) flyers and the like for free and helping with traveling costs where needed might help to spread the idea of a free map and encourage new mappers in countries that do not yet have an active community.
And lastly, to enable people worldwide to contribute to OSM we need to make content accessible in their native languages. To achieve this, I'm in favor of rolling out the technology for localized maps (such as Jochen's demo map) as soon as possible. As for the wiki, we should make translations easier by installing and testing the Translate and perhaps the Wikibase extensions.
So I think there's quite a lot that could be done and that should be done. It also depends on the amount of money we can spend after all, but any of the things mentioned above has to be preferred over hiring professionals (e.g. to map addresses in the first world) and discourage active mappers at those places.--Peda (talk) 14:38, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
To effectively spread OSM and its message, we should start with the users currently in the areas we wish to focus on. Grassroots grows through the human factor! Once we identify those areas, we can contact active users in the vicinity and see if they are willing to provide us with some information to help OSM grow in their area: who/what referred them to OSM, what they focus on, what they like/don't like about OSM, if there are any improvements they'd like to see to the system (which would really help us with those oversights that are a result of a lack of perspective), and if they would be willing to help jump-start OSM in that area. At the end of the day, the local OSM groups are what will help to keep people connected and active. Like I've mentioned in my manifesto, I would like to see the breadth and reach of OSM local organizations grow. So, OSMF's role should be encouraging the growth of these local groups and helping to oversee (and perform) the outreach to these identified members. OSMF should also continue to encourage organizations like HOT who go out to many non-western and non-english communities and provide OSM training to groups and groups of people. FTA (talk) 15:12, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
I like the idea to strengthen the local groups through the establishment of local OSM associations: I helped with the founding of OSM Poland association. I see there very good results for the community. Especially the number of daily active members, internal cooperation between members in the country and cooperation with the government, offices, companies and universities is significantly better. Now I do the same with the friends from the OSM community in Nepal. Self-confidence of local communities can be strengthened by organized local chapters. The OSMF Board should indentify such communities, their specific problems and help them, e.g. by organizing of local conferences. Marek kleciak (talk) 09:41, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
Being a geographic database, geographic diversity is of special significance to OpenStreetMap. I see three ways that the foundation can work to increase diversity within OSM and within the OSMF.
1. Reduction of membership fees where they are an unreasonable burden. There is a resolution allowing waiving of membership fees for associate membership where they pose a hardship up for voting at the AGM, and if passed, that will increase the availability of membership
2. Multilingual maps. Although the technology is not yet stable, the foundation should support a multi-lingual map rendering with the necessary hardware resources when the software to do so has stabilized.
3. Local chapters. As we now have a prototype local chapters agreement, the foundation can now move on recognizing local chapters, boosting geographic diversity.
On a personal level, I have worked hard at improving the map rendering for Asian languages, making it more locally suitable, which I feel helps diversity. Pnorman (talk) 05:17, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
On the geographical side you want to focus on, I think it's about SOTM, local groups and potentially fees. SOTM should be somewhere brand new every year - it's critical to helping people come together and see that there is a community out there. Giving local groups the space and support (if and where needed) to pull together community on their own scale and timeframe, and with their own culture/customs. Lastly dropping/minimizinf the membership fee will help a little. Steve (talk) 18:00, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

Shared values

A twist on the diversity topic. OSM is a global undertaking, spanning many different cultures, life styles and belief systems. Now we can't know which values we share with specific contributors, however in lieu of that, what position would you take towards a data donation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (assume that it would require attribution on our copyright page)? SimonPoole (talk) 08:44, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

I don't think it would be appropriate to reject data from a state if it were valuable, properly licensed, and customary to accept similar data from other states (especially if it might improve the lives of citizens of that state). --Randy Meech 01:08, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Randy that it would be inappropriate to reject data from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, assuming it was held to the same standards that other state-sponsored datasets have been held to. One of the most important voices in the discussion would be the local OSM community. They would be able to speak to the integrity of the data far better than armchair mappers such as myself. --Kathleen Danielson 07:17, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
Echoing the above, if the data are released with the proper license and provide improvements over current data in the area, we should not reject it. Like all data we import, though, it should still be vetted and checked for soundness by those who are familiar with the area. FTA (talk) 15:18, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Randy, too. We collect data and we don't do politics. --Peda (talk) 17:16, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Randy too. I don´t see the problem there. Marek kleciak (talk) 09:43, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
Provided the data meets the normal requirements, legal and otherwise, I don't see any problems with accepting the data donation. Pnorman (talk) 05:18, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
No problem, or more precisely, same potential problems as any other data donation. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 22:01, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
Agree with Randy Steve (talk) 18:01, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

OK, so none of the candidates have problems with accepting data from a racists dictatorial regime that suppresses females and more. What if instead of a regime this was an individual mapper that held the same views and made sure that this was well known? Or that the local OSM user group had similar views and policies? SimonPoole (talk) 19:31, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

New Members Not Editing

OpenStreetMap is still growing at an impressive rate in terms of new members signing up, over 20% in 2014 alone, however that growth is not being reflected in a corresponding growth in contributors where the opposite is actually the case, where during the first 9 months of 2014, in 6 of those months, there was a drop in new contributors compared to the previous month. In your opinion, what is the major factor preventing this corresponding growth and, given the (albeit limited) resources of the OSMF, how could the OSMF look to addressing this issue? --DaCor (talk) 03:53, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

I think the assumption that we should expect a corresponding growth in new contributors to signups might be made too lightly here. When OSM was a niche project, people would sign up to edit. Nowadays we reach more people, and it is not uncommon for people to sign up because they thought it would give them additional features, or to sign up because they just want to place their business on the map. Certainly something that would be interesting to find out but it's not something we should get our knickers in a twist about. I think the OSMF should try to recruit a couple more volunteers to our Communications Working Group, and refrain from interfering with their job this time (which has sadly driven away at least one excellent communications person in the past). --Frederik Ramm (talk) 10:04, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
I would like to see increased signups driven by app developers using OSM as an oauth provider (similar to how many apps currently use Facebook). In particular, I would like to see the next class of local apps like Foursquare built like this, sharing their place data improvements with OSM. At Mapzen we we built this as a proof of concept. It isn't finished and hasn't been updated in a while, but it's a "check-in" app where checking in improves OSM data. Our upcoming mobile app, which does turn-by-turn navigation, requires OSM login and uploads trace data to your account by default. It does what Google and Apple do behind the scenes, but gives the trace data to OSM instead. All this to say: I would like to see many more users signing up, accepting terms, and editing in a non-traditional sense but improving OSM as they use well-built consumer apps. --Randy Meech 01:19, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
I could conjecture for hours as to why people who are signing up might not be editing. It could be that it is harder than they thought; it could be they thought they could place a pin on a custom map for signing up. Regardless, I don't see that as a major problem because contributions aren't lacking and we are still seeing an increase in active users (Media:Active_contributors_month.png--it's still trending up!). One thing I'd like to do is to add an optional indication on the user registration form (or if that might alienate people, then in the user settings) for the interests of the user: give them the opportunity to classify themselves as a developer, editor, both, or no response. Through this, we can get some indication of what the users (who do answer) might be here for. That said, I think it would be beneficial to reach out and touch base with new users. I mentioned this in my manifesto, but if we want to have people stay in the community, we need to nurture our members and help them feel accepted. This could be accomplished through means of a "new user patrol" that generally welcomes new members. If it's an overwhelming task for that group, we could narrow it down to users who have made at least X number of edits ("Hey I noticed you recently joined and have made a few improvements in Anywhere, Country. Great work! If you could use any help, give us a shout."). Even better, if we implemented the user preference like I mentioned at the beginning, we could focus on people who indicate they would like to edit and give them a general welcome/offer for help; those who indicate developer could be welcomed and directed to the API, Overpass, etc. FTA (talk) 14:50, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
Let me preface this by expressing my hope that we will get away from communicating the number of accounts as the size of our community, as has unfortunately been the case in the past. As you stated, there is a big gap here and we should be honest enough to communicate the number of people who have actually contributed, even if the numbers look less impressive.
I think that "drop" of actual contributors arises (among countless other factors) from the fact, that the data is getting more and more complete and the tagging schemes get more complicated and larger at the same time. Now, this is not a bad thing, actually it's a good thing. However, it makes it harder to get started with OSM. 
Regarding counteractions I see two main fields that could be worked on to address this "issue". On the one hand I believe that physical meetings and events are promising recruiting tools. While we ultimately rely on the local communities to organize these, the OSMF could help by making the existing groups more visible on the front page, provide flyers, help with public relations, help organize mapping parties and stuff like that. I have written about this in more detail in my manifesto. On the other hand we (the OSM community) could make use of specialized tools. To name a few examples I could think of:
  • dedicated apps for special interests, e.g. a mapping app dedicated to truck drivers to gather weight/height/... restrictions
  • a possibility to change simple POIs on the main page even for not logged in members (just like we do it with notes). Change the opening hours, telephone number,...
  • providing special graphical input interfaces for complicated tagging schemes (e.g. a JOSM plugin for lane tagging)
--Peda (talk) 17:18, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
The contributor numbers have been steadily trending upwards. Like any activity with an outdoors component, there is a seasonal variation to the number of active contributors, but the year on year trends have been steadily increasing. I do not view the conversion rate between signups and mapping as a particular problem, as it is in line with other online services. We should strive to increase it, but most free services have more people sign up than actually use the service. One of the best ways for the foundation to get more mappers is increase the positive press coverage, as significant contributor spikes are seen whenever a major news article on OSM is published. Additional people on the CWG would let us do this. Pnorman (talk) 05:23, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I used to worry a lot about this (the ratio of contributors to accounts) but now I'm pretty relaxed having tried just about everything to raise the engagement numbers. First, this is a slow process. We sometimes want things to get better tomorrow but instead it'll take a year or more. Second, long-tail distributions are natural and we see them just about everywhere. We'd like things to look more like a bell-curve but they just aren't. It takes time to push a long-tail distribution up. I think the focus should be in allowing anybody to experiment with ways to bring the numbers up. If someone has a great idea, it should be as easy as possible for them to a/b test it to see if it works. Steve (talk) 18:05, 3 November 2014 (UTC) Development

If you were to list the top 3 things you personally would like to see done to the homepage to improve it:

  • what would they be,
  • why do you think they will not be implemented within 24 months, and lastly
  • what can the OSMF, as an entity, do to ensure further development of the main website and the behind-the-sceens infrastructure

--DaCor (talk) 03:53, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

There's many things I'd like to see, most of all better monitoring and revert technology and more features to support community processes, like changeset commenting/flagging/up-down-voting or inviting all mappers in a region to an event. Of the "end-user features" I'd most like to have some way of displaying different-language (or even different-political-border) maps to people in order to reduce conflict between different political/ethnic groups who want "their" view represented. I think the OSMF does not have the capability to define and manage such things as projects and shouldn't aspire to do that. What I would like to see is us trying to match capable developers who'd like to work on OSM but can't afford doing in their spare time, with donors who'd like to help improve OSM but aren't a developer. If OSMF became involved project-managing technical stuff then it should only be the core necessities, e.g. assuming our volunteer admins can't keep up with demand, source funds and pay for someone to help them. But I don't see OSMF as an organisation getting actively involved in developing a nicer user interface or something like that any time soon; that will remain the domain of volunteer contributors for a long time. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 10:04, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
1. I think, to the extent that it's an editing center, should educate active editors about the OSMF and how to get involved. These are the users we should be signing up and getting more engaged. 2. I would like to see periodic (maybe annual) emails to the user base about the state of the project and how to get more involved. If a user hasn't made an edit, give them links to tutorials about editing. If they're an active editor, give them information about the OSMF and how to get involved in that. 3. More and easier-to-access tutorials. This stuff is hard to do for most people (including, to be honest, me!) --Randy Meech 01:34, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
1) LearnOSM more prevalent, especially during user registration (possibly in the confirmation email). It's a great resource that would really help pull in new users who do not have any experience. This could easily be done in 24 months. 2) Option to view GPS traces on the main map (e.g. check box option under Map Data and Map Notes). Let users of the map have the opportunity to see how the road compares to GPS traces uploaded in the area. It could be no one has edited in the area and the map either is offset or doesn't show a way. Not sure about the feasibility, however, so cannot comment on the 24 month timeline. 3) Provide a map layer rendered just like "standard" in terms of items present, but is colored with only black and white. It could be difficult to discern say a park from a golf course for someone who is colorblind. I initially wanted to say the ability to customize each item's color on the map key, but that would require much more work to implement and use more computing power. With a simple black and white layer, we could choose patterns, fills, and widths to differentiate objects. It might not be the most easy-to-read, but it would be an unambiguous option to deciphering something should someone have difficulty in doing so with the standard map. I think this could be completed within 24 months.¶ As I mentioned in my manifesto, we should continue to cultivate the software programming side of OSM. OSM isn't just about open's about open data and we have a lot of it. There needs to be a continually maintained infrastructure in place to support that data. So, we should also highlight this side of OSM when recruiting and at local OSM events. Universities are a great resource for finding volunteers, too, as students need real-world experience and instructors usually like to help out open-source projects. Lastly, we need to continue our relationships with companies who have invested much time and effort into tools and code for OSM. FTA (talk) 16:04, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
Restricting my answer to purely changes I'd like to see the homepage: (1) I'd love to see clickable POIs.Many mappers (especially new ones) tend to complain that their mapped stuff does not show up on the main map, so I'd really like to see a feature that makes it possible to click on the main page to show POIs nearby (there's a nice demo for this kind of feature based on OverpassAPI). (2) I'd also like to see the main map get internationalized. There's a great demo made by Jochen Topf for that (here). You can select a list of languages that get used to label the map. (3) And finally I don't like the current way to watch changesets and especially the list of changesets. As these tools are an important part of mappers' workflow, I'd like to get that improved.
The reasons why these features have not yet made it to the main page vary with each project, but one challenge they have in common is making the last step from a working demo to a deployed feature. This is something that mostly depends on the individual developers. However, the board should make sure that promising projects don't fail because of a lack of server power. --Peda (talk) 17:19, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
Navigation layer. Better search. Street view layer. Also klickable POI´s. No matter whom I show the OSM home page, the people asks still the same: How to search, how to navigate... How to realize it: Specify details with the community. Acquire money for development. Engage experts. Marek kleciak (talk) 09:53, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
There are the obvious things like navigation and search which can always be "better". But I think really it should be a larger philosophy that today we show the best view of the map possible. If you look at the map looks great. I think that's a mistake. I think we should show the worst possible view. For example if we decide that speed limits are important to us then let's only render streets which have speed limits. Instantly, most of the map would go blank. it would be a great incentive for people to go add speed limits. When we had no data at all, there was a great incentive to add things to the map. We don't have that any more. What is the barrier? Making bold moves like that is hard (but not impossible) in a community-consensus environment since there are always people who'll disagree. And of course, the OSMF doesn't directly control any of this. Steve (talk) 18:14, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

Affliation, sponsorship and other interests

Could the candidates detail any professional or other affiliations (investments, memberships) they have with companies or orgaisations relevant to OSM. Please include if your activities on the OSMF board would be supported by any such organisation. SimonPoole (talk) 12:35, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

I am one of the managing directors of Geofabrik, and I'm also treasurer of FOSSGIS e.V., which is the German local chapter of OSGeo and the de-facto-but-not-yet-official local OSMF chapter. Geofabrik is a corporate OSMF member and I'm of course free to work on OSMF stuff during my work time but I'll refrain from taking part in any OSMF decision making when there's even a hint of a conflict of interest between me as an OSMF board director and me as a Geofabrik managing director. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 13:33, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
I work at MapQuest, which uses OpenStreetMap data. If elected, any actions that I take on the board will be independent from my employment and not on company time. When a conflict of interest makes it necessary I will abstain from decisions. One of the outgoing directors, Matt Amos, is a co-worker and I do not believe he has excessive conflicts of interest. I have been a mapper for far longer than I have been a MapQuest employee. Additionally, I do not make funding decisions for MapQuest so if I am elected or not will not directly influence any funding from MapQuest to the foundation. Pnorman (talk) 22:09, 23 October 2014 (UTC)
At the moment I do not do any professional OSM-related work. --Kathleen Danielson 07:30, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
General Notes: First -- and I want to be very clear on this as recent osmf-talk emails show an anxiety about talking to other organizations -- I have many friends, ex-colleagues, and professional contacts at nearly every major internet company, most mapping companies, many startups, and some government organizations and non-profits. I meet with people all the time on a wide number of issues around mapping, and will need to draw strict lines around OSMF business, my own business, and general conversations that just arise. For example, a few weeks ago my colleague Alyssa Wright and I were at the United Nations giving a talk to the tech staff of the CIOs office about open mapping. At around the same time the UN as a potential (free!) venue for State of the Map came up, which we are proposing now. These types of meetings come up frequently for me, and if I'm on the board I will need to make clear which hat(s) I'm wearing. Personally I believe there would be major benefits to OSM to have more board members capable of activity like this, but really it's up to the Foundation voters. It should be noted that I'm comfortable wearing multiple hats and navigating potential conflicts of interest. While I can expense conference travel, I will cover any OSMF-related expenses out of my own pocket, starting with my trip to State of the Map next month. Present Affiliations: I'm CEO of Mapzen, an open source mapping lab based out of the Samsung Accelerator in NYC. We are a donor to Code for America, and are working with them on various geo initiatives. I should note that while we sponsor State of the Map conferences, we are not corporate members of the OSMF. To be honest I haven't felt very good about the management of the Foundation to deem this a good use of funds (this is coming from the guy behind the MapQuest donations of 2010), and recent osmf-talk threads reinforce that my feelings are sound. If I am elected I might feel that it's a conflict of interest to become a corporate member, I would need to figure it out. I also recently joined the board of Green Map, an environmental mapping non-profit; I was invited to help figure out open data strategies. I am an angel investor and adviser to a handful of startups, none of which I deem to be a conflict but I do make occasional investments and will disclose any conflicts in the future. I'm also a limited partner in Bowery Capital Group, but not involved in choosing or managing investments there. Past Affiliations: I put MapQuest behind OpenStreetMap in 2010, announcing it at SotM in Girona, Spain. I was SVP Engineering at AOL at the time; MapQuest's open strategy is basically my career thesis. I hired a number of people from the OSM community from that role (either directly or indirectly), and some are still there. Also, I was at Google for five years in the relatively early days, but not involved in maps. Wow that's a long paragraph :) --Randy Meech 14:46, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
I have no professional relationships with any mapping companies (or anyone that works at any of them) in the past or present...or future for that matter. I also do not perform any contract OSM work. FTA (talk) 14:55, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
OSM is my hobby that I'm doing in my spare time. In the interest of full disclosure, though: I have been supervising student projects and theses at my job as a research assistant. --Peda (talk) 17:22, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
I was 15 years visiting professor at the Technical University in Germany. I work with geodata for 19 years. I started in in the 90's the 3D geodata collection as scientifical consultant of State Department of Geoinformation in Germany. I have worldwide over 25 patents in area of geodata collection, 3D modelling and navigation. I teached Navteq, TomTom and MapMyIndia in 3D data collection and Modelling. Now I´m working as senior manager for elektrobit automotive GmbH in Erlangen, Germany. Elektrobit is the map user and provides navigation systems e.g. for Audi, BMW and VW. Shortly: this is not the mapping company. Marek kleciak (talk) 10:02, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm Head of OSM at Telenav. What that means is trying to get OSM to the point that it can be used by Joe Consumer (we have a long way to go). We've sponsored conferences, hired OSMers, donated data and much more. In the past I worked at Microsoft where we did the same (and donated the aerial imagery) and CloudMade where we did the same. Steve (talk) 18:22, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

Modus operandi of the board

FYI User:lonvia raised a discussion point on the osmf-talk mailing list here: "Modus operandi of the board" inviting candidate responses "I would appreciate if all the individual board members could shortly address the points raised by Frederik" [ in Frederik's manifesto ] -- Harry Wood (talk) 14:29, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Given the discussion that followed it would probably be good if all candidates in addition could state their position on a few central questions that were raised in the discussion:

  • If a motion is made from within the board or from the OSMF members that the whole board steps down for a fresh restart would you be willing to step down together with the other board members?
  • Would you - when elected to the board - actively pursue such action?
  • Would you be in favour of limiting the duration an individual member can serve on the board?

A few statements towards these questions have already been made by candidates in the recent discussion i think - feel free to quote those. --Imagico (talk) 08:26, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Entire board stepping down: As a candidate, I certainly understand the desire for this. However I am concerned that given the tiny number of votes required to elect a board member (57 votes won a board seat last year), it would be trivial for a single organization to influence or win every board seat. So I believe that a slower approach to changing the board might be more secure. If the voting membership were frozen where it is now, this might be a better idea, I'm not sure. Note that the main thing I want to do here is radically increase the OSMF membership from the OSM community, which would provide more safety than the current situation. Would I pursue such an action: I would need to think more about it and discuss it for the reasons above. Limiting duration: Yes, two contiguous two-year terms might be a good term limit to introduce. --Randy Meech 15:08, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
I would be in favor of term limits for OSMF directors to serve only two terms. Serving too long can cause someone to become comfortable in the pejorative sense of the word, and there are plenty of other opportunities outside of the board for people to get involved and still shape/help OSMF. If such a measure limiting terms were passed, I would also advocate that there be no grandfathering...everyone on the board when the measure takes effect would be in their first of two terms. I think this election would be trivial if the members elected were to step down immediately, but if the community did largely voice support for such an action I would consider it. FTA (talk) 01:01, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Board Stepping Down: As this question is phrased, I would not step down because the majority of the membership would not have given their views. As someone who is tentatively advocating for this, I am keenly aware of needing to ensure that this is something that the membership actually wants. If a resolution were passed through the membership to ask the board to step down, I would certainly do so. If the board were entertaining the discussion, I would strenuously recommend that we put the question to the membership before taking any action. Pursuing such an action: I think this would depend on the make up of the new board and whether I felt we were able to affect real change. As above, I would want to defer to the membership for an ultimate decision. Term Limits: I am absolutely in favor of term limits. Given the young age of the project, I think that no more than four total years on the board is acceptable. --Kathleen Danielson 08:34, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I am moderately in favour of limiting terms to two consecutive terms. I am undecided on the board stepping down. I've seriously considered it, including what measure would be necessary to require such an election, but I see both positives and negatives. It's also not clear to me if the entire board would step down, or those who were not elected in the upcoming election. Pnorman (talk) 05:34, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Entire board stepping down is pretty painful. You lose a bunch of institutional knowledge. If there was some compelling reason then I'd think about it in that context at that time. I wouldn't actively pursue it, it feels too capricious. I do think term limits need to happen. Steve (talk) 18:24, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
Stepping Down: I'd like to get the opinion of the members first. However, if the motion is made from within the board and a majority wants it, I would not impede it. I wouldn't actively pursue it, though.
Term limits: I didn't see convincing arguments for term limits yet. It's a democratic choice if a board member is voted in for the 10th time after all. It's just important to have transparency so every OSMF member is able to base their decision on facts and not just on a name. --Peda (talk) 00:22, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

Mailing List and Constituency

Would you say that the "osmf-talk" mailing list is an OSMF communication channel that has to be taken seriously, or would you prefer to discount it as infested by "age-old toxicity" and ignore it? --Frederik Ramm (talk) 23:17, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Placed this question here myself, and my own answer is clear: The osmf-talk mailing list is the closest we have to a forum where our members can say what they think. I'm happy that we have it, and I'd like it if more of our members took an interest in discussing OSMF issues. Whether one likes it or not; osmf-talk is the voice of the people as far as OSMF is concerned, and getting elected means being there for these same people, not against them. Someone who'd rather shut down osmf-talk because of its perceived "toxicity" or because it's all "bullshit" should perhaps think twice about running or else they'll quickly get into a "if the government doesn't fit the people, then replace the people" situation. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 23:17, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm the one who recently used the phrase "age-old toxicity" and then followed up on it here. I had been feeling bad about it, but the osmf-talk threads over the last few days certainly show some problems. I never suggested shutting anything down because of this, and would never want to shut down a communication channel. My point in these threads is that OSMF board members should not behave destructively toward others. The way some board members communicate is actively harmful to the OSMF mission which involves encouraging growth. Recent activity, I believe, discourages growth. --Randy Meech 15:23, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
Healthy communication is a key component to a successful and properly working organization, so I think we should keep open any mode of communication that connects and furthers OSMF. It might be a good idea to also look at other methods of communication among members--maybe an actual forum thread for OSMF talk--because some may not like to communicate through a mailing list. All that said, we should consider implementing some general code of conduct for interactions between members in any official modes of communication (listservs, messages on OSM, wiki messages, etc.). With this, we would provide a safe environment for all when it comes to discussing anything related to OSMF and keep those discussions on point. FTA (talk) 15:29, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
Some people prefer mailinglists. Others a forum. Others yet another medium. Not every member of the OSMF is subscribed to the mailinglist. Although every member gets signed up, a significant group is unsubscribing as well. Making the mailinglist the main communication channel means we're going to keep people out. We should be looking at other media as well. Toffehoff (talk) 01:49, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I think there are several distinct issues here: 1) General hostility on the mailing lists (not just osmf-talk); 2) The past week of hostility between OSM "old timers"; 3) the fact that osmf-talk is a private list. 1: With regard to general hostility, I think that the mailing lists need community guidelines, or codes of conduct. These need to be enforced by moderators, as well as other community members. Moderators are overwhelmed by the volume of messages, so they need more support. When we don't do anything about hostility, name-calling, passive aggressiveness, etc, we are making a clear statement that that kind of behavior is tolerated in our community, which does, indeed, make it a toxic place. 2: The specific hostilities of the past week have been somewhat anomalous. While I don't like the mailing lists being used as a place to have public fights, I also know that these years' old tensions have had a significant and detrimental effect on the OSM community, so to some extent it is relevant to the rest of us. I hope that in the future we never again get to the point where a public "airing of dirty laundry" can be seen in any way as helpful for the community. 3: I do not think that having the osmf-talk@ list as a private list makes sense. In general it's a rather low volume list and there's no reason that those conversations shouldn't happen on osm-talk@. It would likely increase membership, and keep the larger community aware of and involved in the OSMF. When an important discussion begins (such as last months conversation on diversity) the closed nature of the list means that people who may be more newly interested cannot join in, which I believe is a problem. Kathleen Danielson 08:52, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I see osmf-talk@ as the mailing list for OSMF matters, not general OSM matters. Other channels are suitable for announcements, but for OSMF discussion (as opposed to OSM discussion), the list is what we have. Going forward, some of the topics that have come up are probably better suited for general OSM discussion channels as they were not OSMF issues, but wider OSM ones. Pnorman (talk) 07:34, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
I think we should kill osmf-talk and restart a new fully-moderated mailing list. Steve (talk) 18:25, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
I don't find osmf-talk to be "toxic", I actually like the list. It's a good communication channel and it should be taken seriously for sure! Not just that, the directors of the board should use it (along with other channels) to report about their work, they should try to involve the community and listen to them. I don't want a leader, I don't want moderation, I want to have participation. --Peda (talk) 00:23, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
Ignore it. Whatever we do,there are still the same people behind.Marek kleciak (talk) 13:20, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

New Faces on the Board

Hi Steve, Given that, I'm concerned that if you stand, that uses up one of the two openings this year, which greatly reduces the opportunity for change by election of new faces. Would it not be better to leave the two spaces open for other candidates, while renewing your contributions to the board as Chairman Emeritus instead? -- Andy via osmf mailing list

Reply given by Steve on osmf mailing list

Fixing vision and leadership

What makes you feel we have lost vision and leadership? And what would you do to fix it that you weren't able to do while being practically on the board already as an emeritus member for the past years? -- Martijn van Exel via osmf mailing list

Licensing: ODbL & Share Alike

What is your opinion on the ODbL and share-alike provisions in general? --Randy Meech 15:30, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

Asked this myself! I am a strong proponent of share-alike and think that while the ODbL needs some clarification, it is a good license and the board has done well in this area. I also believe share-alike provisions provide a powerful model for how individuals and companies might work together. --Randy Meech 15:33, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
I used to like the share-alike aspect (be it OSM or for software) and our current license, the ODbL, is mostly working as intended. But there are strange aspects that arise from it, and use cases that should be possible with OSM become harder or even impossible. This makes it hard to tell whether the use of OSM in Mapillary, the use of coordinates returned by a search, a query for the number of cities in each country or the mixture of OSM and SRTM data for the purpose of 3D rendering is legally correct or not. Anyway, the license is unlikely to change in the near future, so I hope we can fix some problems with our community guidelines for now. --Peda (talk) 14:33, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree with the opinion of Peda in this point. Marek kleciak (talk) 09:26, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
It seems our current license has been functioning well for the most part. Share-alike provides a sort of "pass it on" legacy when using OSM data and I think it should continue. There have indeed been cases that have required clarification; we can continue to provide guidance as required. It might not be a bad idea to solicit the community for uses they would like counsel on specifically (like those mentioned by Peda) and compile those into a second round of use cases. FTA (talk) 01:01, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Having a license with a share-alike clause is important to keep the data Free and Open. The process of creating community guidelines on how we interpret the license is a good way of getting more clarification on specific use-cases. Toffehoff (talk) 01:35, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't know that I see another license change being possible, or helpful for the community, but I think that the concerns raised by Share Alike opponents are valid. I think that as a community we need to be better at reaching out to organizations who want to use our data or contribute data but are unsure about the license. We can work on our communications around the issue, and we can also do specific outreach. If an organization is in agreement with the "spirit of the license" we should work with them to make sure that our license isn't a roadblock. --Kathleen Danielson 08:58, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I am broadly supportive of share-alike for crowd-sourced content. I have done a lot of work, both through the LWG and independently to clear up confusion about the license, since many people have problems with confusion, not with the license itself. If after clearing up confusion, we find that there are issues that still need resolving, the foundation should engage with the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN), the stewards of the ODbL, with an eye to releasing a 1.1 or 2.0 version of the license. I have worked with the OKFN previously on licensing matters.
Having been involved in the license change in significant ways, I do not believe there is likely to be another one in the near future, and that most people are significantly underestimating the pain it would cause for the project. Pnorman (talk) 05:41, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I used to prefer Public Domain but the project decided for ODbL and I'm ok with that. In fact, there have been a couple relatively brazen attempts in the past where people wanted to do exactly what share-alike is there to avoid (e.g. "we have tons of POIs but you can't have them, nonetheless we'd like to use your data to geocode them"). This has actually changed my attitude and I'm now even more in favour of ODbL than I was at the time of the license change. I still think that we'll ultimately go PD but that'll be 10 or 20 years down the road. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 22:05, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
I chose CC-By-SA for OSM and I was key to getting the ODbL started so, I think share-alike is critical to OSM. I think there are lots of ways we can improve the ODbL or make it more clear, but fundamentally it's structure the right way in a messy world with few alternatives. In other words, I'd love the perfect license but it doesn't yet exist. Steve (talk) 18:27, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

Vision and Mission

OpenStreetMap has a Mission Statement, but no Vision Statement. Do you feel that the Mission Statement needs revision? If so, how would you suggest revising the Mission Statement? Most organizations see the need for a Vision Statement. A Vision Statement describes a broad roadmap for the organization. Do you support the creation of a Vision Statement and if so, how do you see getting input from the community? Related to that, would you support conducting an annual survey to get input from the community? Glassman (talk)

We need a new Vision Statement! One example: I see in cooperation with the industry the opportunity for us and not the danger. The idea with annual survey is very good. I like it. Marek kleciak (talk) 09:24, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
The pretence to the question is not correct see [diary post on vision]
I do support getting feedback from the community, and do support setting and tracking concrete goals, which I think is an ingredient of a vision statement. But first I think there's a lot of work to do to repair relations on the board, so efforts like this might have to happen after we have a board that can work together. --Randy Meech 14:00, 01 November 2014 (UTC)
The question is based on a misunderstanding. OSM (the project) has neither vision statement nor mission statement and should have neither. The OSMF could have them but they would have to be limited to how OSMF plans to support the project, and not what OSMF thinks that OSM should become. Remember, OSMF is not there to steer OSM in a certain direction, so having a vision for OSM could easily be inappropriate for OSMF as an organisation. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 22:09, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
I basically disagree with Fred. I think the "don't do anything" OSMF doesn't work with the project as it is today and we're missing out on better map data, more community and a stronger project as a result. Steve (talk) 18:29, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
I think we should have something like a Vision Statement, but it should be a "living document" (one that is changed and updated). I would support a short one-page memo that is updated every two or three years based on input from the community (in survey form like you suggest) and visions from the board members that lays out where we want to see OSM go from here and some of the big projects we wish to tackle (whether previously suggested or brand new); the oft-proposed "retreat" for board members would be a good time to sculpt this. This type of document would keep us on track to making OSM a better map and help us envision and motivate bigger and better things. As a real-world example, NASA's science directorate creates a Decadal Survey every 10 years that describes the priorities of missions and what they desire to accomplish in the time frame until the next one is written. FTA (talk) 19:56, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
The current mission statement ("support OpenStreetMap" as I see it) is great the way it is. I don't think the OSMF needs a vision statement as such, instead we should try to help community members to realize their visions. Thus, I like your idea about the annual survey. This might help the community to express actual tasks, projects, and other things where the OSMF can support OpenStreetMap (e.g. financially). --Peda (talk) 00:25, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

Open source

OpenStreetMap may be called an "OpenData" project, but should we also aim to make it an Open Source project? Should we set up a project to move the OSMF and its working groups away from services such as Google Docs/Spreadsheet, Google Mail, and other proprietary software? --RobJN (talk) 21:45, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

I'm going to provide my own view here even though I am not standing for election. We have seen in the last few days that failure to properly communicate is chipping away at our ability to progress together as a united team. Google products are simple to use and the docs can be shared without other users having to sign up to yet another website (SotM 2013 would have not been what it was without the use of many Google services). Any attempt to move us away from these products just to make some statement about the Open Sourceness of OSM would distract us from the real issues we face now. --RobJN (talk) 21:45, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm of two minds on this. I use Linux because I'm committed to open source although it makes my day job much harder. I basically do spreadsheets and presentations and need to print and project occasionally. The ten minutes I spent stressing out while getting my Linux laptop into presentation mode in front of hundreds of people at SotM-US last spring took a decade off my life. So the allure of Google Docs frequently proves irresistible and it's good for group work. If someone launched a "DuckDuckGo for Google Docs" service, I would probably want to use that instead. Note: I do not believe that the biggest communication problems we face are technological, I believe they're interpersonal. --Randy Meech 02:21, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
In short: Yes and Yes. I've been in an association for a long time that was using free and open tools only. From that experience I can tell that communication tools like Etherpad, LimeSurvey, Mumble,... are easy to use and very effective for collaboration. At the same time, using closed source might harm our credibility. And isn't it a problem with privacy protection if we put data in the (google) cloud anyway? --Peda (talk) 14:32, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
I'd argue OSM is already an open source project. We have nearly all, if not all, of our source code available for anyone to see/use. I do see what you are aiming for though...yes, OSM does use non-open source software to accomplish many administrative things. It would be a great initiative to try and find open source alternatives for some of the tools that we currently use, but if none are available I think it is still okay to use these services that companies provide free for people to use most features, e.g. Hackpad, Google Docs. I would oppose moving to something like Office 365 that does indeed require a subscription fee for everyone to use. FTA (talk) 18:09, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, absolutely! Marek kleciak (talk) 09:25, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
I believe we should move published documents away from Google Docs so we are in control of our own archives and document history. I am not particularly a fan of using Google Docs for internal WG business as they are a competitor of us in some ways, but I view that as a decision the WGs need to make for themselves. If there are tools that WGs request that the foundation can provide to make it easier to use self-hosted solutions, it should do so. Pnorman (talk) 05:45, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, we need to do away with properietary services where we can. I'd draw the border at outsorcing things - when we buy the services of a financial consultant then I don't mind whether they use GnuCash or something proprietary as long as they deliver what we need. But the stuff we do ourselves should be based on FLOSS wherever possible, and I think it is not ok to (for example) require that you must sign up for a Google account if you want to be a board or working group member. (Btw. the current board has already moved to teleconferencing via a HOT-operated Mumble server, even though there had been voices preferring Skype.) --Frederik Ramm (talk) 22:12, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
We should use the most efficient tools at hand, and we should be in control of our destiny. So I don't mind if people use OpenOffice/LibreOffice/MS Office/Google Office. But the core of the project should be open. Steve (talk) 18:30, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

Commitment to Meeting in Person

If you were elected to the board would you be able to commit to meeting in person for a few days a couple times a year? Personally I think it is important for boards to meet in person, but it is difficult for us to do that without a commitment and desire to meet in person. This commitment is assuming we had an agenda and facilitator for these meetings.

Yes, I think it's important and normal for boards to meet in person. Generally an in-person meeting happens once a year if international travel is required. I would travel on my own expense to make this easier. Assuming the United Nations in New York works out for State of the Map, I can provide space for a meeting, either an office or my home. --Randy Meech 02:31, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
Well, I don't think it is important to meet in person. Especially doing so a couple times a year would be quite expensive, and I would prefer to keep the overhead of OSMF small. Nonetheless I'd be willing to participate as often as possible but I think physical meetings at our annual SOTM should be enough. Anyway, reading osmf-talk, I'd prefer if board members would participate at all, be it on the internal list or on osmf-talk. I'd prefer open mumble meetings where OSMF members are allowed to listen and *every* board member is present. --Peda (talk) 14:33, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
Meeting many times in person would be more of a cost burden than an effective tool; in addition, doing so would have a nontrivial carbon footprint. It might not be a bad idea for the board to meet together once or twice to get to know each other, add that personal touch to the relationships of the members, build the board's teamwork skills, etc. Coming to mind is a retreat of a few days to work out OSMF's goals, set the course for where OSMF is going, and what the board can effectively tackle. I would definitely be committed to such a meeting. Otherwise, in today's society, there are plenty of tools that can be used to hold effective meetings as if the board were meeting in person. If it is the visual element that is necessary, things like Skype or Google Hangouts can be used instead of Mumble/Ventrilo/IRC. FTA (talk) 18:09, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, It is important to discuss some questions face to face. Daily business can be fixed by use of teleconferences. Marek kleciak (talk) 09:19, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes. the board should at least meet in person once a year somewhere in the beginning of their term. Toffehoff (talk) 01:31, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I am in favor of meeting in person, and I would like to see it happen. However, I think that the Foundation needs commit to funding these trips. Without that, this creates an obvious financial burden for board members, meaning that those unable to afford the trip would be unable to attend, making their voices less relevant. In addition, without Foundation funding it creates an incredibly high implicit barrier to running for election as either an employer would have to pay (fairly clear conflict of interests, or simply not possible, and requiring taking leave from work) or one would have to pay personally (by no means should this be assumed to be possible).--Kathleen Danielson 09:10, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I am in favour of meeting in person, though I think most business should be able to be handled asynchronously through emails, or through voice meetings. I believe all travel for board meetings should go through the foundation, even if it is offset by an equal donation by the member travelling. This should help keep travel funding fair.
I would also like to see the AGM decoupled from SOTM, which would allow board meetings to be held before or after the conference. Currently, before the conference some of the board will be leaving and after not all of the board would know that they were going to be elected when planning their travel, making it a bad location for a board meeting.Pnorman (talk) 05:50, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Meetings in person cost a lot of money (it has been estimated that one board face-to-face meeting will cost more than all OSMF membership payments for one year) and can present an unfair advantage to those who are native speakers of English and/or well versed in rhetorics. This has to be kept in mind when planning. I believe that in-person meetings can be helpful if the are well planned and have achievable goals. I am very much against having meetings for the meeting's sake; there have been people who said "if you want to be professional you must have an in-person meeeting no matter what", and to that my response is, if you can't tell me what you want to get done at that meeting, then having the meeting is not professional at all, but a waste of time money better spent elsewehere. Also, I'm prepared to spend the money for letting people meet to work together better, but if there should be a situation where people cannot even be bothered to participate in simple email discussion about simple items on the mailing list, I'd be tempted to say: "Ok, you're unwilling to invest an hour a week to write emails, then don't expect me to fund a weekend in a nice hotel just so that you start doing your job." --Frederik Ramm (talk) 22:16, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
I think most of the board problems can be traced to different communication styles. We have board members that write infinitely long email essays who won't talk in person. We have people who love to talk in person but won't read emails. We have to find a common ground, and that has to be in person with a facilitator who is independent and objective to bring everyone together. It's about knowing each other and trusting each other. Without that, it's basically impossible to achieve anything. Steve (talk) 18:33, 3 November 2014 (UTC)


[1] What will you do to make the board run as a team? --It's so funny (talk) 21:24, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

More regularity (meetings) and reporting to the OSMF members would be a good medicine ,o) Marek kleciak (talk) 09:20, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
I will be easy to work with and coolheaded...we can discuss/argue policy or actions without personal attacks. I will suggest some sort of facilitator for a face-to-face meeting if one is decided. I will advocate increased communication among board members about issues so that problems do not become pent up until they explode. I will recommend dividing up foundation tasks among board members so it does not become a competitive environment. I will also suggest we update the community about board business and seek input from members on tasks at hand. The board should be working together to improve OSM, not separately. FTA (talk) 20:28, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Nice email! I agree with you that the next year must be about fixing the problems with the board before much work can be done. I will do whatever I can to hold a face-to-face meeting, including travel on my own expense. I can work to build sponsorships for State of the Map to enable board members to travel and meet in person around this event. Also, my biggest problem here over the last few months has been the tone that board members use to communicate to each other and to others in public, which harms growth of the OSMF. I will not communicate this way. There is some worry around "professional" candidates, but one benefit to them is that they got where they are by being able to work effectively with others. --Randy Meech 15:45, 01 November 2014 (UTC)
I have outlined measures in my manifesto such as bringing in an external facilitator, which is an idea others have taken up. On a personal level, I have worked productively with many of the candidates and current members in the past, including those who I do not agree with. Pnorman (talk) 07:38, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
From my experience on the board, I think that one thing that has to be solved is we can't allow individuals to hold things up. Everyone in the board should have a backup, who can easily take over a responsibility. For example, if a discussion of the financial situation is scheduled for a board meeting and the treasurer doesn't show up two times in a row and the whole team therefore cannot proceed, that's a problem - we simply need a backup person who can step in in such situations. Same for other board duties. It is of course great if everyone can make time for every board meeting but being all volunteers maybe that cannot be expected. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 22:20, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
I think it starts with understanding each other and getting some basic trust. From there you can define goals, divide responsibilities and get on with the work. We all have strengths and weaknesses and different ways of communicating, but without that basic trust it's very hard to get anywhere. Hence the focus on meeting in person with a facilitator as one of the first steps. This should be a fun (if challenging) experience - to be on the board. I'd like to make it that again. Steve (talk) 18:41, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
I think I'm a team player and I'm mostly always open to compromises. I'd try to work hard to make the board work as a team. However, if someone simply refuses to work as part of a team you can't force him to. So why not hold public board meetings? Then there's no need to bad mouth anyone and the members can see for themself who to reelect and who not. --Peda (talk) 00:28, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

Vision and Funding

Maybe we are too constrained in our vision of what OSM could become, perhaps we need a bigger vision for the future.

The question I would like to ask the potential board candidates is “If you had ample funding for the next 3 years what would you want to achieve with it and how would you go about it?” User:Stevenfeldman

A few ideas beyond my manifesto:
  • Increase our visibility online and in print...we are a brand! We have some big players already like Craigslist, Wikipedia, Foursquare, etc., but the more sites with our attribution in the corner of a slippy map, the more our name will be noticed. Push more. Advocate companies to switch. Advocate governments and subsidiaries to switch (universities come to mind, example: [2]). Advocate private citizens to switch. We should also refine, develop, or streamline the process from OSM -> self-hosted and used slippy map.
  • Increase active outreach to underrepresented/underpopulated areas of the OSM userbase in the world. Kick start local or national clubs, training, and visibility in conjunction with users already active in those areas. These grassroots connections through clubs are where the human factor is the greatest, where people are able to bring their friends along to a meeting and introduce them to the community, and where OSM members can join in fraternity together. Outreach also includes school outreach, where we can tap a new and active source of involvement that might also influence friends and older family members to check out OSM. Monies would help develop teaching curricula to be used.
  • Grow our hardware infrastructure to support a heavier tile load. Then with this, fund development of a stand-alone computer application to view OSM (like a commercial product that currently exists). This tool could then be used with an infinity of map overlays among other things.
  • Provide giveaways or contests every so often. Everyone likes free stuff/swag. These could also reward users for hard work. Be entered to win a free OSM tshirt if you edit in the month of January; write a diary entry and tweet it to OSM for a chance to win an OSM backpack; upload a trace for a chance at some OSM sunglasses. This also helps increase our visibility on a personal level..."Hey, what is that OpenStreetMap on your shirt?" As a side note, the OSMF should set up an official online shop to provide OSM gear as I think the demand is there.

Really, I think many of the things necessary to grow OSM are already in place. There are numerous sources of tools to help users begin editing once they have started. We have a range of editing programs for beginners to experts. What's left is getting users either in the door or to stay inside our proverbial room. We need to get the message out there who we are and what we do--improving our name recognition--while retaining and growing those who have already joined the community.FTA (talk) 19:36, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

(Note that I think the next year will be about repairing the board and restoring functionality, and large-scale efforts are at least a year out just given the circumstances.) In my work at MapQuest and now Mapzen, I've focused on providing free open tools and services for developers (many more coming soon). Should this be something the OSMF does with a larger budget, as opposed to private companies? I know very well how much it costs and how to manage large-scale engineering efforts. I would like to see the Foundation providing more free services to developers and improving the quality of the data by providing Oauth services to more apps, and offering more developer tie-ins to improve the data. Why let third-party companies have all the fun and get all the brand lift? I would ultimately like to see the OSMF expand, raise more money, and provide more services to improve the database by engaging developers and their users more directly. I just think we have some healing to do first. --Randy Meech 13:56, 01 November 2014 (UTC)
Very hypothetic question and similarly hypothetic answer - I would not consider it our part to define a vision and lead the project, but listen to the project and find out where the problems are for people in OSM today. Where are the areas where you would like to do more but can't because you're constrained by technology or something else? Depending on the amount of funding available, one could even go so far as to employ professionals to canvas the project on a grand scale like Wikipedia have done. I would only consider investing money where it can act as a catalyst, enabling people to achieve more with the volunteer hours they spend. I would be wary of using the money for grand outreach campaigns (see my answer very far up this page) unless actually asked for by the project. I would potentially do more with self-made aerial imagery, renting out drones to interested project members like we once rented out GPSes. I would not consider buying commercial satellite imagery. In general I'd be much more concerned with the data acquisition side than with the data consumption side. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 22:31, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
What is the line between OSM and all the people using OSM? Today it's the data. We build a great dataset then we "throw it over the wall" and people use it. The question is, should that line be a bit softer? Can we do better? For example, could we offer ways for people using the data to get feedback to OSM? Can we make it really easy for people to donate to the project? We want certain things (better data, money to pay for servers...), what is the best way to interact with people who use OSM to get those things? I don't think it's the OSMF's job to figure it all out exactly, but to create the environment and process for others (like a working group for example) to do so. We want to support mappers and fill in the holes, not replace mappers. To do that, you have to be careful and take the long view. Steve (talk) 18:47, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
Short: The people loves maps and better tools, more technology should help us to be worldwide the map nr.1.. I describe my considerations of OSM future in mypresentation at the SOTM in Buenos Aires. Marek kleciak (talk) 13:29, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Community vs. Investment

Assume the Foundation has put much resources to manage a software development. Now the final software is immediately before deployment rejected by

  • the community at large
  • a specific national community
  • even just a single respected community member

for reasons you understand to be valid but which you deem unimportant. Other examples (as with the Visual Editor of Wikipedia) have shown that you likely would loose parts of the community, but otherwise loose the foundation's investment. Would you

  • enforce the deployment
  • make the feature forever Opt-In
  • postpone the deployment
  • abandon the software

or what else?

Having worked in commercial software for my whole career, it is well known to me that users of a popular product hate change :) When I was at MapQuest in 2010, we modernized the older UI used by some 50mm people and were inundated with complaints. People had memorized the old way of doing things, and didn't like the new way. Sometimes it's important to force a new way if you want to survive or improve, and 100% buy-in is often impossible. In MapQuest's case we supported the old version for a while (not forever, but for a while) and offered tutorials and help. So what would I do here? For one, I hope that for a project to get as far along as you describe, it wouldn't be rejected by the community at large. Most of the community should agree or else there's a problem. Even the case of a specific country, any major issues should have come up sooner than the end of the project. Single community members should yield to the majority opinion for the greater good. --Randy Meech 14:13, 01 November 2014 (UTC)
If you allow me to be slightly cheeky - I wouldn't have invested a lot of resources in software development in the first place. If I had, I'd try to make very sure that whatever I have to offer is optional, and then slowly win over the hearts of people. Bit like iD has done really, I have to admit. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 22:33, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
As Randy says, people hate change. I think the first thing is to involve as many people as possible from the beginning. Give people a voice but not a blocking decision (e.g. by voting on things). I think if we cured cancer then some loud people in OSM would complain and ask that we don't do that. So, I wouldn't force a project like that through with one person. Instead I'd suggest the board vote on it, or something like that. If the board agrees (let's say 5 out of 7) then go do it. Steve (talk) 18:51, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
I do not like answering hypotheticals because there could be an infinity of contributing or environmental factors that, when not specified, could alter the response. But, from the beginning, the community should be involved in the development of a tool that is funded by the OSMF; this is especially true if it is something that completely changes the way we go about doing something (e.g. a different database format). By consulting the community and getting feedback about features or items that should be included, such an issue as you describe should not normally arise. If the software is not something that completely alters the way something is done, then it is most likely by definition "opt in" because ultimately users would be able to choose if they wanted to use it. Thus, I would probably keep the software at an opt-in status. As an example, look at the editors: users have free choice whether to use one of the in-browser editors or JOSM. I'm sure there are plenty of people who do not like one or another, so the use of their preference could be considered them "opting in" to that software. Finally, in returning to my thesis statement, regardless of the scenario I would give the situation due consideration as to the effects of each choice (enforce, opt in, postpone, etc.) on OSMF, the community, and moving OSM forward; I would also put it up to a board vote on what the final resolution would be. FTA (talk) 19:22, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
The community should have been involved from the beginning on so that such situations can not arise so easily. Anyway, if I had put myself in such a bad situation I still wouldn't enforce the deployment but try to give an Opt-In choice. Then people can test the software and give it a second chance. After a while the community could be asked again if they changed their mind or not. --Peda (talk) 00:30, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
No development without discussion with the community. This helps to avoid such situations.Marek kleciak (talk) 13:32, 5 November 2014 (UTC)