User:Frederik Ramm/2016 OSMF Board Elections Manifesto
I've been on the OSMF board for four years now - two years in the "secretary" role and then two as "treasurer". I've been elected at the same time as Paul Norman, and one of us needs to step down, either voluntarily or chosen at random. I decided to step down voluntarily, and I am standing for re-election.
Uncharacteristically positive words
I think that while many things on the OSMF board progress much slower than one would sometimes like them to, we're on a relatively good trajectory. I like the steps we've taken towards more transparency (including public board meetings!) and the open source policy. Since a few months ago we're working with a freelance administrative assistant and so far this seems to have been an excellent decision. The mood on the board has improved a lot and for the first time I have the impression that while we don't necessarily always agree on everything, we're slowly moving in the right direction together. I like the down-to-earth approach, the willingness to clear roadblocks together, the lack of grandeur; I don't think this project needs visionary leadership and I distrust anyone aiming to provide it.
The new corporate membership scheme breaks with the one-size-fits-all scheme which I liked, but the money has to come from somewhere and I really want to get more businesses signed up to this and it is ok to take more money from those who have more. I hope that with time, we can enlist the help of the community who will politely suggest a corporate OSMF membership to anyone whom they see using OSM gainfully.
I cautiously support the idea of encouraging more diversity in OSM and OSMF. "Cautiously" because diversity issues sometimes come across as a complaint towards the current community, telling them that they are at fault for somehow not being diverse enough. The current community has got us to where we are and we don't want to alienate them; it is not the individual mapper's fault if he or she is not part of an underrepresented group. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't aim to include more people and make it clear that OSM can be for them too.
I don't really want any big changes at the moment; I'd prefer to keep doing what we are doing. I realize that this is a very conservative stance but then again, maybe I'm old enough to be ;)
My goals for the next few years
Banking is difficult for OSMF because we change our personnel frequently. Currently we don't even have a board member residing in the country where our bank accounts are. This makes many things more difficult than they need to be. What's more, with a looming exit of the UK from the European Union the value of our main currency (GBP, £, Pound Sterling or however you want to call it) is under threat and we need to think about keeping a higher proportion of our assets in other currencies. I want to put us in a position where we can manage our finances more easily, without having to send tons of notaried paperwork across the globe.
I want to introduce a regular "volunteer audit" of our finances to bolster the membership's trust in what the board is doing. This has now started, with some hiccups, for the 2015 finances and will hopefully become more regular in the future.
I also hope that we'll be able to combine a growing corporate membership programme and a yearly donation drive into a reliable source of funds that allows us to plan ahead better.
It would be awesome if we had a few more people in the general membership like Christoph Hormann who watch what the board is doing and complain when we're not living up to our own standards. At the moment, it appears that few of our members are actually interested in what the board is doing; it is always healthy if there *is* interest.
I tend to be a bit skeptical about the attention OSM gets from the humanitarian world. While what they do certainly has value, I think that OSM is sometimes used as a free infrastructure by well-funded aid projects that could do their part (read: give us money) to support the OSM infrastructure as well - just as they're including budgets for their own infrastructure. The "crowd" aspect provided by OSM is sometimes an important part of what helps to "sell" the overall project to donors, so I find that these projects should also give something to OSM. This is perhaps something where the OSMF could do a little PR work to raise awareness in the future.
My personal term limit
When we discussed term limits for board members a while ago, I argued in favour of them, and a majority of members did, too - just not so big a majority that we changed the AoA. If elected, I will serve for the (likely) three year period that follows, but I won't stand for election again after that. (The fact that it is unclear whether I would be elected for two or three years is, by the way, something that should be changed - voters should know exactly what their vote means. This is due to the way our AoA are written, mandating that with every board election, the two members whose election was longest ago have to stand down; whenever someone quits out of sequence, the rest is shaken up.)
When I quit in two or three year's time, I hope to leave an OSMF that is so transparent and accountable that I don't have to be on the board to ensure they're doing the right thing!