Opening up HOT Governance (help wanted)

Posted by Heather Leson on 27 February 2022 in English. Last updated on 2 March 2022.

Like many open projects/communities/organizations, we are asking questions about how we better organize and engage. We are asking how to get more people involved in our efforts. This post is about seeking help from the community as we shift governance models in Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT). (There is also an update about the Etiquette/Moderation guidelines (see below).)

The “Call to Action” in December 2021 noted the need across OSM’s communities to 1. shift etiquette/moderation (codes of conduct) and 2. adjust governance. In 2021, I participated in a effort to update etiquette and moderation in OSM/OSMF. This year I am leading efforts, as chair of the HOT’s Governance Working Group, to focus on revising HOT governance. As much as I have questions about OSMF and OSM organizational and membership work, this post and my diary entries on governance (going forward) will focus on HOT’s governance.

Both HOT and OMSF have board of directors. There are contributors, supporters, members, partners, and allies across both organizations and the wider community of communities. Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) has a Board of Directors and a Governance Working Group. Overall, getting involved as a volunteer in the organization change and leadership can be daunting. We want to open up and help be more diverse, equitable and inclusive in our governance - the people, the models and the overall way we work.

How you can help

The HOT Governance Working Group (GWG) is exploring how we can be more open, what changes do we need to our governance models and membership engagement. Our goal is to help more people shape our future and potentially be board members or take up other governance roles in the future. For example, the HOT GWG used to be a membership only group. We changed that. The HOT community and allies are most welcome to join us. This year we have some goals:

  • Demystify and socialize why governance in HOT is important
  • Get more people engaged in governance/membership of HOT
  • Collaborate with the HOT (organization, staff, community and membership) shifts that tie to strategy and governance / membership models

We put together these slides to help you get acquainted: Getting involved in HOT Governance -. Comments welcome.

We’d love to have your input as a HOT community supporter or HOT member. (see about getting involved)

Also, perhaps asking to join a Governance Working Group might be a big ask. So here’s a few quick questions:

  • What tips do you have on improving engagement in governance?
  • What guidance do you have for anyone who wants to learn and shape governance?

Update on the Call to action

I co-lead the “Call to Action in December 2020 “. We had asked for OSM/OSMF to make Immediate changes:

  • “The existing “Code of Etiquette” needs to be replaced by a strong and enforceable Code of Conduct for the OpenStreetMap and OpenStreetMap Foundation community and all OSM community channels/spheres (mailing lists, social media, communication channels including Weekly OSM, local and regional chat groups, events, and chapter coordination). This needs a strong implementation approach.”

  • “Restructure governance to be more equitable: an example of this is committing to Board Seat allocation for OSMF members who are women and non-cis males, and who are citizens of Low and Middle Income Countries.”

Update on OSMF and OSM Etiquette and Moderation

After the Call to Action, in January 2021 the OSMF board and Local Chapters and Community Working Group Sub-committee on Etiquette took up the charge to update the OSM etiquette guidelines and suggest a process for moderation. Maggie Crawley, ED of OSM US, our fearless leader, adeptly convened a team of us to write procedures, processes, carry out recruitment, socialization, and conduct consultations. It was one of the most rewarding experiences in my 12 years engaged in OSM. (Special thanks to LCCWG Mod SubCommittee telegam allies - Maggie, Arnalie, Rob, Michal, Steve and a few others. I learned so much.)

You can read about the Etiquette and Moderation items on the wiki.

Status - The LCCWG Sub-Committee on Etiquette delivered this in December 2021. The moderation team was been nominated. You can see the OSMF minutes on the OSMF wiki. I look forward to that being implemented. OSM and OSMF communities deserve these changes.

Onward with thanks,

Location: Cité, Geneva, 1204, Switzerland


Comment from o_andras on 28 February 2022 at 12:45

Hi there o/

What do you mean by “shift”, and why do you keep saying “shift”?

Comment from Heather Leson on 28 February 2022 at 16:50

Hi O_Andras,

Thanks for the comment. Organizational change and transformation is often used interchangeably /in conjunction with ‘shift’. When I use ‘shift’, I (and others) ask - are we fit for future, are we organized right, do we meet the needs, what can we improve?

So for me - ‘shift’ is to explore - ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ - what is the current state and what are the options to be. Being open to explore these is the journey.

Hope this clarifies,


Comment from amapanda ᚛ᚐᚋᚐᚅᚇᚐ᚜ 🏳️‍🌈 on 1 March 2022 at 10:12

Hi, I’m on the OSMF Board. 👋 I think Heather’s email filter is blocking some emails, because there’s been Updates! and News! since the Dec 2021 meeting. In Jan 2022, the Board sought follow up details on the proposed team. Subcommittee members acknolwedged receipt of that emails. Board & Subcommittee view this issue as waiting on those details from the Subcommittee. Board is also waiting on the proposed mod team CoI rules from the subcommitte (cf. July 2021). Happy to clarify anything that’s unclear. 🙂

Comment from Heather Leson on 1 March 2022 at 10:51

@amanda - I updated the post to say it is Pending. have a good day

Comment from pedrito1414 on 1 March 2022 at 21:15

Thanks for the post, Heather. Look forward to supporting this work!

Comment from PierZen on 3 March 2022 at 21:24

Hi Heather

For people that are not familiar with the HOT organisation, could you clarify Who is the we that want to shift the governance model at HOT? - The membership - The Board - The Governance working group

Comment from Heather Leson on 6 March 2022 at 14:41

@Pedrito1414 Thanks!

@PierZen - Thanks for the question. We tried to cover those topics in the slides. The short answer is “yes”. The GWG will focus on learning about governance models that might serve HOT now and into the future. We will work with the HOT Board, staff, membership, partners/supporters, and wider community on this front. The HOT membership has been asked to get involved in HOT Strategy - see slack #votingmembers (There is the possibility of a matrix bridge if you wish to use other comms tools. )

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