apm-wa's Diary Comments

Diary Comments added by apm-wa

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Online Briefing on the 2021 OSMF Community Survey about 2 years ago

@Øukasz Please see the calculations on a spreadsheet, the link to which is here:

Online Briefing on the 2021 OSMF Community Survey about 2 years ago

@RobJN, under the Slide Show tab, over to the right, click on ‘Always Use Subtitles’ and use the dropdown menu under ‘Subtitle Settings’ to pick languages and position of the subtitles. You have to have Power Point 365, I believe, for it to work.

Update on How the 2021 Survey is Going about 2 years ago

The Board doesn’t maintain OSM Explorer. You’ll have to ask the maintainer. You can put in a pull request here:

Thanks for taking the survey! Yeah, links in the Junk folder are disabled by just about all email clients now.

The 2021 OSMF Survey of the OSM community has been activated about 2 years ago

@cquest I’ve added that link, thanks.

@gileri My OSMF email address is publicly available on the OSMF website, so individuals worried about something related to the survey may contact me privately without bashing me publicly in in my own diary. Bashing me publicly in my diary constitutes trolling, period. For clarity on this, please refer to the OSMF Etiquette page, which includes these points:

* Don't publicly call people out. Many issues can be resolved by gently contacting the other person.
* Communicate with the same respect you would utilize in person.

Regarding the comment regarding sharing the survey before activating it, in all my years of working in the social sciences (agricultural economics, political science, history) I have never once encountered a pre-release of a survey. In a review of scientific literature on survey sampling, I cannot find reference to such a practice, only to the practice of alerting a population that a survey will shortly be forthcoming (which I did via the talk list). In other words, pre-publishing the survey is not an accepted practice.

The 2021 OSMF Survey of the OSM community has been activated about 2 years ago

As stated in the survey,

Since OpenStreetMap is a volunteer-driven project that depends on its community, the Board of Directors of the OSM Foundation needs your input and feedback in order to set priorities in accord with community needs.

This explains who is collecting the data and for what purpose.

I have added the click-box so survey respondents may now affirm that they know the email is only being used to obtain the token, and for no other purpose.

The 2021 OSMF Survey of the OSM community has been activated about 2 years ago

No survey is perfect. If you don’t want to take the survey, you don’t have to. You may now stop trolling me. Thank you.

The 2021 OSMF Survey of the OSM community has been activated about 2 years ago

Word is going out through multiple channels, via the working groups including the LCCWG, the local chapters, social media, so that statement is incorrect. How the local chapters disseminate information is up to them; the Board cannot control them, only ask for help. So far the survey is available in 13 languages. I have specifically asked all of the above to publicize the survey in other languages. OSM community has no single mode of communication so broadcasting through multiple channels is the best we can do.

Sorry about the wiki pages but just getting 12 translations done was hard enough. The Board doesn’t have enough bodies to scour the internet for wiki pages in all 13 languages. If you want to volunteer to do that, please do, send the information, and I’ll add it to the survey.

You are welcome to translate my diary entry into any language you know and to post it yourself, and then to disseminate the link to the survey. If you know a language that is not represented, contact me privately and I’ll send you a form you can use to provide a translation I can enter into Lime Survey.

The survey is anonymous. The only personal information required is the email address so that a token can be issued (that is to prevent one person from taking the survey multiple times and skewing the results). That plus the first and last name if provided are separated by Lime Survey from the responses since this is an anonymous survey. The general results will be published after the survey ends but names and email addresses obviously will not be.

The 2021 OSMF Survey of the OSM community has been activated about 2 years ago

I’ve asked the CWG to disseminate the news about the survey, and presume the CWG will add a notice to the blog. WeeklyOSM included a heads up this week that the survey is coming, and I have tweeted it plus emailed the osm-talk list. Each messages asks readers to amplify the message. The fact is that we cannot reach everyone in advance. The survey will be open till February 14, giving the community almost a full month to find it and fill it out.

I have to assume that most people in the OSM community are sophisticated enough to know that the email is used to ensure that each token is only used once, and that the Captcha is used to ensure that bots cannot be used to spam the survey. If some people are turned off by that, well, sorry, but that is a lesser risk than the alternatives, simply to open the survey with anybody able to submit answers as many times as she or he wants, or to make it more vulnerable to a bot exploit.

The 2021 OSMF Survey of the OSM community has been activated about 2 years ago

@RicoElectrico, the welcome message of the survey reads as follows:

Since OpenStreetMap is a volunteer-driven project that depends on its community, the Board of Directors of the OSM Foundation needs your input and feedback in order to set priorities in accord with community needs.

In other words, what consists of “your input and feedback”, and why consists of “in order to set priorities in accord with community needs.” Can you think of a formulation that is more clear than that? If so, please offer it.

Regarding the Call to Take Action and Confront Systemic Offensive Behavior in the OSM Community over 2 years ago


Timing of Board meetings depends on the schedules of Board members. The outgoing Board includes one member in UTC -8 (Seattle) and several in UTC +1 (central Europe). That has dictated meetings at six p.m. London time so that it is not too early in Seattle or too late in central Europe. When elections are over and we know the composition of the new Board, we will seek a schedule for meetings that is as convenient as possible for all Board members.

I regret that this will necessarily mean inconvenience for somebody, somewhere. As a retired diplomat who served twice in Asia (India and Turkmenistan) and twice in eastern Europe (Moscow), I understand rather viscerally the problem of having to rise in the middle of the night to participate in conference calls Washington organized based on the convenience of headquarters employees.

Timing of meetings of the LCCWG is up to its members. The Board does not manage the schedule of any Working Group.

OSMF 2020 proposed AoA and mission statement changes over 2 years ago


 This is not primarily the fault of the current board of course - what i’d criticize the board for here is primarily that you fail to critically reflect on the fact that you are much more part of the problem than you are part of the solution.

Ahh, so my outreach to and information collection from non-English speaking local communities over the past year in Asia, Africa and Latin America makes me part of the problem. Got it.

The OSMF members mandated that program by resolution in the last AGM, the implementation by the MWG and board was simply implementing that decision. Presenting that as a pro-diversity achievement of the current board is quite a distortion of history...

And if the Board had remained paralyzed as it had been the past 10 years (with the exception of the license change)…

No, i was referring to increase in diversity in the OSM community, not in the OSMF. And not in the past year but roughly over the past decade. 

Umm, do we not strive for the Foundation to reflect the community, and does it count for nothing that the Foundation’s local chapters are now more diverse (chapters on five continents, not exclusively in Europe) at the end of 2020 than they were a year ago? I guess not.

OSMF 2020 proposed AoA and mission statement changes over 2 years ago


As i have also expressed before it does not help that a huge majority is pretty much excluded or alienated by the dominant and meanwhile also codified work culture in the OSMF.

If anything, this amendment will include more community members in the work of the Board, not exclude them. Creating a budget committee, a fund-raising committee, a personnel committee that incorporates volunteers from the community and does not rely wholly on Board members (as is currently the case) is hardly exclusive, it is inclusive.

It is not clear to me what you mean by “codified work culture” in the OSMF.

I expressed my concerns about the negative effects of the OSMF selectively starting to spend money on work on volunteer motivation back in July.

The Board did in fact debate this, and the potential negative effects on volunteer motivation were a major consideration. The Board went forward with three decisions, however: funding the iD maintainer/developer, effectlvely taking control away from a third party and handing it over to the community (iD development is basically a function of the maintainer’s interactions with the community; the Board provides no guidance on what iD should look like); funding a full-time systems reliability engineer, because the volunteer sysadmins were clearly under strain (that decision was made in full consultation with the sysadmins and the OWG); and funding of limited projects for software used widely in the community (Nominatum, sql2osm, Potlach) based on funding requests from the community volunteers who maintain them. In weighing the pros and cons, and the potential downsides, the Board decided that the risks of inaction were greater than the risks of taking action. You may disagree with our risk assessment, but a risk assessment was made.

And it is without doubt that with the growing and increasingly diverse community overall consensus based processes (like the grassroots formation of working groups from the OSM community) are struggling. I am probably more painfully aware of that in my OSM-Carto work than most. That is a matter we need to discuss in the OSM community overall. As expressed before my preferred answer to that is increased federalization, more internal diversity and competition and more and more efficient base democracy. But i am open to discussing other options - including elements of more hierarchical centralization. But the discussion needs to happen in the full breadth of the OSM community and not just within the English language and Anglo-American culture filter bubble of the OSMF.

There is a cheap shot at the Board here, “English language and Anglo-American culture filter bubble”, directed at the Board which has expanded local chapters from one continent (Europe) to five (South and North America, Africa, and Asia) in the past year, which acquired a DeepL API license so Working Groups can easily use machine translation to share documents across the non-Anglophone world, and which approved the active contributor program, so that a more diverse membership can be recruited for the Foundation. Your criticism on that score is unwarranted. You note correctly “the growing and increasingly diverse community” and to some degree at least that growth and increased diversity has been helped by Board actions over the past year, and will be in the future.

Regarding “increased federalization”, that is an interesting thought, though of course right now the de facto federalized structure comprises the Working Groups operated by community members with minimal Board influence. I’d be curious to hear what else you have in mind, but that is probably a separate discussion.

Clarification of Proposed Amendment to the Articles of Association over 2 years ago

@Jean-Marc, the Board and the community have a strong preference for volunteers over paid staff where possible. That isn’t always possible–we have a paid accountant, a paid admin assistant, have started paying for a full-time iD maintainer/developer, and will soon have a full-time system reliability engineer, but we continue to emphasize voluntary work wherever possible. We also have a gnawing concern about staff bloat, and becoming a Wikimedia-type organization. The Board, reflecting community sentiment, seeks to avoid that.

OSMF 2020 proposed AoA and mission statement changes over 2 years ago

@Jean Marc, “If the Openstreetmap Foundation Board needs a HR associate and a staff accountant, why would they need to be Board committees instead of simply contractors serving a working group ? Of course, direct executive control lets the board do more and do it faster - but at the cost of wider participation, so it amounts in practice to concentration of power and that comes with risks. While executive power ultimately belongs to the Board, I believe that the Working Groups must keep operational control - even when contractors are involved.”

The Board like the community is biased in favor of using volunteers where possible as opposed to paid staff. We don’t see a fresh concentration of power–the budget process currently is handled by the Board treasurer with no working group participation, and to my knowledge (correct me if I am wrong) always has been–so nothing new about that. It is simply too much for one person to handle, and with everything the Board has to do, we are asking for some volunteer help from the community. In fact, since the budget and fund-raising are presently handled exclusively by the Board, adding non-Board members to Board committees would make participation wider, not more concentrated.

The Working Groups would retain operational control of the project. I don’t see a conflict here.

OSMF 2020 proposed AoA and mission statement changes over 2 years ago

Well, Christoph, I don’t deal in hypothetical possibilities. As a Board member I have to deal with reality, the here and now. To date nobody has volunteered to help the Board with budgeting, or raising funds, or managing personnel. We are having trouble reinvigorating the EWG, which in a perfect world would oversee software development.

You write, “The traditional practice in the OSMF has been that the day-to-day business (or housekeeping, or mundane tasks) is done by the working groups and that the board’s task is mainly to set and maintain the circumstances for this work to function properly.” Which Working Group drafts the budget for the Board? Which Working Group raises funds for OSMF? Which Working Group oversees our accountant, administrative assistant, and the iD maintainer?

The current Working Groups will continue as they have, largely autonomously (and more autonomously under this Board than under previous Boards, I am told). You say, “…demote the working group to be limited to secondary tasks not considered significant enough to warrant a board headed committee.” I for one do not consider the work of the DWG, or the OWG, or the MWG, the LWG, CWG, EWG, or LCCWG to be “secondary tasks”. Their remits are the core functions of OSM. Budgeting, raising money, and handling personnel and service contracts–purely administrative tasks–are the functions of the Foundation and thus the Board as part of its remit to “support” OSM. I do not understand how there can be confusion about this.

As for your comment about “ad-hoc special committees selected and appointed by the board in non-transparent processes”, the Board has created a total of three committees, the DISC, the FOSS Policy Committee, and the Microgrants Committee. Why committees? Because we have been told that Working Groups must be grassroots in origin, and cannot be creatures of the Board. We solicited volunteers openly, and selected what we thought were the best candidates for the committees (and in the case of the Microgrants Committee, at least, we had an embarrassment of riches–many good candidates from whom it was hard to choose). That is what boards of directors do in organizations. It is unreasonable to expect that every time OSMF needs something done, we will stop and ask the entire membership to vote on it, or wait indefinitely for a Working Group to self-organize. I suspect–and this is my personal opinion–that if one of these committees were to ask to be morphed into a Working Group, there would be no objection from the Board, and it could go off to be just as autonomous as the other Working Groups (though in fact, the special committees operate just as autonomously as the Working Groups already).

Regarding your statement on the Software Dispute Resolution Panel, I have two comments. First, the Board undertook to create this at the request of the iD maintainers, who had grown tired of the verbal abuse to which they have been subjected, including in one case a statement that one of the maintainers should be shot. In response to that request, the Board has explored how to set up a mechanism for peaceably resolving disputes related to the iD editor, and asked if any Working Group would be willing to take it on. Second, yes, the DWG said it would be willing, but the Board believes a better solution would be to solicit volunteers through not only the DWG but the other Working Groups as well–better because it would be more likely to yield five Panel members from more diverse backgrounds than a single Working Group could provide. That remains a work in progress, and your accusation that the Board somehow seeks centralized control of the iD editor is unfounded. Resolving roughly four to six disputes per year would hardly be the way for anyone to exert control over iD, in case anybody wanted to.

OSMF 2020 proposed AoA and mission statement changes over 2 years ago

Christoph, I must heartily disagree that the OSMF Board is in conflict with the Mission Statement or that it is taking on more “day-to-day” tasks. The Board continues to support but not control the project, and raising money for better infrastructure as demand for OSM data grows is fully within the scope of the Mission Statement, as is managing the contracting and hiring and budgeting. How do these mundane tasks affect the CWG, the DWG, the MWG, et al? You say, “…considering this not to affect the position and practical work of the working groups seems at best naive,” but do not articulate how such housekeeping tasks will affect the substantive work of the working groups (except perhaps that having more money has made the OWG’s tasks easier this year). If you have specific concerns, provide them in detail, please. At age 65 and having served in multiple responsible capacities on three continents over my career, I do not consider myself to be terribly naive, but if you see something I don’t, spell it out.

As for creating a “second branch of the OSMF”, no, that is not the case. There is the Board, and there are the Working Groups. The Board takes care of housekeeping tasks, and the Working Groups run the project. The AoA amendment gives the Board a transparent mechanism for volunteer help in carrying out the housekeeping tasks. Period. The alternative is to hire more staff to do that work, and we are averse to doing that if it can be avoided.

You are aware that the Board seeks to revitalize the Engineering Working Group so that it can oversee any software development projects, relieving the Board of any such “day-to-day” tasks. You are aware that the Board has taken control of the iD editor away from a third-party private company, Critigen, and placed it in the community, with the maintainer holding weekly video conferences to receive feedback and incorporate community desires. You are also aware that the Board seeks to create an independent Software Dispute Resolution Panel that will consist of independent community members so that the Board does not have to deal with disputes. In short, the Board if anything this year as sought to avoid “day-to-day” activities, pushing them off on the Working Groups, while focusing on the housekeeping issues: processing local chapter applications (six so far this year), raising funds, approving an MWG proposal for active contributor membership, for example.

Regarding your comment about my confidence in my fellow Board members: I have worked with them very closely since December 23 of last year. We have arguments. We disagree, sometimes vehemently. We stand up to each other over principles and issues we hold dear, and sometimes the arguments are rather, shall we say, colorful. But never–NEVER–in the last 11 months have I seen any indication that any Board member is motivated by anything other than a desire to see OSM continue as a volunteer-driven project into the future. We may disagree at times on the best path forward, on whether there is a role for this or that or a need for this or that, but the direction of the path is clear, and I will stand up for my Board colleagues any day of the week, to you and to anyone else who cares to cast aspersions at their morality or motivations.

OSMF 2020 proposed AoA and mission statement changes over 2 years ago

Simon, as I have explained to you, the working groups would not be affected by this proposed amendment to the AoA. Working groups would remain working groups. The Board wants to be able to recruit Foundation members to work on Board committees to deal with the budget, fund-raising, and personnel issues (now that we are raising funds more systematically and also both hiring and contracting out for services and products). The two (working groups vs. Board committees) would not intersect. Period.

As for Christoph’s assertion, “They are free to create a new type of “board headed working group” any time without changing the AoAs. In fact they have already done so (in the form of the special committees - though not all of them are headed by board members),” in fact such a construct has been discouraged in the past, and was the source of a debate when the Diversity and Inclusion Special Committee was created earlier this year. I originally proposed it as a working group but was informed by old-timers that working groups may ONLY be created by the community, not by the Board, and hence it was created not as a working group but as a “special committee” with the proviso that it would not be a permanent fixture. You cannot have it both ways–either the Board must neither form nor chair working groups, or it can. The Board would prefer that the Board NOT be able to form or chair working groups, and that they remain autonomous and largely independent of the Board. My personal attitude on this score is exemplified by my response to a question posed while running for the Board last year on the Board’s relationship with the DWG, and I believe most other Board members, if not all, share that view.

I urge Foundation members to view the proposed AoA amendment for what it is, and not read some sort of dark motive into it. The Board simply needs help formulating the budget, raising funds, and managing personnel. The alternative is to hire professional staff to do it for us, and we have made clear (and had it made clear to us) that such a step would be much less desirable than seeking volunteer help for the all-volunteer Board.

New Local Chapters in the OSMF over 2 years ago

That is the remit of the DWG, I believe.

OpenStreetMap and Coronavirus Tracking over 2 years ago

OSM would not have such data. The Kerala state health department would be the only source I can think of. Please see this:

Summary Report on OSMF Chair's Outreach Jan-early Apr 2020 almost 3 years ago

Simon, I use the term montization in the sense found in the Wikipedia article “Monetization”, section “Revenue from business operations”. ;-)