Membership Working Group Updates

Posted by pnorman on 28 November 2018 in English (English)

The Membership Working Group (MWG) has been very busy lately with the roll-out of the fee waiver for lack of money transfer program. Rather than a quarterly update, here’s some news.

New countries

We’ve gotten more information about countries that PayPal doesn’t support and have added Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Kosovo, Libya, South Sudan, Timor-Leste, and Uzbekistan to the list of countries which qualify because there’s a lack of suitable money transfer facilities.

If you have information about countries not on the list at where PayPal is not supported or the cost of transferring money is more than the cost of membership, please contact the MWG at

Application statistics

We welcome and congratulate our 19 new members from Iran, Kosovo and Liberia who have already joined the OSMF through the fee waiver program.

Over the first seven days, we had 45 applications. All the percentages below are based on these applications, and are rounded. The pace is still continuing, and as we work on our processes, it will be possible to automatically generate some statistics. Right now it’s manual, so I don’t have more recent numbers.

The money transfer applications are easy to deal with, as we have a well defined process. They only take a couple of minutes when all the information is there.

Of the first 45, 60% of the applications are from Iran, and 5% from Liberia, both countries on the list where money transfer is not practical. The remainder are from countries where we’re seeking more information from the applicants. Since the first seven days, we’ve applications from other countries.

25% of applications filled out the form incorrectly and were asked to fill it out again with a corrected username. We might need to look at providing more instructions on the form.

How can I help?

Contact about joining the MWG. If you’re not interested in joining but have experience at writing instructions, documentation, and procedures, the stock responses to the form could use rewriting. If this is you, also contact

This is a cross-post of

Comment from imagico on 28 November 2018 at 22:04

Thanks for the update.

That Iran is on top of your list is both nice to see and logical since it is the country from your list with the most active mapper community. It is also the most active mapping community in the Middle East in total.

Even more important than the relatively formal decisions on the technical waiver approvals are of course the financial hardship cases where a subjective decision is to be made. Am i right to assume that even if the board makes the decisions on those the MWG will be able to provide reporting on this in the future?

Comment from pnorman on 1 December 2018 at 14:43

I believe everyone in the MWG wants to be transparent about waivers, reporting overall numbers at a minimum. There are limits to this, of course - country breakdowns are tricky. It’s not as much of an issue on money transfer waivers, because anyone who requests the associate member list can get the list of members from Iran, and the inability to transfer money from there makes it obvious they’re all fee waiver members, but the financial need members could come from anywhere.

Right now we’re moving to OTRS to track inbound requests, which should make reporting easier. I had to go in and count emails to get these numbers, which isn’t sustainable.

CiviCRM has country and OSM username information, so it’s technically easy to get a breakdown of fee waiver members’ countries. We need to add fee-waiver to but it hit the first of the month today so we haven’t yet done it.

Comment from imagico on 1 December 2018 at 14:55

I understand the difficulties. My main concern here is that the decision of the board on accepting requests for waivers due to financial hardship should be subject to external supervision and transparency and the best way to do that is to have numbers for that being publicly reported on a regular basis. This should be separate for the two reasons for waivers currently allowed.

Obviously it will take some time until a routinely working system to track and document decisions is established. I just wanted to make sure this is on the radar of the MWG.

Comment from Heather Leson on 1 December 2018 at 18:34

Hi Paul and MWG.

It might help for potential volunteers for the MWG to know the following: -average time to on board for membership waiver review or other MWG tasks -approximate time that would be expected 1 hour a week etc. - types of skills needed



Comment from pnorman on 4 December 2018 at 20:55

It might help for potential volunteers for the MWG to know the following: -average time to on board for membership waiver review or other MWG tasks -approximate time that would be expected 1 hour a week etc. - types of skills needed

It’s hard for me to judge that, since I’ve been in the MWG for some time and set up some of the new tools. Being experienced makes it difficult to know how much time it will take for someone else. Perhaps you, as a newer MWG member, could provide an estimate based on your experience learning the new stuff.

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