Board/Minutes/2022-02-S2S/Board member candidates mentoring

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

Notes by participants. Might be enriched.

This session took place in parallel with "Parallel session: Board communication - Discuss how to increase regular two-way communication of individual board members with the community. (not necessarily speaking on behalf of the board) about OSMF related matters.". A summary was provided to the other group.


  • Amanda McCann
  • Guillaume Rischard
  • Tobias Knerr (facilitating)

Not Present

  • Mikel Maron

Officers and board

Post-meeting addition of links and formatting by Dorothea Kazazi.

Collaborative notes


  • we don't get as many board candidates as we would like (A)

A.M: some possible board candidates were only associate members and couldn't run
T.K: Some of this has been addressed by recent Articles of Association (AoA) change allowing associate membership to count

Current/Historic (possible) problems for being a board candidate

  • Needed to be a full member (not associate) to be candidate.
    • addressed with recent Articles of Association change
  • Some people don't like the public scrutiny/criticism
    • A.M/G.R: That was a discouragement for standing
  • Minimum membership length - by design.
  • Outgoing board members not declaring that they are running or not until late. Lame duck issue.
    • G.R: not sure this is a problem
    • A.M: thinks this could be a problem
  • Too large a time commitment to be a board member, which discourages people
  • Some people think the OSMF is not a fun place (“toxic”, "no ponies"), or they don't want to take the flack for being a board member
  • Few people participate as audience of public board meetings, low familiarity with what's involved
  • People believe they have to be a professional leader or mapper or computer person (cf. David Garcias' “I'm not a leader”)

What (if anything) could be done to increase the pool of candidates

  • New election rule: board members standing for election have to declare/stand before other members can stand
    • unclear if this would require an Articles of Association change
      • G.R: thinks it is, A.M: doesn't
    • unclear if this would solve or worsen the problem
    • unclear if incumbents having better chances is a problem
    • unclear if this isn't solved by term limits
  • Board members are encouraged to find and convince candidates to run
    • Board members in the group normally do that anyway
    • T.K: it's too early to do that now (usually done in a few months)
  • Ease people into it with participation on board-led committees, Working Groups, etc.
  • Show OSMers that current board members are “normal” people (as if), just as flawed and stupid as them (or more)
  • Reduce board workload
  • Sliding deadline (last minute nominations): Board election candidacy period ends 24 hr (?) after last person stands. i.e. if someone controversial stands at the last minute, there is 24 hr for other people to stand
  • Some people want to stand when they see who is or isn't on the board

Action items


  • Write about early mistakes in OSM to demonstrate that OSM Board members are flawed humans.
  • I might work on requiring board members to stand early.