Working Group Minutes/MWG 2021-02-01

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

The Membership Working Group met on 2021-02-01 at 1800 UTC via Big Blue Button.


  • Michael Spreng (datendelphin)
  • Steve Friedl (SJFriedl)
  • Thomas Barris (Thomas)
  • Guillaume Rischard (Stereo)

Acceptance of Minutes

Michael moved acceptance of the minutes from the 2020-12-04 meeting, Steve seconded, approved unanimously.

Active Contributor Membership

The meeting was called to discuss implementation of an Active Contributor (formerly "fee waiver") membership for Normal Members, which is in addition to the Associate ACM offered now. This would allow these members to run for Board seats as well as to vote on AoA questions during an election, widening participation in OSMF governance.

Implementation of Normal Member ACM must be done with the UK Companies Act in mind, because of two responsibilities of Normal Membership:

  • Liability in the form of a guarantee.
  • Publication of full name and residence address.

The group discussed the makeup of the signup form, which can largely be taken from the current Normal paid membership form, but the consensus was not to have a single unified form that all membership types (paid and ACM, Normal and Associate). See later discussion.

MWG is engaging a consultant to help with software integrations with CiviCRM, OSMF's membership system, hoping to automate much of this processing that's currently done largely by hand.

Question: should the Active Contributor program require an OSM account? Consensus: yes, having an account is a very low barrier to entry for somebody interested in OSMF. Should it require actual edits? Consensus: no, unless applying as a mapper requiring a number of mapping days.

Desired workflow (replacing the manual operations) would automatically create and grant Active Contributor membership if all the checks of OSM account info and mapping days check out, which would be no less human oversight than any user paying for a Normal membership (i.e., account is created in CiviCRM automatically).

Thomas noted that bogus applications were twice the rate of regular applications, so automation should probably require validation of that OSM account before triggering the creation of a Contact record in CiviCRM.

Discussion of personal (non-corporate) membership types in CiviCRM, currently we use:

  • Normal
  • Associate
  • Fee waiver member <-- Associate member type

We need one additional membership type, and orthogonality suggests renaming the others:

  • Normal Paid
  • Associate Paid
  • Normal ACM
  • Associate ACM

Exact wording to be worked out and changes entered into CiviCRM.

Also discussed was an alternate approach of using just Normal and Associate member types in CiviCRM, but with a flag indicating fee waiver / active contributor membership, and this was generally rejected as not fitting into the workflow of how MWG actually uses CiviCRM: The membership type drives renewals, so each kind of membership has its own messages.

Renewal workflow also has to allow for a user to convert an active-contributor membership to a paid membership if their contributions are not sufficient for the previous year, or if they simply prefer to financially support the Foundation.

Consensus was to not drill down on the workflow too much pending the work of the CiviCRM consultant to see what opportunities for automation / integration present themselves.

General discussion of timeframes for having this together, and mainly we should have it ready by the wave of applications prior to the next election.

Revisiting the discussion on forms:

1) Single form for everything with radio buttons and the like, auto-adapt to the requested types (e.g., removing address field for Associate membership). Consensus was this was a lot of information with a lot of choices, plus it seems to require a fair amount of web automation.

2) Separate forms for Paid / ACM, with a landing page with text directing the user to the proper form. Getting text right to not overload the incoming members will take some work but is probably more straightforward from all angles.

Decided to revisit once the consultant has gotten us a workflow, and Steve/Michael will work on the wording.

Discussion: during paid renewals, should the email renewal message mention the active-contributor option? Consensus: no, but maybe in the future, or maybe on the second reminders. It was noted that all the reminder emails all have writing that's dated and should be revisited.

Discussion: should we automatically extend active-contributor memberships upon anniversary if they have sufficient mapping days?

Consensus: probably not; Normal Memberships come with some legal obligations that we should not commit them to automatically. Better to treat these renewals the same as all the other membership types, email the member and let them make their own choices (including converting to a paid membership) by visiting the renewal pages.

MWG can start accepting Normal ACM members prior to most CiviCRM changes but still have other changes to make prior to publicizing, such as setting up the proper text on We expect to hold another meeting prior to implementation and publicizing of this membership type.

Meeting adjourned at 19:15 UTC. Other than approving minutes from the prior meeting, no votes were taken.

SJFriedl recorded the minutes.