Working Group Minutes/SWG 2011-05-06

From OpenStreetMap Foundation


IRC Name Present Apologies
_chrisfl Chris Fleming Yes
Eugene Eugene Usvitsky Yes
Firefishy Grant Slater Yes
apmon Kai Krueger Yes
mkl Mikel Maron Yes
RichardF Richard Fairhurst Yes
samlarsen1 Sam Larsen Yes
stevenfeldman Steven Feldman Yes
toffehoff Henk Hoff Yes
TomH Tom Hughes Yes
twain47 Brian Quinion No
wonderchook Kate Chapman Yes
Also attending
IRC handle Name
mackerski Dermot McNalli
blackadder Andy Robinson

Minutes (draft)

Approval of the 29 April 2011 Minutes was deferred because the OSMF server was inaccessible

  • Old business

Outstanding matters were covered in the following agenda items, which continued previous discussions

  • Agenda
  • OSMF Articles of Association Update
  • engagement with community re: previously stated concerns about AoA is in progress.
  • AoA considering when / which lawyer to engage with re AoA advice.
  • web site front page.
  • AoA Update
  • A legal adviser has been recruited to the AoA subgroup (name in transcript?).
  • The review of AoA guided by the legal adviser will produce some options which will be presented (with recommendations from SWG) to OSMF AGM at SOTM eu.
  • There was a discussion about how best to publicise the review of AoA without overloading conversation, it was agreed to post to Foundation mail list.
  • List Etiquette
  • Discussion about tone of mailing lists:
  • Does tone discourage participation of new members?
  • Has tone improved?
  • Would forums, which could be moderated, increase participation and change tone?
  • General sense was that this was an issue but there was no agreement on a solution. Discussion to be continued.
  • Front Page
  • Not discussed due to time constraint
  • next meeting Friday 13 May 2011 @ 1600UTC


18:15 toffehoff I missed the first bit....
18:16 toffehoff (for logging purposes that is)
18:16 mklwhatever toffehoff ... we haven't started yet, so let's just take yours
18:16 mklwhatever thx guys
18:16 mklwhatever ok
18:16 toffehoff ok
18:16 mklwhatever so agenda
18:16 mklwhatever * old business: AoA update, front page
18:16 toffehoff thanks stevenfeldman for taking the notes.
18:16 mklwhatever * new business: list etiquette
18:17 toffehoff let's start with AoA?
18:17 mklwhatever anything else? where do we want to start?
18:17 mklwhatever cool
18:17 *** stevenfeldman left #osm-strategic
18:17 *** stevenfeldman joined #osm-strategic
18:17 toffehoff We've retained Francis Davey
18:17 mklwhatever toffehoff, Eugene? AoA
18:17 RichardF \o/
18:18 toffehoff I've had a first meeting with him yesterday.
18:18 toffehoff Will work on several subjects.
18:19 toffehoff He will help us by asking the questions needed
18:19 toffehoff how we want to be governed.
18:19 toffehoff Will have a proposal ready by SotM eu
18:19 toffehoff for discussion.
18:19 toffehoff After that, Francis will draft a new set of Articles for us.
18:20 toffehoff Which will be put up for voting on our AGM.
18:20 mklwhatever excellent
18:20 toffehoff Let me say I'm very excited to have Francis on board.
18:20 RichardF that's great. well done.
18:20 apmon He has made a good impression on the legal mailing list. So that sounds great
18:20 TomH having met him a couple of weeks back I can say he's just as good in person
18:21 toffehoff He already came up with interesting subjects to think about.
18:21 mklwhatever so he will ask questions. how will we answer? AoA subcommittee is PoC of course .. but how to keep foundation members looped in
18:22 toffehoff We as a subcommittee
18:22 toffehoff ... and you are all still welcome to join :-)
18:22 apmon If there are a set of questions, those can be posted to the lists
18:22 toffehoff it's about what needs to be in AoA and what not.
18:22 toffehoff lists like in multiple?
18:23 stevenfeldman can't we make this an open dialogue/forum where any other interested parties can comment on the various discussion topics?
18:23 toffehoff There already is a wiki page ....
18:23 toffehoff which I cannot see at the moment ....
18:23 *** mkl1 joined #osm-strategic
18:23 TomH Firefishy reports PSU in foundation server is dead - he has gone to Maplin for a new one
18:23 apmon toffehoff: Post to foundation list, with an invitation to talk
18:23 stevenfeldman lists don't really encourage engagement and wiki pages certainly aren't going to allow easy discussion
18:23 mklwhatever probably the best thing is to post updates and questions of interest to the list. but really, keep discussion in the AoA group
18:24 toffehoff That also our reason that we want to have a proposal ready for SotM eu.
18:24 mklwhatever if someone is really interested, they can make an effort to join the chat
18:25 toffehoff Proposal meaning: For voting we can choose a, b or c. We propose b, because ......
18:25 toffehoff And we can have a discussion about it.
18:25 RichardF agree with Mikel. The most important thing is for people to be aware that SWG exists and that they can join. I'm very wary of putting specific proposals out for open comment - it just invites the usual sniping on details
18:25 toffehoff Francis would be very helpfull in pointing out several options.
18:26 apmon RichardF: Well, that is the way politics work.
18:26 toffehoff RichardF agree.
18:26 toffehoff We need it more in a consumable way.
18:26 mklwhatever sounds like a plan
18:27 mklwhatever Chris asked me a question about Articles and Funders on list
18:27 stevenfeldman toffehoff: I guess if we make it too consumable we will get too many random unthought through contributions
18:27 mklwhatever have to say, it's never come up. but i'd be happy to ask them, if there were specific questions
18:27 mklwhatever i think one of the main things is being a non-profit vs a charity
18:28 mklwhatever not sure how that's handled in AoA
18:28 *** stevenfeldman left #osm-strategic
18:28 toffehoff stevenfeldman: sure. With consumable I meant giving a couple of options and talk about the options instead of : shoot away.
18:28 TomH it isn't - that's outside the scope
18:28 RichardF I don't think that there's a specific "non-profit" concept in E&W law (though I'm no expert)
18:28 TomH the AoA are the constitution of the company - a decision to become a charity would need whole different set of docs AFAIK
18:28 mklwhatever there's also matters of being able to operate in other countries, for donation purposes ... say 5013c in the US, to get US funding
18:29 TomH RichardF: indeed - their is no equivalent of a US 5013c
18:29 TomH it is a "Company Limited by Guarantee"
18:29 *** stevenfeldman joined #osm-strategic
18:29 RichardF nods
18:29 wonderchook well in the US even the non-profit versus charity stuff is seperate anyway (not to complicate:))
18:29 stevenfeldman I think if registered in the UK there s a lot more scrutiny for a charity
18:29 TomH which means there are no shareholders, so all profit is retained in the company
18:29 RichardF though you _could_ potentially have a Community Interest Company, but let's not complicate it ;)
18:29 TomH yeah that;s a whole new thing I don't know much about
18:29 toffehoff According to Francis us being a Company Limited by Guarantee is the best option.
18:30 wonderchook I think to operate in other countries you would still have to incorporate in them
18:30 stevenfeldman does the foundation need to operate in multiple countries?
18:30 mklwhatever well as long as this registration and the AoA doesn't prevent pursuing charity status or 5013c or whatever, that's my only concern regarding funders
18:30 wonderchook stevenfeldman: only if they wanted to try to get certain types of donations
18:31 mklwhatever the big foundations are usually flexible in this ... since they operate internationally themselves
18:31 apmon Can that not be handled by local chapters?
18:31 stevenfeldman wonderchook: good point, we could need a US registration for that purpose
18:31 Eugene apmon: +1
18:31 mklwhatever apmon: probably another issue for AoA
18:31 wonderchook yeah would also depend on the chapter set-up
18:32 wonderchook OSM-US is seeking tax-exempt status for example
18:32 toffehoff AoA is for how we want to govern.
18:32 mklwhatever Eugene, toffehoff ... local chapters is entirely separate, yes?
18:32 stevenfeldman are the chapters, chapters f osm or of the foundation? I thought the former?
18:32 toffehoff Registering ourselves in different countries is not part of AoA
18:32 toffehoff mklwhatever Yes Local Chapters is different.
18:32 Eugene mklwhatever: yes
18:33 mklwhatever toffehoff: again, as long as we still have the flexibility to approach that, fine. especially with questions of membership and local chapters.
18:33 *** chrisfl_ joined #osm-strategic
18:34 toffehoff Well, membership and local chapters is something we need to agree on by the time we draft our AoA
18:34 mklwhatever ok
18:34 toffehoff Will we have different types of members for example
18:34 apmon What would be the options for membership?
18:34 toffehoff But luckily also the discussion about Local Chapters is now handled by the LCWG
18:35 mklwhatever ok. well perhaps it's enough details for now. good to know all these issues are being looked at, if appropriate.
18:35 toffehoff apmon: for example: would Local Chapter be a type of member of the foundation?
18:35 toffehoff and how does it differ from the individual members
18:35 toffehoff But that's primairly a discussion for the LC working group.
18:36 mklwhatever makes sense for now :)
18:36 mklwhatever toffehoff: anything else to review on AoA with the whole group before moving on?
18:36 toffehoff Not from my side... Eugene?
18:36 Eugene Nope.
18:37 toffehoff Next meeting btw: monday
18:37 mklwhatever cool, thanks a lot guys. great to see this moving
18:37 Eugene 17:00 UTC
18:37 mklwhatever next is either front page/usability, or list etiquette
18:37 toffehoff ... on this channel
18:38 mklwhatever i'm kinda curious what you had in mind toffehoff, about list etiquette
18:38 stevenfeldman me 2
18:38 Eugene List etiquette should be shorter to discuss (I hope).
18:39 toffehoff Last week we also discussed a bit about the mailinglist and how people acted
18:39 toffehoff really trying to avoid terms like "trolling"
18:39 mklwhatever last time things flared up seriously was in september, when SteveC evoked BDFL
18:40 Blackadder gives his apologies for today
18:40 mklwhatever he basically had said that he'd moderate anything that got out of hand
18:40 mklwhatever but that's not something to put in one person's hands like that, imo
18:41 wonderchook yeah, I don't think that makes sense
18:41 toffehoff so, what does make sense?
18:41 apmon definately needs broader support than a single person
18:41 toffehoff Absolutely
18:41 mklwhatever we do have a rough posted etiquette
18:41 Eugene apmon: +1
18:41 samlarsen1 each mailing list has an admin - should assign task to them
18:41 toffehoff But how can we "enforce" this?
18:41 mklwhatever but clearly, something needs to change. OSM list culture just gets so poisoned
18:41 stevenfeldman it's not just the odd eruption that we might want to manage, I think there is a problem with the tone of much "discussion" which may scare off any newbies or the fainthearted
18:41 mklwhatever toffehoff: exactly
18:41 mklwhatever talk list admin is Steve, I think
18:42 mklwhatever stevenfeldman: +1
18:42 wonderchook stevenfeldman + 1
18:42 Eugene Isn't it time to move mailing list to forums to be more open?
18:42 toffehoff so, this is what I meant :-)
18:42 Eugene And easy to moderate, too.
18:42 mklwhatever OSM has a bad reputation. i think it's undeserved based on people actually doing stuff. there's a vocal minority tarnashing the image
18:42 stevenfeldman eugene: +1million
18:42 mackerski notices a more positive turn to many of the heated discussions on -talk lately
18:43 wonderchook I don't think that it is a technology problem really. But it is a matter of reputation
18:43 mklwhatever one way to deal with it is for people who call to jump into those discussions
18:43 toffehoff the problem with mailinglist is, you cannot control it.
18:43 stevenfeldman the challenge with a do-ocracy is how to encourage more people to become doers rather than watchers
18:43 chrisfl_ having some kind of community guidelines wouldn't be a bad thing.
18:44 toffehoff ....the way you can with a forum.
18:44 wonderchook yeah, I think have clear rules help so at least there is something to point to
18:44 Eugene wonderchook: I know. But mailing list look more close and internal than open forums. And editing posts and even banning users there is impossible unlike in forums.
18:44 mackerski Lately, poisonous contributions have been getting challenged.
18:44 mklwhatever chrisfl_: we do. it just that no one pays attention or enforces
18:44 mackerski And their level has diminished accordingly
18:44 stevenfeldman wonderchook: forums do allow a better way of threading conversations, following threads and do not prevenet mail abstracts as well
18:44 mklwhatever mackerski: i've been trying. perhaps more of us need to damped down those threads when they start up
18:44 wonderchook stevenfeldman: I'm not disagreeing that forums are better technology, but I think more than anything it is a people issue:)
18:45 mackerski mklwhatever: I tend to agree - for a long time, poisonous contributions were ignored by many of clue
18:45 mackerski Sometimes that's a good idea
18:45 Eugene While we can't change people, we can change the way they interact with (and influene) community.
18:45 mklwhatever wonderchook: is the people issue just the behavior on lists?
18:45 stevenfeldman wonderchook: opening up in forums might encourage more participation and help to change tone, there again it might not d:)
18:46 mackerski To take the example of the licence change, now that we have movement there, confronting FUD has been quite useful in reducing its prominence
18:46 wonderchook so it is a tough combination of people leading by example and then having the community rules finalized and enforced I think
18:46 RichardF we basically need to marginalise the lists. tools like are good for that.
18:46 mackerski Confronting isn't the same as trading insults, of course
18:47 mklwhatever mackerski: a fine line!
18:47 toffehoff RichardF I think so too.
18:47 mklwhatever RichardF: definitely good to lead newbies to other places
18:47 mackerski If you have facts on your side, you don't need insults
18:47 toffehoff but you'll still get them ...
18:48 mklwhatever this starts to lead into front page design in fact :)
18:48 apmon RichardF: One possible problem with help is that it isn't currently internationalised
18:48 RichardF can be fixed
18:48 toffehoff
18:48 apmon should be fixed ... ;-)
18:48 toffehoff ?
18:48 RichardF or whatever
18:48 apmon RichardF: +1
18:48 mklwhatever i feel like the local lists aren't troubled by this as much
18:49 mklwhatever it's mainly talk, legal-talk
18:49 RichardF essentially we need to define what the lists are for
18:49 wonderchook yeah, the local lists that I'm on don't appear to be
18:49 RichardF local discussion - good
18:49 mackerski mklwhatever: I wiish you were correct - talk-de is a bit troublesome
18:49 apmon mklwhatever: Join talk-de or tlk-au for a while
18:49 RichardF specific project discussion, e.g. JOSM or P2 - good
18:49 TomH steve isn't the talk admin - mcn is
18:49 mackerski Though even there, The Real Community is confronting the loons
18:49 RichardF newbies - unsuitable
18:49 mklwhatever no thanks! :)
18:50 Eugene mklwhatever: Believe me, it is sometimes :) Russian forum as the largest OSM forum has a lot of senseless discussions but we still are able to control their tone.
18:50 RichardF general project decisipn-making - definitely not
18:50 toffehoff We can say whatever we want about where mailinglist should be used for. as long as we cannot enforce it, it's meaningless
18:51 stevenfeldman where do we take this discussion? is this something for SWG?
18:51 RichardF apmon: talk-de isn't a local list - it's a German-language whole-project list. hence the problems
18:51 Eugene tofflehoff: +1
18:51 mklwhatever stevenfeldman: i think so. and as usual, who else? :)
18:51 toffehoff I think one of the questions is: do we want to continue with mailinglists?
18:52 toffehoff Or use other media instead?
18:52 mklwhatever what could be done? refinement of community policies. structure for enforcement on list. guidance on the appropriate places for discussions.
18:52 stevenfeldman OK mklwahtever: then should we pilot a switch f one list, say strategic to a forum to see whethwer it encourages participation and changes tone?
18:52 mklwhatever no problem with strategic though :)
18:52 Eugene stevenfeldman: Strategic is very correct.
18:53 mackerski Positive engagement by mappers of clue seems to me to be in the spirit of what SteveC was trying to do with his previous interventions
18:53 mklwhatever and i'm not convinced it's about the technology
18:53 mackerski "Policy of engagement"
18:53 RichardF ...only because the disruptive elemrnts haven't noticed strategic yet
18:53 stevenfeldman eugene: might not be if we opened it up and got more people observing/participating
18:53 mklwhatever mackerski: +1
18:53 mackerski For sure we can emphasise other channels...
18:53 toffehoff I really like the + and - feedback you can give on some forums.
18:53 Eugene stevenfeldman: Probably...
18:53 mackerski But many people just _like_ Mailing lists and will keep using them
18:54 Eugene mackerski: No, if they are switched off )
18:54 RichardF mackerski: sure. but we don't have to use them for business.
18:54 toffehoff With that you can filter out all the bad stuff.
18:54 mackerski Then others will operate their own
18:54 RichardF if people want to talk, let them.
18:54 apmon Eugene: I would be against taking a decission like switching the mailinglist off easily
18:54 apmon it once again needs to support of the community and not just SWG
18:54 RichardF talk@ as "chat for those who want to" is fine. it's a problem when we invest any more significance in it
18:55 samlarsen1 don't have to switch off lists, just stop using them
18:55 mklwhatever so if we started using forums, do the issues of etiquette policy, positive engagement, and enforcement go away?
18:55 mackerski Like companies deciding whether to engage with customers on social media - they sometimes feel they can prevent the badmouthing just because they don't provide the forum
18:55 stevenfeldman Mailing lists do not encourage a casual/occasional observer who might subsequently become a participant and a contributor
18:55 TomH any mailing list which is switched off is an area of the project I won't be involved in anymore for one
18:55 apmon mklwhatever: The big advantage / danger of forums is that one can moderate them other than banning people
18:56 toffehoff and we can leave that up to the people on the forum themselves.
18:56 stevenfeldman Can we try a forum for a while and assess?
18:57 RichardF we do have already, of course. it's primitive but seems generally to work ok.
18:57 Eugene stevenfeldman: How we can do it? We have successful local forums so it works. And we can't transfer talk@ to forums.
18:57 apmon Well, there are some communities that are exclusively on mailing list, some that extensively use both and others than nearly only use forums
18:57 mkl1 i think he was suggesting we eat our own dog food
18:58 mkl1 but i think there are two issues
18:58 mkl1 one is defining the culture of how we'd like our community to engage. and actively working for that
18:59 mkl1 two is technical. either with mechanisms for enforcement on the current lists; or moving to some other discussion platform, forum, etc
18:59 mkl1 i feel like two is more fraught, though more obvious
18:59 mkl1 one is something we should do anyway
18:59 mkl1 and we're nearly at the hour
19:00 stevenfeldman mkl1: I don't think you can enforce behaviour, you can lead by example and encouragement (perhaps backed up by moderation)
19:00 apmon Also, as long as there are emotional subjects like licensing, there will be heated flamewars no matter what technology you use
19:00 mkl1 we have to table the discussion til next week
19:00 mkl1 or take it on list ;)
19:00 Eugene :)
19:01 stevenfeldman or launch it on a forum :D :)
19:01 mkl1 two quick things
19:01 mkl1 anything to report on front page stuff?
19:01 mkl1 would be great to have a few more things implemented and pushed live, and then continue our discussion next week
mkl1 and i guess for now, we have to keep the same time, and doodle for a time ... i'll share the doodle on the list
19:02 mackerski expresses his thanks for the new features in the edit history
19:02 Eugene I vote for removing bot edits from History tab (as it was changed anyway)
19:02 samlarsen1 gotta run
19:03 *** samlarsen1 quit (Quit: ajax IRC Client)
19:03 Eugene And yes, Mikel, thanks for these changes.
19:03 apmon mkl1: Imho that is not really for SWG, but the dev lists
19:03 mkl1 thx ... i'll gather requests :)
19:03 TomH Eugene: yes we all want to do that - we just need a way to odemtify them!
19:03 toffehoff mkl1: in that case: milk & sugar plz
19:03 mkl1 apmon: sure ... but the idea is for us to get our feet wet, so we have a little more concrete understanding of where to go
19:03 TomH actually it's not bot edits we want to remove, it's edits which span the area without touching it
19:04 mkl1 TomH: OWL :)
19:04 Eugene TonH: if I remember correctly, OWL viewer has already filtered them. At least we can filter xybot :)
19:04 TomH we have the technology (OWL) we just need to deploy it in production
19:04 mkl1 cool
19:04 stevenfeldman this does not sound strategic to me?
19:04 mkl1 anyhow, we should close SWG
19:04 toffehoff Have we ended?
19:04 TomH which means sorting out hardware for it
19:04 mkl1 close
19:04 apmon mkl1: But SWG is possibly the wrong place to get your feet wet with this, as it is not strategic
19:05 toffehoff *** end logging ***