Working Group Minutes/SWG 2011-06-13

From OpenStreetMap Foundation


IRC Name Present Apologies
_chrisfl Chris Fleming y
Eugene Eugene Usvitsky y
toffehoff Henk Hoff y

With special guest appearance from TomH

Minutes (Draft)

From previous meeting:

  • none

This week:

  • Long discussion on community vs Foundation decision making.
  • We should consider community based membership, although overall we're still not in favor.
  • Agree that allowing Corporate Membership is a good thing, and these organisations would have a single vote. The articles should reflect 2 types of member. Henk to ask board how much this should be


  • Henk to ask board what the minimum fee for corporate membership should be.

Next Week:

  • Next meeting: 18:00 UTC Monday 20th June 2011

AoA Review document


toffehoff joined the chat room.
[19:07] toffehoff: Hi all....
[19:08] Eugene: Hi Henk!
[19:08] toffehoff: Hi Eugene, how are you?
[19:09] toffehoff: ping chrisfl_
[19:09] chrisfl_: hi
[19:09] toffehoff: Sorry for being late.
[19:09] chrisfl_: no probs
[19:09] chrisfl_: I've also just finished eating
[19:10] toffehoff: Sorry for having you staying up longer Eugene.
[19:10] Eugene: Great, thank you. Sorry for not attending last meeting - I had troubles with internet connection (I moved to a new place a couple of days before that and not everything was working)
[19:10] toffehoff: Ah, that explains ....
[19:10] Eugene: No problems, now it's 11:10 am for me (I'm in California now  )
[19:10] chrisfl_: ahhhh
[19:11] chrisfl_:
[19:11] toffehoff: Oh, so it was kinda convenient moving this meeting an hour  
[19:11] Eugene: Well, yes  Thanks for that.
[19:11] toffehoff: Anyways .... Chrisfl_ do you have objections to the write-up of last weeks meeting?
[19:11] toffehoff:
[19:11] chrisfl_: no probs with me
[19:11] Eugene: Unfortunately, general strategic meeting can't be moved that easy 
[19:12] toffehoff: Ok, it's not draft anymore ....
[19:12] toffehoff: What on the agenda for today.
[19:12] chrisfl_: cool - shall I do the minutes for today
[19:13] toffehoff: that would be awesome. Thanks chris.
[19:13] chrisfl_: no probs
[19:13] toffehoff: I see that I need to add the ceasing membership to our review doc.
[19:13] toffehoff: Will do that later this evening.
[19:14] toffehoff: What needs discussion?
[19:14] chrisfl_:  cool - I had hoped to do that during the week 
[19:14] chrisfl_: any highlights from the board meeting
[19:15] chrisfl_: ?
[19:15] toffehoff: ... gives me something to do in a hotel far from home.....
[19:15] chrisfl_: cool
[19:15] toffehoff: Ah, you mean last weekend.
[19:15] • toffehoff looking up my notes...
[19:15] chrisfl_: or anything that effects the articles 
[19:16] toffehoff: Have you all seen the doodle from TimSC?
[19:16] chrisfl_: yes - I'm not really sure of the context
[19:16] Eugene: Minutes look great. One thing to note - isn't 2 years of non-payment is too much for ceasing membership?
[19:18] chrisfl_: Eugene, my initial thought was the same but toffehoff talked me round
[19:19] toffehoff: Eugene, that was something up for debating with the Foundation members.
[19:19] toffehoff: Just putting it a bit longer, so it may generate some discussion. We can shorten it if needed.
[19:19] Eugene: Ok
[19:19] toffehoff: chrisfl_ I think I know the context, but am not sure .....
[19:20] toffehoff: Had a face-to-face chat with TimSC last friday ...
[19:21] toffehoff: He was not happy with the way the OSM was governed.
[19:21] toffehoff: But haven't heard a real alternative .....
[19:21] chrisfl_: Constitutionally I believe that ultimately  for  some decisions OSMF will always have the final say.
[19:23] chrisfl_: is that related to the mandate to the size of the community or having a board that makes decisions?
[19:24] toffehoff: Right. Can we somehow define those decisions?
[19:24] toffehoff: Or: should the community at large have a say in certain decisions?
[19:24] toffehoff: And if we talk about the community, do we mean the mappers or the app-ers (users of OSM data)?
[19:24] toffehoff: I think that's the basis of the question TimSC is asking.
[19:25] toffehoff: I think it's related to what is to be decided by the Foundation and what by the community.
[19:25] toffehoff: Example:
[19:25] toffehoff: - Tagging-scheme is for the community to decide
[19:25] toffehoff: - License is for the Foundation to decide.
[19:26] chrisfl_:  exactly.
[19:26] toffehoff: Can we draw a line to what is Foundation and what is Community?
[19:26] chrisfl_: it's hard and it might change over time.
[19:27] toffehoff: Absolutely.
[19:27] chrisfl_: The one thing that we have avoided talking about is a contribution based membership... which might soften the line
[19:27] chrisfl_: although I do like setting the bar for people to open their wallet.
[19:28] Eugene: Honestly saying, I personally would prefer more control in project. It can be OSMF or some other community-chosen party but something that will have RIGHTS to implement its decisions and correct wrong members decisions and behavior.
[19:28] toffehoff: We can also say that for major decisions we are polling the OSM community.
[19:29] chrisfl_: Eugene - I agree strong leadership is important.
[19:30] Eugene: The community itself is rather passive and is in need of someone telling this is right and this is wrong. But how that can be implemented in current scheme in "community-driven project"... I don't know.
[19:32] chrisfl_: I don't necessarily think that's a big problem, most people are happily mapping away and in a happy place ignoring all of the politics 
[19:33] toffehoff: If you look at the current discussion around license ...
[19:33] toffehoff: It's only a few how make all the noise.
[19:33] chrisfl_: exactly
[19:34] toffehoff: Of the accept/decline of the CT: more than 98% has accepted.
[19:34] toffehoff: If you compare that to the hefty debates on the various channels....
[19:35] chrisfl_: which is a very high %
[19:35] toffehoff: Back to the articles.
[19:35] Eugene: In general, yes but I think that currently we have problems with clear tagging schemes and with decision making process (which can be illustrated by changing).
[19:36] Eugene: But that's definitely off-topic.
[19:36] toffehoff: So, what is to decided by the Foundation.
[19:37] toffehoff: - Everything related to running the servers.
[19:37] chrisfl_: legal/copyright stuff
[19:38] toffehoff: - Everything related to the publication of the database (and it's contents)
[19:38] toffehoff: Can we say that everything related to the making of the content is for the community?
[19:39] toffehoff: Content-creation >> community
[19:39] toffehoff: Content-publishing >> Foundation
[19:39] toffehoff: ?
[19:39] chrisfl_: yes - but there is a role for OSMF to intervene in extreme cases of tagging wars or vandalism
[19:40] toffehoff: But that is intervene, not decision-making.
[19:40] chrisfl_: true
[19:40] toffehoff: right?
[19:40] Eugene: I don't like this border but can't explain why...
[19:40] chrisfl_: but there is a decision/policy about when to interceed
[19:41] toffehoff: The Foundation could be the mediator for conflicts within the community.
[19:41] toffehoff: Eugene, maybe it helps with examples.
[19:42] Eugene: maybe...
[19:42] toffehoff: Can you give an example of what is Foundation and what is Community?
[19:43] Eugene: No, I agree with this separation. I don't like creation vs publishing.
[19:43] toffehoff: Ah.
[19:44] toffehoff: If we can come up with other words, please....
[19:44] chrisfl_: here's a question. Who decides what tags get rendered on the maps or even what layers are presented?
[19:44] Eugene: E.g., I would prefer tagging schemes were maintained (and enforced) by OSMF and not community. Community should suggest some changes but to make good and clear scheme it should be maintained by someone else.
[19:45] toffehoff: Two question then...
[19:45] chrisfl_: But enforced tagging schemes are definitely not something we want.
[19:45] chrisfl_: but related...
[19:46] toffehoff: What do you mean with maintaining a tagging scheme?
[19:46] Eugene: chrisfl_, why? we need good data that can be used everywhere. And this requires standards and error fixes. Isn't that enforcing?
[19:47] chrisfl_: well the system seems to work pretty well as is. Plus enforcing hinders innovation
[19:48] chrisfl_: and where mistakes are made applications tend to help get the data they use get fixed.
[19:48] Eugene: toffehoff, Maintaining means creating a clear (ideal) picture of what can be tagged and introducing tags, one by another, that describe this picture. Removing old tags in documentation and in DB, replacing them with new ones.
[19:48] toffehoff: ok
[19:48] chrisfl_: ultimately the foundation is about infrastructure, access and software
[19:49] toffehoff: I tend to be on the side of Chrisfl_ on this.
[19:49] Eugene: Ok.
[19:49] toffehoff: The openness of the OSM-database is part of it's success.
[19:49] chrisfl_: although there is no reason why the community can't do this kind of Maintenace.
[19:50] toffehoff: Sure, but having an OSMF-committee defining and implementing tags...... 
[19:50] Eugene: chrisfl_, because it can't. People will cry that their good tag were removed by some other users and write letters to DWG about vandalism.
[19:51] toffehoff: That could be the start of a discussion about setting a standard for a particular theme...
[19:52] chrisfl_: well it's a tricky one, especially removing tags.but again it's a matter of perspective.
[19:52] toffehoff: We already have several schemes for addressing.
[19:52] toffehoff: This is also about good behavior of the community.
[19:53] chrisfl_: it's not ideal, but better than no schemes for addressing.
[19:53] Eugene: Exactly. And authours of renderers or converters to navigation software and should support all of them.
[19:53] toffehoff: .... or convert them (in their own db) to a standard they can use...
[19:53] chrisfl_: and appropriate behaviour is probably the issue.
[19:54] toffehoff: OK, so: tagging scheme is not Foundation?
[19:54] chrisfl_: tagging not Foundation.
[19:55] Eugene: toffehoff, converting means they should find desciptions of all of them in wiki/forums/mailing lists and only then work with it. It's too much for most of developers.
[19:55] Eugene: But ok, let's leave the things as is. I don't want to start a war for that.
[19:55] toffehoff:
[19:55] chrisfl_:
[19:55] toffehoff: Then to rendering on
[19:56] toffehoff: who decides what's going to be rendered on
[19:56] toffehoff: And we're not talking about all those other websites use OSM as well.
[19:56] toffehoff: I would say: the community.
[19:57] chrisfl_: yes
[19:57] Eugene: In theory, that should be decided by community but Community is very strange and mythic structure that was most clearly seen only during CT changing process.
[19:57] toffehoff: But not that everyone can just request his/her own tag to be rendered.
[19:58] toffehoff: Eugene: yes.
[19:58] chrisfl_: ultimately the community/osmf happily delegates this to a few individuals.
[19:58] toffehoff: I can imagine the community would set up a doodle (or other mechanism) to decide what they want on
[19:59] Eugene: So such decisions will result in endless surveys and who makes the most noise will definitely win.
[19:59] TomH: Only if there's somebody left to implement the "decision"
[19:59] chrisfl_: and that would be a disaster
[19:59] Eugene: There should be someone with clear picture in mind. A crowd (Members of community) can't do this because they see only parts of this picture that is closest to them.
[20:00] toffehoff: Hi TomH, I was waiting for your comment on this subject 
[20:00] Eugene:
[20:00] chrisfl_: design by committee is seldom successful
[20:01] toffehoff: OK, other way round ....
[20:01] toffehoff: The decision is made by the Foundation, since they are officially running the servers.
[20:01] chrisfl_: yes.
[20:01] toffehoff: But with input of the community.
[20:01] chrisfl_: but the community do have the ability to contribute.
[20:02] toffehoff: Delegating it to a working group or whatever....
[20:02] Eugene: yes.
[20:03] chrisfl_: yes
[20:03] toffehoff: having said this ... I'm thinking of if this is something for the articles....
[20:03] chrisfl_: have we strayed to far from constitution....
[20:03] chrisfl_: probably not
[20:03] toffehoff: It is about decision making....
[20:04] chrisfl_: My view is that strong leadership is important, and that this should be from OSMF where appropriate.
[20:05] chrisfl_: The question would be should/would we allow contribution based membership to more directly link the community into that process?
[20:06] toffehoff: And should such a thing be in the articles....
[20:06] chrisfl_: might be a question for the wider strategic group. I used to think no, but I'm not so sure anymore.
[20:07] chrisfl_: I think defining a member should be considered.... I think the articles would say a member pays £ XX per year.
[20:07] chrisfl_: if we want something else then it should be considered...
[20:07] chrisfl_: even if Francis later tells us that in needs to go elsewhere?
[20:08] toffehoff: I think that we only need to define the role of the community if we define them as a special type of member.
[20:08] toffehoff: Talking of special types of members......
[20:08] toffehoff: One thing that did come up was corporate membership....
[20:08] chrisfl_: yes
[20:09] toffehoff: but that something for later....
[20:09] chrisfl_: interesting....
[20:10] toffehoff: We can leave the community-membership open for discussion ....
[20:10] Eugene: That would be a good idea.
[20:10] chrisfl_: I can't see a problem as long as they don't have power....
[20:10] chrisfl_: agree
[20:10] toffehoff: I tend to say that we do not create such a special membership.....
[20:10] toffehoff: But, I'm open for suggestions.
[20:10] toffehoff: chrisfl_ agree.
[20:11] chrisfl_: I think I tend to agree, but think it's worth considering.
[20:12] toffehoff: We can also explicitly mention that we don't want to create a special role for the community members at large....
[20:12] toffehoff: That would generate some discussion 
[20:12] Eugene: Sure 
[20:12] chrisfl_: or just stay quiet  and hope no one asks
[20:13] chrisfl_: although in the join OSMF thread on talk, no one has objected to paying for membership.
[20:13] toffehoff: That's another tactic.... But I think on this one, let's make it explicit.
[20:13] chrisfl_: agree
[20:14] Eugene: +1
[20:14] toffehoff: Enough about community-input?
[20:14] chrisfl_: yes; although it's good to think about these things.
[20:14] toffehoff: I'm also very glad we had this discussion!
[20:15] toffehoff: Corporate membership?
[20:15] chrisfl_: shoot
[20:15] toffehoff: idea was to introduce a corporate membership which has equal rights as an individual membership.
[20:16] toffehoff: but....
[20:16] toffehoff: They pay a lot more.
[20:16] chrisfl_: sounds great to me.
[20:16] Eugene: me too
[20:16] toffehoff: And may say (on their website or whatever) that they are member of the OpenStreetMap Foundation
[20:16] chrisfl_: I think that's fine.
[20:17] toffehoff: There are companies/organisations that would like to associate themselves with OSM.
[20:17] Eugene: Paying "a lot more" is always good.
[20:17] toffehoff:
[20:18] toffehoff: And we're giving them an excuse to pay "a lot more".
[20:18] chrisfl_: So playing the devils advocate here, would/could there be an accusation of special treatment for these companies.
[20:19] toffehoff: O yes  
[20:19] Eugene: Absolutely 
[20:19] toffehoff: Our conspiracy theorists will have a fieldday.
[20:20] toffehoff: But, that can now also being said about companies who donate a reasonable sum to us.
[20:20] chrisfl_: yes. but practically if they only have the same rights as a individual then can't see it being a problem and organisations can already donate money which *could* lead to the same accusations.
[20:22] toffehoff: The only thing different I thing could be is that they get discount for a couple of people of their organisation to attend SotM
[20:22] toffehoff: Like our current members have ....
[20:22] chrisfl_: cool. I'm sure a lot of the same companies might be sponsoring SOTM anyway...
[20:22] toffehoff: Right.
[20:23] chrisfl_: I would leave that to the board to decide.
[20:23] toffehoff: I would suggest to only mention a minimum of annual fee to be in the articles.
[20:23] chrisfl_: again I would allow the board to set a minimum fee?
[20:23] toffehoff: In the articles: two kind of members.
[20:24] toffehoff: Individual for GBP 15
[20:24] toffehoff: Corporate for a minimum of GBP ???
[20:24] toffehoff: Will ask the board to come up with a minimum.
[20:25] chrisfl_: cool.
[20:25] toffehoff: Are we done for today?
[20:25] chrisfl_: they can poll potential members....
[20:25] chrisfl_: think so.
[20:26] toffehoff: Potential members are our SotM sponsors (for starters)
[20:26] chrisfl_: yes
[20:27] toffehoff: Eugene, anything else?
[20:27] Eugene: Don't think so.
[20:27] chrisfl_: what time next week?
[20:27] toffehoff: Don't forget to sign up for SotM
[20:27] chrisfl_: can't make it  due to baby due pretty much that weekend 
[20:27] toffehoff: Original time or this time?
[20:28] chrisfl_: I'm happy with either
[20:28] Eugene: I would prefer this.
[20:28] toffehoff: OK.
[20:28] toffehoff: Let's have it on 6pm GMT
[20:28] chrisfl_: works fine for me.
[20:28] Eugene: great!
[20:29] toffehoff: I'll probably will be in the back of a meeting .....
[20:29] toffehoff: typing away on IRC 
[20:29] chrisfl_:
[20:29] Eugene: