Loomio
June 4th, 2019 07:42

Radical openness in OSMUK discussions with external organisations

Jez Nicholson (Director)
Jez Nicholson (Director) Public Seen by 189

One of the purposes of OSMUK is to act as a first contact point for external organisations. Sometimes they do this as they want to talk to a single 'voice', other times because they want to keep commercial interests private (for now, or forever), other times because they want to know how best to approach the community.

We generally have preliminary discussions with them then either: point them in the right direction to get started; get them to pitch a task to the Talent Directory as a paid-for job; get them to post to Talk-GB; try to get them involved in a Quarterly Project; or let it go at that.

The aim is for all OSMUK business to be carried out publicly, i.e. practising 'radical openness'. Which is hard, we don't want to bore you with trivialities, but who decides what is trivial and what is not.

To that end, we propose to tell all organisations contacting us:

"OpenStreetMap is better when the community works together. As such we would like to share progress of these conversations (excluding contact details) with our community. Please let us know if you disagree. Of course we also encourage you to reach out to the wider community yourself to allow others a voice in the discussion."

...and will get them to go public asap in the introduction process.

DS

Dan S June 4th, 2019 08:44

Sounds good to me Jez

Dan

Harry Wood

Harry Wood June 4th, 2019 11:52

Definitely worth thinking about. In fact it's factor of OSM community dynamics I've found frustrating, that I see people feeling really distrustful and spinning angry conspiracy theories about the board/core of OSMF and HOT, all rooted primarily in the fact that they are having private conversations. Perhaps because of my experience of being on the board of HOT, my sense is that this distrust is almost always entirely unjustified. But of course it can create a huge unnecessary drain of negatively. ....Worth avoiding if you can come up with a way!

The trouble is I imagine a lot people contact you with the expectation of a non-open discussion for various reasons, and indeed there's lots of reasons why non-open discussions can be better.

I've quite often received questions by email where I'm thinking "There's absolutely no reason why they couldn't have asked this on help.openstreetmap.org", but I feel like I have to start with the assumption that they prefer a private email. Once or twice I've actually replied with something like "That's a good question. I hope you don't mind I'm going to post this to help.openstreetmap.org, and write the answer there"! It's a bit more work replying that way, but I should probably do it more often.

I like the idea of funnelling enquiries to the talent directory. That way it obviously becomes somebody else's choice, whether to discuss openly or not. ...although the manner of funnelling would ideally be radically open somehow.

Jez Nicholson (Director)

Jez Nicholson (Director) started a proposal June 7th, 2019 08:03

We will tell all external organisations that we intend to be open by default Closed 5:01pm - Wednesday 12 Jun 2019

Outcome
by Jez Nicholson (Director) June 21st, 2019 14:22

Thanks for the input. The general principal is strongly agreed. We will reword some of the general statement, but probably won't bore you with voting on it.

We will tell them verbally, but also have the standard wording which can be shared and included in email footers, etc.: "OpenStreetMap is better when the community works together. As such we would like to share progress of these conversations (excluding contact details) with our community. Please let us know if you disagree. Of course we also encourage you to reach out to the wider community yourself to allow others a voice in the discussion."

Results
Agree - 12
Abstain - 1
Disagree - 0
Block - 0
13 people have voted (0%)
Jez Nicholson (Director)

Jez Nicholson (Director)
Agree
June 7th, 2019 08:05

good to manage their expectations early. We are an open community so should have open practises.

monxton

monxton
Agree
June 7th, 2019 08:07

SR

Stuart Reynolds
Agree
June 7th, 2019 08:43

"Please let us know if you disagree" seems weak if externals are genuinely concerned about commercial confidentiality. I think it should be a little stronger. E.g. "However, if you have genuine concerns about, for example, commercial confidentiality, then the degree of sharing can be negotiated."

Matt Williams

Matt Williams
Agree
June 7th, 2019 08:45

Gregory Marler (former Director)

Gregory Marler (former Director)
Agree
June 7th, 2019 12:20

DU

[deactivated account]
Agree
June 7th, 2019 18:52

Gregory Williams

Gregory Williams
Agree
June 7th, 2019 18:53

Adam Hoyle (Director)

Adam Hoyle (Director)
Agree
June 8th, 2019 00:34

IC

Ian Caldwell
Agree
June 8th, 2019 09:50

GL

Gareth L(Director)
Abstain
June 11th, 2019 07:44

This needs firming up. Openness is good, but a balance needs to be struck. Yes, always publish there is a conversation happening with a party- but with the option of vague or no details of the specific query (if requested) until appropriate. Or risk being avoided.
Or the reverse of this. No names of the party but details of the query?

Christian Ledermann

Christian Ledermann
Agree
June 11th, 2019 15:14

S

SK53
Agree
June 11th, 2019 15:41

In addition to the general principle, I think it is important that organisations be made aware early on that working with OSM might not be quite what they are familiar with. We've all seen organisations with good intentions coming a bit unstuck through moving a little too fast for the community. Also "C-in-C" is fine, but there will always be a phase of negotiation/introduction to the broader community, which may be impaired if things are perceived to have been done behind closed doors.

Tony Shield

Tony Shield
Agree
June 11th, 2019 16:27