Decision Makers at HOT

arnalielsewhere recently posted a piece of news on Twitter, which was bounced by Ce Ja in the LatAm Telegram group.

it’s about participation, and I don’t see it on openstreetmap platforms.

deadline is in two days, and if I managed to understand the Latin American discussion, it’s not clear how people should put forward their candidacy.


The original posting

It’s about bringing more diversity (gender and regional) in the people who are decision makers at Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team.

Maybe @arnalielsewhere can clarify on the process to apply.

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There isn’t really an application process. Nominations are made by existing Voting Members. In other words, you need to convince an existing member to put you up for election; then have 2/3 of the membership (who vote) agree. You can find a list of members here: Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team | Voting Members and message them directly or send an email to membership @ explaining how you would contribute if elected and someone might take you on as their nominee. Note that emailing this list may be held for moderation and with only a few days left it may be too short. We typically do nominations once a year, so for those who don’t get in this time, come to HOT Working Groups, Webinars, etc. and get to know a voting member or two for next election.

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P.S. we only get one nominee per election and I have already made mine this time.

sounds as if the bias is structurally encoded, it will be very hard to become more diverse with respect to provenance, if this is the aim.


I see. this is a very clear explanation of the process, quite to the point, thank you!
it might be helpful to share it on that LatAm Telegram group; me being “otherwise Latin”, I don’t dare translate it to Spanish, I’m sure I would manage to betray your text instead (in Italian we have an idiomatic expression about tradurre vs tradire), so I’ll pass this time.
thanks in particular for the link to the HOT voting members list.
I guess the community should stay alert of the next date, and possibly propose some of their members, as a HOT voting person. (if done properly, such a local candidate proposal process could introduce some democratic participation into this otherwise self-referential mechanism.)

Hi @mariotomo! I hope the previous answers have clarified your question. I personally found @arnalielsewhere’s map very helpful to visualize gaps in OSM community’s representation. From my side, I will nominate a person from Latam, of course :slight_smile:


Yes and no, I think it comes down to the individual. Looking at my own track record of nominations, I did start by nominating people who were more similar to myself (but still based on their past and potential contributions to HOT). However, over the last 3 elections (including this one) I have been able to ‘look further’ and have made a personal commitment not to nominate (and often not vote for) someone who is very similar to me. I don’t know of a membership system that doesn’t have bias - paying for membership definitely excludes those from less wealthy places which are typically the people HOT are trying to reach. Good thing is the HOT membership has ultimate control over the future of membership and maybe we can find a better model for what we’re trying to achieve.


IMO, “it comes down to the individual” is an other way to say that “the bias is structurally encoded” (and it’s up to the individual to take corrective measures).
and on a side track, the fact that HOT voting members are nominated and elected at irregular intervals forms an additional difficulty to community monitoring.

anyhow: do you have any news about the results of the current elections?
I reviewed the HOT-Voting Members page, and I don’t know if it was updated. I hope you would agree that adding the following fields for each voter would be helpful for community involvement:

  1. the voting member OSM account.
  2. the geographic area where the member is mostly active.
  3. the date when the member was added.

(point 1 and 2 are sort of alternative, if the voting member is an active OSM mapper, but considering that some people help OSM otherwise than mapping, I think it’s better to include both.)

in the Latam Telegram group there was uncertainty about which local people were HOT voting members, and I’m not so sure the question was successfully addressed.

luckily there’s web archive services, so apparently compared to last year there’s a minor difference:

  1. one new voting member:
    • can-unen
  2. five people lost voting membership:
    • hameed-tasal,
    • koakun-emmanuel-myers,
    • sheila-amalia-burhanudin,
    • stephen-penson,
    • vitor-george.

these are their HOT member name, not their OSM username.

Hi Mario, of course it would be good to know these things (even as a voting member) but due to privacy and the fact that our governing doctrine only requires an email, all we can do is make that suggestion through the amendment process and there’s more pressing things to tackle. We can ask people to optionally add that info to their profile.

I can tell you that we are still in the election process (currently the nominee introduction period), I think it will be somewhere around the end of May when results are finalized and announced.

As for bias, I’m sure there is implicit bias as some cultures/individuals may only be comfortable/willing to nominate people in their sphere/like them, i.e. why latam community members may feel like they can’t reach out to non latam members for a nomination. The good thing is at least some of us, including yourself, are pointing this out and trying to take corrective actions together. In contrast, a pay-in system is very hard to eliminate wealth bias; even when a free option is given - some may still feel unwanted/unworthy if they are joining for free when others are paying.

luckily there’s web archive services, so apparently compared to last year there’s a minor difference:

I wouldn’t rely on that much, last year we did not have an election so can-unen was likely already there but someone ‘forgot’/missed adding him to the membership until last year. The others I recognize some that retired, others I don’t recognize and possibly a few that chose to remove themselves from the list due to privacy or other factors.

I understand the privacy need, but I don’t understand how HOT implements it. OSM user names may anonymize the person, but HOT chooses not to mention them, instead HOT clearly uses full personal information to identify the voting member.

removing the voting member from the list does not simplify the task we have to find a suitable person to support us in a specific area.

just like not linking the OSM user name prevents us from seeing their commitment to the OSM community: who’s an active Wiki editor? who’s busy with documenting, say, mining industry, or riverside communities? who types their changeset comments in Spanish, or in French, or in English?

I understand privacy, but I sometimes feel some organizations take it a bit too far, nearing secrecy.

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I had to chuckle at this a little bit. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

I think your looking too deep. It has absolutely nothing to do with secrecy and everything to do with capacity. Most members are heads down in their individual humanitarian work. Very few of us put any significant effort into governance and there are much bigger issues there.

Most members probably agree with you that we could have OSM profiles and much more; but when given the option to do so, no one takes/has the time or doesn’t know how/where/etc.

Very doable things, that will likely trickle their way up in priority.