[OSGeo-Standards] [OSGeo-Discuss] OGC liaison memberships

Arnulf Christl arnulf.christl at metaspatial.net
Fri Jun 7 02:24:43 PDT 2013

I am sorry if I have insulted you and want to apologize for anything I
have said that you took as a personal criticism. If you feel that I
should clarify what I really meant to say we can take this thread off list.

Best regards,

On 06.06.2013 18:47, Adrian Custer wrote:
> Hey Seven,
> Thanks for the help on the OGC membership and the comments. Each
> provides room for progress. The rebuke started me thinking and then just
> pissed me off so was mostly lost on me.
> Everyone else, this mail is on this list since the original was sent
> here. Unfortunately, it combines a bunch of unrelated issues, and much
> of it actually deals with internal issues of the OGC so the mail as a
> whole may not be of interest to you. In this mail, I address several
> issues:
>   1. My obtaining membership of the OGC using an OSGeo slot
>   2. My lobbying at the OGC for OSGeo issues
>   3. The goal of evolving the OSGeo role at the OGC
>   4. Arnulf's critique of my recent activity
> The first three are easily addressed and relevant to this list; the
> latter is a ramble and mostly relevant to the OGC: it can easily be
> skipped.
> I. Membership
> The membership stuff is now in the OGC's hands. I'll let the list know
> when things are settled.
> II. Representation
> On 6/3/13 8:20 AM, Seven (aka Arnulf) wrote:
> ...snip...
>> Please note that this role is *not* an OSGeo / OGC "liaison
>> member". We do not have anything like this in place.
> Apparently we have a different understanding of that word so I will let
> it drop.
> At the OGC, I will represent myself only. I will describe my association
> with OSGeo as 'a second-class, non-voting member' to go along with my
> 'second-class, non-voting membership of the OGC', a nice parallel of
> dysfunctionality of the two groups.
> III. OSGeo's role at the OGC
> ...snip...
>>> On the front of OSGeo building deeper ties with the OGC and,
>>> perhaps becoming a voting member someday, I think we should move
>>> forwards on a number of fronts jointly.
>> I am not sure whether it makes sense to make OSGeo a voting member of
>> the OGC at all. We put a lot of thought into this before coming up
>> with the MoU and 5 free membership slots. Our hopes were that having
>> people from broader OSGeo be able to actively contribute to the work
>> groups would be the right way forward. Voting is cheap. Work is hard.
>> Another option would have been to make OSGeo a regular member of OGC.
>> This would require OSGeo to have a regular membership - which we
>> don't. Plus it would belittle the role of OSGeo as yet another
>> organization that is an OGC member - instead of acting at eye height
>> with the OGC. I am not sure whether the one more vote or not in the TC
>> would make any change at all. Especially given that we would have to
>> somehow collate all the opinions of the broader OSGeo community (which
>> is not defined) into a common position. Ugh. Good luck with that. :-)
> This raises interesting issues.
> You are right to remind me of the past, since indeed we argued that
> OSGeo should not act as a voting member due to both the collaborative
> nature of OSGeo making it hard to reach a single consensus and to the
> weakness of individual votes in the OGC voting process.
> However, this recent experience argues the contrary. First, a broad
> swath of the OSGeo membership did express a common position. Secondly,
> it became apparent that a 'no' vote carries significant importance:
> first because it can help stop the OGC voting process, second because it
> forces the SWG to respond formally to the position. A 'no' vote turns
> out to be the only way that the OGC must formally acknowledge an outside
> position; in contrast, the impact of the OSGeo letter is not known.
> Therefore, by having voting rights, OSGeo's responses would carry an
> importance beyond the actual vote and may be worth considering for that
> reason alone.
> So I guess I will leave this alone for now. If others at OSGeo want to
> be able to influence the OGC formally during the voting process, I will
> let those others bring that discussion forwards.
>>> The first is clearly discussion and openness, letting Carl, the
>>> head of the TC and Mark, the president of the OGC both know that
>>> this is something we are seeking and towards which we plan to
>>> work.
> IV. My recent activity
> This is the boring part that is totally skipable.
> In brief, I think Arnulf mixed together his emotions over the recent
> events along with confusing what mails were sent where, to develop a
> criticism of my recent activity which lacks fairness and clarity. This
> is not a big deal since I suspect that there are justified criticism of
> my recent work and that Arnulf, given the time, would be able to express
> those clearly. Not that it is worth the time. Perhaps then, this
> response, in the way of flame wars, exists only for me to justify myself
> to myself. Read it only if you have time for such things.
>> I guess that a word of dissent from me after you received so much
>> positive feedback for your latest activities should be in order.
>> Personally I do not like your form and style of communication.
> Fair enough. However, I think you perhaps misread your emails.
> Calling
>> another's organization "sick" on a public mailing list is divisive and
>> unhelpful. It is cheap to call the OCG names.
> This is a mix of error and criticism which I have a hard time separating.
> The mail was not sent to a public mailing list. To my knowledge, my only
> reference to 'sick' was at the beginning of an exceedingly long
> criticism of the OGC which was addressed to the president of that
> organization and sent openly on an internal mailing list of the OGC
> explicitly designed to 'discuss' issues within the Technical Committee.
> If I mentioned that message on OSGeo lists, that was possibly in poor
> form; I plead only that I have spent over a hundred hours on this
> debacle trying my best to be politic and, in the mix, I may have failed
> occasionally. I do know that I resisted repeated demands to republish
> the document on a public list, because I felt it would need extensive
> contextualization and revision to counter-balance the criticism in a
> public space.
> I called the OGC 'sick' which you may find cheap; I find it effective.
> The word in English is not particularly insulting since it insinuates an
> external causal agent and therefore assigns no blame on any actors. In
> my mail, the word stands in for 'Hey, I know the rest of this mail is
> huge; the bottom line is that there are real issues that need to be
> addressed'. If all I had done was call the OGC 'sick' it would not
> matter much since it would be dismissible so easily. No, I actually used
> the word on the way in to an extensive critique, something that has
> accumulated over the past four years, a critique that took me over a day
> to write, i.e. something far from cheap. So you can harp on the 'sick'
> and call it cheap; doing only that, however, you nicely avoid addressing
> the meat of the issue which is the criticism and avenues for resolution.
> Personally, I am astounded at the lack of any response from the
> president or anyone else at the OGC: perhaps ignoring the membership is
> the way of the OGC.
> I would therefore also
>> strongly disagree to have you on an official role to represent OSGeo
>> in the OGC.
> Fine.
> As you know I personally appreciate your work and
>> analytical thinking. But you have not proven to be very constructive
> Really? You may not like the style, that is one thing. But to suggest
> that I have not been 'constructive' is fucking insulting. Read the mail.
> Note that it takes more than five minutes to read, perhaps because it
> has some content. See the criticism, then see the suggestions for
> addressing them. Does none of that make any sense? Does it not make you
> think a little about what is going on and how to make it better? Is
> every single statement really trivially dismissible as an
> 'unconstructive' rant?
> I have been working *a lot* on how to make things better. I am carrying
> forwards all the work of OWS Common because no one else is. The
> TC-Discuss mailing list emerged because I, for the fourth time, told
> Carl publicly that we need a forum to discuss TC wide issues. I am
> suggesting how to make forwards progress on REST by side-stepping the
> political discussions and exploring the solution space. I rewrote the
> document specifying how to write standards at the OGC because the
> document the board you sit on lacked sufficient coherency to be usable
> and that same board took no action I know of on the extensive comments I
> sent them. I persuaded two separate groups to significantly rewrite
> their documents to make them better written and then helped them with
> that task. So with all that, to say that I have not proven very
> constructive merely suggests you are out of touch with my work, with the
> current activity in the technical committee, and with the needs that are
> currently not being met at the OGC. Have you been to many SWG meetings
> in the past six months? Can you express any needs of those groups which
> are not currently being met? That is the kind of information which I
> have, and which I expressed.
> Perhaps, you are not referring to my work at the OGC but to my activity
> in the current debacle. If so, again, the 'not proven very constructive'
> is a heap of shit. Ask Cameron what my position was and why he wanted to
> include it in the 'letter' from OSGeo membership even though it does not
> represent his own position. Who, in either the OSGeo or the OGC, played
> any role as intermediary between the opposing forces? I know there was
> no one else because, at the meetings of the SWG proposing the standard,
> I was the only one expressing the position of the dissenters. That I
> found a way to remove myself from taking a position on the vote suggests
> that I was trying to do something other than be destructive; that I
> tried to express empathy for the members of the SWG who were about to
> loose a lot of hard work suggests that I was perhaps thinking of actors
> on the two sides; that I responded to the incorrect criticisms that
> emerged on the OSGeo wiki suggests that I was trying to bring the
> discussion onto legitimate ground and away from the politically
> effective but erroneous. That I refused Cameron the right to republish
> my criticism of the OGC in a public forum because I thought it would
> need to be rewritten for public consumption, suggests that I was trying
> to be diplomatic. Finally, that I obliquely suggested a way out of the
> debacle, a way which was followed in the next fourty eight hours,
> suggests perhaps that I had some 'constructive' role to play.
> So if 'sick' is all you have to go on to say that I have not been
> 'constructive', then you are just wrong. My style is *way* more direct
> than most folk, and it is out in the open where others like to work
> behind the scenes. You may not like that, fine. But to fail to see all
> the work I have done to try to keep this debate productive is lazy ass
> horseshit on your part. For a standard I did not like and a voting
> process that does not concern me, I seem to have put in a fuck load of
> work writing emails, raising those same issues as formal comments the
> RFC process, and finally helping the SWG address some of those issues
> when they finally realized they needed to be addressed.
> So not sufficiently 'diplomatic' I can accept; 'not ... constructive'
> seems so wrong as to suggest there is some other frustration at play.
>> and your thinking is much too polarized to represent a
>> broadest-possible-community umbrella as is the OSGeo. But I might be
>> wrong and if the OSGeo board supports creating a new "leading" role
>> for the OGC OSGeo liaison - so be it.
> We are back to that 'liason' word which I actually know from French and
> which in that language merely describes any association between two
> entities, something like participating in one and then making a report
> every three months to the other, not something more formal which you
> seem to fear.
> To assuage your fears, I hereby commit not to represent you or any other
> member of OSGeo other than myself on any position at the OGC. I further
> pledge not to even discuss the possibility of more effective roles for
> each organization to play within the framework of the other. Fuck it; I
> don't have the time for your stop energy.
>> Having been active in the OGC for quite some time you should know that
>> it is thoroughly member driven. So there is not much use telling Carl
>> and Mark how to do things.They do not make the rules or the
>> standards, they just facilitate the process. If at all, then the TC
>> can come up with new ways of doing things.
> My mail, as you will know if you actually read it carefully, is a direct
> response to Mark, the president of the OGC, who wrote a public letter to
> the OGC membership, publicly advocating for an outcome on a vote of the
> Technical Committee. In my response, presented on a forum in front of
> that same membership, I advocate that Mark, in order to address the
> concerns of the OGC, should use his influence as president in very
> specific ways namely: (1) to soothe the loosing party of the vote since
> the vote was incredibly divisive and (2) to influence the discussions
> with funders and the future plans of the OGC to help lead us past some
> of the technical obstacles currently blocking progress. Both are
> directly in line Mark's responsibilities as OGC president. I do not
> believe I suggested that Carl, the head of the TC, do anything in
> particular, except perhaps along the same lines.
> And how exactly does the 'TC come up with new ways of doing things'
> short of discussion, proposals, and pleas for support from the head of
> the TC and the head of the organization?
>> One role of the OAB is to
>> keep track of these things and recommend the TC to look into issues.
> Great. That could be helpful. Unfortunately, the OAB has, for now,
> failed in very specific ways, not the least of which is ensuring that it
> is properly elected. There are many other issues with the OAB but those
> should be discussed elsewhere, such as on 'TC-discuss'.
> There is also an unwritten post-mortem to this whole story. The
> background to it all was that the 'leadership' at the OGC (president,
> board, OAB, ...) took the position that the OGC would be open to any
> standard document. This let ESRI believe they could standardize their
> system at the OGC. However, the leadership took that position without
> consultation with the membership. It turned out that there was
> significant opposition to the standard on many fronts including the
> notion that the OGC should become merely a place where any standard can
> be passed. The membership seems to value developing coherent, well
> designed, equally implementable standards rather than accepting any
> document specifying injunctions with geospatial content as a standard.
> As a result, the membership was at odds with the 'leadership' and spoke
> loudly in its opposition to the position. What should happen now, if the
> 'leadership' were effectively self-aware, would be for that 'leadership'
> to ruminate on the events and consider that either its position was
> wrong, that its way of reaching its position was wrong, or that both the
> membership was wrong and the leadership had better figure out how to
> move the membership forwards. That will probably not happen but is what
> a good 'leadership' would be going through.
>> Right now I am trying to get a "new way of dealing with standards" on
>> the agenda. But this is an ongoing thing and a lot of work so no idea
>> whether or when it will come to fruition.
> Not sure what that may mean.
>> I am not sure whether OSGeo can come up with a common position towards
>> the OGC at all. Plus there is this total lack of support for the
>> bridges we have built so far. As soon as some real work needs to be
>> done everybody is busy with something else. If there is something to
>> criticize in OGC then everybody is vocal and supportive. Until
>> something really needs to be done. Personally this has been very
>> frustrating to me (which is not really important but may help explain
>> my lack of ecstasy wrt to the latest flames of activity).
> This is apparently a mix of frustration, and other things that do not
> seem directly aimed at me. Just because everyone is ready to criticize
> does not make criticism invalid.
>>> A second front might be to become more active on the Standards
>>> Front.
>> The five free OSGeo membership slots have so far never been put to
>> good use except by Volker Mische. I cannot see why this would now
>> change?
> This seems more frustration, the dream that OSGeo would contribute more
> to the OGC. However, since the OGC membership contributes surprisingly
> little to the OGC even though most are paid to do so, I cannot expect
> that OSGeo members will do any more than that, volunteering their time
> for the pleasure.
>> Plus - if we disagree with the way OGC does things - then why
>> should we support that way of doing things? Michael put it together in
>> a concise and accurate mail here:
>> http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/standards/2012-October/000503.html
> That seems to suggest that nothing can ever change. Perhaps I will get
> there some day. For now, I will keep hammering away at the OGC president
> that they justify the utility of their closed model *for the OGC
> membership*. I think it harms our work and so should change. But that is
> internal to the OGC.
>> So if we (OSGeo as a whole, haha) believe that OGC needs to change
>> then we have to come up with a model that works.
> What? I am not sure this makes any sense. OSGeo has no responsibility to
> fix issues at the OGC.
>> Just criticizing how
>> it works now without taking all factors into account is, well, not
>> really helpful, right?
> Wrong. The 'taking all factors into account' is the work of the OGC. The
> 'hey guys, something is wrong' is a useful role from the outside. A
> useful response of the OGC would be: 'hey, thanks for noticing. Yeah, we
> see the same issue and are trying to find a way to fix it.
> Unfortunately, we are dysfunctional in a particular way that blocks
> progress on that front so we are exploring ..."
>> Please don't get me wrong, I really appreciate your work and think
>> that you have a valuable perspective. This is more a word of caution
>> that things will not work out as easily as it may first appear
>> (speaking with the experience of a few years of frustration).
>> Cheers,
>> Arnulf
> Well, I got you wrong. At least, I can see that your mail covers so much
> different ground, I suspect it is mixing things that should not get
> mixed. I get that you don't want any 'liaison' between the OSGeo and the
> OGC. I get that you did not like my calling the OGC 'sick' even if I
> suspect you remembered incorrectly where it happened. Calling my vocal
> efforts for diplomacy in the 'ESRI' candidate standard debacle and for
> change at the OGC 'not ... constructive' pisses me off but does not
> matter that much. So I'll ignore it for now.
> And now, hoping this 'GeoServices REST API' debacle may finally be over,
> I will go back to work.
> ~adrian
>>> There has been some recent interest in OSGeo taking on some
>>> Standards related activity, where certainly being vocal and
>>> offering productive critiques could be productive. It may also
>>> prove useful to do more. For example, I am planning to write up a
>>> number of format standards in the next six months and so it might
>>> make sense for me to develop some of them within OSGeo. The
>>> standards would require buy in from this community anyhow, so
>>> perhaps developing them here would give this community some more
>>> leverage in the Standards game. I'll do the bulk of the work first
>>> and then get back to you all on whether they make sense at OSGeo
>>> and how they could start life here. In the interim, OSGeo might
>>> consider how it could host 'standards focused projects' rather
>>> than 'software focused projects' or 'community focused projects'.
>>> I'm not sure that requires more work than agreeing it should be
>>> allowed. It could be part of 'labs' to stay informal or some other
>>> procedure might be invented.
>>> cheers, ~adrian
>>> On 5/31/13 8:25 AM, Jeff McKenna wrote:
>>>> On 2013-05-30 5:57 PM, Michael Gerlek wrote:
>>>>> Adrian showed himself to be a level-headed and rational
>>>>> discoursant during the recent kerfuffle.
>>>>> If Adrian is willing, I'd support a motion to put him in charge
>>>>> of, or at least a member of, some sort of effort to engage with
>>>>> OGC to find out the Best Way Forward for our two
>>>>> organizations.
>>>>> I think Arnulf and I are the current gatekeepers of OGC things,
>>>>> such as it is; I'd of course be happy to continue to help here,
>>>>> and I'm sure Arnulf would too.
>>>> I strongly agree with this plan.  The recent happenings have
>>>> seemed to bring the OGC and OSGeo closer, and I feel Adrian can
>>>> really help us communicate.
>>>> -jeff
>>> _______________________________________________ Discuss mailing
>>> list Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
>>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>> - -- 
>> Exploring Space, Time and Mind
>> http://arnulf.us
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Arnulf Christl (Executive Director)
Open Source Geospatial Software, Data and Services

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