[OSM-dev] disputed areas

Mikel Maron mikel_maron at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 13 12:34:26 GMT 2008


> I see this case as a sort of learning opportunity for the OSM community.
> The community should use this case as an example of the problems to come
> and discuss remedies and create the community structure and the software
> to help solve the problem. Once we get into far bigger problems like the
> China/Taiwan issue we'll be glad that we had the chance to try out the
> problem solving capability on a smaller case.

Thanks for the very well put email. Suffice to say I agree strongly with the case you laid out for our community to respond to this situation.

> I don't know the details of
> the case but from what I see on the Wiki, some sensible looking agreements
> have been found and further steps are needed to actually implement those
> agreements. I suspect Mikel knows more about the problem than we do and
> when he thinks that more needs to be done we should probably support
> him. Mikel: Can you elaborate on the issue? Who are the parties
> involved? Who agreed an what solution? Who is not keeping to the
> agreement?

I've avoided publicly speaking much about the specifics, to respect the parties involved and keep the mediation process in trust.
Now that mediation as apparently irreconcilably broken down, I feel I can describe in broad strokes what's happened.

The dispute is between David Janda, who lives in Northern Cyprus and originally brought up the issue on the talk list,
and an anonymous Greek Cypriot living in southern Cyprus with family roots in the North. The core of the edit war was
repeated editing of features in the anonymous editor's ancestral home into Greek, and back into Turkish, but also other locations
in Northern Cyprus. The Greek Cypriot also objected to the name "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" for the entire region,
preferring "Northern Cyprus".

Through mediation we all came to agreement that "name" would be listed as A/B, and that "is_in" would not be TRNC. 
However agreement could not be reached on whether Greek or Turkish would be listed first.

As a result, the OSM community discussed and proposed the 'on the ground rule' as the last resort in solving disputes,
which provides an mostly objective basis for deciding the content of "name". There is a lot of cultural and political issues
involved here, which are very interesting and difficult, but it's not really in our scope as OSM to decide on these. 
The fact is that the Turkish military is presently in effective control of the area, and if you tried to navigate on the ground,
the names would mostly be in Turkish. To be less controversial, yet still accurate, it is also suggested that the "is_in" tag
be set to the neutral name "Northern Cyprus" rather than TRNC. The Greek names are still present in the database, 
and with technical improvements in time, multiple PoV will be represented in the main rendering.

The Greek Cypriot never agreed with this ruling, and has continued to carry out an edit war in the area. Though I'll also add,
that all edits in the region should be examined to see if anyone else has perpetuated this edit war. So this violation has led
to the current thread on what technical or social action to take.

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