[OSM-dev] finding OSM users by their home locations

Matt Amos zerebubuth at gmail.com
Sun May 31 15:01:50 BST 2009

On Sun, May 31, 2009 at 1:46 PM, Russ Nelson <russ at cloudmade.com> wrote:
> On May 31, 2009, at 7:00 AM, Matt Amos wrote:
>> if we want to keep the map on the users' pages showing the nearest
>> other users to them, we might as well offer this data publicly. as
>> russ said, it's one script and a bunch of server load away from being
>> public anyway.
> Right.  If we want to protect people's privacy, then we should change
> the map on the users' pages.  We shouldn't claim to protect people's
> privacy and then do so ineffectually.

+1 - it probably doesn't matter so much in urban areas, where the
inaccuracy of the home location is much greater than the distance
between houses. in rural areas it's more of an issue...

>> in my opinion it's evil to contact users who haven't opted in to be
>> contacted. it's a valid point of view that they implicitly opted in,
>> but i don't think this is what most users intended when they added a
>> home location - it's certainly not what i intended.
> By this principle, nobody -- not any individual editor, not the OSMF
> -- can send email to any user.  And yet, OSM has an email system, and
> people are encouraged to use it to ask users about their edits.

sorry - i should have restricted my statement to unsolicited mass
mails (i.e: spam) by other users.

clearly the OSMF needs to be able to contact users in an official
capacity (e.g: questionable edits, license changes, etc...), and OSM
users may want to directly contact eachother to resolve similar issues
on a less official level. it's difficult to enforce technically, but,
in my opinion, we should be strongly discouraging mass sending of
unsolicited messages.

> And then create a way to "Send an email to a location" which gets
> archived so that people who come along later can see earlier messages
> posted to that location.

this is an interesting idea - what would you use it for?

there's been lots of talk in the past about incorporating OSB into the
main OSM site, which would have a similar set of features.

> If we could get those bounding boxes (to protect privacy, without
> usernames), that could also let us find the places in which nobody (or
> few people) are interested.  If there are holes in the interest level,
> then the map isn't going to be very good in those locations.

even with usernames - i think it's acceptable to say that a
declaration of interest in an area is public knowledge. a map overlay
shading by username would be very interesting/pretty/useful (delete as



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