[Osmf-talk] International SotM in Germany / money for membership or what else

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Thu Aug 20 14:50:02 UTC 2009


Lulu-Ann at gmx.de wrote:
> Offering a second language meeting makes the conference more
> international, not less. It's not our fault that you don't understand
> German. It is our effort to speak acceptable English.

My opinion is that every national community should be entitled to their 
own conference in their own language.

This is not a replacement for SOTM, but something different, targeting 
different people.

I don't understand why this is such a problem. Everyone is free to 
organise whatever conference for whatever audience they see fit - the 
more the merrier. I hadn't even considered informing the OSM community 
at large because I figured they wouldn't be interested (just as I would 
not be interested if there was an Italian conference where mapping in 
Italy is discussed). It seems that this was a mistake and helped create 
a number of misconceptions.

It has been pointed out to me at SOTM (by SteveC and Hurricane, mostly) 
that some perceive it as arrogant of the German community to want to 
hold a national-language conference (as in: "You're pushing away all 
those people who are interested in what you do, you're not sharing 
anything, etc.etc.").

Frankly, I don't believe it ever occured to anybody that by creating a 
German-language conference *in addition* to what is already there we 
would be pushing anyone away. We actually dared to think that we could 
simply hold an event where the German community can discuss their 
projects, problems, or successes in their own language!

There are many OSM contributors in Germany who are not fluent enough in 
English to participate in an English-language conference so this is 
never going to be a replacement for SOTM.

As for holding SOTM itself in Germany - I wouldn't object if anyone 
wants to do it, but it has always been my view that we should hold SOTM 
in places where public attention for OSM is not as good as it is in 
Germany. There are many places where a little bit of attention and an 
international conference could really bring OSM forward in that country. 
Germany is not among them; OSM works here even without SOTM.

It has been pointed out that even a German-language conference like 
FOSSGIS 2010 could include a few selected contributions in English if 
the benefit of the interesting talk outweighs the fact that many of 
those present will not be able to follow it (or discuss with the speaker 
afterwards). This is a view shared by a number of people in the program 
committee and I actually expect them to allow in a few English talks 
which could then perhaps be translated in one form or another. But no 
decision has been taken yet; the call for papers is due in September.

I will keep talk at osm informed about further proceedings, and will also 
make sure to post the call for papers there once it is published.


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