[Osmf-talk] Enough is enough: disinfecting OSM from poisonous people

Andy Allan gravitystorm at gmail.com
Tue Aug 10 17:29:31 UTC 2010

On Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 5:19 PM, SteveC <steve at asklater.com> wrote:

> What are your ideas? How should we block people? For how long? What process should it be? What are the best practices from other projects you're involved in?

I think this is a great topic, and its nice to see it properly aired.
I'm certainly in the "getting disillusioned" camp - not with the wider
project, but in our inability to deal with the malcontents and
disruptors, on the mailing lists, on the wiki, and in the database. I
keep finding myself considering other projects where things are,
y'know, a bit more enjoyable.

>From my point of view we lack most of the building blocks to make
moderation like this work. We lack accepted written guidelines in
almost everything we do. What's a suitable topic for the newbies
mailing list? How many nodes are too many on a roundabout? Should I
post a question on help.openstreetmap.org and then argue with the
answers? Why shouldn't I change all these tags? Who deals with revert
wars on the wiki? Or agenda pushing in general? And so on. Without
these guidelines, even well-meaning people can't properly self-police.

I'd recommend the Art of Community for anyone interested in this.
http://www.artofcommunityonline.org - it's exactly what we need to
have people thinking about. What we do need to avoid though is
bureacracy - I'd be quite happy to nominate a few people to write all
the guidelines and have their word as law, rather than creating
committees or suchlike.

Finally, I think that although the big issues are demonstrating that
we have a problem, it's all the little things that are most wearing.

So my concrete suggestion, is for someone more eloquent than me to
make a handful of guidelines for the mailing lists. Here's a starter:
* Assume good faith
* No conspiracy theories
* No grandstanding
* If you've made your point already, you don't need to tell us all again
* Nitpicking doesn't help you or anyone else
* Learn to live with the reply-to setting. We're not changing it, no
matter what your opinion is
and so on.

and for the newbies list
* The list is for helping newbies get started. It's not Yet Another
discussion forum
* If something isn't widely accepted, then as far as the newbies list
is concerned, it's just that. Debate happens elsewhere
* If you disagree with the way Things Are Done, the newbies list isn't
the place to confuse people

And for matters related to licensing
* We've got a mailing list just for that. Use it
* No, just because you think it's the most important thing in the
world, doesn't exempt you from the previous point

So does anyone want to make these a little more, eh, well rounded? :-)


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