[Osmf-talk] logo update

Dermot McNally dermotm at gmail.com
Mon Dec 19 16:02:38 UTC 2011

OK, I've finished reading the thread now. So having defending my own
honour, I'll follow up defending that of anybody else whose motivation
you have called into question...

On 19 December 2011 13:39, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:

> My point is that you're in the process of belittling and discounting
> everything that *I* hold dear about OSM. To me, the important bits about OSM
> is that we are not "just maps", we are a community of equals who together
> make something that is free and open, data everyone can use, open source
> software that everyone can simply install and use - THESE are the points
> that I find important about OSM.

I think it's great that you consider that the important part. I don't
disagree. I haven't really considered a ranking for my own for the
positive aspects of OSM (OpenStreetMap, sorry), but what you have
identified would certainly come close to the top of my list.

Crucially, nobody has belittled those things. Rather, discussions have
taken place regarding other things that we in OSM don't currently do
so well. These issues are, in my opinion (others may of course express
theirs), orthogonal to those you identify. Having people use our map
data does not remove our community.

> What you are doing here - with "you" I mean yourself and, from reading the
> minutes of the last OSMF F2F meeting, at least some similar-minded OSMF
> board members - is, you start out with the premise that you outline above:
> "I'd prefer that [the masses] use OSM." - From this follows automatically
> that we have to become like a big mass market map provider, we have to pour
> resources into ease of use, we have to make sure we have a well-armed
> communication team and if at all possible an army of drones on Twitter & Co
> who make sure we are "seen".

One of the things about having a set of map data available under open
terms is that there is an infinite number of "we's" who, according to
their free will can either pour resources into such an activity or
not. Nobody can force anybody else to do so. Conversely, nobody can
stop others within the community from using the map data in permitted
ways. We expect and accept, for instance, that Mapquest, in embracing
OSM, will make efforts to get the public to use maps made from our
data. It would be a tricky argument to suggest that this is a bad
thing or something that we should try to inhibit.

> By trying to be a whore to the mass market,

Language! Go and accuse Mapquest in those terms, surely it's a much
starker case. But as I've said, there is no wrongdoing here.

> you are at the same time pissing
> on what I perceive to be the core strengths and values of the project. All
> that I hold dear about OSM is suddenly something that should not be
> mentioned upfront because it might confuse the casual Google user whom we
> want to win over. Everything that I find important about OSM is discounted
> by you as something that would only appeal to a few nerdy "ultra techinical
> map geeks".

I think it's easy to tell when something is being pissed on, and I
don't see it here. I can't see anybody denying the importance of
community or openness to OSM. If folks were to begin doing that, I'd
still think that would go no further than a severe crossing of legs
and perhaps looking out for the nearest public convenience. I
certainly don't see anybody reaching for the zip. I think, in short,
that you need to chill and remember that the people you accuse are
well able to see the advantages of community and openness, because
we've all served our time being open in a community.

> This is not something that manifests itself in a logo - we all know it is
> near impossible to illustrate a concept like "open data" in a logo. But the
> words you choose, your attitude seems to be "let's do whatever it takes to
> make people use OSM" and this is just not something that I agree with.

This is where I have a problem. Not that you would express this view -
that's part of what happens in an open community. You don't have a
boss who will threaten to fire you if you don't toe the company line.
This is a good thing. But let's look at the chain here:

1. You assert that some people are pissing on your values when at
worst they may not be emphasising them quite as much as they should.

2. You exercise your right to disagree with an initiative started in
good faith by others. So now we have a situation where different
people have different views on an initiative which has not been
demonstrated to be damaging, but which somehow, by its very existence,
is disrespectful of what you hold dear in OSM. Despite the apparent
lack of connection between the two. How is this fair?

> If someone is perfectly happy with Google, then let them continue to use
> Google. We don't have to compete with Google on their level. There are
> things that are *unique* to OSM and it is those that make us interesting.
> Those who are not interested in the points that make us special, but who are
> looking for "just a map" - they may use OSM if they want, but we shouldn't
> go out of our way to cater for them.

You are not obliged to go our of your way to cater for them. You are,
however, not entitled to prevent others from so doing. Many of us -
and remember, I've indicated that I for one also want to see a strong
community - believe that with more users of "maps" or other products
based on OSM we will also see a stronger community. Maybe we are
wrong. It is reasonable to have a mature discussion on that level. It
is _not_ reasonable to accuse people of bad faith, and right now I'm
feeling so-accused and would dearly love to know what my crime is.

> But this is exactly what you (=Steve+OSMF board) are doing - trying to
> somehow make OSM into "just a map" for the mass market. I understand what
> your point is, but I don't understand why.

And right there is the accusation. We are supposedly attempting to
reduce OSM to a lesser thing. I understand what you're saying too -
and I too "don't understand why" you would say it, because it simply
isn't true.


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