[Osmf-talk] logo update

Steve Coast steve at asklater.com
Mon Dec 19 22:15:16 UTC 2011

Fred I have some advice for you; reply to my emails instead of taking
these oblique chances. Its super clear you're just avoiding direct

Even if I thought all the things you ascribe to me, which I don't, its
also clear you're taking the opposite extreme which is to assume all
those 20k people are just like you and you're representing the silent

Here's a very simple and powerful question: what would you do Fred?
Lately all you have done is pour scorn on anyone trying to make any
progress unless it goes via you or happens in a London pub. So lets
imagine you had budget and time and inclination. What would you do that
would be so great for the future of OSM?

From: Frederik Ramm
Sent: 12/19/2011 3:03 PM
To: osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [Osmf-talk] logo update

On 12/19/2011 09:15 PM, Matt Amos wrote:
> i think the point that frederik was trying to make is that changing
> the site to not advertise the freedoms, diversity and community that
> we all value in OSM would be to lose something special.

I reacted in the way I did because I had the impression that not only
was there a tendendcy to not advertise these factors (and instead try
well-trodden mass-market compatible marketing messages like "it's fun to
be in OSM") - no, people who care for these things are increasingly cast
as "ultra map geeks" or something, and pushed to the sidelines. (Think
"They're holding the project back!!!!")

The thinking seems to be that "they may have got us where we are but now
we must look <buzzword>look forward</buzzword> and <buzzword>take things
to the next level</buzzword> and we cannot allow ourselves to be held
back by that tiny minority who would make our web site run on command
line switches if one let them".

Steve talks as if those ~ 20k human beings in the world who are in
between themselves responsible for 99% of what OSM has achieved are a
liability, "ultra map geeks" to whom we're grateful for what they did
but could they now please make room for those who don't know or care
what "free and open" means because we need to suck up to the masses if
we want to be successful.

My main point is: Just because the average Google Maps user, or whatever
target audience Steve has in mind, does not understand a concept, that
is *not* reason enough to play it down.

I am perfectly happy to have, in OSM, only users and participants who
actually understand "free and open" & that you get the raw data and for
whom this is important. I won't - and that is something Dermot mentioned
- try to hold back others who want to make OSM palatable to different
crowds, but I would prefer if those others were different from OSM(F).
Anyone can take our data and try to make something interesting for the
masses from it (take e.g. MapQuest).

But if people come to openstreetmap.org, then I want things to be clear.
No hand-wavy dumbed-down web 2.0 "welcome to this fun web site where you
can do cool stuff easily!" message but a clear and concise "We're a free
and open collaborative mapping platform in which anyone can edit the
map. All our data is available for download."

And I see a danger of these things getting lost in an almost fanatic
desire to cater to non-geeks.

There may well be a way to open the project up to more and more
participants from all walks of life without dumbing it down to a "fun
activity for your spare time".

If my messages help to steer the project towards one of those ways then
they have not been written in vain.


PS: Even if we were not to open up to the masses, we're a long way from
having exhausted this world's reserve of ultra map geeks. Those who
won't contribute to GMM because it's not free and open.

Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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