[Osmf-talk] Community, criticism and diversity

Randy Meech randy.meech at gmail.com
Sat Nov 1 16:40:20 UTC 2014

On Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 5:35 AM, Ben Abelshausen <ben.abelshausen at gmail.com>

> disclaimer: frustration and some anger speaking!

We've seen worse :)

> I have been passively reading all information and discussions going on
> about the OSMF, a discussion that is needed and that is hopefully going to
> lead to a better situation. Let's keep it going.
> BUT: First of all OSM is not the same as OSMF. Some 'community-members'
> have been saying on mailing lists, twitter facebook or whatever favourite
> channel things like 'OSM is a terribly unwelcome community' 'The OSM
> community is broken' or 'The OSM community is racist or routinely
> discriminates'.
> Please think about this before stating these things as truth. 'Thé OSM
> community' does not exist.
> We have a few prominent people that are present here a lot on the
> mailinglists and are talking talking talking and then talking some more and
> have as a consequence of that a certain degree of authority when speaking
> about our community. This is because your voice is louder and you are well
> versed in English NOT because you are an expert.
> Take into consideration all the 'smaller' or underrepresented communities
> you are harming or also targetting by comments like the above. We have
> communities everywhere now, in Sweden, Danmark, Belgium, The Netherlands,
> Senegal, Cameroon, France, Indonesia, Japan, Ivory Coast, Benin, Portugal,
> Spain, Slovenia, Russia, Viet Nam, Norway, Italy, Togo, Burkina Faso,
> Niger, ... (do I need to go on?)
> Not all of these are racist, broken communities!

This is a great point and the goal should be to pull the functional aspects
of these communities up into the OSMF for the benefit of everyone. Although
we know the OSMF "supports but does not control" the project, it is still a
crucial organization and it's a real problem that local communities are
more welcoming and functional than the foundation. I see this in the US and
am glad you see it elsewhere.

This tweet from the US illustrates what you're saying:

As I've said elsewhere, the fact that the voting membership for the OSMF is
so tiny -- which is the case because the problems we see here driving
others away, presents a real danger for the project. It's good to focus on
your healthy local organization, but don't forget that the OSMF owns the
servers, is responsible for the license (and its changes & clarifications),
and runs the main State of the Map (which *should be* the biggest and
best-organized conference we have).

It's essential to pull the communities you're talking about into the
foundation to ensure things work well for everyone.

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