[Osmf-talk] Community, criticism and diversity

Alex Barth alex at mapbox.com
Sun Nov 2 16:12:17 UTC 2014


I'm with you Ben. When I joined OpenStreetMap there were people like Mikel
Maron and Kate Chapman and countless others who were there whenever I had a
stupid question. Building iD would have been absolutely impossible without
the generosity of Richard Fairhurst. Meeting the Latin American community
at Condatos this year was just amazing and energizing [1]. There's good
stuff happening left and right in OpenStreetMap and I'm grateful for the
many, many awesome people I've met through it.

The infighting that has bubbled up to the surface in the past weeks is
hugely frustrating though and it does have a ripple effect throughout the
community.

We've got some really bad culture going on right now. Getting honest about
what's not working including venting frustrations is a good thing. Pointed
discussion is a good thing. However, mistrust and assumptions of bad
intentions sit deep in many parts of the community. This leads to so many
exhausting proxy arguments, tit for tats, ad hominems and irrelevant
sidebars that just all make you want to shut the door and tune out. Quite
the opposite of what we want OpenStreetMap to be.

Fixing this is too complex for any single one of us to figure out. Too many
actors involved, too many issues at hand. I don't have an instant recipe,
but what I know is this: We need to focus on common ground, true respect
for each other and we all need to start at our own front door. This is an
incredible project and we have ways to go.

[1] http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/lxbarth/diary/23993


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

> Hi fellow 'community-members',
>
> disclaimer: frustration and some anger speaking!
>
> 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!
>
> Name things correctly when spewing this kind of critique because I know
> for a fact that a lot of these communties are nothing like what is being
> desribed. Diversity also means, thinking about everyone when thinking about
> problems. Something that is completely neglected in almost every
> discussion. And please don't say we are one big community because that is
> just not true, we are very diverse but unfortunately not diverse together.
>
> I would like to state that the mailinglist-based (maybe even
> english-speaking) 'subcommunity' is broken and even stating that is just
> focusing on just a tiny part of the participants, so just stop.
>
> Organize a mapping party or meetup. Do a Missing Maps mapping party! Send
> emails to people/organisations or attend events to promote OSM and focus on
> underrepresented groups in your community if you want. Or even better, do
> some mapping or help/train people to do some mapping! This is how problems
> get solved, by doing.
>
> Some things are broken but not everything and everyone!
>
> Met vriendelijke groeten,
> Best regards,
>
> Ben Abelshausen
>
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>
>
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