[Osmf-talk] Proposal - OSMF Should Adopt a Code of Conduct

Tobias Knerr osm at tobias-knerr.de
Fri Dec 1 21:06:52 UTC 2017

On 01.12.2017 04:25, Clifford Snow wrote:
> Why would we want to have a formal standard for contact? OpenStreetMap
> longevity depends on our being able to attract and keep new mappers,
> developers and third party users. Good behavior means more people feel
> comfortable engaging in community discussions. Bad conduct not only
> drives people away but can lead to giving OSM a bad reputation.

Good behaviour is important, but in my experience the OSM community is
already a very friendly bunch of people, which makes me question the
need to impose rules and threaten enforcement. And looking at other
internet-reliant communities, I'd say we are doing very well with our
current approach.

Interestingly, I even see the lack of strict rules cited as one of the
attractive qualities of the OSM community among both new and long-term
contributors. In particular, I've heard a surprising amount of people
emphasize this as one of the ways that OSM feels more welcoming than
Wikipedia, where new users sometimes report very negative experiences
when they accidentally break one of the many rules documents of the

We also must not forget that implementing a CoC hands considerable
influence to those who are tasked with enforcing it, and with
centralized power, there's unfortunately always a risk of abuse or bias.
While this seems unlikely, keep in mind that the mere worry of being
punished for CoC violations can already stifle open and honest
discussion – especially with rules that are general and open to

Thanks for reading!


¹ Please don't read this as an attack on the great folks at Wikipedia,
by the way! During my years as a casual Wikipedia contributor, I've
always felt welcome there. :)

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