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

Blake Girardot bgirardot at gmail.com
Fri Dec 1 21:37:48 UTC 2017

On Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 10:06 PM, Tobias Knerr <osm at tobias-knerr.de> wrote:
> 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.

Hi Tobias,

I understand this point of view and kind of agree with it. Granted it
is from my own perspective and I am not a member of a traditionally
under represented or marginalized group. But given all the
interactions in the OSM community that i have been a part of, I do not
see very many that I think a code of conduct would apply to. In the 7
years I have been here there are several for sure, but not a lot, a
really minuscule fraction of a percent, unfortunately even those small
numbers can have a big impact on the wider community.

However, even given how well I might think the OSM community does or
tries to do, that does not mean a CoC would not be a benefit in other

One of the more important benefits I think is that it tells potential
community members that we as a community recognize the issues people
face in online communities, especially groups that are traditionally
under represented in OSM and tech communities in general. It expresses
we understand the issues that can arise and we take seriously making
sure this community is a welcoming place and they know they do not
have to worry as much about how they will be treated.

I have personally run in to this issue. I do a small in-person mapping
event once a month for Missing Maps and there is another more general
OSM mapping group as well in the area. I want to tell the people in
the group I facilitate that they should also consider going to the
more general OSM meetup in the area.

However that other small meetup group does not have a code of conduct.
Now I have to worry, many of the people in the group I facilitate are
women. I can not in good conscience suggest people in my group attend
another group that has not even posted a code of conduct. I can not be
sure that other group understand the issues and have a mechanism in
place to make sure attendees are safe at their events. If they had a
code of conduct I would feel a lot better suggesting people from my
meetup go and attend.

Granted this is a little more difficult situation as we are talking
actual in person meetings, not just online, so it is a little more
serious, their actual physical safety is at issue, but my point
remains the same, a CoC would let me know they at least had the
minimum effort and understanding of the issues and hopefully a
mechanism in place. A formal CoC for OSM would serve the same purpose.

I know of some groups and some funding organizations that will no
longer sponsor or donate to organizations that do not have a clear
CoC, it is really becoming a basic requirement of online communities
and in person events.


Blake Girardot
OSM Wiki - https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/User:Bgirardot
HOTOSM Member - https://hotosm.org/users/blake_girardot
skype: jblakegirardot

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