[Osmf-talk] Orwell was right (was: Candidacy: OSMF Board)

Dan S danstowell+osm at gmail.com
Thu Dec 7 22:55:42 UTC 2017


Hi,

As one of the many onlookers to these emails, who wasn't involved in
any of that historical dispute, this all comes across to me like
attempted character assassination. All these strained allusions to
1984 and reimaginings of other people's positions. No I do not want an
on-list debate about "facts" of those historical disputes: imagine how
much worse the email threads would be than they are now! "He wrote
this" "Yes but she wrote this" - it would generate heat, no light. The
personal attacks should stop, please. I'm not commanding that they
stop, I'm pleading.

Best
Dan


2017-12-07 22:01 GMT+00:00 Jean-Guilhem Cailton <jgc at arkemie.org>:
> Dear OSMF Members,
>
> I hope that you are able to form your own judgments independently, and not
> follow what could seem to be the dominant message, at least by the strength
> of the media and of the position of those who relay it.
>
> You have been informed of disturbing facts, about the concerted actions of a
> small group of people, who have a dominating influence over HOT US Inc, and
> possibly over OSMF, as one of them is a candidate to the on-going election.
>
> If these facts were not true, it should have been easy to prove it. Instead,
> as you may have noticed, there has been no answer on the facts themselves,
> but very strongly worded personal attacks against those who reported them,
> intended to discredit them. And no answers either when some of the witnesses
> of these ad hominem attacks asked what they were based on.
>
> What is really disturbing here is that these things did happen.
>
> It is probably difficult to believe the things that others and i reported
> here, as i couldn’t myself have believed that the things that were happening
> could take place in the context of OSM. Yet they did. And the scandal is not
> to report them, but that they happened. And that the persons responsible for
> them have a growing influence within OSM Community.
>
> The real issue is the Moon, not the fingers pointing at it, more or less
> awkwardly.
>
> Yet there has been a large volume of discussion about CoCs. I can understand
> that some may see some interest in them in certain contexts. But please be
> aware that in the context of HOT US the CoC has been used as a tool for
> censorship and abuse, by a dominating group who is still very present in
> this discussion.
>
> Blake, informing you that your actions could be considered as violation of
> laws (including those against moral harassment) was not harassment. And
> returning the accusations of harassment against those who complain about it
> is a classical tactic of real harassers.
>
> (And for those who don’t know me, i care for OSM as a volunteer. Not as
> someone who earns his living in connection with OSM, and who may obviously
> have a stronger motivation to defend this connection.)
>
>
> What i remember specially strongly from one of these conversation with you
> Blake was when you explained to me, explicitly referring to “1984” by George
> Orwell, that things were going to end up badly for me. And indeed, they did
> end much worse than i could have imagined. (Maybe because i hadn’t yet read
> the novel to the end at the time – Or because i felt it was “only” a novel).
>
> But in fact i find it very illuminating to understand the world we live in,
> in general, and the actions and communications of this small group to which
> you belong in particular.
>
> “History” gets rewritten, depending on the interests of the people in power.
> (Or of those requesting grants, as in the example reported by Séverin about
> the initial mapping for Ebola response).
>
> Facts get ignored, or despised, along with those who report them.
>
> The same person who once explained the wonders accomplished by the
> self-organizing OSM mappers (right after the response to Haiti earthquake),
> now explains with the same conviction that amateurs need to be led by
> professional to do anything worthwhile. (Professional among whom he is now,
> but this is of course only an irrelevant coincidence).
>
> Mikel has had for a long time, indeed, this vision of OSM as a “Mechanical
> Turk”, except than in Amazon version, people get paid, even if not much, for
> their directed work. Not so in OSM, where those who aren’t happy with this
> vision are free to leave. (So this version of free labor can still be
> considered much better than slavery). “— Mappers are expendable”.
>
> So is it really surprising that there are now well established quality
> problems with the data produced by the beginners that HOT US Inc manages to
> mobilize? Who consciously wants to work for free, for “leaders” who abuse
> entrusted power for private gain?
>
> This is an obvious reason why HOT US is missing experienced mappers and
> coordinators, after throwing away the experienced volunteers who had
> successfully coordinated the activations for years. Respect is something all
> human beings need, not just hypocritical nice words.
>
> And this is the model you (as voters) are asked to believe is also good for
> OSM in general. By the same person who enforced it in HOT US Inc… I really
> hope that a majority of OSMF voters is able to see through the good
> sounding, but misleading, discourse from this group.
>
> There is a sample of that discourse that hopefully many of you can relate
> and compare to your own experience, and thus you can check its validity by
> yourself. It’s the story told by Blake, that in his eyes it would be unsafe
> to suggest people (especially women) to attend a small regular OSM meetup in
> his city. I was quite intrigued by this, as others who have reacted too, as
> my experience in meeting OSM volunteers in real life is that they are in
> general very nice people. (Emails might not always reflect that, because of
> the nature of electronic and intercultural communications). And then, if
> admitting that these people could be more of a threat to women than the
> average citizen of the place, the problem would be magically solved by a
> CoC… I have been unsuccessfully trying to imagine in which part of Earth a
> situation so remote from those I know could happen (†).
>
>
> (†) for the curious, a quick web search shows that this city might be
> Zürich…
> (possibly in a parallel Orwellian universe to the one where i think i am
> living).
>
> So here is a suggestion for those who haven’t voted yet and who don’t know
> for who to vote, and who have read “1984”: if you feel that your sympathy
> goes to O’Brien, and the efficient and well led society he actively
> promotes, (especially if his methods could be softer, as made possible by
> the advances since 1948, when the novel was written), vote for Heather.
> Otherwise, don’t.
>
> Best wishes,
>
> Jean-Guilhem
>
>
> P.S. : I remember a previous message of mine that was called a “screed” (by
> Mikel), several years ago, on the hot list. In it, i had written in
> particular that it didn’t seem ok that the Executive Director, who received
> a salary from HOT US Inc, was also on the Board. That view was later
> expressed by someone more important than me, and Kate resigned from the
> Board, where she was replaced by her friend Heather…
>
> --
> “Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” Transparency
> International
> https://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/preventing_corruption_in_humanitarian_operations
>
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