[Osmf-talk] Dale Kunce (OSM, OSMF and HOT US Inc president) on [OSMF] mailing list: "a viper pit of racism and misogyny"; a statement which minimally calls for answers and facts

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Tue Dec 19 07:36:55 UTC 2017


On 18.12.2017 23:18, nicolas chavent wrote:
> I randomly ran into this tweet of Dale Kunce [1],
> /> "Community. The absolute best and worst things of OSM. Current
> mailing list is a viper pit of racism and misogyny. I don’t know it if
> will ever be a safe place. Even I’m thinking of unsubscribing."/

Sadly, ranting on twitter (or your personal blog, or even a talk at a
SotM conference) about how these mailing lists are the worst of the
worst, has a long tradition even among people who have been with OSM for
a very long time.

I am always very sad to read this, because I feel that the vast majority
of people on this list, or on any OSM list, are intelligent, friendly,
and respectful human beings, and being collectively kicked in the groin
like that - and not even to your face, but by someone talking to a
different audience - hurts. A lot. (To be fair, in this case the
accusation is unspecific enough; I don't even know if he's talking about
any list that I am on or maybe some other list that I don't even read,
and if he's talking about a list that I'm on it is unclear if I am part
of the accused. Bit like if I was to say "the USA is a viper pit of
racism and misogyny", only that this is *so* generalising that it would
be easy to quote examples.)

People talk about a lack of diversity on the mailing lists; tweets like
that are a sure-fire way to keep people from joining and judging things
for themselves. Like you, Nicolas, I haven't seen racism or misogyny
expressed here on osmf-talk in the recent weeks, in fact not for years;
and such extraordinary claims should certainly be backed up by solid
facts, and certainly not directed against the mailing list community as
a whole but just against those people who are seen to post such content.

We should have a zero-tolerance policy against racism and misogyny, but
we should also have zero tolerance against false accusations of such,
because such accusations can create lasting damage.

I have recently looked through old mailing list entries on osm-talk from
before 2010, and the climate has certainly improved since then; but once
established, a mantra of "OSM mailing lists are a viper pit" is very
hard to eradicate. It will be repeated un-questioned by people who don't
bother to check for themselves ("it is a well-known fact that OSM
mailing lists are the worst, everyone says it...").

One vile tweet like that can ruin hundreds of hours of work that have
gone into writing thoughtful, respectful, and friendly messages on the
mailing list. All for nothing - I could just as well start every one of
my messages with "Bullshit!".

Someone who writes tweets like that does *more* for the lack of women
and people of colour than any mailing list contributor could with an
unsensitive post. But, as I said, Dale is only the latest person to do
so in a long list.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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