[Osmf-talk] "a viper pit of racism and misogyny"

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Tue Dec 19 13:31:17 UTC 2017


(subject changed, which I forogt to do the first time round - naming
names in subject has been considered impolite since before codes of
conduct were even invented.)

On 19.12.2017 12:16, Ben Abelshausen wrote:
> Why people experience this list and other parts of the OSMF as unwelcome
> (and I've said it before, I also think it is hard to be on this list) is
> a legitimate question and we ignore it over and over again. This has
> never been taken seriously. 

It is hard to take it seriously when someone claims "RACISM" with regard
to this here list. I'm open to learning and discourse; perhaps that
person already finds it "racist" when I say "I think that North American
cultural values are too easily accepted as the yardstick in OSM"?
Certainly I don't feel racist in saying that but if that's already
something that carries the being-called-a-racist-on-twitter penalty then
I would perhaps reconsider my words.

Also "MISOGYNY" - I'm at a loss where that has occurred, and especially
in a quantity and strength to warrant "viper pit". I can only guess that
it is alluded that when a female candidate for the OSMF board is
questioned and unfairly criticised for things that she allegedly did or
failed to do in the past, that is misogyny but (a) that's not my
definition of the word and (b) the fact that I even have to guess what
the accuser could be talking about already means we're wasting time.

> Perhaps if we had some way of addressing these issues *inside* the OSMF

My problem is that I'm totally willing to fight against what I define as
harassment. I've been personally threatened with violence against me and
my family (and my car), I've been sued and slandered for things I said
and did in my work for OSM, and a blog has gone up in which hypothetical
sexual acts between myself and another community member were described
in graphic detail. I may be another white privileged college-educated
male but I think I know what harassment is. Someone telling me, on a
public mailing list, "Frederik I think you're not suitable for this job
because you did this and that in your past", is certainly annoying but
it's not something that I perceive as harassment. Someone who writes
"you're a liar, yesterday you said X and now you said Y" may have a
temper, but he's not harassing anyone. Let's not devalue the word

I'm totally in favour of an anti harassment policy: No violence. No
threats of violence. No offensive comments related to gender, gender
identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness,
neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion.
No unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and
practices. No stalking, following, deliberate intimidation. That's all

But for some people harassment starts already when I attack them because
they've just made their fifth shitty import, or they consistently ignore
what people tell them about their quality of mapping. Or when I tell
them than in my opinion, their vision for OSM is going to ruin
everything we stand for. For some people it is already harassment when I
write "Are you serious?" or "This is the silliest idea I have heard in a
long time." - But while saying such things certainly don't satisfy
general standards of politeness, they are not what should be called
harassment, and they are not what should prompt people to blog about how
OSM lists are an "unsafe place" or a "venom pit", and they should
certainly not give anyone reason to try and apply force to get someone
to retract their statement or get someone thrown out of the project.

I think that these two things are too tangled up and we need to
un-tangle them. We aren't a top-down leadership project and I hope we
will never be. That means we will have discussions, we will have heated
discussions, and we will have dopamine-kick-"I cannot come to dinner
because someone is wrong on the Internet!!!" kinds of discussions. This
is a natural consequence of people being in this project with their
hearts and souls and not just with a yearly membership payment. This is
an important part of our collective direction-finding and
decision-making, and there will always be rough edges. We should not
attempt to sanitize them away to a point where we're friendlier than the
average Disney movie.

I'm all for taking *serious* things seriously. And one *serious* thing
is people bad-mouthing us on Twitter claiming that we're a venom pit,
and this then being repeated over and over until you hear it from 500
re-tweeters who're all more than happy to report rumours about the dark
underbelly of this OpenStreetMap that they heard so much about.


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

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