[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

Robert Banick rbanick at gmail.com
Tue Dec 19 17:51:09 UTC 2017

Hi Ben,

Thanks for a reasoned, passionate reply. I am also frustrated that this is
an issue repeatedly raised by people of different backgrounds and
repeatedly ignored, or diverted into tangents. We can do better and should;
in my eyes we’re not talking about freedom of speech, we’re talking about
freedom of rudeness, for which I have no time.

Speaking personally I’m not offended if someone wants to be mean to me
because I volunteer with HOT or am American, but I have better things to do
than engage with that. I’d rather invest my time in OSM projects or further
learning. Or not OSM at all.

For this reason I largely stay out of the main OSM listservs because I find
them an unproductive space. The lack of respect and reflexive catering to
conspiracy theories means discussions tend to result in disagreement, not
agreement, and ugly disagreement at that. It’s a glaring problem even
without the associated rudeness and when so many are linking the two it’s
really a failure on our part that we’re not doing more to address it.

It’s for this reason that I’m in favor of a Code of Conduct. As Ben says,
it gives us a mechanism for addressing these issues inside the OSMverse. If
others have better ideas I’m open but I’ve mostly heard counter-arguments,
not counter-proposals.


On Tue, Dec 19, 2017 at 6:38 PM Rod Bera <rod at goarem.org> wrote:

> Frederik,
> I'm in total agreement with you.
> + using terms like racism or misogyny out of purpose also blur
> simplistic minds about the very meaning of these aggressions against
> minorities (and indeed everybody, as human beings), and may mask how
> serious they are in fact.
> If what happens on this list is a "viper pit of racism and misogyny",
> then everything can be called racism/misogyny, and in turn
> racism/misogyny mean nothing any more. Which would be good news for
> racists/misogynist as we would then lack appropriate words to
> specifically denounce what they actually are.
> Overusing or distorting words is a very dangerous thing, indeed.
> And the fact that Dale Kunce (OSM, OSMF and HOT US Inc president, as
> Nico reminds us) is in this kind of business is at least worrying.
> But not surprising to me from my past experience as a HOT member.
> Moreover these "arrangements with facts" (or ungrounded imputations, if
> you like) long were a landmark of a significant part of the HOT board
> and those supporting them against those not sharing their views (i.e.
> minorities, mainly "political", maybe also geographical and/or linguistic).
> Hence my warning 2 years ago against a possible over-representation of
> HOT in the OSMF board (with limited effect: from 1 to 2, missing the 3).
> That it was repeated by others this year was not sufficient either (now
> from 2 to 3). What's next? takeover?
> There is a component of HOT which is toxic and I would't like this venom
> to extend to OSMF.
> But it seems it is anyway. On the list, as well as on the board.
> Rod
> On 19/12/17 08:36, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Bye
> > Frederik
> >
> --
> Rod Béra,  MCF Géomatique                /   Lecturer, Geomatics
>            et SIG pour l'Environnement  /    and Environmental GIS
> Agrocampus-Ouest|65 r.Saint-Brieuc|CS84215|35042 Rennes cedex|France
> +33 (0) 223 48 5553 - roderic.bera at agrocampus-ouest.fr
> _______________________________________________
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