[Osmf-talk] Live OSM discussion in ~45 minutes (7.30pm UK time)

john whelan jwhelan0112 at gmail.com
Wed Jul 26 20:49:37 UTC 2017

My thoughts are it didn't really add much of value.  It did mention that
OSM is not geared to creating a standardised map with a specific set of
clients.  True but its flexibility is one of its very strong points. Even
the HOT NGOs like being able to add the type of clinic etc. and the HOT
side tends to like a much more standardised approach.

Could we interest someone in a study of who studies OSM and what their
motives are?

>From a statistical point of view talking to fifteen people isn't very
many.  Also different people have different backgrounds and interests so
with fifteen you may not get a balanced picture.  My favourite stats story
is a researcher who asked people at random in a queue at a UK railway
station if they thought that gambling was a good thing.  99% agreed it
was.  An unexpected result until you took into account the train was a
special put on to carry people to Newmarket for the horse racing.

It certainly sounds as if there are some misconceptions out there.  I also
think that although we tag using UK English for historical reasons with
words such as chemist, its a useful and consistent tag in the database,
perhaps we should give some thought to rendering these as pharmacies for
those with a different language background such as the Americans.

Cheerio John

On 26 July 2017 at 16:02, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:

> Hi,
> On 07/26/2017 07:45 PM, Andy Mabbett wrote:
> > I've just learned that this week's Wikimedia Research Showcase,
> > streamed online TONIGHT at 7.30pm UK time, will focus on structured
> > data in OpenStreetMap. Details below.
> Thank you for the link, apparently it can still be watched after:
> > YouTube stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC1jgK8C8aQ
> I think the research bit was generally ok, albeit it didn't really
> follow Muki Hakalay's "code of engagement" for scientists with OSM (
> https://povesham.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/observing-from-
> afar-or-joining-the-action-osm-and-giscience-research/).
> I took issue with a few items.
> * The talk seemed to assume that the listener knows what "Dairy Queen"
> or "Panera Bread" are ;)
> * The talk seemed to try very hard to say OSM had "western standards" or
> "UK cultural assumptions" but I felt that was very un-convincing on the
> whole; it even showed two very differently built roads of the same
> tagging in the US and Africa which to me seemed to prove the point that
> things work ok - we don't demand that a road in Africa must be built to
> the same standards as one in America to be a "primary" or whatever.
> * The talk clearly had a HOT bias; towards the end there was even a
> slide that tried to discuss "whose new ideas can influence the
> standard", and it listed these four bullet points: "HOT", "Men",
> "Hostile contributors", and "Code creators" (who, as discussed earlier,
> had the power to limit the freedom of others).
> * Sadly the talk included the usual drive-by accusations of sexism in
> OSM. It said, and I am not making this up: "There has been some work by
> Monica Stephens that has discussed how new tag proposals for feminized
> or (inaudible) spaces are given less, quote, attention" (this is
> referring to a very badly researched 2013 article that essentially
> contrsated took low vote outcome on a childcare tagging proposal with
> brothels and swinger cluby in OSM to brand OSM sexist), and then went on
> "also, one of our interviewees mentioned that she had, quote, heard of
> women not being listened to or respected". -- What he's doing here is
> quoting an anonymous source that is quoting an anonymous source that
> says something about OSM, and that is good enough to make a sexism claim.
> The whole talk did, it seems to me, slightly overrate the importance of
> tagging discussions (they claimed to have interviewed 15 people but it
> is unclear how they selected those 15), and therefore the discussion
> that ensued was mostly around the question "how can we make sure that
> everyone has a say in tagging discussions".
> There seemed to be an underlying assumption that binding votes on
> tagging, or at least a well-defined process to standardize and maintain
> the global tagging ontology, was necessary (and not least, all those
> autocratic editor writes need to submit to the community vote and not
> invoke privilege to create presets that others must then follow).
> I wouldn't say this has given me any new insights or ideas for the
> future, but it is an interesting study in how (relative) outsiders
> approach OSM.
> I think we as a project really need to publish a more through, and more
> visible, takedown on that 2013 Monica Stephens article though. At the
> time I thought "oh well, bad research comes and goes, no need to start a
> fight every time a researcher writes something wrong about OSM", but
> that one seems to be found, believed in, and quoted by other researchers
> just too much.
> Bye
> Frederik
> --
> Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"
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