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

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Wed Jul 26 21:49:41 UTC 2017

On Wednesday 26 July 2017, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> 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-join

I also had the impression this was not really offering much valuable 
insights and judging from the reactions to the questions the presenter 
did not seem to have a real understanding of OSM and how it works - as 
a technical and as a social project.

> 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)

The presentation mentioned 'snowball sampling':


which is apparently just a fancy term for outsourcing the selection 

> 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.

I doubt doing something along these lines would reduce the visibility of 
the work addressed by it.  On the contrary: bad research generally 
profits from controversy surrounding it.  People might start quoting it 
as a disputed view on the subject rather than with agreement but they 
likely will quote it rather more often than less.

The better approach would probably be to try supporting competent, 
meaningful and unprejudiced studies on matters related to OSM.  
Preparing a good entry point for researchers interested in OSM would be 
quite helpful probably.  What we currently have on the wiki 
(http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Research) is not really useful in 
that regard.  As this presentation has shown as well many people in 
academia lack a solid understanding on how OSM actually works under the 
surface and not everyone has the curiosity to learn about it on their 

Christoph Hormann

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