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

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Thu Jul 27 11:37:12 UTC 2017

On Wednesday 26 July 2017, Ilya Zverev wrote:
> I have just went and rewatched the recording of Monica's 11-minute
> talk. While I was dismissive of her arguments four years ago, now I
> see that all of her points were valid, and are still valid. We have
> done nothing wrt diversity in our project. HOT did something, some
> local communities did (e.g. GeoChicas), but OpenStreetMap in general
> is still white, male and disregarding of any external point of view.
> The tagging issue Monica raised was more about the proposal process
> in general, and most of us (I hope) have known it to be highly
> flawed.

But that is mostly a communication problem.  People from the outside see 
the proposal process with its rules and its articulate structure on the 
wiki and assume this is the central element of creating and 
establishing tags in OSM.  But it is not, in fact the proposal process 
has hardly any power at all.

What needs to be better communicated is the importance of "Any tags you 
like" (https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Any_tags_you_like)

Beyond that many people do not only get the wrong impression that the 
proposal process is somehow binding and limits free creation of tags, 
some also mistake it for a way to tell OSM contributors what to map.

What in my opinion really should get more attention from us regarding 
diversity are the mechanisms that influence OSM contributors in what 
they map and how they map it.  We know there are a number of powerful 
influencing factors here that are fairly constant like editor presets, 
popular map styles etc.  Discourse on these on a fundamental level is 
fairly rare.  There is for example the idea of unifying editor presets 
into a common (and presumably more neutral and more accessible) 
repository (https://github.com/osmlab/editor-presets) but you could 
also think about approaching this the other way round making the field 
more competitive by offering mappers to choose their preferred set of 

In short: we do not need more formal rules on mapping, we just need to 
deal more consciously with the mechanisms that affect mappers.

Christoph Hormann

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