[Osmf-talk] OSM and Diversity

Kate Chapman kate at maploser.com
Thu Jul 27 15:40:39 UTC 2017

OSMF Diversity

Hi All, Remember me? The only woman who has ever managed to serve a full
term on the OSMF Board? The fact that we continue to have these superficial
debates makes me wonder if I've just wasted the past decade of my life
being involved in OpenStreetMap. (In just typing this I'm waiting for
someone to go, oh wait a woman is wrong on the Internet. Kate has only done
OSM for ~8.5 years not 10).

I don't see much disagreement that OpenStreetMap does not represent the
make-up of the world we are trying to map. What I do see is disagreement is
if it is an issue, if the community is causing it and disagreement as to
what to do about it.

Is it an issue? Yes. It is pretty simple, if we are trying to create a
detailed worldwide map then we need to map childcare, strip clubs and even
chicken statues (my town has at least 10, no they aren't all mapped yet).
People from different backgrounds have a different worldview, different
items are important to them and they will help make the map just that much

Is the community causing it? I would say partially. I'm only saying
partially because of the general sexism, racisim and classism already
existing in society. We certainly aren't doing much to try to make it
better though. In OSM it is death by thousand cuts though. Before elected
to the OSMF Board I was told I would never win because I was a woman. That
is one cut. As Chairperson being called Chairman is another one. Clearly
the position was made for a man. Seeing subtle sexism on mailing lists, yet

How to fix it? There is a simple thing everyone can do, everyday to help in
a small way. Make room for other types of people. For example Frederik,
instead of spending 2 hours analyzing Dr. Stephens' work because she was
"wrong" in 2013. I have a suggestion. Just don't. It happened years ago and
it doesn't matter. Often in OSM we get caught up in people not doing it
"our way". Don't just narrow in on a technicality. Rather than looking at
how the tagging methods she looked at were incorrect maybe we should ask
ourselves how we should change this? Other ways to make room, communicate
more gently, assume good intent, let people just be wrong sometimes, the
world won't explode.

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