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

Mikel Maron mikel.maron at gmail.com
Thu Jul 27 15:50:35 UTC 2017

Christoph, my statement about the pointlessness of the discussion toward advancing diversity efforts in OSM, in no way compares to how demeaning the discussion itself is. You're not a victim. Dissecting an academic paper, rather than getting the point about diversity and offering to do something about it, it a stain on our community. 
Simon, the idea that this thread is not about diversity, but about "science" is absurd. 
I do agree that we can stop talking about it here.
-Mikel * Mikel Maron * +14152835207 @mikel s:mikelmaron 

    On Thursday, July 27, 2017 10:10 AM, Simon Poole <simon at poole.ch> wrote:

  The thread was mainly about bad science and how it effects the perception of OSM in the public, including that it doesn't help in addressing real issues. Normally I would expect the moderators to suggest starting a new thread if you want to discuss the issues around diversity and how to address them instead of hijacking a thread with a different topic, but they seem to be strangely absent
  On 27.07.2017 14:41, Mikel Maron wrote:
  Takeaways * Everyone understands gender diversity is a problem * Some of us think it's very important to address, others think other issues are more important at this moment * The dudes arguing here among themselves about what's more important and dissecting arguments are not doing much to address the issue.  * The volume of discussion and overly sensitive responses to details, beating drums about our pet peeves, only shows that the key issue of gender diversity is not something some of us want to put energy into. * The discussion here doesn't matter. If we want to work on gender diversity, let's go away from here and support the women and men who have started good work on strategies at last year's SotM.   * Mikel Maron * +14152835207 @mikel s:mikelmaron 
      On Thursday, July 27, 2017 7:54 AM, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
 On 26.07.2017 23:58, Ilya Zverev wrote:
 > While I was dismissive of her arguments four years ago, now I see that 
 > all of her points were valid, and are still valid. 
 I think that it is possible for an insider of OpenStreetMap to look at
 Monica's work and see some valid points in there. But try to switch off
 your background knowledge and look at her work. What sticks with you is
 something like (quoting from a 3rd party web site that introduces the talk):
 "She looks specifically at the case of how "childcare" was not approved
 as map category within OpenStreetMap."
 This comes from her work massively exaggerating the issue for effect,
 and being extremely sloppy with OSM background research.
 Reviewing her talk, the OSM part begins with her showing group photos of
 past SotM conferences claiming "these are all men". Which clearly isn't
 true (you just have to zoom in on the picture). Maybe I'm putting the
 bar to high by measuring this with the "science" yardstick, but it feels
 wrong to me. Do you want future scientific papers to quote "according to
 <source>, no women have attended large OSM gatherings before 2013"?
 Because that's what she says.
 She then goes on to equate the number of different values in the
 "amenity" key space with the importance of something (arguing that
 because you have different amenity values for bars and pubs it is clear
 that this is an important distinction); this is not tenable as just
 slightly more research would have shown, there is no correlation between
 the importance of something and the number of different key values in
 the amenity space.
 She then claims that "amenity=swingerclub" was the (1) most recently (2)
 accepted (3) voted on (4) approved amenity - not a single one of the
 numbered points is correct as far as I can see from the Wiki history
 (but I invite readers to double check, I might have missed some page
 Going forward, she gives listeners the impression that a successful tag
 proposal was a requirement for being able to tag features, which is
 plain wrong. At the very least, a non-misleading, non-sensationalist
 presentation would have to mention that
 (a) anyone can tag anything they find important,
 (b) this *may* be influenced by editor presets (which didn't feature
 swingerclubs at the time and don't now)
 (c) what appears on the *map* is a different issue again, and
 swingerclubs weren't on the map then and aren't now.
 (As a tiny nod towards the actual subject of this thread, point "b" was
 addressed in Andrew Hall'S "Wikimedia Research Showcase" presentation.)
 She then goes on to discuss the amenity=childcare proposal, which had
 been voted down in 2011. As you can see from
 the proposal itself had been framed sloppily; it claimed to be
 applicable to all age groups ("Example: 0-6") but didn't explain in how
 far it was meant to replace the existing amenity=kindergarten or just be
 for after-school/after-kindergarten care. A total of 9 people voted
 against the proposal; most because of this technicality, and two because
 they would have preferred amenity=social_facility.
 Did those 9 people vote because they "were ignorant" or "didn't care"?
 Maybe, but in my eyes the fault lies just as much with the proposal
 itself; the confusion with "kindergarten" and the question of whether
 "social_facility" would not be better didn't come from nowhere and they
 should have been addressed, the proposal refined, and brought to vote in
 a better shape.
 Do voters have a duty to pass a badly done proposal when it is for a
 good thing? Or are they right to shoot down a badly written proposal?
 The "post mortem" on the page says "Voters have either not grasped this,
 or have considered the fact of overlap sufficient to reject the proposal
 without taking the time to propose a proper alternative." - but is it
 the voter's responsibility to propose a proper alternative?
 Monica Stephens makes the proposal sound less confusing in her talk -
 she explicitly claims the proposal was for childcare for kids that are
 "not of kindergarten age", when the proposal explicitly lists "0-6" as a
 valid age example. So her listeners will not be able to understand the
 She then says "OpenStreetMap is a democratic society where people vote
 on which amenities will appear on the base map" which is, of course,
 wrong in several ways (see my a/b/c list above).
 In criticising the "against" voters, she picks out a few that have
 spelling mistakes and adds a prominent "[sic]" after each "refered" or
 "usefull" - something that may be scientifically correct but speaks of a
 desire to belittle these people for whom English is not their first
 language. She doesn't quote any of the "against" votes that say that the
 overlap needs to be explained, she only quotes those who believe the new
 thing is identical to kindergarten. And the correct tally of 9 "no" and
 5 "yes" votes becomes, in her talk, "voting ended and was 15 to 4". Just
 She then proceeds with some anti-German slurs, claiming that "all but
 3... or 5 ... of the brothels in OpenStreetMap are in Germany, the rest
 are in Amsterdam". Now this "American values are the right values"
 attitude is something I could go on about for a while (are more children
 harmed by brothels or by guns) but I'll save that for another time; I
 have counted the objects tagged amenity=brothel in OSM at the beginning
 of 2012 and found 510 in Germany and a total of 825 world-wide, so I
 don't know how she counted but apparently it wasn't all that important
 to her. Just a little harmless fun at the expense of all those German
 and Dutch perverts, right, let's all have a good laugh? At the same time
 there were 16,693 amenity=kindergarten and 51 amenity=baby_hatch mapped
 in Germany, numbers which might have served to put the whole thing into
 perspective - sadly her listeners are denied that piece of information
 which a responsibly scientist should have shared.
 She concludes that "OSM is dominated by male contributions" (which is
 correct) "and excludes the other 1/2" (which I'd argue with). She says:
 "Women cannot really map their local community; their local information
 is particularly excluded from this base map and from what features are
 (inaudible) in OpenStreetMap."
 This is a very broad, I'd almost say outrageous, claim, and not at all
 supported by the evidence she has provided, even if that evidence were
 She proceeds to claim that "... all of these options for child-care,
 day-care, have failed in OpenStreetMap, continually". Again, not at all
 supported by any evidence. She again claims that "swingerclub was
 democratically approved without a single opposing vote in 2012", when
 indeed no vote on that tag has taken place, ever.
 So, to close this off, Ilya I think you are doing OpenStreetMap a huge
 disservice by taking a talk that is so full of false claims, so biased
 and misleading, and publicly say that "all of the points are valid".
 There is a valid point in that it would be desirable to achieve gender
 parity in OpenStreetMap and that this would make for better discussions,
 better results, a better map. But almost every other point made in that
 talk is at least exaggerated for effect, if not blatantly false.
 I'm afraid I have now wasted two hours of my life doing what Christoph
 warned of, namely heightening the visibility of Monica's work by trying
 to point out the flaws in it, and I agree it would be nice if we could
 ensure that if researches criticize OSM in the future - and there's
 certainly a lot to criticize - they at least get their facts right.
 I want to live in a society where everyone is free to say their opinion,
 but I don't want to live in a society where everyone can claim facts
 that are simply and demonstratively wrong and not be called out for it.
 There's too much of that out there already.
 Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33" 
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