[Osmf-talk] Communication style - moderation - CoC [was Re: Board members with similar background (was: 2018 a third episode...)}

Pete Masters pedrito1414 at googlemail.com
Sun Dec 16 12:50:12 UTC 2018

I'm sorry, Christoph, I feel I have to respond here. And, I hope I am one
of the HOT members that you bestow with an admirable personal attitude,
otherwise I guess what I write here will be dismissed without consideration.

I just want to say please be careful with your characterisation of HOT...
When I read your words, they hurt, to be honest. I personally know many
people in HOT (both the NGO, as staff and board members, and the community,
as volunteers) who are not as you say and do not have the perspective you
have assumed in your message above. Your words, along with those of others
in the last few weeks' discussion, are strong, unequivocal and
overwhelmingly accusatory. Despite their caveats, they represent a very
diverse group of people with as many differences in motivation and
perspective as they do in in background, experience and geography as one
fairly ugly thing. If I had not known HOT from the inside and had only read
the OSMF-talk discussions of the past few weeks, I would want nothing to do
with it. It is staggering to me the way HOT is described here in these
threads. It is so far from my experience that it is unrecognisable.

As a member of the HOT community and board, I'd like to put forward the
view that HOT is not perfect and nor can it ever be. We are trying to
improve in how we tread the line between being an organisation that can
meaningfully contribute in humanitarian crises and with vulnerable
communities while at the same time remain a valuable part of a huge, open,
non-hierarchical community with no such mandate. This is really hard. In
terms of models and culture, these two are poles apart and I think we will
fail more times than we will succeed.

There is no doubt that HOT's beginnings were, as many NGOs', steeped in the
cultures of Europe and north America. I think you'd struggle to find a
single one of these NGOs (HOT included) that didn't embody some kind of
colonialist attitude, whether acknowledged or not. The important thing for
me is  the direction we try to go in; the way we try to do things

I am proud that the leadership in HOT becomes more and more diverse. I see,
in the board, in local community channels, in the staff, leaders emerging
from all around the world (two of whom were candidates for this OSMF
election). They are motivated, smart and they bring whole communities of
new people and new perspectives with them. What makes me worry is that the
more HOT is, in my opinion, unfairly and without nuance characterised as a
menace, the less those people are going to want to engage and bring change
and leadership to the organisation and the community.

Nico, Dale and Mikel all played a huge part in the development of HOT, for
better or worse, but none of them represent what HOT is today. No-one does.
Just as no-one represents what OSM is. And, I will not take a position on
any of their behaviours because I would like us to move past this.

There are plenty of arguments about what constitutes toxic behaviour in
these communities, as if being non-toxic is our goal. I'd ask that we be a
bit more ambitious and aim for aim for a higher standard of conversation
and collaboration - maybe 'constructive' or 'mutually supportive'. However,
I don't think this can happen whilst we so easily get stuck in the mud with
these wars of words.

Apologies to all for yet another lengthy wordy email to add to the pile....


On Sun, 16 Dec 2018, 11:19 Christoph Hormann <chris_hormann at gmx.de wrote:

> Thank you for so amply demonstrating why so many in the OSM community do
> not want anything from the HOT organizational culture in OSM.  This
> self centered view of how awsome and fantastic you and your peers are
> combined with the condescending dismissal of any critique or even just
> critical reflection of your world view is just remarkable.
> The level of intolerance that shines through in your statements is
> impressive as well - the idea for example "to create more local
> mappers" is particular revealing for an attitude of cultural
> imperialism - you want to create local mappers "in your image" so to
> speak, adopting your cultural values - contrasting with the values of
> mapper recruitment in OSM otherwise, which encourages people to become
> mappers bringing in their own cultural values and priorities and not
> giving a damn what people with money on the other side of the world
> think they should map or how they should do it.
> When you then say "We just want an OSMF that supports *all mappers *from
> whatever community they are from" that is just sickening in its
> hollowness because in the same mail you essentially call to ostracize
> Nicolas.  This demonstrates the same imperialistic attitude i pointed
> out before - you want to welcome everyone but only as long as they
> adjust and subordinate themselves to your cultural values.  You
> probably don't realize this but for people outside your small HOT
> bubble this largely appears extremely arrogant and snotty.
> No one forces you to engage in discussion with Nicolas here.  If you
> can't communicate with him on a respectful level just don't do it.
> I for one welcome the input from Nicolas and the valuable perspectives
> it brings into the discussion.  It can take a bit of practice to get
> used to his style of communication (which is faily common for French
> people writing in English) and i don't take everything he writes at
> face value because like everyone else he has his own subjective view of
> things but he shows a hundred times more restraint, tolerance and self
> reflection than you do which makes a world of difference in how i
> perceive it.
> Note i do not consider the HOT organizational culture as manifested in
> the statements from Dale and to some extent from other people involved
> in HOT recently to be something that is internalized by everyone in
> HOT.  There are many individual HOT activists and members who have an
> admirable personal attitude that is of high value for OSM.  But in
> situations like this with representatives of HOT communicating a highly
> problematic amount of intolerance and disrespect (and by the way not
> only to Nicolas but also more broadly to the OSM community) i often
> wish they'd speak up and make clear this is not a culture of
> communication and attitude towards OSM they endorse.  And the silence
> of other people from HOT on this kind of behaviour in a way is a strong
> support for what Nicolas indicates.
> --
> Christoph Hormann
> http://www.imagico.de/
> _______________________________________________
> osmf-talk mailing list
> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk
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