[Osmf-talk] Welcome Mat for Organizations

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Thu Nov 29 08:01:42 UTC 2018


On 29.11.2018 06:57, Marc Gemis wrote:
> I'm not sure that it is clear from the current content that
> hobby-mappers are really the backbone of the project, Also hobby
> developers that advance the current tagging by implementing small
> projects, are left out.

The main aim of the "welcome mat" project was never to give an
exhaustive introduction to OSM that works for everyone.

The motive behind the "welcome mat" was initially a frustration about
how many large organisations do something with or for OSM that affects
us in some way, and we (the OSM community and the OSMF) don't hear about
it until launch.

Whether some charity starts a microgrant programme for OSM projects, or
an aerial image provider decides to open their imagery for OSM, or a
site that was heretofore only showing our maps suddenly starts accepting
bug reports and sending them to us, or a humanitarian organisation
starting a world-wide mapping project with OSM at its core, or a large
North American country deciding that they want to make OSM an integral
part in publishing their building data: There have been many instances
in the past where someone did something totally well-meaning but still
we were a bit unhappy and thought: Couldn't they have discussed this
with us first, we might have had one or two ideas to make it more
successful, or reduce unwanted side effects for our community.

Further discussion led us to the insight that the actors behind such
projects often don't even realize that the OSMF exists and that there's
someone here with whom they could make contact *before* launching their
grand plan with a press release.

So the aim of the welcome mat was to say "hey, we're here, this is how
OSM works, and we're happy to discuss your plans with you".

If anyone thinks that the welcome mat doesn't work for this purpose,
please submit pull requests to improve it.

The welcome mat is not a neutral and un-biased representation of how OSM
works, and it is not intended to be. The welcome mat is there to help
reduce the issues we often have with un-coordinated and occasionally
backfiring "helpful" projects started by organisations everywhere.

You are totally right in saying that hobbyists are the backbone of OSM;
I would go further and say: OSM belongs to hobbyists! Corporate
users/contributors are welcome guests at our table but they don't own
the house. It is the hobby mappers' and volunteers' house. However,
making a big deal about this in the welcome mat could have the opposite
effect of what we're trying to achieve. We don't want organisations to
think "ah, if this project is mainly run by hobby mappers then I can do
what I want" - we deliberately want to over-emphasize that there is some
structure to OSM, and get outsiders to make contact with us, instead of
treating OSM as if it were just a database with an API where you can do
what you want.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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