[Osmf-talk] Proposed v2 of the Local Chapters Agreement, hopefully leading to OSMUS as a LC

Kathleen Lu kathleen.lu at mapbox.com
Thu Jun 25 16:24:44 UTC 2020

In addition to business context, "tarnishment" is a concept recognized in
many trademark laws. While any phrase, especially when translated, may lead
to confusion due to different cultural contexts, for purposes of governing
trademark usage, a word used in trademark law is better than one that is
not. If you have a better suggestion, please offer it.

On Thu, Jun 25, 2020 at 5:28 AM Christoph Hormann <chris_hormann at gmx.de>

> On Thursday 25 June 2020, Allan Mustard wrote:
> > The phrase "might distract" makes no sense in this context.  Distract
> > ("to divert attention from") is the wrong verb here, so we came up
> > with a different formulation that conveys more directly what we are
> > concerned about: that the local chapters should engage in activities
> > that support pursuit of the Foundation's goals, and conversely, not
> > engage in activities that diverge from such pursuit. This language is
> > clearer.
> >
> > Without suggesting which version of the agreement is clearer here i
> would like to point out that clarity in language is very important in a
> multi-language multi-cultural community like OSM and it is in general a
> good idea to put more emphasis on this and refraining from use of
> culture specific phrases which have become code for rather complex
> things within a certain cultural context independent of the words they
> are built from.  A lot of conflicts about OSMF policy in the past were
> at least partly the result of a lack in clarity in formulations.
> Taking the formulation of the new text:
> The Chapter agrees [...] to refrain from engaging in any activity that
> tarnishes the reputation or the goodwill of the OpenStreetMap
> Foundation or discredits it.
> While that is not explicitly vague by using words like 'might' it is
> basing what the chapters are to agree to on an assessment that is
> inherently subjective.  The word 'tarnish' describes a subjectively
> negative influence something has on something else - what one person
> sees as tarnishing another person might see as enriching.  The
> reputation of someone or an organization is by definition something
> subjective - someone having a good reputation in certain circles might
> have a bad reputation with other people.
> Now i understand that the phrase "to tarnish the reputation and
> goodwill" seems to have a specific established meaning in the world of
> anglo-american business contracts but such phrases really translate
> poorly to other cultural contexts.  In German you would for example
> likely translate that to 'Rufschädigung', 'Verleumdung' or 'üble
> Nachrede' - which is a criminal offense under the German criminal code
> (§ 186/187 StGB).  This however is strictly limited to *untrue
> statements of fact* (unwahre Tatsachenbehauptung).  I don't know if the
> established meaning of the used phrase in the world of anglo-american
> business contracts also has a meaning tightly restricted in a similar
> fashion - but the wording itself does not show this.  And it is
> unreasonable to expect from a local chapter to know this.  Hence it is
> a bad idea to use such codes in cross cultural agreements because they
> are very likely to result in misunderstandings and conflicts in the
> future with different people intuitively interpreting them with
> different meanings.
> --
> Christoph Hormann
> http://www.imagico.de/
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> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
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