[talk-au] Active Australian OSM contributors in light of CT/license changes

Matt White mattwhite at iinet.com.au
Sat Jul 9 04:29:14 BST 2011

<snip> A whole lot of angst </snip>

I don't often email the list, but I've been kicking around OSM for maybe 
four years, and done a bit of mapping here and there, as well as 
generating the odd Garmin map for people to use. This email is a bit 
rambly, so I apologise in advance.

To be honest, I'm over it. People have been beating each other over the 
head with CC-by and ODbL for so long now that we've all been pretty much 
brain damaged. All the posts degenerate into slanging matches inside of 
three replies, and the level of discourse as plummeted.

So, here's my take on this: Mapping (both creating and using the maps) 
should be fun. But the fun has gone for me. The license debate has 
unfortunately slowly destroyed the community feel of the project, 
pissing off a lot of existing contributors, and no doubt making it less 
welcoming for new ones. The talk-AU list is dominated by a handful of 
people with very strong opinions, which is intimidating to any new 
comers, and off putting to the rest. That's not to say that the opinions 
expressed are wrong, but they do tend toward the 'fanatic' end of the 
spectrum. The silent majority who subscribe but don't post must wonder 
where the fun went. And everything just muddies the water.

I've accepted the new CT's, but that's probably a bit moot as I haven't 
contributed much recently. Personally, I think the license debate is a 
bit of a furphy - contracts and licenses are important from a moral 
standpoint, but only practically worthwhile if you are prepared to 
police and enforce them. It's not really about license enforcement, it's 
about respect for the project. Any project that expends all its energy 
trying the control the usage of the project, rather than actually 
improving the content of the project, will eventually fall of a cliff as 
people move on.

I guess my question is 'what is the goal of OSM?', and also 'what are 
the goals of the contributors?'. Weren't we trying to make a map that 
people could use in many and varied ways? Have we now lost sight of that 
goal - to make OSM accessible to all - and turned on ourselves and 
started eating our young? I don't care about attribution for my 
contributions - that's not why I was mapping in the first place. I just 
wanted a map I could use, and a project that was both enjoyable to 
contribute, and fun to be a part of.

The license has changed, and I'm not sure what that means for the garmin 
maps I make - do I have to change the attribution, or do different 
things to meet the license requirements? I don't know, and to be honest 
I don't care. If I'm doing something wrong or incorrectly, maybe I'll 
get round to fixing it, maybe I won't.

But the problem is I've become disillusioned - the fun and community has 

And that's the sad part about the whole thing.


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