[Talk-ca] COMS2200 Ottawa, Carleton University

Steve Singer steve at ssinger.info
Wed Oct 11 03:08:41 UTC 2017

On Tue, 10 Oct 2017, Tracey P. Lauriault wrote:

> Greetings OSM mappers;

For the benefit of background to others on the list


Is an example of the block message that was sent to a bunch of users.

(I wasn't involved in asking for or implementing the blocks or have anything 
to do with the assignment).

I haven't looked at the edits in any details but I will make a few general 

1. If one user comes into OSM and makes a few changes with issues 
because of misunderstandings or inexperience fixing those changes isn't a 
big deal. Most of the time someone will just fix them without saying 
anything.  However if 30 or 300 users make lots of changes in a short amount 
of time with the same types of errors the volume present challenges.  Large 
scale edits by a bunch who are doing it as part of a course, or who are 
employed by a company to make the changes, or who are doing so as part of a 
coordinated humanitarian effort have the potential to cause problems if they 
aren't coordinated  carefully.

2. A big part of working in any open-source project particularly with OSM is 
that you need to communicate with the other contributors. Communication is a 
two way street, some people are better at it then others and it doesn't come 
naturally to everyone.  I would hope that a course that covered the 
contributing to open source projects (including open data contributions) 
covered interacting with the community. If the course only wanted to give 
students experience with the tools then editing against a test or 
development instance of OSM would be better.

The advise I would give to people new to the open source communities(and at 
times remind veterans) is believe that most people who are contributing are 
coming from a place of good intentions and to give them the benefit of the 
doubt and try to understand where they are coming from.

When contributing to an open sourced project you need to take responsibility 
(as an individual) for your contributions but that doesn't mean they need to 
be, or will be perfect. No edits are perfect but people need to be willing 
to listen to and learn from feedback from other members of the community.


> I understand that students for COMS2200 have been blocked from posting to OSM.
> There was also an unfortunate email sent to Carleton University by one of your members that is circulating
> through the administration from (james2432 at gmail.com).
> The data are being contributed as part of an assignment described here -
> https://github.com/TraceyLauriault/COMS2200A
> I understand that the students are making some small and some large mistakes that may not meet your OSM
> data quality standards.  The students are restricted to only be mapping the Carleton University Campus.
> I wonder if it might be possible to unlock the restriction to let them finish the assignment.  They should
> be done by next week. There are 150 students.  Once the assignment is complete I would gladly work with you
> to salvage the data, delete some data, repair some data or wipe all of the data.
> We apologize for this inconvenience and hope that you can be empathetic and allow for the assignment to be
> completed so that the students can be assessed.
> Also, perhaps there are a number of common errors and if you identify them we may be able to fix them.
> Sincerely
> Tracey
> --
> Tracey P. Lauriault
> Assistant Professor 
> Critical Media Studies and Big Data
> Communication Studies
> School of Journalism and Communication
> Suite 4110, River Building
> Carleton University
> 1125 Colonel By Drive
> Ottawa (ON) K1S 5B6
> 1-613-520-2600 x7443
> Tracey.Lauriault at Carleton.ca
> @TraceyLauriault
> Skype: Tracey.P.Lauriault
> https://carleton.ca/sjc/people-archives/lauriault-tracey/

More information about the Talk-ca mailing list