[Talk-us] Spammy-sounding survey sent to my OSM inbox today.

Serge Wroclawski emacsen at gmail.com
Sun Jul 28 16:23:39 UTC 2013

On Sat, Jul 27, 2013 at 4:12 PM, Bryce Nesbitt <bryce2 at obviously.com> wrote:

> Editing logs are there.  But demographic information (the bulk of
> padeshahekhoban's survey) is not recorded by OSM.  We have no idea who most
> mappers are.

You have the same issue with pretty much any project, whether it be a
FLOSS development project, or Wikipedia, or anything like that. OSM is
not unique, and that's a good thing.

> For example: people doing gender analysis of OSM users use
> name analysis (e.g. "Jane" is female).   Education level is relevant, but
> not recoverable.  Home country (for expats) is not recoverable either, but
> of interest in marking the participation level of local residents.  Human
> languages spoken would also be of interest.
> If osmf collects just a bit more demographic data, the vast bulk of public
> data becomes more useful to research.

OSM collects the minimal amount of information about its members that
it needs to.

You're arguing it should increase that minimal amount- so what's the
need you're addressing?

> There are privacy issues, for those accounts who provide demographics "only
> to researchers".

It's far deeper than that, though.

Once you start collecting information, you cannot uncollect it. Once
we have data, there will be various types of entities (commercial
organizations, governments, etc.) that will be interested in it, and
will use a variety of techniques to collect it.

The solution to this problem is to collect as little as possible.

> Beyond that I think it reasonable to ask more of mappers.  Wikipedia has a
> good argument for anonymous editing.  OpenStreetMap?  I think not so much.

I  think that OSM strikes a good balance in the minimal amount of
personally identifiable information it requires from its users.

- Serge

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