[Talk-us] Slack: Do we need an Alternative (was Planning an import in Price George...)

Clifford Snow clifford at snowandsnow.us
Fri Jun 8 19:45:11 UTC 2018

SteveA wrote:

At least once, Clifford invited me to join Slack as well.  However, after
reading Slack's Terms of Service Agreement (a contract of adhesion,
really), I could not and do not abide with the ways which Slack (and other
proprietary, not-open-source/open-data communication platforms) divide our
community into "those who Slack" and "those who don't."  Even as Clifford
has acknowledged this issue in these posts, I feel compelled to speak up
about this again whenever I see this invitation to Slack again and again.

I don't wish to throw rocks at the good process and results which happen
because some of us collaborate on Slack.  I do wish to urge OSM volunteers
to seriously (re-?)consider that there are well-established, perfectly
useful communication methods (email, wiki, talk-us, face-to-face,
meetups/Mapping Parties...) which do not require "shiny apps laden with
hidden, commercial code" that ask us to cloak our communication into the
private realm of a for-profit company.  As an open-source/open-data
project, I remain puzzled why OSM volunteers do this.

Perhaps what I'm suggesting (again?  I seem to recall it has been brought
up before) is that if OSM uses a "live-collaboration communication app"
that we either develop our own or choose some open-source version of one
without onerous License Terms that MANY (not just me) find offensive.

Is that possible?

Thanks for reading.  I mean this in the best interests of OSM longer-term.

OSM Volunteer since 2009

I must admit I like Slack better than some other forms of communications.
For example, I don't participate on any OSM forums. IRC is nice, but the
Slack, as a version of IRC, is just better. Since Slack was introduced to
the community I've notice the talk-us mailing list traffic has slowed and
even more so is the #osm-us IRC channel which for all practical purposes is

Communications within the community is one of the most important aspects of
what makes our community thrive. We need tools that allow people to be
engaged in discussions and process to be successful. Tools that people want
to use. To me, seeing the number of people that use Slack compared to other
forms of communications, means the community has chosen.

I'm also part of a open source community that uses IRC and mailing lists to
communicate. When Slack was introduced, just like OSM, traffic drop to
nothing on IRC and mainly announcements on the mailing list. Part of that
maybe because people use Slack in their day job.

I don't wouldn't have any objections to another platform with more
agreeable terms of service. But what specifically to Slack's terms is

I'm also interested in how others feel about Slack. Is it good for the
community or should we look elsewhere?

OpenStreetMap: Maps with a human touch
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