[OSM-talk] Organizational mapping policy

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Wed May 14 23:03:13 UTC 2014


On 14.05.2014 23:07, Mikel Maron wrote:
> I have to say, my initial reaction to this proposal was that it was
> heavy handed, unnecessarily punitive, over reaching, and not in the
> spirit of OSM. A cure worse than the disease.

Somehow I have the impression that either the proposal was colossally
mis-worded, or it as somehow acquired a spin or social dynamic ("OMG
they're targeting HOT!!!!!") that was never intended and is not, in my
opinion, in any way present in Paul's request for consultation.

Frankly I see nothing "punitive" or "heavy handed" here but that may
really be a matter of perception.

If you're in the HOT business then you might immediately see how this
could apply to some of your projects and might make life harder. When I
read the proposal, I think of the countless man-hours (and frustration
and desperation and heated tempers) involved when mappers on the German
forum once again find a strange edit pattern and over the course of days
and hundreds of messages the truth slowly emerges.

There's nothing punitive here; there's an attempt to make life easier
for everyone. It is not about regulating anything - I don't think Paul
said anything about anyone enforcing mapping rules or whatever - it is
just about transparency and disclosure.

If someone teaches OSM to a group of people and instructs them to set up
an account - does it really make matters worse if you ask them to write
one sentence on their profile page ("I am Joe Smith and I am learning
OSM in Mikel's OSM for Dummies course")? Would this not be good practice
already, even if not expressly written anywhere?

> We want to encourage people how to do
> things well within OSM, rather than discourage them from getting
> involved at all.

I should be surprised if the measures outlined by Paul were to affect
more than a small franction of mappers. The overwhelming majority of OSM
are "ordinary mappers" who do this as a hobby and who would hardly ever
fall under these rules. They would likely not even read or know of them
so how would they be discouraged?

> No reason to take a defensive stance, unless an epic
> problem is erupting.

We're trying to look ahead just a tiny bit. We have seen the problems
that Wikipedia had with this; we're already seeing SEO spam in OSM
(which would not be helped by this policy but proves that we're not
magically exempt from businesses abusing us) - can it hurt to be prepared?

> To summarize what's new here, what the DWG is essential asking for is an
> association between organized groups and individual user, and details on
> those organized groups.

Yes, almost; personally I'd say we are concerned about those cases
where, essentially, if the community wants someone to change their
mapping they would have to speak to that person's supervisor. So it's
not so much your average mapping party but really something where the
organisation has some kind of command structure and the individual
mapper isn't free to map what they want.

In my eyes, this means a fundamental change in approach compared to the
average mapper who does what the like in their spare time; one that is
worth documenting.

> Say I start a mapping project in a slum in Nairobi. I actually want to
> bring everyone involved together, to communicate among ourselves, to
> promote our project within the community, to help track and advise what
> folks are mapping. I want a Group, and I want to integrate it as part of
> the training process. As a bonus, anyone who has questions about what's
> going on, can find the association from individual users easily, ask
> questions of the whole group or group admin, if needed.

Yes, I think these "Group" ideas could go a long way to help.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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