[OSM-talk] HDYC, login requirement and "privacy"

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Mon May 8 08:53:02 UTC 2017

Frederik Ramm wrote:
> saying "your privacy goes down the drain if you do anything 
> online anyway, so why should we at OSM take steps to protect 
> it more".
> Perhaps: because we can, and because it's a good thing?

...or perhaps it isn't quite that black and white.

OSM, at its best, is a community of real people, mapping their
neighbourhoods, and taking responsibility for their edits. I stand by my
edits in Charlbury and nearby because it's verifiable that I live here. If
anonguy1 comes along and repeatedly edit-wars "Market Street" into "High
Street", OSM defers, correctly, to me as the accountable local who feels a
sense of ownership for my part of the map. If I wrongly armchair some TIGER
and Todd from North Carolina says "hey, actually that should be a tertiary
road", I defer to him - it's his map, I'm just visiting. As Mikel says
upthread, "[OSM] depends so much on user reputation to retain quality".

Breaking the connection between real people and "their map" fundamentally
alters the OSM community, and, I think, makes it closer to the toxic,
identity-free, virtual-personality environment that Wikipedia can so often
be. You know and I know that several of OSM's most challenging edit wars in
recent years have involved people who have not admitted, or have heavily
obfuscated, their real names - sometimes generating a succession of
disguised identities. I do not think this is coincidence. With identity
comes accountability. 

There is nothing wrong with us saying "100% privacy is valuable, but it's
not compatible with the way OSM works, and if you can't cope with your edits
being trackable then OSM is perhaps not the project for you".


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