[OSM-talk] Board decision on Crimea complaint

Andy Townsend ajt1047 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 11 01:18:26 UTC 2018

On 10/12/2018 19:33, Michael Reichert wrote:

 > Did you consult the working group being involved in boundary
 > disputes (DWG and LWG) before you came to that decision?

I'm not on the board but I can answer one of those - a statement was 
issued to the DWG and LWG on Tuesday last week saying that the previous 
situation was to remain in effect.  Previous to that Martijn had (as 
OSMF secretary) contacted us (the DWG) to say that a complaint had been 
received, and I replied with the timeline of the decision process (who 
complained to us, what we then did, etc.), and then with some more 
clarification that Martijn asked for.  As I understand it, the 3 DWG 
members on the OSMF board recused themselves from the decision-making 

As others have said, it will be interesting to read the full explanation 
when it is ready.  These decisions are never easy - I'm sure that there 
was careful consideration before reaching it (as there was before the 
DWG reached its decision too).

Looking forwards rather than backwards, we do however have something of 
a problem.  We have two OSMF policies that directly contradict each 
other - 
and the originally "short term" 
.  Others have made the case for verifiability as being at the root of 
everything we do, which led to the addition of "de facto" borders to 
OSM; I don't need to repeat those arguments.  We have however always 
tried to allow people to make their own maps that show their view of the 
world (DisputedTerritoriesInformation.pdf has said almost exactly that 
since 2013).  Unfortunately people see some map tiles at 
OpenStreetMap.org and think that those are somehow "the only view that 
OSM has" despite OSM containing far more data, especially about the 
nuances of different sorts of boundaries, than one representation can 
possibly show.

I've said many times before that we need to try and make this process as 
easy as possible, in particular the "my country has a claimed extent of 
X which is verifiable on the ground" case. There's currently discussion 
on the tagging list and in the wiki to try and make this happen.  And 
no, picking someone else's criteria ("The UN", the CIA's "World 
Factbook", or anything else) for boundaries isn't going to work - there 
are simply too many edge cases.  Watch 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AivEQmfPpk if you haven't already seen 
it for some of the gory detail.

Best Regards,

Andy Townsend (from OSM's Data Working Group)

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