[OSM-talk] international project communication (was: names of international objects)

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Mon Jan 13 00:32:22 UTC 2020


so we've heard a broad range of opinions here, and no doubt many things
have been said that will with pleasure be pulled out of context in years
to come, proving how unwelcoming OSM is to anyone who doesn't submit to
the diktat of English.

I would like to stress:

1. You do not need English for normal everyday participation in
OpenStreetMap. Our website and editors are translated into dozens of
languages, and regionally you can do your mapping in your language
without having to discuss with anyone from another country or continent.
In fact, if you are local to a place, your local knowledge will trump
that of overseas English-speakers in 10 of 10 cases.

2. By nature, once things require agreement between different groups
speaking different languages, a pragmatic solution needs to be found
that allows people from these groups to communicate. By default, this
will be English; though if the involved parties agree to use a different
language that's just fine.

3. It is a valid question whether something like a body of water
bordered by 5 countries, none of which uses English, (a) should have a
name tag with an English name in it, and (b) should be rendered on
openstreetmap.org with its English name (both are independent of each

4. This is not a matter that should be driven by zealotry; we need to be
pragmatic here. If a decision is made to change something, it might make
sense to decide on "phasing something out" and "phasing something else
in", or decide to make a change at a later date, so that map style
makers etc. could prepare adequately.

5. The usual language on this list is English. If you cannot use English
but want to make an important point, post in your language and we'll
make an effort to understand, or those who share your language will
translate. If you *can* use English but don't use it because you want to
make the point that the reliance on English is giving an unfair
advantage to those who can use English - your point is taken, but see #1...


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

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