[OSM-talk] Racist, insulting and abusive comments on OSM related channels

Mateusz Konieczny matkoniecz at tutanota.com
Mon Mar 15 10:22:03 UTC 2021

It seems to be referring to OpenStreetMap World (there are multiple
OSM-related Discord servers).

I invite everyone to look there and judge on their own whatever
description matches reality (invite link is available on the
Wiki- https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Discord, right now it is
https://discord.gg/4smYkq3gzp - viewing content requires account

If you join the server, you can see all the discussion channels like
everyone else (except ones used solely for handling of moderation).

Anyone on this Discord server who sees problems can send a message to a
moderator directly, ping a helper, or message @ModMail. @ModMail is a
bot at the top of the user list. Use it to talk directly, and
privately, to the entire mod team. (Modmail is a common bot used on
thousands of Discord servers.)

The Moderation team consists of nine members from various countries
around the globe, specifically to cover all timezones in-case of any
issues that need actioning. (I am one of the people with ability to
remove users or content).

The server is, in general, a very well moderated space. Rarely I catch
bitcoin spam before other moderators, so I would gladly remove
abusive/racist/insulting/NSFW/spam/scam content as against rules (maybe
together with their authors).

Sadly, I failed to locate anything resembling what you mentioned,
despite spending significant time on that. Other moderators also tried
to locate content described in this email.

One of the moderators contacted you through Discord, so far content
that you described was not found. Can you please describe it more
precisely at least to a moderator that is trying to remove it?

For example I tried to locate:

> vote lobbying for and against proposals because they are made by
> "another" countries community member, it's nearing to hate speech...

There is #proposals channel where some proposal authors are active
asking for feedback, announcing votes, and asking for votes.

It was never argued there that you should support or oppose any
proposals based on nationality.

Is it referring to comments like

> That particular opposition seems to be mainly from non-native English
> speakers that don't seem to get that scrub inherently is used for
> wild areas


Because it is not hate speech or even close to it.

> Whole communities being insulted (words I don't even dare to use)

Is it referring to the following exchange?

> User1: Conspiracy theory: OpenStreetMap is a German plot for world
>        domination
> User2: This turned wrong quickly
> User1: I never said it was a Nazi plot
> User2: I know it was just a joke :slight_smile:
> User3: Our secret plot is to fill the world with burocracy till
>        everything is accounted for

Or a comment that jokingly referred to multiple no votes on shrubbery
proposal as "German assault"?

Or something else? Because I would consider it a substandard joke at
worst, I would not consider it as something objectionable.

I have failed to find any insults so grave that even quoting them is

- User3 is from Germany.
- that is the most aggressive content in thousands of comments posted

> Racist

(from the title)
I tried really hard to find anything that matched, sadly I failed. One
of the moderators contacted you, can you forward to them the racist
comments/content, so that it can be eliminated?

There have historically been cases of bans of users for racist or rude
content, but they were just spam by recently joined accounts - that got
deleted immediately.

> insulting and abusive comments (...) disgusting

Also, please forward to moderator who contacted you content that you
encountered and describe this way. That would make possible to locate
anything that would match your description.

I planned to wait longer to explain what exactly is being reported but
as the situation is escalating
( https://github.com/osmlab/osm-community-index/pull/424 ), this post
was made sooner than planned.

Please, if you encounter any racist, disgusting, inappropriate,
harmful, or abusive (there or elsewhere) - please report it to
moderators using whatever tool is available on a given platform. In
general it is a good idea to quote, link or otherwise specifically
identify rule-breaking content.

On this Discord server send a message to @ModMail account.

This message was consulted with the moderation team on OpenStreetMap
World Discord server.

Mar 14, 2021, 21:29 by bert.araali.afritastic at gmail.com:

> Dear all,
> This is a call to our whole community, 
> I have become only recently active on OSM's        community channels. I am very welcomed, respected on the various        talk pages, and I appreciate that.
>  The past month I have been following different alternative        channels, Telegram groups, WhatsApp groups, and... Discord.
>  > All of them using the OSM name, which for me stands as a      quality mark, not just as a trade mark. Being channels that      respect, values and understands different cultures, different      opinions, promotes decent and democratic principles, respect the      "etiquette" required of calling yourself an OSM contributor, a      member of this community.
> However, what I see on Discord, all under the OSM trade name,      sorry for the word... is disgusting.
>  Whole communities being insulted (words I don't even dare to use),      remarks of non-English communities making "dumb" remarks, vote      lobbying for and against proposals because they are made by      "another" countries community member, it's nearing to hate      speech... really disgusting.
> The ones who are on these channels know who and what I am talking      about, I kindly ask you, stop this please.  This is not welcome,      highly inappropriate and not how you communicate with your fellow      human beings, your fellow OSM contributor. Stop, go and look in      the mirror, and ask yourself what am I doing, is this how I want      to be known in a worldwide peaceful community ?
>  I didn't file a compliant at the DWG, I didn't call this subject      to be handled in the OSMF board (yet), I first call in this      channel, and everyone who experiences the same, feels the same      discussed, speak out, comment on this channel, because I don't      want to be associated with a channel that uses the OSM name where      by some, not all not the majority, but some, disguise and      dis-value what we stand for.
>  And please, don't call names in your comments, it's not limited to      people from one country particular, one community. Just express      your concerns, and when this behaviour doesn't change, we as a      community can and will take action, identify the malicious minds      and practices, and remand or ban them. Let your comment be their      first warning.
> Kind regards,
> Bert Araali

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