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

Mateusz Konieczny matkoniecz at tutanota.com
Mon Mar 15 17:41:11 UTC 2021

Mar 15, 2021, 14:43 by bert.araali.afritastic at gmail.com:

> This doesn't however address the inappropriate language used by      some, which seems to gain support from newcomers.  And to Mateusz,      I would like to say, posting a message here to direct OSM      contributors to determine themselves if what is happening there is      non acceptable, is promoting this channel, but feel free if you      feel like you want to connect your name to it and promote it...,  
I invited everyone to see what is actually there as I considered actual state of discussion 
there as the best defense against accusations of racism and abusive comments.

And I continue to invite everyone.

I promise that content there is free from racism, spam, abusive
comments, nazi promotion, attacks on religious, ethnic or cultural groups
(except brief time between posting and quick deletion, bitcoin spam
sometimes survives for several minutes).

I am not promising that it is 100% free from hyperbole, bad ideas and
failed attempts to make a joke

To repeat, link is https://discord.gg/4smYkq3gzp

>  Some of the messages I've seen there have been removed, but after      "the harm was already done".  Justifications and actions by users      and the moderators , came after my message on this forum as it is      bridged to DIscord,  
To be clear, what was removed was describing multiple no votes on shrubbery
proposal as "German assault". It was done by author of message.

No rule violating content was found, except that one of 1927 subscribers with nickname
referring to USSR was asked to change it (as violation was borderline, 
account will be kicked after 24h if nickname will not be changed).

It was entire result of spending hours in attempt to find supposed racist and disgusting content.

>  I leave out the most extreme examples as it helps no one to be      repeated, they contain "historic" references and terms, aiming at      certain countries and communities and religions, which are not      acceptable, actively acted against by the UN and the global      community.
Noone was able to find any such messages. Sole that would sort of qualify was
quoted already.

> 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

No content that would qualify for being racist, disgusting, abusive behavior,
nationalistic lobbying, "nearing hate speech" or "Racist, insulting and abusive comments".

> But for those interested some of the less graving messages are      literally quoted here:
>  "Shrubs is dumb, but otherwise I agree it's minor"
>  "> That's why we need mob rule to fix tagging."
>  "> All micromapping seems overly        complicated to me, but there's some Hungarian college kid that        will do it."
Despite spending massive amount of time on that,
this messages remain the most problematic ones
that were found.

For additional context:

User1: Four people participate in the discussion and they all seem to
       favour shrubs
User2: Go for what works and let's get on with it them.
User1: Not that I would map individual bushes but it is the same as if
       you would use natural=tree on an area? Alright. The difference
       between shurbs and shrubbery is very minor anyway.
User2: Shrubs is dumb, but otherwise I agree it's minor :slight_smile:

"shrubs" was clearly referring to word in a tag, not to religion, race,
ethnic group, cultural group, group of people, place, organization
or specific person.

It was also clearly referring to word in a tag, not to people who favor
such tagging.

"That's why we need mob rule to fix tagging" 

User1: Wow the wiki definition for tracktype=grade4 begins with "Almost
       always an unpaved track..."  implying that there could be paved
       tracks with grade4.  Wut?

User2: Maybe the authors envisioned country-specific track
User2: Maybe post a note on the talk page there

User1: I think the authors felt they couldn't use clear, decisive language due
       to the OSM cultural tendency to allow local mappers to make the
       final call about what a tag should mean in their area Sure is
       interesting trying to structure data when you can never be quite
       sure what a tag really means without surveying mappers worldwide!

User2: That's why we need mob rule to fix tagging.

       (marked as response to "implying that there could be paved
       tracks with grade4.  Wut?")
Me:    In theory: heavily degraded and overgrown asphalt/concrete may

It was not really needed hyperbole, but anyone present in OSM for
long felt need to burn down at least one tagging scheme.
And I see nothing here that would be abusive, racist, derogatory,
hate speech, attack on specific ethic or religious groups or
matching other allegations.

"All micromapping seems overly        complicated to me, but there's some Hungarian college kid that        will do it."

User1: This kind of thing makes sense to me:
User1: [image of intricate footway tagging]
User2: the splitting and classifying each piece seems overly complicated to me,
            but I see the need for a virtual way of some sort and not just for crossing
            roads, but areas too
User1: All micromapping seems overly complicated to me, but there's some
            Hungarian college kid that will do it.

Maybe it is just me but it seemed to be not derogatory, rather the opposite


None of them were considered rule-breaking.
I see no reason to see racism in describing natural=shrubs tag as dumb.
Especially as race was not implied, discussed, considered, suggested
or appearing in any way.

(obviously word "dumb" or "shrub" can be used in racist comment,
but it was not happening here)


as racist, disgusting, abusive behavior, nationalistic lobbying,
"nearing hate speech", "Racist, insulting and abusive comments"
and requires some action and that such content should result in action
from DWG, OSMF and delinking of such discussion place.


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.

To repeat, link to OpenStreetMap World Discord server is
I invite everyone to check which description is better describing reality.

This message was not consulted with the moderation team on
OpenStreetMap World Discord server (sorry, I am out of time).
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