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

Kathleen Lu kathleen.lu at mapbox.com
Mon Mar 15 17:49:57 UTC 2021

The DWG's role is to arbitrate issues in the OSM geodatabase. It has no
role regarding content issues outside of that database. If you wish to make
a complaint regarding community representation, please make that to the
Board. Note of course, that the existence of a Code of Conduct is one the
the issues actively being discussed by the Diversity and Inclusion Special
Committee recently activated by the Board.

On Mon, Mar 15, 2021 at 9:53 AM Bert -Araali- Van Opstal <
bert.araali.afritastic at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 15/03/2021 19:25, 80hnhtv4agou--- via talk wrote:
> DWG, is the police force of the OSMF, they have no right to ban or sensor
> US for what WE say on non OSM sites.
> But we all gave them a mission, protect the tradename and what it stands
> for. If you want to express a different vision, opinion or whatever of
> course you can, and there is few police on the internet that will stop
> you.  But that is not the case here, if you act under the OSM name and
> pretend to represent the community or a community platform, then it is no
> more then fair our DWG and OSMF can have a say about that.  And about
> referring to your platform from OSM branded resources.
> And even more, if you incite violations against our basic rules and code
> of conduct, from external sites, they have in my opinion the mandate from
> the community to ban and stop you from doing that.
> Понедельник, 15 марта 2021, 8:53 -05:00 от Bert -Araali- Van Opstal
> <bert.araali.afritastic at gmail.com> <bert.araali.afritastic at gmail.com>:
> Hello all,
> Sorry for the somewhat delayed reply, I needed a break since this was
> keeping me busy the whole night.
> I was not directed there through the "OSM Community Index", I do think we
> should list all channels there, including and undiscriminating non open
> sources as there are many.
> In case a community member feels offended or notices other community
> members being offended, who for whatever reason don't want or wish to speak
> out, then I do support the general policy of consultation, creating
> awareness and if that doesn't bring any change in the behaviour, reporting
> to the DWG and/or the board so they can sanction them accordingly.
> In the case of the OpenStreetMap World server, I was just observing, not
> participating in any conversation. As it carries the OpenStreetMap brand
> name, see if it really acts and actively values the OSM community.  Most
> other non open source channels do seem to achieve this, lets call them by
> name, Telegram Groups, WhatsApp groups do this, Facebook I don't know,
> since I didn't observe it yet.
> As an observer, I personally was not targetted by any of the comments, in
> the contrary, in some messages my name and my personal opinions respected
> and referenced.
> Unfortunately, you have to join the group to be able to read what is going
> on there. There is a limited group of OSM members, active on this DIscord
> Server, under the same or similar names as on OSM, that seem to find this
> channel appropriate to undermine our community guidelines, like the
> Organised Editing Guidelines, actively soliciting for organised edits to
> justify or promote proposals etc... . An issue that already was brought up
> in this forum with the necessary drama. Issues, that can, in a decent
> dialogue, should be able to be resolved, if necessary with consultation of
> the DWG.
> 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...,
> 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,
> 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.
> 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."
> I know, as the moderators say, all not so extreme, but I, personally, got
> more and more agitated, also by the comments after my compliant by some of
> the moderators that in their opinion it is not that bad.... This is where
> it starts, where is the end ?  When do you act.  I also didn't contact the
> moderators their in the first place since some of them seem to practice and
> support the same tone in their dialogues, I couldn't or didn't determine if
> some of the abusers are the moderators.
> To conclude this mail, I do think as an OSM community we should react.
> The channel is using the OSM name, actively uses and links direct to OSM,
> engages and recruits OSM members, so they should be treated as local
> chapters acting on social media, with proper attribution and acceptance of
> their code of conduct and handling abuses by the DWG and our board.
> They invited me to discuss it publicly on their forum, I will, I will
> ventilate my personal objections, and how this behaviour and language makes
> me think twice again, to put on an OSM T shirt or hat, I don't like to be
> referenced as representing and promoting this, even if it is just a small
> group amongst an otherwise great open community.
> Thank you for taking your time to read this,
> Bert Araali
> On 15/03/2021 13:22, Mateusz Konieczny via talk wrote:
> 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
> creation).
> 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
> unacceptable.
> Note:
> - User3 is from Germany.
> - that is the most aggressive content in thousands of comments posted
>    there
> > 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
> <//e.mail.ru/compose/?mailto=mailto%3abert.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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