OpenStreetMap

The licence change and bullying

Posted by Wynndale on 26 April 2011 in English (English)

Although the majority of the most active contributors to OSM have agreed to license their contributions under the ODbL, some people have not yet done so. The reasons for not having done so are many and varied: some mappers haven’t been contacted yet, some are opposed to the thought of their contributions being made available under ODbL terms, which I respect even though I disagree with it; some people still hope the Foundation will change their mind ignoring the damage to the community from supporters of the licence change being betrayed, some have fallen out with the project and want to go out with a bang, some lack confidence because they don’t quite understand what the licence change means and some are naturally cautious about signing any agreement.

Unfortunately a few mappers are seeking to gain an advantage by threatening not to sign up for as long as they can and twisting people’s arms in the process. Bullying is not of course unheard of in online communities; the licence change has give some bullies an opportunity.

My message to the bullies is that although we would like your contributions along with everyone else’s they are not so critical we need to grovel to your self-importance; they can and will be replaced. To anyone who’s been bullied about licences or anything else, we’re here to help.

Comment from JohnSmith on 26 April 2011 at 12:43

How is your whole post not an attempt to bully those holding out into agreeing, regardless if they are able to or not?

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Comment from wallclimber21 on 26 April 2011 at 13:20

If the goal of your patronizing post was to piss of those on the fence into not signing at all, then bravo for a job well done!

(And, yes, I signed... but only because I don't want hundreds of hours go to waste.)

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Comment from davespod on 26 April 2011 at 13:37

This is pretty strong language. I have (unfortunately) followed months of mailing list discussions and whilst I have see some pretty incredible behaviour, and may even have seen some behaviour verging on bullying, I cannot say I have ever seen the withholding of agreement to the contributor terms used to bully individuals. Where has such bullying happened?

If it has not, I really don't see how this kind of language helps anyone. Should we not be reaching out to people instead of attacking them for disagreeing with us? Is the above post going to change anyone's mind? If not, what do you hope to achieve?

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Comment from Vincent de Phily on 26 April 2011 at 14:02

I do not see how some contributors disagreeing with the license change is going to stop the license change. So if there's no victim, how can there be a bully ? "expessing your discontent" maybe; "bullying" not so much. And I think saying "I disagree" until the cut-off date is perfectly ok (even though I personnaly agree with the license change).

On the other hand, I can easily see how anybody who hasn't paid attention to the license discussions and suddenly sees a "agree or your contributions will be deleted" sign can feel bullied (even if that feeling is based on misinformation). So for those contributors's sake I think your post, by reversing the bullied-bullier roles, is doing more harm than good.

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Comment from Silanea on 26 April 2011 at 14:27

"[...] they can and will be replaced. [...]"

Not getting into the licensing topic itself - I support the change but understand why others may not - but one question I do want to ask, out of genuine interest:
Is there any way to see how much content is affected by this dispute? Ie. how would the map look if any content not under the ODbL was removed? Has anyone set up a renderer for this already?

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Comment from Strash on 26 April 2011 at 18:09

Silanea, http://odbl.de/ for an interesting link to answer part of your question

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Comment from RussNelson on 26 April 2011 at 20:27

Um, bullying is done when someone with more power threatens to hurt someone with less power. Since the people running OSM are using their power to threaten to delete people's contributions, it seems that it is THEY who are bulling us, not vice-versa.

Take your bullying bullshit and shove it where it will do the most good.

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Comment from chriscf on 27 April 2011 at 01:38

Russ, what power is that? "The people running OSM" are contributors like you or I. They only have power over you if you attribute it to them. I've made it clear to people in the past that given the Foundation is composed of fellow contributors, I will listen to them as fellow contributors, but I do not recognise any authority over me, not the Foundation, and not the Working Groups. I have considered the evidence, and weighed the arguments, and my fellow contributors have made a compelling case for the need to change. It's not as if this change has been rushed through in some undemocratic fashion - there was years of open discussion, a vote open to all, and lots of groundwork.

So take your whiny bullshit and shove it ... oh, right, your head's in the way ...

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Comment from Vincent de Phily on 27 April 2011 at 10:10

Strash: http://odbl.de/ and http://ni.kwsn.net/~toby/OSM/license_count.html will give you stats. http://osm.informatik.uni-leipzig.de/map/ will show you the map rendered according to license.

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