OpenStreetMap

OSMF-Vorstand kodifiziert englischsprachige und anglo-amerikanische kulturelle Dominanz in der OSMF

Posted by imagico on 31 January 2020 in English (English)

Der OSMF-Vorstand hat gestern in seiner monatlichen Vorstandssitzung die Annahme eines neuen Grundwerte-Dokuments beschlossen, nachdem dieses zweieinhalb Stunden vorher den OSMF-Mitgliedern vorgestellt worden war. Ich möchte hier den Inhalt dieses Dokumentes kritisch beleuchten.

Warum mach ich dies auf Deutsch? Zum einen, weil ich vor einiger Zeit beschlossen habe, Diskussionen zum Themenkomplex Vielfalt und Werte in OpenStreetMap bevorzugt nicht mehr auf Englisch zu führen, um den englischen Muttersprachlern zu verdeutlichen, dass sie nicht die Deutungshoheit über die verwendeten Begriffe fordern können. Zum anderen weil die deutsche Sprache über das einzig passende Genre für diese Arbeit verfügt - den Verriss.

Die Vorgeschichte

Die Vorgeschichte kurz zusammengefasst: Nach den letzten OSMF-Vorstandswahlen gab es einige Unzufriedenheit mit den Ergebnissen von Seiten solcher, die sich etwas anderes gewünscht hatten. Und weil Twitter ja bekanntlich gut geeignet zum kollektiven Empören ist, entlud sich da ein veritables OSM-Bashing mit dem Grund-Tenor, dass es Zeit wird, dass diese Domäne des Patriarchats endlich mal anständig eingenordet wird entsprechend der Werte und Grundsätze, die man in dieser Filterblase nun mal so hat.

Und dem neu gewählten OSMF-Vorstand ging deswegen anscheinend ein bisschen der Arsch auf Grundeis. Das führte im ersten Vorstands-Treffen im Dezember zum unerwarteten Vorschlag von Guillaume, doch eine Diversity-Arbeitsgruppe zu gründen. Ich schrieb dazu bereits einen ziemlich kritischen Kommentar und auch ansonsten war die Reaktion eher verhalten. Es gab dann im neuen Jahr von Mikel einen Tagebuch-Eintrag aber außer einigen Detail-Kommentaren und den üblichen politischen Positionierungen kam da öffentlich nicht viel bei raus. Was ja auch verständlich ist. Wenn der Vorstand sich mit dem Vorhaben aus dem Fenster lehnt, von oben herab eine Arbeitsgruppe zu gründen, dann warten die meisten erst mal ab, wohin die Reise denn gehen soll. Ansonsten ist zumindest für Außenstehende sichtbar nicht viel passiert bis dann Guillaume wenige Stunden vor der Vorstandssitzung das jetzt beschlossene Dokument präsentierte.

Das Problem, vor dem der Vorstand stand war, dass anscheinend so abstrakt wie man das Vorhaben einer Diversity-Arbeitsgruppe präsentiert hat niemand sich dafür vor den Karren spannen lassen wollte. Also dachte man sich wohl, da muss man als Vorstand ein bisschen Vorarbeit leisten, um dem Vorhaben den nötigen Schups zu geben. Also muss ein Grundlagen-Dokument her. Etwas, womit sich Leute identifizieren können und was Leute motiviert, sich dafür zu engagieren. Aber woher nehmen wenn nicht stehlen? Oh, warte - in der Welt freier Lizenzen ist das mit dem Stehlen ja kein Problem. Wo bedient man sich also, wenn man in einer Organisation mit englischsprachiger Dominanz nach einem Grundlagen-Dokument zum Thema Diversity sucht? Richtig: In einem noch stärker englischsprachig und anglo-amerikanisch kulturell dominierten Technologie-Projekt, in diesem Falle Python.

Als der Link zum Python-Projekt zusammen mit einem Verweis zu Twitter dann ohne weitere Erläuterungen vor einiger Zeit auf der Agenda der Vorstandssitzung auftauchte war das erstmal Facepalm-würdig - aber ich dachte mir ursprünglich auch: Da sind erfahrene Leute im Vorstand und ich hab ja nun wahrlich genau wie viele andere oft genug herausgestellt, dass OpenStreetMap eben kein 08/15 Tech-Projekt ist und muss das jetzt nicht noch mal Oberlehrer-haft wiederholen…

Der Text

Aber genug der Vorgeschichte, schauen wir uns den Text halt mal an.

Das Ganze ist kein praktisches Regelwerk mit Geboten und Verboten, es handelt sich um eine allgemeine Bekundung von Werten und Absichten. Aber im Gegensatz zu unserem traditionellen Grundwerte-Dokument, welches Grundwerte des Projektes beschreibt und apellativ dem Leser nahe liegt, welchen Grundsätzen dessen Beteiligung am Projekt entsprechen sollte, erhebt dieses neue Dokument den Anspruch, in der Wir-Form für das Projekt und alle an ihm Beteiligten zu sprechen. Es steht also nicht mehr im Vordergrund, dem Einzelnen zu erläutern, unter welchen Parametern seine oder ihre Beteiligung am Projekt akzeptabel und wünschenswert ist, während er/sie außerhalb des Projektes tun und lassen kann, was er/sie möchte, sondern es wird kollektiv für die gesamte Gemeinschaft ein Grundwerte-System definiert, dem man sich als entweder unterordnen kann, oder man ist halt nicht Mitglied dieser postulierten Gemeinschaft.

Dass gleichzeitig behauptet wird, dass Alle, wirklich Alle willkommen sind, gehört zu den fundamentalen Widersprüchen und Problemen des Dokuments. Hierdurch wird ein wahrhaft absolutistischer Anspruch dieser Grundwerte postuliert. Ausschließlich die Akzeptanz dieses Grundwerte-Kanons entscheidet darüber, ob jemand zu der Gemeinschaft gehört oder nicht. Und das bedeutet am Ende dann natürlich auch, dass die Akzeptanz und Wertschätzung der traditionellen Grundwerte des Mappings in OpenStreetMap nicht zwingend erforderlich ist. Diese sind - ohne dass dies explizit erwähnt wird - aufgrund der absolutistischen Feststellung, dass wirklich ausnahmslos jeder, der sich diesen neuen Grundwerten unterordnet, willkommen ist, diesen klar untergeordnet. Ich habe ja bei mehreren Gelegenheiten in der Vergangenheit bereits dargelegt, weshalb das exakte Gegenteil, die stärkere Betonung und die offensivere Kommunikation der Grundwerte des Mappings in OpenStreetMap von essentieller Bedeutung für den langfristigen sozialen Zusammenhalt im Projekt ist.

Ein anderer Grundtenor des Dokumentes, welcher recht typisch für derartige Texte mit einer ursprünglichen Bedeutung innerhalb eines recht eng umgrenzten kulturellen Umfeldes ist, welcher aber in einem kulturell vielfältigen Umfeld wie OpenStreetMap hoch problematisch ist, besteht in der Tatsache, dass zentrale Begriffe verwendet werden, ohne sie zu definieren. Dies betrifft im ersten Absatz vor allem neben dem Titel-Begriff diversity (welcher heute im praktischen Gebrauch oft den Charakter eines politischen Kampfbegriffs hat) vor allem das Wort “tolerance”. Ohne eine Definition dieser zentralen Begriffe hängt die Bedeutung des Gesamt-Dokuments maßgeblich von der Interpretation dieser Begriffe ab und wie oben angedeutet fordern hier englische Muttersprachler erfahrungsgemäß eine Deutungshoheit auf Grundlage ihres kulturellen Hintergrundes ein, was noch über die objektive Bedeutung des Dokumentes selbst hinaus die anglo-amerikanische kulturelle Dominanz unterstreicht.

Der zweite Absatz des Dokuments liefert dann eine Erklärung für die Motivation für das ganze Statement. Dass der primäre Nutzen, den man sich verspricht, darin besteht, dass die OSM-Community “stronger and more vibrant” wird, ist eine etwas merkwürdige Wortwahl, die mehr zu einem PR-Statement eines Unternehmens zu passen scheint als zu einem sozialen Projekt wie OSM. Das wichtigste an diesem Absatz ist aber, dass hier die Daten-Qualität als höchstes inhaltliches Ziel des Projektes postuliert wird (“create a better map”) - ganz im Gegensatz wiederum zu unseren traditionellen OpenStreetMap-Werten (wie “community cohesion over data perfection”).

Der dritte Absatz ist schließlich der Kern des ganzen Dokumentes, denn hier wird die anfängliche universelle Regel der nicht-Diskriminierung (jeder ist willkommen) konkretisiert. Hier liegt ein weiterer innerer Widerspruch des Dokumentes. Es werden eine Reihe von Aspekten aufgezählt, nach denen nicht diskriminiert werden darf aber es wird gleichzeitig betont, dass diese Liste nicht vollständig ist und auch nach anderen Dingen nicht diskriminiert werden darf. Formell ist diese explizite Liste dadurch irrelevant.

Der Grund, weshalb solche Listen dennoch in derartigen Dokumenten sehr weit verbreitet ist, liegt darin, dass die Bekämpfung von Diskriminierungen in der Praxis oft wiederum durch diskriminierende Maßnahmen erfolgt. Und die Liste entscheidet dann darüber, welche Diskriminierungen schlimmer sind als andere - frei nach dem Motto: All people are equal but some are more equal than others.

Die Liste hat also bei einer potentiellen praktischen Durchsetzung der postulierten Grundwerte durchaus Relevanz und sie verrät auch einiges über die ihrer Erstellung zugrunde liegenden politisch-weltanschaulichen Werte.

Die vollsändige Liste: age, culture, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, national origin, physical or mental difference, politics, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and subculture.

Interessanter als das, was auf der Liste drauf steht ist natürlich das, was nicht drauf steht. Insbesondere

  • es fehlt “language” - das Ausmaß an kognitiver Dissonanz, welches erforderlich wäre, um in einem englischsprachigem Dokument die Diskriminierung nach Sprache zu untersagen, ist halt natürlich auch ein bisschen zu viel.
  • es gibt “national origin”, aber nicht “nationality”. Die Diskriminierung nach Staatsangehörigkeit gehört in vielen Ländern dieser Welt, insbesondere natürlich in den USA, halt zum Grundverständnis des Staates.
  • es gibt den grammatisch nicht passenden Punkt “politics”, welcher entweder “political orientation” bedeuten könnte, oder Diskriminierung für irgendwas aus politischen Gründen (“for political reasons”).
  • es gibt keinen Punkt “wealth” (Wohlstand), dafür aber den Punkt “socio-economic status”. Dies ist ein markanter Aspekt, der allen Anti-Diskriminierungs-Dokumenten dieser Art in englischer Sprache, die ich kenne, gemeinsam ist. Dass eine Diskriminierung nach Wohlstand nicht verboten ist, bestätigt schlicht und einfach die Akzeptanz einer kapitalistischen Gesellschaftsordnung, denn die Diskriminierung nach Wohlstand ist natürlich fundamentale Grundlage des Kapitalismus. Dass der Punkt “socio-economic status” eingeführt wird, ist der Versuch, den grundsätzlichen Widerspruch zwischen der kapitalistischen Gesellschaftsordnung und der Idee der universellen Diskriminierungs-Freiheit zu kaschieren. Denn das Konzept des Sozioökonomischer Status schließt den Aspekt Wohlstand an sich meist explizit aus. Noch ein anderer Aspekt des Punktes “socio-economic status” ist im OSM-Kontext interessant, denn er schließt den Aspekt der beruflichen Tätigkeit mit ein. Das bedeutet im OSM-Kontext, dass eine Diskriminierung aufgrund der beruflichen Tätigkeit - zum Beispiel indem ein bezahlter Mapper irgendwie anders behandelt wird als ein Hobby-Mapper - explizit von diesem Grundwerte-Kanon verboten wird.
  • ein letzter Punkt noch - auch “physical or mental difference” ist interessant, denn “mental difference” schließt recht klar auch das ein, was man im Allgemeinen als Tugenden betrachtet. Dass die Diskriminierung von Menschen aufgrund unterschiedlicher Tugendhaftigkeit von diesem Grundwerte-Kanon abgelehnt wird, hat für die moralphilosophische Betrachtung ggf. eine erhebliche Bedeutung.

Man kann also sehen, dass sich hinter dieser oberflächlich vielleicht harmlos erscheinenden Liste von potentiellen Diskriminierungs-Arten eine recht spezifische politisch-weltanschauliche Wertung verbirgt.

Und der vierte Absatz greift schließlich noch einmal das Thema Sprache auf, welches im vorherigen Absatz wie erwähnt explizit ausgespart wurde und postuliert, dass die englischsprachige Dominanz zu den unveränderlichen Kernprinzipien des Projektes gehört. Das ist hochgradig bemerkenswert wie Roland auf osmf-talk bereits angedeutet hat. Was dann im Weiteren noch angedeutet wird ist, dass die sprachliche Vielfalt im Projekt ausschließlich als Domäne der local chapters angesehen wird und dass sich die OSMF über “encouragement” hinaus hier in keinerlei Verpflichtung sieht. Deutlicher lässt sich die englischsprachige Dominanz in der Organisation und die damit zwangsläufig verbundene kulturelle Einseitigkeit eigentlich nicht mehr kodifizieren.

Schlussfolgerungen

Die meisten dieser Faux-pas im Text sind natürlich nicht explizit vom OSMF-Vorstand da eingebaut worden, sondern sind Resultat der gedankenlosen Übernahme aus dem Python-Dokument. Das Ganze war also sicherlich nicht schlecht gemeint, aber dennoch recht offensichtlich total schlecht durchdacht und ist deshalb am Ende vor allem in Hinsicht des Signals, welches damit an die weltweite OSM-Community gesendet wird, ein ziemlicher Albtraum. Und so leid es mir tut - es zeigt, dass man kollektiv aus dem Debakel der Krim-Entscheidung nichts gelernt hat. Damals hat der OSMF-Vorstand die Grundwerte des Projektes in Form der Vor-Ort-Überprüfbarkeit der Daten in einer Einzelfall-Entscheidung zum Appeasement gegenüber einem laut empörten Mob zum Erhalt eines vermeintlichen Friedens in der OSM-Community geopfert und damit die Glaubwürdigkeit der OSMF als Garant der Grundwerte des Projektes nachhaltig beschädigt.

Ich war eigentlich gewillt, dem neuen OSMF-Vorstand ein bisschen Vorschuss-Lorbeeren zu gewähren. Aber diesen Bruch mit allen bisherigen Gepflogenheiten indem man Überfall-artig einen neuen Grundwerte-Kanon beschließt, und dann auch noch derartig undurchdacht in der Ausführung, ist da ein bisschen zu viel.

Aber Christoph wird jetzt manch einer sagen, gegen Diskriminierung zu sein ist doch etwas universell Gutes - wie kann man denn dagegen sein? Nein, ist es nicht. Dass Diskriminierung so etwas absolut böses ist, dass man dessen Bekämpfung als absoluten Wert über alles andere stellen muss, ist ein spezifischer Wert eines äußerst engen Kulturkreises. Wer diesen Wert jetzt als Grundwert der gesamten weltweiten OSM-Community postuliert, ohne sich vorher einer offenen und sachlichen Diskussion zu stellen, in wie fern dieser mit grundlegenden moralischen Prinzipien vereinbar ist, der handelt kultur-imperialistisch.

Und auch wenn sich eine bedingte Ablehnung von Diskriminierung (zum Beispiel wenn grundlos oder willkürlich) aus vielen ethischen Theorien ableiten lässt, gilt ganz Allgemein: Moral ist kein Wunschkonzert. Man kann sich aus moralischen Grundsätzen nicht einfach die Dinge herauspicken, die einem gerade in den Kram passen und den Rest ignorieren. Dann handelt man nicht moralisch, sondern opportunistisch.

Wie wird es jetzt weiter gehen?

Der Vorstand hat sich eine kleine Chance gelassen, um diese Hypothek wieder abzulösen, indem er nämlich beschlossen hat, ein Komittee zur Weiterentwicklung dieses Grundwerte-Kanons und zur Ableitung weiterer Maßnahmen daraus einzusetzen. Wenn dieses Komitee aus verantwortungsvollen und mutigen Leuten zusammengesetzt wird, die bereit sind, sich über ihren Auftrag ein bisschen hinweg zu setzen und das ganze Dokument grundlegend im Sinne der Grundwerte von OpenStreetMap zu überarbeiten und zu revidieren, dann könnte die OSMF diese Scharte wieder ausmerzen.

Sollte eine derartige Revision nicht stattfinden und eventuell sogar das einzusetzende Komitee die skizzierten Werte weiter ausbauen, dann bedeutet dies, dass sich die OSMF vom Ziel, die OSM-Community in ihrer gesamten Vielfalt gleichberechtigt zu unterstützen und zu repräsentieren, verabschiedet und stattdessen versucht im Stil vieler anglo-amerikanischer Projekte das in der Organisation dominierende und jetzt auch codifizierte kulturelle Wertesystem in kolonialer Tradition in die OSM-Community zu projizieren.

Ob das gelingen würde steht auf einem ganz anderen Blatt. Der Einfluss der OSMF auf OpenStreetMap steht und fällt mit der Akzeptanz der Organisation als positive Kraft im Projekt. Bereits jetzt ist ziemlich klar absehbar, dass der OSMF-Vorstand mit dieser Maßnahme den Arbeitsgruppen eher einen Bärendienst erweist, denn die Rekrutierung neuer Freiwilliger - eines der großen aktuellen Probleme der OSMF - wird, wenn man von Allen erst einmal die Unterordnung unter ein für die meisten sowohl sprachlich als auch kulturell fremdes Grundwerte-System fordert, nicht gerade einfacher. Darüber hinaus müssen potentielle Freiwillige die englischsprachige und anglo-amerikanische kulturelle Dominanz in der OSMF nicht nur für den Einstieg akzeptieren mit der gegebenen Hoffnung, dass sie durch Engagement daran mit der Zeit und mit Hilfe anderer vielleicht ein bisschen was ändern können, sondern sie müssen dies als dauerhaft kodifizierten und gewünschten Zustand hinnehmen. Nicht nur das - der neue Grundwerte-Kanon sagt ja sogar im Grunde fast explizit, dass man sich wenn man nicht flüssig Englisch spricht doch bitte eher in einem der local chapters engagiert als in der OSMF.

Non-authoritive English translation from deepl.com:

OSMF Board codifies English-speaking and Anglo-American cultural dominance in OSMF

The OSMF Board of Directors decided yesterday at its monthly board meeting to adopt a new values document after it was presented to OSMF members two and a half hours earlier. I would like to take a critical look at the content of this document.

Why am I doing this in German? Firstly, because I decided some time ago that I prefer not to have discussions about diversity and values in OpenStreetMap in English, to make it clear to native English speakers that they cannot demand the right to interpret the terms used. Secondly, because the German language has the only suitable genre for this work - the Verriss.

The Prehistory

A brief summary of the background: After the last OSMF board elections, there was some dissatisfaction with the results from those who had hoped for something different. And because Twitter is known to be a good source of collective outrage, a veritable OSM bashing with the basic tenor that it’s time for this domain of patriarchy to finally get its place in a decent hierarchy according to the values and principles that are part of this filter bubble.

And the newly elected OSMF board seems to have been a bit of a pain in the ass about it. This led to Guillaume’s unexpected proposal to found a diversity working group in the first board meeting in December. I wrote already a rather critical comment and the reaction was also otherwise rather restrained. There was then in the new year an entry in Mikel’s diary but apart from a few detailed comments and the usual political positioning, not much came out publicly. Which is understandable. When the board of directors leans out of the window with the plan to found a working group from the top down, then most of them wait and see where the journey will lead to. Apart from that, at least for outsiders, not much happened until Guillaume presented the document a few hours before the board meeting.

The problem the board faced was that apparently as abstract as the project was presented to a diversity working group, nobody wanted to be hitched to the cart. So I thought to myself that as a board member you have to do a little bit of preliminary work to give the project the necessary push. So we need a basic document. Something that people can identify with and that motivates people to get involved. But if not stealing, where do you get it from? Oh, wait - in the world of free licenses, stealing is no problem. So where do you go if you are looking for a basic document on diversity in an organization with English-speaking dominance? Correct: In an even more English-speaking and Anglo-American-culturally dominated technology project, in this case Python.

When the link to the Python project together with a link to Twitter appeared on the agenda of the board meeting some time ago without any further explanation, it was worthy of Facepalm - but I originally thought: There are experienced people on the board and I really just like many others often enough emphasized that OpenStreetMap is not a 08/15 tech project and I don’t have to repeat it now like a senior teacher…

The text

But enough of the prehistory, let’s just have a look at the text.

The whole thing is not a practical set of rules with commandments and prohibitions, it is a general declaration of values and intentions. But in contrast to our traditional values document, which describes the project’s values and tells the reader what principles his participation in the project should be based on, this new document claims to speak for the project and all those involved in it in the “we” form. Thus, the focus is no longer on explaining to the individual under which parameters his or her participation in the project is acceptable and desirable, while outside the project he or she can do whatever he or she wants, but collectively for the entire community a system of core values is defined, to which one can be considered either subordinate or simply not a member of this postulated community.

That at the same time it is claimed that everyone, really everyone, is welcome is one of the fundamental contradictions and problems of the document. This postulates a truly absolutist claim of these fundamental values. Only the acceptance of this canon of basic values decides whether someone belongs to the community or not. And in the end, of course, this also means that acceptance and appreciation of the traditional core values of mapping in OpenStreetMap is not mandatory. These are - without this being explicitly mentioned - clearly subordinate to them due to the absolutist statement that really without exception everyone who submits to these new core values is welcome. I have already explained on several occasions in the past why the exact opposite, the stronger emphasis and the more offensive communication of the basic values of the mapping in OpenStreetMap is of essential importance for the long-term social cohesion of the project.

Another basic tenor of the document, which is quite typical for such texts with an original meaning within a rather narrowly defined cultural environment, but which is highly problematic in a culturally diverse environment like OpenStreetMap, is the fact that central terms are used without defining them. In the first paragraph, this applies not only to the title term diversity (which in practical use today often has the character of a political struggle term), but above all to the word “tolerance”. Without a definition of these central terms, the meaning of the document as a whole depends largely on the interpretation of these terms and, as indicated above, experience shows that native English speakers claim the right to interpret the document on the basis of their cultural background, which underlines the Anglo-American cultural dominance beyond the objective meaning of the document itself.

The second paragraph of the document then provides an explanation of the motivation for the whole statement. The fact that the primary benefit expected is that the OSM community will become “stronger and more vibrant” is a somewhat odd choice of words that seems more appropriate for a company’s PR statement than for a social project like OSM. The most important thing about this paragraph, however, is that it postulates data quality as the project’s ultimate goal (“create a better map”) - in contrast to our traditional OpenStreetMap values (like “community cohesion over data perfection”).

Finally, the third paragraph is the core of the whole document, because here the initial universal rule of non-discrimination (everyone is welcome) is concretized. Here lies another internal contradiction in the document. It lists a number of aspects according to which discrimination is not allowed, but at the same time it emphasizes that this list is not complete and that there are other things that are not allowed to be discriminated against. Formally, this explicit list is therefore irrelevant.

The reason why such lists are nevertheless very widespread in such documents is that in practice, discrimination is often combated through discriminatory measures. And the list then decides which discriminations are worse than others - along the lines of: All people are equal but some are more equal than others.

The list is therefore relevant to the potential practical implementation of the postulated basic values and it also reveals a great deal about the political and ideological values on which it is based.

The complete list: age, culture, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, national origin, physical or mental difference, politics, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and subculture.

More interesting than what is on the list is of course what is not on it. Especially

  • there is a lack of “language” - the amount of cognitive dissonance required to prohibit discrimination by language in an English language document is, of course, also a bit too much.
  • there is “national origin”, but not “nationality”. Discrimination according to nationality is part of the basic understanding of the state in many countries of the world, especially of course in the USA.
  • there is the grammatically not fitting point “politics”, which could mean either “political orientation”, or discrimination for political reasons.
  • there is no point “wealth”, but there is the point “socio-economic status”. This is a striking aspect common to all anti-discrimination documents of this kind in English that I know of. The fact that discrimination on the basis of wealth is not prohibited simply confirms the acceptance of a capitalist social order, because discrimination on the basis of wealth is of course the fundamental basis of capitalism. The introduction of the point “socio-economic status” is an attempt to conceal the fundamental contradiction between the capitalist social order and the idea of universal freedom from discrimination. For the concept of socio-economic status usually explicitly excludes the aspect of prosperity per se. Yet another aspect of [socio-economic status] is interesting in the OSM context, because it includes the aspect of professional activity. In the OSM context, this means that discrimination based on professional activity - for example, by treating a paid mapper in some way differently from an amateur mapper - is explicitly prohibited by this canon of basic values.
  • one last point - “physical or mental difference” is also interesting, because “mental difference” quite clearly includes what is generally regarded as virtues The fact that discrimination against people on the basis of different virtues is rejected by this canon of basic values may be of considerable importance for moral philosophical considerations.

One can therefore see that behind this superficially perhaps harmless list of potential types of discrimination there is a quite specific political-ideological evaluation.

And finally, the fourth paragraph takes up once again the topic of language, which, as mentioned above, was explicitly omitted in the previous paragraph and postulates that English language dominance is one of the unchanging core principles of the project. This is highly remarkable as Roland has already indicated on osmf-talk. What is also implied is that the linguistic diversity in the project is seen exclusively as the domain of the local chapters and that OSMF sees no obligation beyond “encouragement”. It is impossible to codify more clearly the dominance of the English language in the organization and the inevitably associated cultural one-sidedness.

Conclusions

Of course, most of these faux-pas in the text are not explicitly built in by the OSMF board, but are the result of the thoughtless adoption from the Python document. So the whole thing was certainly not badly meant, but still quite obviously totally ill-conceived and therefore in the end, especially in terms of the signal it sends out to the worldwide OSM community, it’s quite a nightmare. And, sorry to say, it shows that collectively nothing has been learned from the debacle of the Crimean decision. At the time, the OSMF board of directors sacrificed the project’s core values in the form of on-site verifiability of data in an individual case decision to appeal to a loudly outraged mob in order to maintain a supposed peace in the OSMF community, thereby sustainably damaging the credibility of OSMF as a guarantor of the project’s core values.

I was actually willing to give the new OSMF board of directors a little advance credit. But this break with all the previous practices of adopting a new canon of basic values like a raid, and then also such a lack of thoughtfulness in its execution, is a bit too much.

But Christoph will now say to some people that being against discrimination is something universally good - how can one be against it? No, it is not. The fact that discrimination is such an absolutely evil thing, that one has to put its fight as an absolute value above everything else, is a specific value of an extremely narrow cultural circle. Anyone who now postulates this value as a fundamental value of the entire worldwide OSM community without first engaging in an open and objective discussion of how far it is compatible with fundamental moral principles is acting in a cultural-imperialist manner.

And even if a conditional rejection of discrimination (for example, if it is unfounded or arbitrary) can be derived from many ethical theories, the general rule is that morality is not a wishful thinking. You can’t just pick and choose from moral principles the things that suit you and ignore the rest. Then you don’t act morally, but opportunistically.

What will happen now?

The Executive Board has given itself a small chance to redeem this mortgage by deciding to set up a committee to develop this canon of basic values further and to derive further measures from it. If that committee is composed of responsible and courageous people who are willing to go a little bit beyond their remit and fundamentally revise and revise the whole document in line with the core values of OpenStreetMap, then OSMF could eradicate this loophole.

If such a revision does not take place, and perhaps even the committee to be appointed will further develop the outlined values, then this means that OSMF will abandon its goal of supporting and representing the OSM community in all its diversity on an equal footing and instead, in the style of many Anglo-American projects, will attempt to project the cultural value system in colonial tradition, which dominates the organization and is now codified in the OSMF, into the OSM community.

Whether this would succeed is a completely different matter. The influence of the OSMF on OpenStreetMap stands and falls with the acceptance of the organization as a positive force in the project. It is already quite clear that the OSMF board of directors is doing the working groups a disservice with this measure, because the recruitment of new volunteers - one of OSMF’s major current problems - will not be made any easier if everyone is first required to submit to a system of basic values that is foreign to most people, both linguistically and culturally. In addition, potential volunteers must accept the English-speaking and Anglo-American cultural dominance in OSMF not only for the sake of getting started, with the hope that by getting involved they may be able to make a difference over time and with the help of others, but they must accept this as a permanently codified and desired state of affairs. Not only that - the new canon of core values almost explicitly says that if you don’t speak English fluently, you are more likely to get involved in one of the local chapters than in OSMF.

Comment from mikelmaron on 31 January 2020 at 15:31

Thanks Christoph, you’ve given us a lot to think about. You’re certainly the most in depth moral philosopher operating in OpenStreetMap. While I can’t claim to understand all the ins and outs of your argument, I don’t think your points substantiate the idea that OSMF is on the precipice of becoming an illegitimate, capitalistic, dominating force.

First on context. We actually approached the Python Foundation to see if they were ok with us adapting their statement. Also the topic of diversity has been present since the very early days of the project, and certainly active topic in the Foundation for over 5 years. I agree the collective outrage was over the top, but it was not that episode that motivated us. This has been a long time coming.

I do think you bring up a number of good specific points about the text we should consider and would improve it, and that’s where I’d like to focus.

  • Link the diversity statement to the values of OpenStreetMap. Very good point, and I think something we should consider adding. There’s a number of documents/wiki pages/discussions on the topic of values, so might take some clean up there as well. https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Foundation/Core_Values
  • Including language in the list of attributes of diversity that is valued. And I think we can better explain that we want and need linguistic diversity. As a practical matter the OSMF conducts business in English, but there must be ways to be more inclusive to people who are not proficient in English.
  • The points about nationality vs national origin and politics seem minor, since I don’t think anyone would be legitimately confused by them. However there is probably better phrasings to consider.

Comment from Peda on 31 January 2020 at 21:23

Christoph, das ist wirklich großartig analysiert und geschrieben! Danke, ich bin begeistert. Deine Hoffnung kann ich allerdings nicht teilen, schließlich hat der Mut mindestens ein Vorstandsmitglied (du weißt wer du bist) schon bei der zugehörigen Abstimmung verlassen. Warum sollte das im Komitee besser werden?

Comment from apm-wa on 31 January 2020 at 22:03

Christoph, thank you for your thoughtful (as always!) analysis and point of view. First, let’s review OSM’s Core Values, as posted on the OSM Foundation wiki:

“Core Values “The Foundation’s core values for OSM are (this list is not meant to be exhaustive):

We want to make the best map data set of the world OSM Data is available under a Free and Open licence to everybody OSM is powered by its Community. Engage positively with the Community, be a good and respectful neighbour and assume good intent. We want OSM data to be used as widely as possible. Ground Truth: OSM favours objective “Ground Truth” over all other sources OSM wants you to map the things you care about and will ensure that you have the freedom to do so. This safeguards the accessibility of our map to diverse users with differing needs.”

With these core values in mind, I feel compelled to respond to two of your points, to wit: “data quality as the project’s ultimate goal (‘create a better map’) - in contrast to our traditional OpenStreetMap values (like ‘community cohesion over data perfection’)” and “linguistic diversity in the project is seen exclusively as the domain of the local chapters.”

On the first point, OSM exists to create “a map of the whole world that anyone can use.” The relevant core value is in fact the very first one listed, “We want to make the best map data set of the world.” The ultimate goal of the project is thus to create that map. To do that, to create a global map, we need lots of participants and contributors from all over the world, and that implies a very diverse–perhaps an ultimately diverse–community. Is community cohesion important? Yes, it is not only important, it is fundamental! This is why the Board is bent on creating an environment in which all feel welcome to contribute, which is diverse, and in which discrimination on spurious grounds is not tolerated. The relevant core value here is the third one listed above, “OSM is powered by its Community. Engage positively with the Community, be a good and respectful neighbour and assume good intent.” With your help and added insights, we can as a community do that. I frankly fail to understand your objection to this effort, As for your allegation of cultural bias, I would point you to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is the foundation document for all such documents. What the Board seeks community consensus on is based on those universally adopted principles.

On the second point, I think you take it a bit too far. The Board does not necessarily see linguistic diversity exclusively as the domain of the local chapters. Correct me if I am wrong, but I am unaware of any Board policy on the matter. Speaking now strictly for myself, however, I see the local chapters and communities as best equipped to deal with issues of linguistic diversity, and if there is a role for the OSMF, they will so inform us. OSM’s single greatest strength, in my view at least, is its local contributors (mappers, software developers, organizers, et al) to contribute local knowledge of what the world looks like. That is also reflected in the core values as “Ground Truth: OSM favours objective “Ground Truth” over all other sources.” Who better than they–local contributors–to diversify OSM’s linguistic reach? Or do you realistically expect Board members quickly to master over 100 different languages in order to communicate with the community?

As for English-language dominance, I frankly don’t see much alternative to English as a common language for OSM. Globally it is the most widely used common language, period (I say that as someone who worked in international affairs and diplomacy for just short of 38 years and saw English used in every corner of the world as the primary language of both diplomacy and commerce). This is less related to “cultural dominance” than it is a recognition of reality. What language do you propose in its stead? Я свободно владею русским языком и готов перейти на русский как общий язык проекта, однако боюсь, что мало кто согласится с таким предложением.

Further regarding language, I take issue with your point about “inevitably associated cultural one-sidedness.” That is a potential issue, but the remedy, as I see it, is promotion of local chapters and communities that will increasingly have a voice in OSM affairs. In my one month (so far) as chairperson of the OSMF Board, I have been struck by how little I hear from anyone outside North America or western Europe, with the exception of one contributor in Minsk, who pings me regularly. Asia, Africa, and Latin America are virtually silent, at least in the channels I have time to monitor, and that is not healthy for OSM. That is why I have reached out personally to OSM communities in the last three weeks, will continue to reach out to them, and will continue to urge the LCCWG to elicit more participation from the local chapters and communities. We cannot all speak a hundred languages apiece. To breach the linguistic barriers we have to work through our local communities and chapters, and THAT, as I see it, is the way to keep “cultural one-sidedness” from becoming “inevitable”. If you have a better solution, please share it!

Regarding some other points, I have questions for you. Does not socio-economic status also include wealth as a factor? Why would wealth need to be listed separately? Why would we want to discriminate against a mapper somebody else is paying versus a volunteer mapper? Private companies are paying for the imagery we use, for software development; are you suggesting we should discriminate against them as well? I don’t see where you are going with that line of logic.

Vielen Dank, und mit freundlichen Grüssen, Allan Mustard

Comment from imagico on 1 February 2020 at 12:13

@Peda - danke. Von Hoffnung hab ich allerdings gar nicht gesprochen, nur von einer kleinen Chance, die sich der Vorstand noch gelassen hat. Natürlich gibt es im Prinzip auch einfach die Möglichkeit, die Entscheidung vom Donnerstag direkt zu revidieren. Aber wie du ja weisst gibt es so gut wie keine Präzedenzfälle, dass der OSMF-Vorstand jemals einen Fehler öffentlich eingestanden hat.

Ich seh das Ganze allerdings in so fern durchaus positiv, dass es potentiell äußerst lehrreich für Alle ist - für die OSM-Community, indem es noch mal allen ganz klar macht, dass man sich keineswegs blind darauf verlassen kann, dass die OSMF im Interesse der OSM-Community handelt. Und für den OSMF-Vorstand, ihm noch mal ganz deutlich zu demonstrieren, wie sehr man sich bei der Policy-Entwicklung verrennen kann, wenn man sich von kritischer Rückmeldung von außen aus der Vielfalt der OSM-Community abschottet und Gruppendenken sowie die schwerpunktmäßige Kommunikation in Filterblasen-Verstärkern wie Twitter die selbstkritische Betrachtung verhindert.

Meine Hoffnung ist eigentlich eher, dass hierdurch die weltweite OSM-Community einen robusteren und selbstbewussteren Umgang mit der OSMF lernt - und insbesondere die großen nicht englischsprachigen Communities mal nicht nur ihr eigenes Süppchen kochen wie bisher, sondern auch mal offensiv die englischsprachige und anglo-amerikanisch kulturelle Dominanz in Frage stellen. Ich hab zwar oben betont, dass der Verriss ein deutschsprachiges Genre ist, aber ich bind mir sicher, dass man diesen Text auch gepflegt auf Französisch oder Russisch zerpflücken könnte.

@apm-wa - I am going to limit my comments here on matters directly related to the diversity statement. Further practical implications like the de facto English language dominance in the OSMF or the practical difficulties of inter-cultural communication are important but given the limitations of the diary comments for structured discussion i don’t want to spread this out here too much.

When i cited How We Map above i did so not to source authoritive policy on OSMs values, i did so to illustrate the actual values thousands of mappers work by every day. How We Map it is the only relatively comprehensive documentation of this kind we have and i regard it therefore as one of the most important texts of the OSM community. It is by no means perfect - no text written in a single language can even hope to ever accomplish that. But it provides a very helpful starting point to any volunteer newly engaging in the project to help them understand what it is about in essence.

None of the other value documents that exist (including the Core Values you cited) is in any way comparable to that. Most of them are political documents which rather than documenting the de facto values of the community, document a view of what the values are supposed to be in the eyes of those having crafted these documents. In case of the Core Values this is a fairly accurate documentation of what were back then considered the main goals of the OSMF in the eyes of those contributing to the discussion but it cannot be in any way considered to be a comprehensive view of the values of the OSM community.

Interestingly How We Map is frequently criticized or dismissed as being mapping centered. That is because OpenStreetMap is mapping centered. The essence of OSM is the cooperation of people across language and culture barriers based on the shared goal of documenting verifiable local knowledge of the geography of the world in a common database. This is what holds OSM together, what enables people who might not understand a word from each other to none the less work together on a common goal. And the data collection aspect of OSM is - to put it bluntly - a means to the end of facilitating this cross cultural cooperation. And day after day mappers in OSM demonstrate again and again that this unique approach of OSM to cross cultural cooperation is working and that no top down imposed values are required for that.

The “community cohesion over data perfection” i cited is simply the verbalization of this basic premise that OSM is primarily a social project and the goal of cooperative collection of local knowledge stands above any goals to assemble a collection of useful data or any culture specific values that exist in different parts of the community. It is not the English language formulation that matters it is the underlying idea and value.

Now what the board primarily communicates with the new diversity statement is that they (a) do not believe in the basic premise that made OSM the world wide cross cultural project it is today and that facilitates cooperation on a daily basis to continue functioning as the fundamental band and constitution holding the project together any more and (b) that they want to replace it with an absolutist non-discrimination principle with all the internal and external contradictions and inconsistencies i outlined. Now i get (and i already acknowledged) that this is not what most of you intended to communicate but you can be certain that this is the communication that is received by many in the OSM community.

And as i have also pointed out the much better and much more supportive thing the OSMF board could have done is strengthening the basic premise and value of cross cultural cooperation of the OSM community and more actively communicating it to the public - something that has been distinctly lacking during the past years. This includes making clear that those who reject these basic principles are not welcome in the OSM community - which is more or less the opposite to what your statement says now.

Now regarding some of your questions:

Or do you realistically expect Board members quickly to master over 100 different languages in order to communicate with the community?

I would like to see you realize, accept and internalize that you cannot communicate with the community in a balanced fashion in English language only - neither directly with the mappers nor indirectly through local chapters. And this is not only the language barrier by the way, this is also the culture barrier.

What you can do and what i try to do as often as possible is using the means available to you to better understand the parts of the community you cannot directly communicate with - by watching videos of conference talks in languages you don’t understand to get an idea of the way people work and communicate. By machine translating mailing list and forum posts. And of course by talking and listening to people who share a language with you and specifically inquire about their experiences in languages and cultures alien to you. But above all by looking at the map and the data and how people in different parts of the world contribute to the common project - how people map tells you so much about them without the need to speak a common language. Long story short: English is not Alternativlos, it for those who speak it however represents a dangerous lure of wishful thinking that it can solve the cross cultural communication problems.

Does not socio-economic status also include wealth as a factor?

Normally not. And as said - if it did the value of universal non-discrimination would massively collide with the capitalist social order.

Why would wealth need to be listed separately?

Well - i don’t think this kind of list or the top down imposition of such an absolutist value system on the community is a good idea at all. But if you do that none the less specifically excluding discrimination for wealth represents an inconsistency while including it represents a conflict with all capitalist societies. Ultimately i think the idea of non-discrimination as an universal value is not compatible with any ethical framework i can think of.

Why would we want to discriminate against a mapper somebody else is paying versus a volunteer mapper?

Any meaningful regulation of organized activities in OSM would require treating paid and hobby mappers differently and therefore represents a discrimination. The need for regulation of organized activities in OSM i have explained in the first English language draft for such a policy written in 2017.

Comment from EditConscript on 1 February 2020 at 13:39

solange ich in der Nähe bin, erwarten Sie, dass ich Ihnen in Ihrer Muttersprache zurückschreibe. Ich verbreite die Neuigkeiten über DeepL, mein Freund. so ein wunderbares Programm, das Sie mit mir geteilt haben. for as long as i am around, expect me to write back in your native. i am spreading the news about DeepL my friend. such a marvelous tool you have shared with me.

nach Erhalt dieses Geschenks, hier ist mein Geschenk an Sie upon receiving that gift, here is my gift to you

Editスクリプト


dist.struc.solid.comm

Comment from apm-wa on 1 February 2020 at 15:54

Christoph, thank you again for your very thoughtful contribution to the discussion. I have a few reactions.

First, regarding your statement, “When i cited How We Map above i did so not to source authoritive policy on OSMs values, i did so to illustrate the actual values thousands of mappers work by every day. How We Map it is the only relatively comprehensive documentation of this kind we have and i regard it therefore as one of the most important texts of the OSM community. It is by no means perfect - no text written in a single language can even hope to ever accomplish that. But it provides a very helpful starting point to any volunteer newly engaging in the project to help them understand what it is about in essence.”

“How We Map” describes just that, how we map, and that includes me, a mapper now for 5 years. However, it does not describe why we map, and further, does not touch at all on uses of the map, or the ecosystem we cannot ignore that has grown up around OSM and now has certain expectations from us mappers. I do not see anything in “How We Map” that is in real conflict with the diversity statement. OSM is no longer just mappers in Europe and North America. It has grown, and it includes software developers (many paid by outsiders), users of our data (who contribute funds, professional legal counsel, and imagery, among other things), and others who contribute beyond mapping. It has spread to include mappers in Asia (including me for five years), Africa, and Latin America. “How We Map” simply doesn’t cover everything that OSM has become over the last 15 years. Every time I look for something on the wiki, I am impressed with the sheer scope of what OSM encompasses.

Regarding your statement, “…the much better and much more supportive thing the OSMF board could have done is strengthening the basic premise and value of cross cultural cooperation of the OSM community and more actively communicating it to the public - something that has been distinctly lacking during the past years.”

The previous Board constituted a Local Chapters and Communities Working Group that is working precisely on expanding cross-cultural cooperation by recruiting ever more communities into OSM. This is not empty talk. It is acting as I write this. I should also point out that I appear, based on reactions of those I contacted, to be the first Board chair to have reached out in the first month in office to local chapters (so far Ireland, UK, Germany–you, and India) to hear their thoughts and views. I will travel to Riga to confer with the Baltic community in March at SOTM Baltics, and am setting up a conference call with OSM Japan. Others with follow, and what I learn will be shared with the LCCWG. As for communicating all this to the public, yes, we could do a better job of that. We will work on that, too. The local communities are IMHO the key to expanding cross-cultural cooperation, because they are the ones who can best recruit new mappers and other contributors. They speak the local languages!

On socio-economic status, the Wikipedia article to which you provided a link explicitly includes wealth as a factor. I still don’t understand your point on this.

I must also protest against your statement, “Ich seh das Ganze allerdings in so fern durchaus positiv, dass es potentiell äußerst lehrreich für Alle ist - für die OSM-Community, indem es noch mal allen ganz klar macht, dass man sich keineswegs blind darauf verlassen kann, dass die OSMF im Interesse der OSM-Community handelt.” An accusation that the OSMF Board does not act in the interests of the OSM community is simply false.

I cannot speak about previous boards, but this Board takes seriously its responsibility to the entire OSM community, and that includes mappers around the world, not only in Europe and North America; that includes software developers and data users as well as mappers. We bear greater responsibility today than we did in 2007–there are now people who depend on OSM data because OSM data are the best and in some cases (Turkmenistan is a case in point) the only cartographic data of any quality publicly available where they live. Such people tend to live outside North America and Europe. That is a direct consequence of the “How We Map” values and of the community’s major strength–its local knowledge. As you wrote, “The essence of OSM is the cooperation of people across language and culture barriers based on the shared goal of documenting verifiable local knowledge of the geography of the world in a common database. This is what holds OSM together, what enables people who might not understand a word from each other to none the less work together on a common goal.” That unquestionably is the source of OSM’s strength, and nobody (at least nobody who has spoken or written to me) disputes that. I saw that with my own eyes in Turkmenistan, after teaching master classes in OSM and afterwards seeing contributions by local mappers who spoke no English.

Thus, to think that the OSMF Board, and I in particular, would seek to change “How We Map” or to jeopardize the community’s source of strength is to misunderstand completely the Board’s motivations. We seek to make OSM stronger and more robust, broader in its geographic reach, and to prepare it for another 15 years of mapping the world, bearing in mind that this powerful cross-cultural cohesion has created something that has been transformed from a hobby into a virtual necessity for people in certain parts of the globe. I had personal experience with that in Turkmenistan, seeing how a digital cartographic database to which I contributed roughly a quarter million data points changed quality of life.

Does the Board seek “data perfection”? Of course not. No map has ever been perfect (and Turkmenistan’s remains a work in progress). We do, however, seek to support efforts by the working groups, local communities and chapters, and most important, the OSM mappers, to continue to make it better and better.

I will close with a quote from “Spiderman” (which you should feel free to attack as symbolic of American cultural dominance if you should wish :-): “With great power comes great responsibility.” OSM has grown into something quite powerful. We need to accept the responsibility that comes with that power, and to nurture and grow the source of that power, the OSM mappers..

mfG, Allan Mustard

Comment from imagico on 1 February 2020 at 18:12

“How We Map” describes just that, how we map, and that includes me, a mapper now for 5 years. However, it does not describe why we map, and further, does not touch at all on uses of the map, or the ecosystem we cannot ignore that has grown up around OSM and now has certain expectations from us mappers.

As i tried to explain How We Map is primarily (but not exclusively) about mapping because OSM as a social project is based on the cooperation in mapping. I don’t think there are any values universally shared among all the OSM community except those. We have no agreement on why we map, every contributor is allowed to map or otherwise contribute for any reason. We have no agreement on the specifics of communication style across different languages beyond the basic ‘assume good faith’. But i would be open to discuss any such supposedly universal value identified by others.

And i don’t mind at all if the OSMF board wants to document the values of software development in the OSM community or in other aspects (and thinking about the iD presets controversy it might actually be good to do so). But it should always be clear that any such values are subordinate to the mapping related core values of the project.

I do not see anything in “How We Map” that is in real conflict with the diversity statement.

This is explained in detail in the diary entry. If there is anything about that which is difficult to understand (in particular in the often not very precise English translation) please say so.

Every time I look for something on the wiki, I am impressed with the sheer scope of what OSM encompasses.

Which is great - but all of this is and should be subordinate to the idea of cooperative mapping based on local knowledge. It does not help anyone in the long term if the OSMF encourages the creation of encapsulated subprojects with their own incompatible value systems which reject our mapping related core values. We already have tendencies in such direction in various fields including the wiki. So at the risk of sounding like a broken record: The basic values of the project deriving from mapping need to be strengthened and not be replaced or downgraded by an universal and absolutistic non-discrimination value.

I must also protest against your statement, “Ich seh das Ganze allerdings in so fern durchaus positiv, dass es potentiell äußerst lehrreich für Alle ist - für die OSM-Community, indem es noch mal allen ganz klar macht, dass man sich keineswegs blind darauf verlassen kann, dass die OSMF im Interesse der OSM-Community handelt.” An accusation that the OSMF Board does not act in the interests of the OSM community is simply false.

I will stick to German here for precision: Ich bleibe bei meiner Aussage, dass dieses “diversity statement” in der jetzigen Form nicht den Konsens über gemeinsame Werte in der globalen OSM-Community wiedergibt und dass die Darstellung als solcher deshalb nicht im Interesse der OSM-Community ist. Ich hab aber auch klar gesagt, dass ich nicht den Eindruck habe, dass hier absichtlich entgegen der Interessen der Community gehandelt wurde, sondern dass der Vorstand nicht erkannt hat, dass es sich nicht einfach um eine harmlose Selbstverständlichkeit, sondern um eine hoch kontroverse Aussage mit weitreichenden Implikationen handelt. Warum das so ist habe ich versucht hier zu erläutern.

Does the Board seek “data perfection”? Of course not.

Please note that as i have explained the citation of that wording is not meant to refer to the exact English language formulation but to the underlying value which this wording means to illustrate. The value in question is not ‘seeking data perfection is bad’, it is that the goal of engaging in egalitarian cross cultural cooperation in mapping as a social activity has precedence over the results of said activity - the data. To put it in a very simple form: If the OSMF board had the choice between saving the mapper community and their willingness and ability to continue mapping and saving the data the choice has to be towards saving the community.

That does not mean improving the data should not be a goal. But in any value statement that mentions it, it should come after and secondary to the goal of egalitarian cooperative mapping based on local knowledge.

With great power comes great responsibility

Like so many American pop culture quotes this is not actually an American invention of course…

We need to accept the responsibility that comes with that power, and to nurture and grow the source of that power, the OSM mappers..

That is a very strange application of that principle i would disagree with. The growth of the OSM community is desirable because OpenStreetMap is a valuable endeavour that brings joy, education and cultural exchange to many thousands of people world wide and allowing more people to participate in that is both beneficial for those who newly join as well as for those who already participate.

In other words: The mapper community should grow for its own sake, not because it provides a source of power for someone.

Comment from apm-wa on 1 February 2020 at 22:53

Christoph, I honestly do not see a cultural clash between what you say, “…growth of the OSM community is desirable because OpenStreetMap is a valuable endeavour that brings joy, education and cultural exchange to many thousands of people world wide and allowing more people to participate in that is both beneficial for those who newly join as well as for those who already participate…In other words: The mapper community should grow for its own sake, not because it provides a source of power for someone.” and my statement, “We seek to make OSM stronger and more robust, broader in its geographic reach, and to prepare it for another 15 years of mapping the world, bearing in mind that this powerful cross-cultural cohesion has created something that has been transformed from a hobby into a virtual necessity for people in certain parts of the globe…We do…seek to support efforts by the working groups, local communities and chapters, and most important, the OSM mappers, to continue to make it better and better.” By the way, the “power” to which I refer is the empowerment of individuals who use the map. I saw that with my own eyes, the degree to which ordinary peoples’ lives got better thanks to existence of OSM.

You seem to fear among other things that a policy of “non-discrimination” would nullify the organized editing rules and open the door for paid mappers to wreak havoc on the map. That is not the intent of any diversity policy. Organized editing rules would remain in place and in that sense, yes, OSM would discriminate between members of the community of volunteer mappers who contribute data for whatever reason, and paid mappers employed by an outsider who seeks to add data for the sake of having more data. That constitutes what I in my parochial American chauvinistic nativist dominant cultural mindset am allowed to call “legal discrimination”. As an American government supervisor, for example, I was allowed to discriminate in performance evaluations between good performers and bad performers. There is no dispute there.

Similarly, if a mapper were to violate the “How We Map” guidelines, that would of course continue to be grounds for discriminatory sanction from the DWG. However, if a community member is from India and not Germany, from Africa and not North America, is female, or transgender, or has darker skin than you and I do, or dyes her hair blue, or professes a particular religion (or no religion), these alone would not be grounds for discrimination and exclusion from the community, and would not be grounds for personal attacks in communications.

Now, all that said, we do clash, and seriously, on one important point. Your position seems to be that OSM exists for its own sake, and that such a status is sacred. My point is that OSM now has such an impact on the lives of others, it can no longer afford the luxury of selfishness and view the map solely as a means to self indulgence. We now bear a greater responsibility than that. As one of the old-timers told me, “OSM is no longer a Saturday morning mapping club.” He meant by that, that OSM must adapt to new circumstances. You oppose that, and that is what our debate is really about. I believe that we can preserve the community, which is the source of OSM’s strength, and continue to rely on local knowledge, which is why our map is so good, and have lots of fun mapping, while also not shirking that greater responsibility. We may even be able to do it on a continued small budget that avoids financial dependence on outsiders, if that is what the community as a whole wants. But I do not see a way of avoiding the greater responsibility, and do not intend to try.

mfG, Allan Mustard

Comment from Ivan Gayton on 2 February 2020 at 01:52

Thanks Allan,

I came to OSM as a data user, rather than contributor. My first experience of OSM was an unexpected gift of data that saved lives. Specifically my team at Médecins Sans Frontières in Haiti in 2010 was able to identify areas of unusually high cholera transmission—something that was absolutely not possible without the OSM data—and take verifiably effective measures to reduce transmission. I’m not talking about vague feel-good impacts, I’m talking about objectively measurable numbers of people that are not dead because OSM data enabled better public health measures during a disease outbreak.

I am deeply grateful to the hobbyists who created this resource, and even more so to those of you who recognize the responsibility that comes with having done so.

Comment from mikelmaron on 2 February 2020 at 02:31

OSM was started to create the best map of the entire world. The vision was that simple and big from the start. Anyone who needed map data could create it themselves, and work to enable others to do so too. Because that would result in the best map. It turned out to be pretty fun too. There was no line between hobbyist and professional — all contributed, individuals moved through different roles, and all marveled at what doing this work together could make in the map and the impact it could have on the world. SteveC was clearly looking at upending the geodata industry, not to end corporate use but enable even more of it. I was motivated to upend how data was shared for disaster response, and started HOT. There’s as many motivations as there are contributors, and that’s great and something we can celebrate. There’s no contradictions in this, or necessity to create a hierarchy of values. It all works hand in hand and is wonderful.

Comment from Peda on 2 February 2020 at 16:21

Hi Allan,

I have issues following all discussion points (language-wise, as we get discriminated as non-native speakers :-)) in this conversation but I think Christoph is doing a great job here already. So let me restrict to two small points I want to add that were left out as of yet (I think).

Why would we want to discriminate against a mapper somebody else is paying versus a volunteer mapper?

I want to point out that a (surely non-representative) community survey about paid mapping cleary expected this kind of discrimination! I guess it’s always a matter of perspective what discrimination really means. You could also argue that a retiree like you is discriminating against a worker like me as you can put more time into the project, your opinion, your views. Imho a strong driver for the community’s view on paid mapping was based on the time and force they can put into “consensus driven” development.

Despite this, if this is all such a “long time coming” (as Mikel put it) and if it’s of such a relevance and not mostly motivated by the latest twitter outrage, I wonder, why the text wasn’t shared and discussed in the open before agreeing on it. I mean, that’s what we usually do with most of our guidelines and policies, isn’t it? Why not this time?

Peda

Comment from ᚛ᚏᚒᚐᚔᚏᚔᚋ᚜ 🏳️‍🌈 on 2 February 2020 at 16:50

There’s a lot here that I need to read & digest, but a few points: It appears this statement is lacking some parts (e.g. nationality, language). Oops! I think we must fix that. I’m not sure what “wealth discrimination” would look like. If you can give examples I can understand you better. I would probably accept adding “wealth” as a ground. Alas the English language dominates a lot, but I don’t think we should help that. I think we can tweak that sentence.

I view this statement as aspirations, not binding. It’s too vague, and has some possible contradictions, to be a binding document. It, in my opinion, is certainly not a new “Foundation Document”. 🙂

You bring up some good points, and I think we should make some tweaks to this statement. We must translate it into other languages too. Perhaps after the first round of edits, we can start the translation process.

Comment from apm-wa on 2 February 2020 at 17:14

@Peda, regarding your first point, please see my post to the diary just above yours regarding “legal discrimination”. That should answer your question regarding paid versus volunteer mappers.

Regarding your second point, I believe we are having a discussion about the diversity statement, right now. If there is consensus that the policy should be amended, it will be amended. We now, however, have a target to shoot at (and Christoph, I agree with you, is doing an excellent job of fomenting debate–we are all in his debt).

As for your point on discrimination based on status of employment, I think that is a canard. I am volunteering my time to OSM now just as in the past, and if I have more time because I am retired today than I did a year ago, that is presumably to OSM’s benefit. Discrimination doesn’t enter the picture.

As for why the decision to adopt quickly and not put the statement out for several months of discussion, the Board has received strong feedback from a number of members of the community that the community as a whole is tired of ten years of Board inaction in the face of decisions that need to be made, and wants the Board to begin making decisions, particularly decisions that are pretty obvious. Adopting a policy that discrimination on illegitimate grounds will not be tolerated seems pretty obvious. If anybody believes that OSM should discriminate on grounds of ethnicity, gender, what passport you carry, age, religion, political outlook, and so on, well, I’d like you hear your justification for that.

Now, we can argue about the verbiage (which we seem to be doing), and we can discuss interpretation (does this supersede the organized mapping guidelines? No it doesn’t), but the undercurrent to all this is resistance to the notion that the Board should make decisions at all. That appears to be the real battleground. Much of the OSM community, I suspect a majority, is tired of Board paralysis and inaction in the face of some challenges, while others in the OSM community seem to fear any Board action (for whatever reason) and are protesting a Board decision that, on the face of it, is pretty tame and to many community members is quite obvious.

Who seriously opposes in concept a statement of policy that OSM as a community will not discriminate against community members on illegitimate grounds?

Comment from imagico on 2 February 2020 at 17:42

@apm-wa

You seem to fear among other things that a policy of “non-discrimination” would nullify the organized editing rules and open the door for paid mappers to wreak havoc on the map.

No, the effect i see - and i already explained that in depth - is a political message to the OSM community. There is going to be no practical effect on organized editing because (a) the effect of OSMF regulation on this is rather limited at the moment in the first place and so would any further stripping of said regulation and (b) the OSMF has no effective power over the OSM community without the support from the community so if hobby mappers want to discriminate paid mappers the board cannot stop them. And the DWG would most likely not shoot itself in the foot by trying to punish local hobby mappers for exercizing their local ownership of the map.

And what the political message currently reads as i already explained.

Similarly, if a mapper were to violate the “How We Map” guidelines, that would of course continue to be grounds for discriminatory sanction from the DWG. However, if a community member is from India and not Germany, from Africa and not North America, is female, or transgender, or has darker skin than you and I do, or dyes her hair blue, or professes a particular religion (or no religion), these alone would not be grounds for discrimination and exclusion from the community, and would not be grounds for personal attacks in communications.

If that is what you want to be the meaning then you need to change the statement because as i explained the current text says something very different. If you disagree with my analysis please show me where i am wrong based on the text.

Now, all that said, we do clash, and seriously, on one important point. Your position seems to be that OSM exists for its own sake, and that such a status is sacred. My point is that OSM now has such an impact on the lives of others, it can no longer afford the luxury of selfishness and view the map solely as a means to self indulgence.

I definitely disagree on the characterization of mapping as a social activity without an external purpose as selfishness and self indulgence.

As one of the old-timers told me, “OSM is no longer a Saturday morning mapping club.” He meant by that, that OSM must adapt to new circumstances. You oppose that, and that is what our debate is really about. I believe that we can preserve the community, which is the source of OSM’s strength, and continue to rely on local knowledge, which is why our map is so good, and have lots of fun mapping, while also not shirking that greater responsibility. We may even be able to do it on a continued small budget that avoids financial dependence on outsiders, if that is what the community as a whole wants. But I do not see a way of avoiding the greater responsibility, and do not intend to try.

This is all way too vague and unspecific for me to tell you if i agree or disagree.

My impression is - and this is very close to what i stated before - that you think that the mapping related core values that currently form the fundamental band and constitution holding the project together are not suitable to continue fulfilling this function for the way you think OSM needs to develop in the future. And that you therefore want to substitute them as the base values of the project with an universal non-discrimination principle.

If that is the case i can say that

a) i disagree that the current mapping related core values are unsuitable to carry the project into the future (but that obviously depends on the kind of future you envision) b) i would predict that universal non-discrimination as a new base value is not only incompatible to the current mapping related core values (as explained) but also that it is unsuitable to facilitate any form of self managed cross cultural cooperation. This is of course also not what it is meant to do because it is otherwise deployed together with the whole repertoire of anglo-american organizational culture like professional community managers and behaviour regulation. That would mean more or less the scenario i outlined in https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/derFred/diary/391636#comment46193.

Under this assumption i would be interested in where exactly you think your envisioned future is incompatible with the current core values.

If that is not the case i frankly don’t see your motivation to push this statement. But i’d guess this lack of understanding is primarily due to a massive difference in understanding of the meaning and effect of said statement - which i think could be cleared up by discussing the specifics of the text and my analysis.

But independent of that i wonder if you realize if we - who have a pretty similar cultural background - have such a massive difference in understanding of the meaning and effect of the diversity statement - what this will mean regarding how it can function as a statement of values for the whole OSM community?

One other thing - the traditional core values i have talked about here were not created and imposed top down when the project was founded. They developed when the project gained international traction out of the practical needs of cross cultural cooperation across language and cilture barriers. Interestingly the time when this mostly took place and where then these values were also at some point written down in the form we now know as “How We Map” was around the same time as when the old guard on the OSMF board stepped down (except for one obviously) and we got a significant push in structural reforms of the OSMF, in particular in terms of transparency and cultural diversity. The board now needs to decide if it wants to continue in that direction after this was essentially stalled for the last few years or if it wants to give in to the strong revisionistic interests which we without doubt have strongly pushing on the board to roll back things and who want the OSMF to retreat into the simplicity of a simple and homogeneous value system where you can easily make the distinction between good and bad, between allies and enemies.

Comment from Peda on 2 February 2020 at 19:23

Hi Allan,

honestly, I am a bit disappointed and confused by your reply.

Yes, you did write about “legal discrimination”. But the (cited) question was actually posed by you and imho it implied that you think that discrimination of payed vs volunteer mappers is not ok. So if I misunderstood you, it would rather boil down to the issue/question, what value is higher: The Organised Editing Guideline or the Diversity Statement (Christoph asked a similar one).

I guess the answer to that question is not even important as we currently still don’t know the intention of the Diversity Statement. I.e. will I face punishment violating it? Will I be excluded from conversations,…?

You say, my point 1 is about “legal discrimination”, but imho this is based on the existence of the Organised Editing Guideline. But without its existence, would I even be able to suggest the creation of such a Guideline? A bootstrap problem.

Regarding my second point, I mean, you’re saying it yourself: “If there is consensus on amending it, it will be amended”. This is not even questioning if introducing it in the first place was a good idea! As far as I understand it, this is also no question or objective for the committee that is supposed to be created to evaluate if the Diversity Statement should be kept at all or not.

And lastly, all the talk about paralysis is at best a strawman. Yes, I want a board that takes decisions. But I want those decisions to be based on community consensus or consultation and not on a sporadic and interim majority within the board.

Btw, as for my former post: Somehow the subjunctive form that I like to use in German language doesn’t seem to translate properly to English: I accept and envy you being retiree :-)

Peda

Comment from apm-wa on 2 February 2020 at 20:16

Christoph and Peda,

It appears we can agree that a diversity statement, this one, or any other, does not affect the organized editing guidelines, or the existing differentiation between volunteer and paid mappers. Those issues fall into the category of “how we map” and that is not in the Board’s remit. Let’s drop that subject and move on.

We also agree that the OSM community, with its ability to work across cultures and languages, and with its local knowledge which is transferred to the OSM data base, is the source of OSM’s strength. Nobody I have talked to disputes that. We all seem to agree that sustaining the OSM community is critical to OSM’s existence and success, and in fact should be our highest priority. So let’s drop that as a subject as well.

@Peda, you asked, was introducing a diversity statement in the first place a good idea? Yes, I think it is a good idea, and the fact that there is a debate about it both here and elsewhere indicates that it is important at least to some people in the community. Did the Board get ahead of itself? Maybe so, but from where I sit, getting the subject out in front of the community is worthwhile, and if it achieves its ultimate goal of broadening the reach of OSM’s community, and the map, it will have proven itself. Should it have gone out to the community in another (i.e., the usual) way? Well, I just looked at the draft Code of Conduct wiki page and noted it has been pending since 2010, and was last touched in 2018. That’s ten years waiting for a Code of Conduct to be adopted by the community. I don’t intend to wait ten years for a diversity statement to be adopted, or perhaps still have it in “draft”. The “OSM way” in that case hasn’t worked.

The talk about paralysis is not a strawman. I have heard from far too many people about board paralysis for the past five years (some even say 10) not to take it seriously. You and I will have to agree to disagree about that. This Board faces some serious issues on behalf of the Foundation and the community, and needs to chart a path that will allow OSM, with its community, to flourish into the future. That will not happen, as Russians would say, на самотёк, that is, by chance. We have to think consciously about where OSM will be in 15 years and prepare for that. That is in fact the Board’s job. A diversity policy that makes clear we embrace pretty much everybody who wants to contribute is part of that preparation.

Board actions will NOT affect how we map or what we map. The Board doesn’t exist to worry about that. Board actions will affect the state of our infrastructure, and potentially the breadth and scope of our geographic reach, if we actively pursue expansion of local communities and chapters, and encourage them to recruit more mappers. An explicit diversity policy that makes clear we welcome people from all backgrounds to the OSM mapping community is part of that.

And we can agree on one more thing for sure: retirement is great.

Comment from Heather Leson on 2 February 2020 at 21:04

Hello, As I said on the list, I appreciate the steps that the board is taking to move this topic forward. The diversity statement review and conversation should move to some kind of version controlled document, so that we can read it inline. I appreciate that everyone here has spent their weekend considering this. Truly. However, it is very difficult to line -by -line analyze, then weigh in between all your statements.

Clearly, we need a diversity statement. Let’s not wait 10 years for a diversity statement, community plan around diversity and inclusion, plan around contributions/engagement, or a code of conduct. It is hard to keep stating this. But, we are stating to see some headway.

I applaud this view and am happy there are others stating this now: “We have to think consciously about where OSM will be in 15 years and prepare for that. That is in fact the Board’s job. A diversity policy that makes clear we embrace pretty much everybody who wants to contribute is part of that preparation.”

thank you

Heather

Comment from imagico on 2 February 2020 at 23:17

@apm-wa

It appears we can agree that a diversity statement, this one, or any other, does not affect the organized editing guidelines, or the existing differentiation between volunteer and paid mappers. Those issues fall into the category of “how we map” and that is not in the Board’s remit. Let’s drop that subject and move on.

I don’t think we can since here we seem to have a fundamental conflict here.

If you think the diversity statement means something - like that it does not interfere with or supersede the traditional core values or the organized editing guidelines then you have to be able to demonstrate that based on the text of the statement. If you can’t do that you cannot expect others to read and interpret the statement the same way - hence it does not objectively mean what you think it means.

In my diary entry above i think i demonstrated based on the text various things the text communicates that i find highly problematic. I welcome anyone arguing with those findings and countering my reasoning. But i don’t accept a simple assurance of the text meaning X without X being demonstrated to derive from the text itself.

Well, I just looked at the draft Code of Conduct wiki page and noted it has been pending since 2010, and was last touched in 2018. That’s ten years waiting for a Code of Conduct to be adopted by the community. I don’t intend to wait ten years for a diversity statement to be adopted, or perhaps still have it in “draft”. The “OSM way” in that case hasn’t worked.

Oh boy, you could write a whole book about the history of that can of worms. I will summarize it in this form: The OSM way in that case has worked exactly as it should although a few loud English language voices wholeheartedly dislike the OSM way exactly because of that.

Independent of that - if there is an abandoned draft for something on the OSM wiki that is not an indication for anything.

Comment from apm-wa on 3 February 2020 at 00:45

Christoph,

First off, you SHOULD write a book at some point :-) I will buy it and ask you to autograph it.

Perhaps given your objections to the text we should adopt language to the effect that diversity of the mapping community is encouraged, and that discrimination is not tolerated “on the grounds of race or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation.”

The language in quotation marks comes from Germany’s Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz and can be seen here. It is European in origin, and is based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1999.

The Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz is silent on the topic of paid mappers so continued differentiation between volunteer and paid mappers would not violate EU or German law, or OSMF policy, either.

Coming back to your objection on that score, if you really believe that a statement on diversity policy needs to stipulate in clear text that it does not repeal or otherwise impede organized editing guidelines, fine, let’s add that, maybe as a footnote. I still think that is unnecessary since organized editing falls under the rubric “how we map” and thus is the remit of the DWG, not the Board. But if you insist, fine. I surrender. Send your recommended text in your choice of languages to the new diversity committee.

mfG, apm

Comment from mikelmaron on 3 February 2020 at 03:26

I’m baffled by the general idea that one value cancels out another. As if by saying all are welcome, that we no longer care about mapping?! In most societies, the actions and decisions by members of society result from an interplay of values.

Comment from woodpeck on 3 February 2020 at 08:25

Funny how quickly this has taken a turn towards the discussion of corporate mapping. This medium is unsuitable for a structured discussion so forgive me if I just drop a few words: 1 - I think that the good map is indeed our highest goal, and diversity, for us, is mainly interesting insofar as we believe it leads to a good map. 2 - Same with community cohesion; we believe that it is a prerequisite for making the good map, and will kick people out of the project altogether if they cannot play with the others. 3 - Values can conflict and if they do there has to be an individual assessment of the case. 4 - Our belief that many (diverse) hands make a good map even if the individual has a very limited concern is a bit like the classic assumption from economic theory that every individual in the economy strives to maximize their personal wealth and this magically leads to a perfect economy. Of course just as it has turned out that this does not work without some regulation in economy, neither does it work without any regulation in OSM.

On a more general level, this discussion seems to lose sight of the difference between the OSMF and OSM. Strictly speaking the OSMF has no mandate to set values for OSM, it can only set values for itself, and any diversity statement claiming that “we want X” issued by the OSMF is about the OSMF and its members, not about OSM and its contributors. The OSMF can define how it wants to operate (i.e. how it wants to pursue its goal of supporting OSM), it cannot define how OSM should be operating. The OSMF can, in its role of supporting but not controlling OSM, perhaps “suggest” values in order to support OSM, but not enforce them. There are some levers here of course; if the OSMF said “ok dear OSM, we’ll stop paying for your servers unless you subscribe to this set of values” then we’d be up for interesting times.

Or maybe the new board has decided to ditch this old-fashioned distinction between an OSMF that supports-but-not-controls the project and the project itself?

Comment from SimonPoole on 3 February 2020 at 08:39

@mikelmaron as Frederik has already pointed out the issue is that the statement extends not just to the OSMF but to the wider OSM community. It adds further values you need to adhere to outside of wanting to contribute to a free and open map of the world.

To make things simple, consider countries (not even cultures) for which discrimination is a matter of law, say for example Saudi Arabia (same example the last time this was discussed), are government officials, “the government” in general, allowed to contribute to OSM in the new regime?

Comment from imagico on 3 February 2020 at 11:25

@apm-wa - i think we might be getting somewhere with your mentioning of the AGG. I already thought of this w.r.t. the UDHR but with the AGG it is much clearer.

The AGG in its scope of application only covers asymmetric relationships like employment, use of administrative services or companies providing public services or selling goods to the general public. It does not apply to person-to-person relationships on equal level. As a private individual i may follow the principle to only talk to men but not to women without violating the AGG. I may also live on the principle to only buy things in shops that are run by women if i want to.

If the OSMF board wants to create regulation that limits/forbids discrimination of individual community volunteers by OSMF institutions, by corporate actors in OSM or even by local chapters (over which otherwise the OSMF should not exercise any authority) i am all game and would actively help defending such measures against critical voices. Provided of course such regulation is designed in a consistent fashion and with a clear, well defined meaning independent of specific language formulations. Note this is not because such regulation would comply with my specific cultural values as the reference to the AGG might imply but because (a) it is clearly within the remit of the OSMF, (b) it is clearly in support of the OSM community’s basic goals and values (and not in conflict with them because those are only covering the individual-to-individual interaction) and (c) i think it is defensible from a standpoint of basic moral principles (although i would be open to arguments where it is not).

@rory - you asked about the meaning of discrimination by wealth. The clearest example for that is capitalism itself. Capitalism is discrimination by wealth in purity. In capitalism all major economic decisions are made by the owners of property and production ability (in other words: wealth) - the capitalist class. They also have the exclusive possibility to derive income from their property (profits and rents) without this reducing their property. OTOH the working class without any property have only their own working ability as capital and this does not provide them with the same powers. Where lies the source of the discrimination you might ask? It lies in the principle of capitalist societies declaring private property as sacrosanct and absolute.

Now OSM internally does not follow capitalist rules but capitalism and the discrimination by wealth it implies still has impact on the project. So for example in any business activity in the project. If a business owner (the capitalist) through their management for example instructs their employee to get active in OSM (as a software developer or mapper for example) they are using their capital (without reducing it, just through the profits and rents) to do that - something the non-capitalist community volunteer cannot do. That is inequality and the source of this is the discrimination by wealth inherent to capitalism.

Note i do not want to pass any moral judgement with that characterization - if capitalism or discrimination by wealth is something morally defensible or not is something people evidently have conflicting opinions on. I do not think it is helpful to discuss that here. What i wanted to point out is (a) that the declaration of non-discrimination as a universal value while explicitly excluding discrimination by wealth is inconsequential and (b) that neither including discrimination by wealth nor excluding it as an undesirable form of discrimination would have consensus within the OSM community.

Comment from mikelmaron on 3 February 2020 at 12:18

Ah that’s interesting. I don’t think it matters what happens outside of OSM but what happens within OSM that’s important. So if my wife goes to Saudi Arabia, she’ll need to cover my head. But if a Saudi prince reverts all her OSM edits from data she collected on the trip because she’s a woman, that’s not ok.

Support but not control is one of many values that OSMF has had to work within it among a dynamic interplay of other values. OSMF is the legal entity that hosts the servers and holds the license, etc. There’s absolutely a tension there which we have continually navigated as an organization and project.

Comment from SimonPoole on 3 February 2020 at 12:34

None of what you write above is actually born out in the text of the diversity statement, which makes the statement on behalf of everybody in the OSM community. Neither is it scoped to just apply to activities in OSM nor does it say anything along the lines of “your contributions are welcome even if you don’t share these values”. In any case you essentially make Christophs and Frederiks point that the relevant behavioral norm is actually that you are willing to contribute to our data regardless of your and any other contributors convictions, skin colour, gender and so on.

Comment from apm-wa on 3 February 2020 at 14:09

@woodpeck, well, actually, I would not ever foresee the OSMF shutting down servers to spite the OSM community, since that would not be in keeping with the OSMF’s responsibility to support OSM. No servers, no OSM, kaput, epic failure by the OSMF Board. As far as enforcement goes of any OSMF policy, in fact, the only OSM body really capable of sanctioning anybody in the community is the DWG, which the OSMF Board cannot exactly be said to control though we would like to imagine or pretend that we can periodically influence the DWG’s thinking. So I don’t see any danger here since I have learned generally to trust the DWG’s judgment. :-)

To all: Simon’s, Christoph’s, Peda’s, Rory’s, Mikel’s, and Frederik’s comments point in my view to a question of semantics, not intent. Please send your suggested edits to the diversity committee.

Furthermore, if the community as a whole rejects the notion of diversity in the community, it is in very serious trouble. Creating a global map requires a global effort, in every sense of that word. Is anyone actually contending that promoting/accepting diversity of the OSM community is bad? As someone who has been subjected to anti-American diatribes in the OSM space, including being called a “Trump puppet”, and being accused of bias in my mapping because I am an American (huh? An American bias to drawing roads? Meine Güter!) I have rather strong feelings about the need for a statement on diversity and anti-discrimination (this may sound strange coming from a hetero Anglo-Saxon-Celt-Bavarian-origin male, but there you have it). As the AGG shows, this is emphatically not a purely Anglo-American concern and equivalent texts are available in other languages.

One final point, in three parts, responding to Christoph’s remarks on capitalism. 1) I have lived under pure socialism, nearly three years in the USSR, and pure socialism doesn’t work, either. I’ll tell you more over a beer someday, and tell you about Soviet beer, too :-) 2) You need a mix of capitalism and socialism for an economy to work and for some social justice, and as Frederik pointed out regarding capitalism, “…this does not work without some regulation in economy, neither does it work without any regulation in OSM.” Or as another OSM old-timer told me, “Super organisation isn’t necessary, but anarchy isn’t an answer, either.” The OSMF Board does not strive for “super organisation” (it would make us all late for dinner, and take away time from our hobbies) but we don’t believe in anarchy. 3) Speaking as an economist who studied both classical Western economics and Marxian economics, socio-economic status explicitly includes wealth, period. This is known knowledge.

Comment from ᚛ᚏᚒᚐᚔᚏᚔᚋ᚜ 🏳️‍🌈 on 3 February 2020 at 16:30

@mikel I think what’s being asked is about whether we should be tolerant of intolerance. If we are “welcome to all”, does that mean we must be welcoming without limit, even to people acting intolerantly?

Comment from mikelmaron on 3 February 2020 at 21:14

@᚛ᚏᚒᚐᚔᚏᚔᚋ᚜ 🏳️‍🌈 Is that the fundamental contradiction being discussed here? Because I took @SimonPoole to be saying that diversity and mapping values are not in conflict, but that any value statement beyond mapping is not necessary. Which I don’t agree with obviously. But if the real question is tolerance of intolerance within the domain of OSM itself, that’s a whole other thing.

Comment from Klaus Schwer on 9 February 2020 at 18:16

Great to see that the Twitter mob (“Empöreria”) hasn’t even found this discussion.

Comment from Bobby-Fischer on 15 February 2020 at 17:00

Was wir brauchen ist ein neuer Krieg!

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