OpenStreetMap

Big corporations are paying Openstreetmap mappers. Are you getting paid yet?

Posted by laznik on 2 July 2021 in English. Last updated on 4 July 2021.

tl; dr:

Firms like Apple, Facebook and Amazon are paying (their own) mappers for OpenStreetMap (OSM) edits. You are an OSM editor making the same type of work the paid editors are. Shouldn’t you be paid for your edits too? Let’s start sending these firms a collective invoice for our work and use the received funds to benefit the OSM ecosystem. There is an easy way to join if you use JOSM, but users of other map editors can participate as well.

The problem

The OSM project is governed by a license that allows its geo data to be freely used by anybody, including the most wealthy global corporations. Regardless, firms like Apple, Facebook or Amazon are paying for improving the OSM data. They do so mainly by hiring mappers, but also by directly sending money to the OSM foundation, albeit with grants that seem rather small in comparison to market capitalization of these firms. These developments - while good for improving the OSM data, raise also some issues. One concerns fairness: if the firms pay their employees/contractors for map edits, shouldn’t they pay to all who make the same kinds of edits? After all, the edits they provide are not special in any respect - volunteer editors have been supplying such data to the OSM database for years. A more subtle issue is, that emergence of paid map editors dramatically changes character of the project, which for most of its existence has been a purely volunteer affair. Increasingly, volunteer mappers can no longer point to “the Map” and say - we, volunteers did this. Others raised this issue as a problem, but no way out of it has been suggested so far.

The solution

In this post I try to advance an idea that we as a community embrace the “paid labor model,” but with an important twist. I propose we create time reports of our edits, have the reports independently verified and then ask the firms to pay for our labor what they pay their own Map editors. We will ask them to pay not us - the individual editors - but send the payments to the whole OSM project. After all we do not edit the map for the money, but we are also aware that the OSM project could always use more resources - to run and improve the server infrastructure, to reward programmers for creating and maintaining mapping tools, or to support mappers in developing countries, where we have an unfortunate coincidence of the greatest mapping needs on one, and a lack of “native” mappers on the other hand. If enough OSM editors start reporting their times, eventually - due to publicity the move is sure to attract - the OSM data consuming companies will start paying attention and take steps to control their public image.

To report our map editing times, we can use Rovas - an application of the community economic system NEO, where volunteers can record their labor time and earn a monetary reward in the form of NEO currency Chron. The currency can then be used to reward other NEO projects, sent to another users, or exchanged in Rovas for national currencies at market-determined rates. While the work reports can be created manually, JOSM users can use the Rovas Connector plugin, which automatically records editing time and when uploading the JOSM job to the OSM database, creates a work report in Rovas. The steps below show how to participate, if you use JOSM. If you use other applications, you can create the work reports manually in Rovas, or appeal to the creator of the application you use to program-in a link to Rovas. They can use the Rovas API.

Setup stage (one time procedure)
  1. Create an account in Rovas
  2. Install and configure the Rovas Connector plugin for JOSM
Using the JOSM plugin
  1. Open JOSM and make edits. The plugin counts your working time automatically, starting immediately after JOSM opens.
  2. when uploading the job, request to have a work report created in Rovas. The plugin will add you as a collaborator in the OSM Rovas project and create a work report on your behalf in that project.
  3. Next the report must be verified. To do so, Rovas sends email invitations to two other users, who check the reported time against the proof of work - a link to the achavi application, displaying the edited changeset.
  4. When approved, you get 10 Chrons for every hour of editing time. You can then use the money to reward other volunteers, exchange it for euros, or send them to (for example) the Rovas account of the OSM Foundation as a donation.

Creating the invoice

Periodically, the times in the OSM project will be added up and an invoice generated, addressed to the OSM data consumers. We will ask them to pay with their own volunteer labor measured in Chrons, or in national currency (USD). In the later case, we will recommend they use the hourly rate they pay their own mappers, in order to determine the payment amount. Rovas will convert the money into Chrons and reward the invoice recipient - the OSM project.

The OSM project can be set up in a way that funnels a set portion of the payment into a particular account, for example the one belonging to the OSM foundation. They can then periodically exchange their Chrons to Euros, or other national currency. Optionally, the project can be set up to convert all of the paid Chrons to non-monetary, reputation score called Merits that will get allocated to the participating users according to the time they report in the project. In this case the economic value of the payment will benefit the whole volunteer community, not a particular Rovas account holder. This is so, because during the payment paid Chrons get destroyed (changed to Merits) and the Chrons circulating in the economy gain more value against the national currency (there will be less Chrons in the NEO system).

The invoices will be published on a well-known, publicly accessible address on the web. A list of all companies that will have made a payment will be listed, in the descending order of the amount paid.

The expected outcomes

  1. more money for the whole volunteer ecosystem and/or the OSM Foundation
  2. the participating map editors earn community currency they can exchange for their local national currency. This might motivate more people to join the mapping efforts, especially in the poorly mapped areas of the world, where coincidentally even weak Chron exchange rate (against the national currency) can result in a better hourly rate than the minimum wage they could earn in the local economy.
  3. participants can earn a publicly visible reputation reward, whenever the OSM project is rewarded. This kind of reward is universally known to work as a motivator to provide more labor (likes, reputation scores,…),
  4. The OSM editing work reported is verified by at least two users, who might notice and act on any problems in the changesets refered to in the reports. This should lead to improvement of the OSM data quality.

Discussion

Comment from laznik on 3 July 2021 at 06:59

Hi @AkuAnakTimur and thank you for your comment.

There are many schemes like the OSM BTC fund, for example Open Collective and others. My proposal is different in many aspects:

  1. unlike projects like OSM BTC fund, we are not begging for donations here. We are claiming that our work has economic value that its consumers should reciprocate in the form of their own work for the commons, or by paying money. I am pointing out, that corporations like Apple started paying for work that we have been providing cost free for years and use it as a proof of what I am claiming - our volunteer work has economic value that can be easily determined. One option is to multiply the number of our editing hours by the hourly rate companies like Apple pay.
  2. The ranking scheme affecting the amount of payout to the editors the OSM BTC fund is using, is only briefly and insufficiently described. What real-world parameters are used as a metrics is obscure. In NEO, monetary reward is determined by the length of labor time - pretty clear and history tested method for measuring economic value.
  3. Use of Bitcoin is a non-starter for many people due to many factors, like its environmental impact, exchange rate volatility, or the arcane on-boarding procedure and other factors. NEO uses its own currency, issued whenever human work is reported. The currency can be exchanged for national currencies directly in Rovas.
  4. NEO has two rewards - The one easily to understand is the monetary Chron payment reward for effort, equivalent to the labor time. However, it offers also s reputation-like, non-monetary and non-transferable Merit reward an individual earns, when the product or service they produce is purchased. I expect this reward to become more important than the monetary reward over time, because a person’s Merit score is a well-defined indicator of one’s work value for the society.
  5. NEO constantly and fairly redistributes economic value among the participants, therefore extreme economic inequality as seen in capitalism can not arise in this economy. Exceptional value producers are not rewarded monetarily, but with Merits. No other scheme or economic system has this feature and that makes NEO the only truly community economic system.

There are more differences and features of NEO one can learn by consulting the NEO rules and other sources of information about NEO.

Comment from kucai on 3 July 2021 at 11:25

I’d be just as happy if I am getting paid for fixing paid mappers work.

Comment from laznik on 3 July 2021 at 11:43

@kucai, one day we will have a connector for ID and you will get paid. Today, you would have to use JOSM and the Rovas Conenctor plugin.

Comment from RobJN on 3 July 2021 at 21:02

if the firms pay their employees/contractors for map edits, shouldn’t they pay to all who make the same kinds of edits?

If you want to get paid then you could try applying for their jobs as and when they become available. Of course it would mean that you are no longer free to map what you want - as an employee you will be instructed what to map.

Personally I will continue to contribute what I want to work on as an unpaid volunteer. I will also continue to benefit from the sponsorship that these companies pay to e.g. State of the Map and other projects that are able to make a positive case for what they are doing.

In summary: I don’t believe humiliating organisations in to paying OSM more will work (it’s also a failure to understand our data licence as we give data for free not for a fee). In fact it is likely to have the opposite effect and take money away from things like State of the Map. Instead we would be better to focus on making positive cases for projects that benefit both sides.

Comment from laznik on 4 July 2021 at 04:08

Psychologists tell us that the most important attribute of work motivation for people who addressed their basic existential needs is autonomy. It is the ability to freely choose the type of work we like to do, the time when we do it, or intensity of our engagement. Notice, that this is the modus operandi most creative people work under - “occupations” like artists, scientists, or entrepreneurs. For this reason, there is a major difference between being an employee, or a volunteer and this is the main reason why your recommendation to seek employment when we desire a payment is neither good for “the soul” nor necessary for a functioning economy. In fact I would argue that an economy like NEO that rewards people for (almost) any actually performed activity is the best not only for individual well being of the participants, but also for performance of such an economic system.

Now about that license. In the first draft of this blog post I addressed the issue in the following way: * To get a better grip on the situation, let’s first take a look at the “free for anybody, even for the richest companies in the world” type of licenses, like the one that governs access to the OSM data. Was it really the goal of the license creators to use work of hundreds of thousands of volunteers to increase wealth of companies like Apple or Facebook? I think only a conspiracy theorist could think so. I believe the language of ODbL and other similar FOSS licenses in general reflects our innate human desire to share, to be useful to others. We do not do volunteer work to get paid, as we **instinctively expect the consumers of our work to pay back in kind, at some point in the future. This instinct was formed during evolution of our species over the past two million years, when our ancestors lived in small bands of hunter-gatherers, whose existence depended on cooperation. In the past 10 to 15 thousand years however, our “tribe” grew to over seven billion and during that time the socio-economic arrangement evolved into a situation where the legal institutions we created often exploit our instincts to benefit a small part of the population.

What can be done? The OSM data license is set and putting up a paywall around the OSM data seems to be a non-starter. Situation in other contexts where user data is exploited for economic benefits is similar (wikipedia articles, facebook posts,…) - the Genie seems to be hopelessly out of the bottle. Our evolutionary history however suggests a way out of the predicament. Cultural anthropologists who study hunter-gatherers found, that the peculiarly egalitarian socio-economic arrangement within the hunter-gatherer bands was maintained primarily by social pressure. Where our ancestors used praise to support pro-social, or ridicule to suppress anti-social behavior, we can do the same to the consumers of the volunteer-generated data. After all, not only individuals, but companies as well are known to care greatly about their social standing and we can use the desire to have a good reputation as a tool to increase the consumers to reciprocate for our volunteer labor. ***

So that is that. One might disagree and think the form of exploitative capitalism we have today is the pinnacle of economic arrangement, but I and others do not agree.

Lastly, about that shaming. I agree, we can put the proposal in a positive language as much as possible and suggestions about how to do it are welcome. We however should be firm in our claim that an economic reward for our work is justified even if the actual “invoice” does not contain that language.

Comment from laznik on 4 July 2021 at 04:09

hmm, the bold section should not be bold, but I do not see a way that would allow me to edit a comment…

Comment from Richard on 4 July 2021 at 09:43

Was it really the goal of the license creators to use work of hundreds of thousands of volunteers to increase wealth of companies like Apple or Facebook?

It was expressly the desire of OSM’s founder and those who worked on it in the early days to allow corporate use, yes. Otherwise it would have started with the CC-BY-NC licence rather than CC-BY-SA.

I do not see a way that would allow me to edit a comment…

Maybe you could pay someone to add that feature to osm.org ;)

Comment from laznik on 4 July 2021 at 10:18

Developers of open source software, people who maintain crowdsourced projects and other volunteer entities have to constantly beg for donations and seek sponsors, regardless of the fact that these projects often produce real and significant economic value. True, we have a license that we have, but we can ignore it. There is no clause there that would prevent us from asking compensation for our work. Of course entities like Apple or Facebook could ignore our request, but given enough people will see the issue as I do, we can make a difference. Eventually we might even find a way to fork the project, but that might not be necessary in my opinion.

Maybe you could pay someone to add that feature to osm.org ;)

I think the issue is not a technical one, but an intent - the system creator wanted to prevent folks from changing their comments after they were made to prevent all kinds of communication-related issues… … and yes, I eat my dog food and pay for other people’s work. I do so with real money, but it is more fun to pay with Chrons that you get for doing what you love to do. Check NEO and Rovas out, you might like it :-)

Comment from Richard on 4 July 2021 at 10:25

I think the issue is not a technical one, but an intent - the system creator wanted to prevent folks from changing their comments after they were made to prevent all kinds of communication-related issues…

Nope. I added the function to edit diary entries back in 2008: https://github.com/openstreetmap/openstreetmap-website/commit/3b6d2c5336eac35912909c9102c77bf6472901e6 . I didn’t add the function to edit diary comments simply because I didn’t get round to it. If someone else made a good-quality PR for it I’m sure it would be accepted.

Comment from imagico on 5 July 2021 at 17:12

There are quite a few interesting ideas in your suggestion worth contemplating. However what i am pretty sure about is that automatically rewarding a third party with own economic interests (like the OSMF) economically for the work of mappers is a bad idea.

I am also not sure how the whole system sketched is supposed to deal with:

  • the fact that there is no objective system to quantify the relationship between the work efforts of the individual mappers and the benefit for the data user (which seems to be necessary to assign the merit reward).
  • the possibility that mappers could enter work hours into the system which they have not spend - like it is meant to be - based on the intrinsic motivation of the mappers what to map and how to map but based on outside incentives (like being paid in conventional paid mapping project or also other organized and directed mapping project with non-monetary compensation).

@Richard - keep in mind however that the option to edit diary comments in a similar fashion as diary entries (i.e. without the edit and the edit history being transparently visible) would fundamentally change the character of the conversations because it gives participants in the conversation the possibility to freely rewrite history.

Comment from Richard on 5 July 2021 at 19:10

Yeah, you just put “last edited at n” like pretty much every single forum software in the world does. It’s a solved problem. :)

Comment from laznik on 5 July 2021 at 19:14

…However what i am pretty sure about is that automatically rewarding a third party with own economic interests (like the OSMF) economically for the work of mappers is a bad idea.

I agree. This must be a community decision

Re. bullet No. 1

In NEO, the effort one exerts to make a product and market value of that product can be made orthogonal (independent of each other). From this perspective then, no system is needed to quantify the relationship between effort and value. However, maybe you had something other on mind…

In NEO, value assigned to an individual in a project that has many collaborators (called shareholders in NEO) can be determined by three factors: 1. a share of time they invested into the project, 2. by a set (negotiated) percentage, 3. by a combination of the two parameters.

Thus in the concrete case of the Openstreetmap project, where the No. 1 method is used - one might argue - the distribution of Merits is not completely fair, because some mappers might generate more accurate data than others during a work session of the same length. This is true. If users start demanding a more fair share for their work however, the Merit distribution scheme can be changed, for example to No. 3, where some user will receive a percentage-based (larger) share. Other distribution schemes are imaginable too and they can be programmed into Rovas.

A side note: I believe that distribution of shares in group projects is going to be in NEO as messy as it is in capitalism and ultimately depend on bargaining. NEO does not solve this problem by some magic algorithm, but makes the process much more fair, because creates a more level bargaining position for all. I can elaborate if asked.

Re. bullet No. 2.

Very good point. Yes, there is such danger and I think we will have to wait and see how this plays out. The OSM mappers might learn that - due to the way the Merit distribution is set up - the amount of their work effort is directly proportional to the number of merits they receive. Some might attempt to cheat. On the other hand, other might notice and either reject inaccurate reports if they are the designated verifiers for them, or open disputes against already filed and approved false reports. This is possible in Rovas today. In the [crowdsourced portal[(https://nabezky.sk) where Rovas was integrated first, I was surprised to see that verifiers were quite harsh when judging some reports and a percentage of such reports was rejected. That seems to have made time reporting over time more accurate, but I do not have this statistically evidenced. Again, I do not know how this will play out in the OSM context, we will have to see.

Comment from saul-goodman on 6 July 2021 at 19:00

Great idea! Together we can reach a lot of things!

Comment from Mateusz Konieczny on 20 July 2021 at 07:47

Shouldn’t you be paid for your edits too? Let’s start sending these firms a collective invoice for our work and use the received funds to benefit the OSM ecosystem.

I am not fan of large corporations but this is quite silly idea.

Paying someone for doing $THING does not mean that you are supposed or obligated to pay anyone doing the same or very similar thing.

And getting invoice for work you have not requested, from person you have not hired is fundamental misunderstanding of how invoices/jobs/etc work.

Entities using OSM data are obligated to attribute it etc - but they are not obligated to pay mappers.

Comment from laznik on 20 July 2021 at 09:33

I agree, my line of argument mingles together legal (the invoice thing) and moral arguments. The legal language is problematic, as situation there - as you are pointing out - is quite clear cut.

I believe however, that a moral argument can be made that users - and especially the big corporation consumers - of the volunteer-made osm data are by and large not reciprocating for the value they are receiving. For lack of a better term I used the term “invoice” in lieu of that moral obligation. We might need to come up with a different one.

Now, one can argue that no obligation to reciprocate, beyond the monetary one exists, because we have a license that allows unlimited use. But I would argue that the license does not cover all of the value produced by our work. If this was the case, then on what basis would (especially rich) consumers of volunteer work be willing to make donations to the organizations running such volunteer projects? I believe it is due to the feeling we all share, that a person should be rewarded for value they provide, even if they explicitly state that no payback is necessary. The same mechanism is used by non-profits when they ask for money from donors to fund their operations - they use the psychological lever of the need to reciprocate we all instinctively understand.

In light of this, I believe the license governing use of the OSM data is wrong. I think the license was formulated and adapted for use in the OSM project by people who already addressed their existential needs and get their reward for their volunteer work in terms of high-level psychological signals. They - and us, the mappers as well - ignore the exchange value aspect their work generates, as that is not what motivates us to provide the labor. This nonchalant attitude however is a mistake, as illustrated by the fact that producers of volunteer goods have to constantly beg for money to sustain their involvement, or their very functioning as project-running organizations. Another aspect visible in the OSM project context is, that most volunteer mapping is done in rich countries, while the underdeveloped and developing ones are much less mapped. The money we leave on the table could be used to support mapping efforts in these places where we have “white spots” on the map.

How should the license look like? In my opinion it should be based on the concept of fairness, for example using words like “fair reward is expected.” I would certainly advocate for avoiding economic terms like “free to use.” This way the value would be determined by social mechanism - the same one the volunteer producers resort to when they need to raise funds for their operations today. If the big corporations couldn’t live with such nebulous terms and choose not to use our data, we would still be here mapping and maybe be even happier.

Comment from imagico on 20 July 2021 at 10:29

@laznik - there are many interesting ideas in what you write but there is one fundamental flaw in your considerations IMO: You are mixing moral and economic considerations and arguments without clearly establishing how these two connect and that this connection as you see it actually exists in the real world.

Capitalist economy is an inherently amoral endeavor. There are all kinds of efforts in various parts of the world to moderate and tame capitalism with morally motivated constraints. But the idea to do this through appeal to a capitalist’s sense of fairness is just naive. The only way you can hope to impose moral constraints to economic actors is through hard rules that are enforced with zeal.

Practically this would boil down to adopting a license where the rights of the data users depend on the profitability of the data use or the wealth of the data user. Independent of the fact that it is unrealistic for the OSM community to adopt a license like that (it would be a non-open license according to the contributor terms so you would need a new contract with every single of the past OSM contributors), it would be practically unrealistic to implement it in a meaningful way. Just look at the difficulties governments have in practically taxing companies based on profit and/or wealth in a fair fashion - it would be naive to expect the OSM community with no legislative powers whatsoever to do any better.

Comment from Mateusz Konieczny on 20 July 2021 at 12:22

Just look at the difficulties governments have in practically taxing companies based on profit and/or wealth in a fair fashion - it would be naive to expect the OSM community with no legislative powers whatsoever to do any better.

Or look how well enforcing the attribution requirements is going.

And it is very simple and clear and quite easy to both fulfill and verify!

Comment from laznik on 20 July 2021 at 12:23

The only way you can hope to impose moral constraints to economic actors is through hard rules that are enforced with zeal.

I do not dispute that, but I think most will agree that it is overwhelmingly the social pressure and signaling concerns that makes anybody to pay at all for volunteer goods today. This is the case for individuals who are prompted to open their wallets when they see a banner asking them to do so on Wikipedia, or big companies who pay to become the “platinum partner” on the OSMF donor list. What I am advocating for with the “invoice” is to start using the psychological responses it should trigger to increase awareness among the volunteers as well as the public at large about the economic asymmetry.

My immediate goal is for volunteers to join in and have their labor counted. As discussed above, the invoice has no legal power, but I do believe it can be a good way to advance what I am advocating for. Imagine a page similar to this, where we will have two numbers - the number of “merits” the volunteers working on the project received, put next to a number representing their collective effort. The Merits - it will become clear from the description on that hypothetical page - is a reputation-like, non-transferable and non-tradeable reward one can grant to a project by paying with own labor, or (say) euros. In the OSM project, the money paid is not distributed directly to the people working in the project, but benefits the whole (NEO) system. On the invoice we will also include a list of benefactor and the amounts they paid to reward the project. I believe that if the “effort” number (measured in time) becomes sufficiently large, the invoice will attract attention and eventually also donor money, especially if the Merits number is much smaller. Due to the way NEO is designed, such funds will benefit the least wealthy volunteers most, which should increase mapping effort in the most needed locations and also should appeal to a larger class of donors who do not necessarily care about mapping.

The second aspect of having volunteers use NEO is that they earn community currency, equivalent to the number of hours they worked. That money can be used to reward other users in the system, buy merit shares in other users’ projects, or access the products and services created in NEO. This is where we will be able to build fences you @imagico are writing about in a way that is fair to the volunteers. I mention in one of my comments above a crowdsourced web portal that uses NEO to allow the portal content to be accessible only to visitors who reciprocate with their own labor or with money. That model (pay with the NEO currency for access) can be used in various ways in other contexts.

Lastly, given sufficient support (number of participating users) we can maybe find a legal way to fork the OSM database and/or make it available under different license.

Comment from Mateusz Konieczny on 20 July 2021 at 12:33

If this was the case, then on what basis would (especially rich) consumers of volunteer work be willing to make donations to the organizations running such volunteer projects? I believe it is due to the feeling we all share, that a person should be rewarded for value they provide, even if they explicitly state that no payback is necessary.

Large entities are not doing this due to such feeling. They are doing this because it is in their interests. And system setup by OpenStreetMap worked nice in this case. In the best interest of large entities was to do something actually useful and make their precious dataset a tiny bit more open.

For example Microsoft is making Bing aerial available for mapping not from some goodness or gratitude. They are doing this because Google Maps is a great success while Bing maps are basically a miserable failure.

So in their interest is to make Google Maps worth less, so strong OpenStreetMap is in their interests.

https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2002/06/12/strategy-letter-v/ is a great explanation of that strategy. See https://www.gwern.net/Complement for a bit of further discussion.

Such actions should not be mistaken for acting based on some feeling or moral values.

From linked article following fits well:

Headline: IBM Spends Millions to Develop Open Source Software.

Myth: They’re doing this because Lou Gerstner read the GNU Manifesto and decided he doesn’t actually like capitalism.

Reality: They’re doing this because IBM is becoming an IT consulting company. IT consulting is a complement of enterprise software. Thus IBM needs to commoditize enterprise software, and the best way to do this is by supporting open source. Lo and behold, their consulting division is winning big with this strategy.

Note: some small exceptions may apply with action happening due to moral issues/feelings. But “company paying people they are not obligated to pay” is quite unlikely, many companies refuse to pay what they are legally obligated to pay!

Comment from Mateusz Konieczny on 20 July 2021 at 12:45

Developers of open source software, people who maintain crowdsourced projects and other volunteer entities have to constantly beg for donations and seek sponsors, regardless of the fact that these projects often produce real and significant economic value.

I agree that it is unsolved problem and it would be nice to solve it somehow.

I consider it suboptimal that CEO of $EVIL_CORPORATION is earning massive amount of money while making situation worse in general, while actually useful projects struggle for funding.

But…

In light of this, I believe the license governing use of the OSM data is wrong. I think the license was formulated and adapted for use in the OSM project by people who already addressed their existential needs and get their reward for their volunteer work in terms of high-level psychological signals.

would require complete restructuring of project, it would be basically community owned company selling data in an unusual commercial way. I have doubts whether it would actually work well.

Another aspect visible in the OSM project context is, that most volunteer mapping is done in rich countries, while the underdeveloped and developing ones are much less mapped. The money we leave on the table could be used to support mapping efforts in these places where we have “white spots” on the map.

Note that without focus on “is someone is going to paid for it” OSM menages much better quality in typically ignored regions.

Due to the way NEO is designed, such funds will benefit the least wealthy volunteers most, which should increase mapping effort in the most needed locations

Note that we already have some disruptive accounts making fake edits (thousands of edits repeatedly moving nodes around etc) just to maybe get pitiful rewards from Osmand fund (recently renamed to OSM BTC fund).

So it will have not only positive effects, including making some pathologies more popular. Especially

The second aspect of having volunteers use NEO is that they earn community currency, equivalent to the number of hours they worked. That money can be used to reward other users in the system, buy merit shares in other users’ projects, or access the products and services created in NEO.

is prone to creating new set of problems that were so far mostly absent. Though for example I have seen case of person obsessed with not deleting nodes while mapping because in past it was ranked negatively on some user-comparison tool=.

Comment from laznik on 20 July 2021 at 14:38

Mateus, thank you for reminding me that big corporations are driven primarily by the profit motive - that I agree with of course. However I still believe that similar to people also corporations do respond to non-monetary incentives. The degree to which they would respond to something like “the invoice” we do not know, especially as there is no precedent (that I am aware of).

The perverse incentive threat you mention regarding to paying for edits was discussed briefly here already with @imagico, to which I responded that Rovas has an approval and verification mechanism for every report. Two verifiers are algorithm-selected and directed to OSMcha to check the edits against the reported editing time. I personally have been checking edits made in my neighborhood for years (before Rovas existed) and most mappers I know do it as well. That might be also the main reason why the OSM Rovas users are not rebelling against the verification duty when asked to perform it.

There might be another incentive at play that will keep the players honest - fairness. Sociological experiments show that most people will punish defectors to rules even at their own cost, if they get a chance. Finally, as the Rovas users gain more understanding of how the system works, they might realize that the more Chrons in the system, the weaker the exchange rate against the national currencies. That might sharpen their judgements even more.

This is an open experiment - we will see how it goes.

Comment from laznik on 20 July 2021 at 14:41

I apologize for misspelling your name Mateusz :-)

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