OpenStreetMap

misconceptions touching OSM and Telegram.

Posted by mariotomo on 7 August 2022 in English (English). Last updated on 9 August 2022.

A note to myself

This is a note I’m writing to myself, but sharing it to the wider OSM community. I’m a great fan of OSM as a close-to-perfect means for producing this beautiful free geographic database we have, and I like Telegram as an informal platform. I’ve been using Telegram while discussing OSM changesets with fellow mappers, switching from changeset comments that were slowing down the communication, being less interactive and not letting us share images.

me on Telegram

On Telegram I founded the Comunidad OSM Panamá (let’s call it COP here), to which I’ve been inviting mappers who start contributing OSM data in Panama. I have also been made owner of the OpenStreetMap Off Topic (OOT) group, a quite diversified community of mappers who sometimes want to talk about anything else but mapping. In both groups I implement a very simple set of rules: 1) introduce yourself when you enter; 2) assume and practice good faith; 3) try to be nice to each other.

the CoC

In particular in the OOT group we have discussed some meta-issues, like when the OSMF was discussing the need for a formal Code of Conduct. From those discussions, I distilled my personal reasons for decidedly contrasting the formalization of “norms”, on top of what should be shared “values”: if we don’t agree on values, there’s no set of norms that will keep us together. Also, should we once agreed on a set of norms, we would need a group of enforcers, and while on the OSM platforms we have the OSM Foundation to perform that role, on Telegram we are outside the Foundation’s jurisdiction. Cutting it short, in my opinion, if we need the protection offered by the OSM Code of Conduct, we must stay on OSM services.

an event on official channels

Recently I posed a question, an invitation, asking a local Panamanian YouthMappers chapter to please elaborate on a very brief message we had received by one of their members on the COP group. The person who had joined the group and started informing us about a project never appeared on Telegram again helping us understand her better, so I wrote on the official platforms, inviting her, or them, to respond. Still waiting, but anyhow, that’s not the point here.

outcome on Telegram

As a very curious side effect to my insistence, there was a spark of discussion around my person and my behaviour and the unpleasantness of all interaction with me and the abusiveness of my interventions, on a Telegram group. For technical reasons I’m banned from that group, but my partner isn’t, so she very politely responded to the quite insulting description of the COP group she now owns and helps me administer.

OSM should not care about Telegram

But all this happened on Telegram, that’s beyond the OSMF jurisdiction, so I’m not complaining about it, I mean, who cares … who cares if on Telegram some HOT voting member insists with asking us to implement the OSMF Code of Conduct in our Telegram COP group; who cares if on Telegram some Latin American OSM mappers require that the few loosely cooperating mappers in Panama should organize a regional meeting next November; who cares if on Telegram one needs to block fellow mappers to prevent them to contact you -on Telegram- while waiting for them on OSM; who cares if on Telegram so many people in the osmlatam group repeat and repeat and repeat the need that Panamanian mappers should have a single “official” Telegram group, public, managed by people approved by that same osmlatam group?

my standpoint …

I happen to live in Panama, but I’m not Panamanian, on a daily base OSM sees in Panama seldom more than 4 local mappers, and hardly ever more than 8, and you can reach the top 10 with just one very average changeset. If local mappers have come in contact with each other it’s because I invited them to join the group I had founded, generally also suggesting the official alternatives, to have a look at the forum, the regional mailing list, and the community; if we have a welcoming page it’s because I made the pull request on that Belgian service; if the Panama forum is not dead, if there’s some content in the Panama Wiki pages, please simply check who put it; if some Wiki pages have a Spanish version, etc. etc.

… my reaction — on Telegram

So back to the Telegram COP group. As long as I am an administrator of that group, I will not have it implement any Code of Conduct other than the three above rules. About the people who left the group slamming the door, requiring all others to do the same, intending to leave it as an empty container, and to join the new Comunidad OSM Panama (a closed private group for which I can’t even provide a link), in those people, and in their good faith I have lost faith, so I have taken the liberty to ban them from the original COP group. No need to mention their OSM user name here, since, again, who cares, all this happened on Telegram, not on OSM.

… and my intentions — on OSM

On OSM we edit, we describe our changesets, we provide feedback, and I trust the Code of Conduct in place on OSM to keep the communication courteous, and fruitful. I personally find it a failure of the Code of Conduct if it is possible for a mapper to steadfast ignore all hints and attempts at communication on concrete mapping issues, without a working group intervening.

finally: name disclaimer

The COP group I administer is just a space, meant for quick interactions and clearing doubts without the formality of the official OSM platforms. The fact that it’s called “Comunidad OSM Panamá”, it’s just a mistake I made; fixing the name, changing it to a less pretentious one, I’m not doing that because it would break all links to old messages, but also because, short of calling it “Peppino”, all alternative names I can think of are far too long.

later addition

on the subject “The Code of Conduct fails to address the refusal to engage in discussion”, on concrete mapping issues, a few local examples:

  • Alvarado2510 providing empty replies even after DWG urging him to read, understand, take corrective action,
  • Didiel Pimentel never replying and complaining —on Telegram— that I email him too often,
  • Brayan Ameth mapping for the router,
  • Carlos Eduardo Rodríguez who, if I understood correctly, asked the DWG to have me stop contacting him on his changesets.
  • mariotomo these are my discussed changesets.

Comment from danieldegroot2 on 8 August 2022 at 10:29

I personally find it a failure of the Code of Conduct if it is possible for a mapper to steadfast ignore all hints and attempts at communication on concrete mapping issues, without a working group intervening.

See https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Data_Working_Group#I’ve_seen_a_problem;_what_should_I_do?

The working group consists of volunteers. They do check for suspicious changesets and discussions too, but they can’t cover everything. So, if you see something, report it -after contacting the user-.

YouthMappers have their own contact channels, some of which can be found on https://openstreetmap.community/ (which is kept up-to-date manually) You can always browse the internet if you find a group’s name, as most have a Facebook or Twitter page.


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