Message from OSMF Board Chair on mailing list behavior

To the OpenStreetMap and OSMF communities:

I convey the following information on behalf of the Board of Directors of the OpenStreetMap Foundation.

An outcome of the current controversy on the osmf-talk mailing list over misogynistic language is a decision by the Board as follows:

The Board will find partners to help instate a moderator team for the OSMF-talk and talk mailing lists.  These moderators need to have the trust of the community subject to the moderation (consent of the governed) by some kind of approval mechanism. 

This moderator team will start to work on enforcing the current Etiquette guidelines as soon as possible. We will also start work on updating/replacing our Etiquette rules, which must focus on balancing all participants’ interests.

We have asked the Local Chapters and Communities Working Group (LCCWG) to take the lead on this and to work with signatories of the open letter to the Board as well as members of the Diversity and Inclusion Special Committee to produce proposals for the Board to consider at its January meeting.  The LCCWG has accepted this task.  This issue will be on the agenda of the January meeting of the Board of Directors, exact time and date yet to be determined, though as is customary it will be posted to the Foundation’s website well in advance.

Members of the OSM community are, as always, welcome to share their opinions and any relevant information on this matter, either publicly via osmf-talk, or privately in direct communications to the LCCWG.  I feel compelled to remind all members of the community that a Code of Etiquette has existed since June 2011 and shall be observed by all community members.

Very best regards to all,

Allan Mustard

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5 thoughts on “Message from OSMF Board Chair on mailing list behavior

  1. Asztalos Attila

    I’m all for making sure any particular person or group gets treated respectfully. I’m wholly _against_ making sure nobody ever finds a reason to take offense. Screw that.

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  3. Tobias Zwick

    Nice! I find it important that the OSMF provides the tools necessary to guarantee discussions around OSM to remain civil, so in this case apparently step up in the moderation of the mailing list(s) a bit to better enforce the ettiquette guidelines.

    My impression of the mailing list(s) are that discussions there tend to become more often emotional and abusve than in other channels and one reason might be that the moderation is more lax there, the other more obvious reason lies in the medium of mailing lists itself: Moderation is quite ineffective because it comes after the fact, i.e. the mails are already sent to all participants before moderation can happen, often including even more emotional answers to these etc.

    Maybe a mid-term solution would be to replace the mailing lists with something else, for example a forum with capabilities to include mailinglist functionality.

  4. coronavirus

    A large and diverse membership is the key here. When you look at the OSMF membership statistics, you’ll see we’ve come a long way! On a board of 7, no matter how you cut it, you will always find underrepresented blocks; we shouldn’t feel threatened if no one from our minority group is on the board. I am opposed to the idea of circumscriptions because they would be easy to game and favour clientelism. We must be careful not to polarise the community by having board members representing only sizeable minorities; we represent the whole map and every mapper. Instead, we must encourage local communities to grow and give a greater voice to local chapters.

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