Community will fix Itself

Sep 30, 2014 | GIS, Rambling, Training

Sort of – doesn’t mean it can’t get pushed in a direction.

Last weekend I had a phone call and I was going over some OSM related things and in the course of the conversation I said something to the effect of:

  • OSM seems to have had a profound lack of jackassery in the last few months
  • To which the caller responded with – “the Community will fix itself – it takes some time but it happens”

If you read back through the blog posts you can see where there was a lot of heart burn with OSM and the community from this side.  I’m still short with a lot of the mappers I dealt with until I decide it’s OK not to be.

Yesterday’s conversation went something like (with a completely different person) “Have you seen the discussion on OSMF?”. Nope.

To recap in two sentences and I will butcher this no doubt:

  • One voice: There is a problem with the number of women in OSM – there aren’t enough.
  • Every white tech driven 23-38 year old male: What problem?

It’s a problem. It’s a problem with me also. I guess I would call it more of a perception problem. I joke. I’m southern. I will push whatever imposed boundary is in place with a joke at times. Yeah – I know “WOE IS ME”. Heh. Not really.

So in the last year I’ve heard:

  • You’re an ass.
  • You’re a racist.
  • You hate women.

To be honest I don’t hate anyone. Now – there are people I will go out of my way to not deal with and that list is pretty neutral with regards to anything but brain material. I try my best (if the opportunity presents itself) the right solution/person into a job regardless of anatomy. I had huge conversation on gender with a friend and realized I understood nothing on the subject (it apparently has nothing to do with the dangly bits if you get my drift). So I’m trying to correct that. I don’t have enough friends period. Especially friends who are wonderfully different with regards to religion, sex, or skin color. It’s a hazard of this field. We are white, male, and unfortunately in my case follicly challenged.  I will completely own being an ass at times. It’s a hazard of me being me.

Have I ever told you the story of how I received a scholarship to Morehouse? Remind me at some point….. It’s a true story of my high school life.

So if you want to watch the OSM Community discuss – https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2014-September/thread.html#2493 – It won’t be hard to pick out the thread where the discussion is occurring.

Question is – do you force equalization? Maybe until the community equals.

My biggest two things I’m proud of in OSM currently:

  • Got a call from the federal Government when one of the kids I worked with at a high school mapped a Nuclear Plant. They were not happy. I responded with “She mapped what she wanted to – that’s all the info I will give”.
  • One kid I helped with is still mapping two years later – she’s mapping for the EBOLA outbreak while she’s at college.

Anyway – women in tech. The minute you say there isn’t a problem that’s  the first sign there is one.

Time to go teach an OSM workshop…….

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