[JT] Jochen Topf's Blog
Fri 2010-11-26 00:00

Do Not Forget the Positive Side

Yesterday Frederik Ramm send me a link to this wikipedia page. It contains 73 observations on (mostly obnoxious) behaviour in the Wikipedia and some recommendations how to deal with it. Almost all of that can be translated directly to OpenStreetMap and I recommend that every OSMer read it.

I found the points 61 and 63 especially important. For all the problems Wikipedia or OpenStreetMap might have, we should never forget all the things that work!

This resonates especially with me, because a few years back my freelance consultant business mostly revolved around creating large-scale email systems. After a while this mostly turned into creating anti-spam measures. And while that was technically interesting I saw that my mindset was going in the wrong direction: Instead of seeing the great things people do with email, all I saw was the bad side created by just a few spammers, and all my thinking was about new tricks to stop this very small group of people. At some point I decided that I don’t want to get stuck only thinking about how to prevent people from doing things but instead work on projects where I can enable people to do things.

And yes, I know that sometimes you have to prevent people from doing bad things to enable other people to do good things. But points 61 and 63 reminded me how important it is to step back occasionally and see the whole project lest we become part of the problem ourselves.

Tags: community · openstreetmap · spam · wikipedia