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Discuss Etiquette page here:

Why moderation is needed

Reading this I get reminded of some children in kindergarten... Just write "If you don't do what the license mafia wants, then you get banned". That is short&precise and easily understood!

A nice example of why moderation is needed. Abuse of other community members (calling them the license mafia) is not acceptable. Discussions about the licence options lasted a long time, but when the decision was made, some of the people who's favoured choice was rejected resorted to abuse.

Chillly 20:44, 7 July 2011 (BST)

See also...

I'm going to add link to Community Code of Conduct (Draft)

I guess I'll add it as a 'See also' at the bottom. Not entirely sure what the relationship is between the two pages. Maybe one of them doesn't need to exist

-- Harry Wood 00:05, 12 July 2011 (BST)


I’m not sure the “no conspiracy theories” paragraph makes sense. If there is a conspiracy and you get to know about it, shouldn’t you talk about it to prevent worse and save the project? In this case, you could argue, it isn’t a conspiracy theory but it is actually a conspiracy. But the problem is that every conspiracy theorist believes in his reading of the facts, so everybody will argue his isn’t a theory but an actual conspiracy. If we block all talking about conspiracies upfront the project might sooner or later fall prey to a conspiracy. —Dieterdreist (talk) 20:30, 15 May 2018 (UTC)

I propose to remove the “no conspiracy theories” point. It can be easily used to dismiss unpleasant critique as conspiracy theory. Maybe it could be rephrased that accusations must be argumented by facts. --Dieterdreist (talk) 10:52, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
There are lots of other formulations in that list that are problematic - these all date back to a highly questionable initiative from Steve Coast back in the days to clean house in OSM so to speak. In terms of what are actually the guiding principles of communication on the mailing list i would not go much beyond what is written on How We Map. --Imagico (talk) 11:21, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
I'd like to know what "conspiracies" means here? Does believing that the Patriarchy or white supremacy are real count as a conspiracy theory? I've seen people argue that. Etiquette rules that ban marginalized people from speaking out against structural oppression is terrible. The diversity-talk@ CoC is nothing like this "etiquette" for a reason. Rorym (talk) 12:44, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
Thank you both for your comments, I have removed the "no conspiracy theories" point from the list. If there are other improvements you think would better reflect the actual situation in the project, please contribute to the discussion with concrete suggestions. --Dieterdreist (talk) 10:49, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
I don't think it's a good idea to change this wiki page without wider community discussion, and I don't think this wiki talk page is wide enough. There are many people in OSM (including OSMF board members) who refer to these rules publicly. Rorym (talk) 13:09, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
I disagree here - this page, like everything else on the wiki, can and should be edited. If OSMF board members consider the current state of the page to represent official policy they are mistaken. It might be that in the past at some point the page represented something that was voted on by the board to be official policy but there have been multiple edits since then so this is definitely not the case any more. To what extent the page represents community consensus or actual moderation principles is of course debatable - just like everything else on the Wiki and in OSM in general. This is most likely not the case simply due to the fact that it is written in English. --Imagico (talk) 13:36, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
Well yes, you're right. As I typed my previous reply, I thought "hang on, this is a wiki". But in such case, we should inform the wider community that this page is not 'official' and is subject to change. Which is my original point, "it's not a good idea to change this wiki page without wider discussion". Rorym (talk) 14:09, 21 January 2019 (UTC)

History of the Etiquette Page

In 2010 we were amidst the change to ODbL. It was difficult, and frequently noisy and noxious. Here's a pretty typical thread Frederik declares war on data imports ;)

SteveC kicked off discussion on changing this in typical Steve style Enough is enough: disinfecting OSM from poisonous people and then got specific with Etiquette guidelines in BDFL and Moderation

Despite a starting point which seems crazy today, there was wide consensus across OSMF and the OSM community, and buy in to institute guidelines and moderation on the mailing lists. The intention was to have guidance and process for moderation. This meant all mailing lists. This topic was also posted on osmf-talk (though at that time osmf-talk was not really the focal point of community discussion of policy issues like it is today).

There was a little more discussion in October 2010, and then not much further. Code of Conduct: civil discussion, lists etc.

In early 2011, the Board asked the Strategic Working Group to implement a moderation process. Still need to find exactly where that request was made -- likely in the “Management Team”, which was an attempt to broaden the operational center of OSMF beyond the Board.

(Side note, it’s remarkable how productive the now disbanded SWG was in retrospect -- I don’t remember it like that. But also how much we grappled with and are still grappling with. The SWG implemented the tile layers policy, working group budgeting, AoA changes. It also looking at issues like overall OSMF governance and community engagement).

By June 2011, the Board decided to finally make this official OSMF guidance. Yes our minuting practices are not what they are today! But for certain, the reason we took an official decision was to officially adopt the guidance laid out in the content of the Etiquette wiki page. This was the content of the Etiquette page on that day

The next month, moderation was implemented on the talk mailing lists. Other mailing lists followed. We also had created a mailing list just for moderators, to discuss cases and to share moderation actions across lists.

This worked pretty well for a while. The lists were a lot easier going. But moderation is a thankless job. Over time, moderators became less active, and eventually moderation went quiet. (More details to come on this).

Suggesting a few changes

  • most of what is listed under the header "Mailing lists" should also apply generally.. to the wiki and forum.
  • add "don't get personal"

RicoZ (talk) 20:54, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

I would remove these points: "Nitpicking doesn't help you or anyone else" as it is important to be precise in communication in order to be effective, and "nitpicking" is just a derogative term for people trying to be precise (i.e. this directive is in conflict with the "assume good faith" prescription). I would also reword "no grandstanding" as this is not a term I would expect many non-English people to understand. --Dieterdreist (talk) 10:48, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Agree with your points. RicoZ (talk) 21:53, 5 March 2019 (UTC)