Community Moderators Proposal for Thailand: advice/feedback needed

In a nutshell:

  • the lack of rules and decisions in the very small Thailand OSM community has created over the last years a toxic environment for new and well-intentioned mappers while allowing (corporate) vandalism to thrive.
  • with the future migration of forums to, and with the confirmed approach that each community could set its own rules, I believe this might be the right time for a major change
  • working on a proposal to have the community elect on a yearly basis 3 trusted community moderators that would define and revise the first community guidelines and proactively moderate them
  • looking for advice and feedback on the full proposal below from OSM experts, especially those who experienced the same issues in their small communities and took successful steps:

PS: I will subscribe to osm-talk when it migrates to the modern :wink:

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Thanks for sharing this, I think other communities may feel reflected with the problems you are currently trying to solve.

@mikko_tamura and @RAytoun might be able to provide some ideas based on their experiences with both local communities in the Asian region and issues around validation and data quality that I see listed in your proposal.

In my experience, my mental model to tackle these kind of issues is:

  • Deeply understand the problems that need to be solved and why they are really problems.
  • List how do the community would like to see the dynamics in an ideal future.
  • Come up with some assumptions on what can be done to walk into that direction.
  • Quickly test the assumptions (1-2 months max) to understand if they are being helpful.
  • Evaluate what happened after the testing, what worked, what didn’t and iterate.

In my opinion, the base OSM etiquette guidelines provide a really good start around framing discussions. They can be tested in a community during some time and observe what else is needed.



Hello @cmoffroad ,

I just noticed your wiki page now.

After reading it, I have the impression the role you are looking for does not fit well with the definition of a “moderator”. It sounds more like you are looking for a way to change governance of OSM.

A moderator is keeping an eye on discussions and reminds people to keep on track with the discussion. In case a discussion goes too much off-topic, this is a task for moderation. Also in case a topic is branching into two distinct topics a moderator might split it into individual topics.

A moderator will remind participants of the etiquette in case the discussion is getting too harsh. We want to be polite, friendly and constructive in discussions. This could worst-case result in blocking specific accounts.
(remark: I had to remind users only rarely about etiquette. As moderator I did tolerate stronger words against non-human entities like generic “Facebook” to a larger degree than I would if you directly attack specific persons)

A moderator also helps cleaning up discussions from SPAM posts which try to advertise commercial services or similar content unrelated to OSM.

What a moderator is not doing: A moderator is no court instance to do a final decision on something like tagging schemes. A moderator is not giving tasks or steering the community by telling what to map or what to not map.
This type of governance is not happening in OSM. It is not done by moderators. And it is also not done by local chapters.

So a moderator will not solve the initial topic you brought up, which is the frustration of the very few active local contributors which happens dues to often low quality large scale remote organized editing.
This remote editing involves large companies like Facebook, Grab or TomTom, as well the organized charity companies like HOT brining in remote mappers for mapping events.
I suggest to keep these two topics separated.

I did recently apply for creation of a subforum here in discourse. Once it is available, I propose to bring this topic of remote mapping campaigns up again.
We could continue here to discuss the topic about moderator process.


Thanks, Stephan again for the clarifications. After gathering more information, I agree that my proposal/idea has been obsolete for a while.

My suggestion would be to have the current OSM governance model and the forum moderator’s responsibilities summarized in the pinned welcome section of the forum. This would be very helpful for existing and new forum members alike.

Also, a reminder that Editing Organized Guidelines exist to prevent corporate vandalism would be a good addition. Even if it’s already a prominent part of the country’s wiki page, many long-term and frequent forum users were unaware of this.