Perhaps a survey should be conducted to understand why some OpenStreetMap communities have not yet joined the OSM Local Chapter program. This could provide insights into the barriers they face, making us more informed.
Additionally, we need to decide on the adherence to the OSM Diversity Statement and to what extent we take it seriously.
Here’s an extreme example:
For instance, if a formal OSM group were to be established in Afghanistan, it’s likely that local women wouldn’t be able to become members, thus the local OSM female mappers wouldn’t be represented officially.
If Afghan women formed their own group, they still wouldn’t be able to fulfill the legal registration required by the OSMF LC. As a result, if they wish to engage in the OSM community work, they would probably need to do so under pseudonyms, a practice not currently acknowledged by the existing OSMF LC framework.
How could they meet the “Non-profit incorporated entity” requirement? Not likely…
This situation arises from the backdrop of restrictive measures, such as prohibitions on women and girls traveling without a male relative, bans on post-primary education for females ( teaching OSM? ), restricted employment opportunities, and recent bans on women working for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the United Nations Mission in the country as of early April 2023.
Why is the recognition of the (fictional) “OSM Anonym Afghan Women Mappers Group” necessary? Recognizing this group represents a forward-thinking move towards nurturing an inclusive and diverse OpenStreetMap (OSM) community. By acknowledging the OSM Anonym Afghan Women Mappers Group, we validate the substantial contributions these women have made, despite the challenging circumstances they navigate. Furthermore, this recognition sets a meaningful precedent for accommodating anonymity in situations where it’s crucial for participation. It illustrates a willingness within the OSM community to adapt traditional frameworks in order to foster wider participation and ensure that voices from all walks of life are heard and valued. This not only enriches the OSM project with a broader range of perspectives and local knowledge, but also sends a powerful message about the OSM community’s commitment to inclusivity and equity, making the mapping platform more accessible and representative of the global community it serves.
You can extend this example to other marginalized or legally restricted minority groups, such as:
- “OSM Anonym XXX LGBT Mappers Group”
If we are serious about the OSM core value: “We want to make the best map data set of the world,” then alongside the current format, a simplified community registration process should be enabled. This would cater not only to those who happen to live in more democratic parts of the world, but also to those in regions where legal and societal constraints hinder open participation. By offering a streamlined registration pathway, we can embrace a wider spectrum of contributors, thereby enriching the OSM project with diverse perspectives and experiences that reflect the world’s complexity. This inclusive approach underscores our commitment to creating the most comprehensive and accurate map data set possible, by ensuring that everyone, regardless of their geographical or societal circumstances, has an opportunity to contribute to the OSM community.