Iranian users problem with Telegram public groups*

  • Iranian users problem with Telegram that created by non-iranian users.

Hello all.
It’s been a while since Iranian users of Telegram can join public groups and even make their own. They were restricted to do so for a long time. However, they’re still unable to freely converse in a public group which is made by a non-Iranian user (non-Iranian number). They are limited to only read sent messages.
Yes. This is an act of limitation and it’s a form of censorship.
For an Iranian user of Telegram, the solution to this obstacle has been to become an admin in such groups. In order to be able to send messages in public groups, they only need “Change Group Info” accessibility.
Our demand to our fellows in OpenStreetMap-related groups is to at least provide that access to notable Iranian OSMappers.
We, the admins of Iran OpenStreetMap community, can check and verify those who inquire for such access to ease the difficulty of distrust.
We would be really delighted to see your contribution or hear any additional idea to bypass censorship.

Some of those OSM-related groups may include:
And check for a comprehensive list.

I agree with Sosha suggestion. It’s good to be able to communicate with OSM active users and discuss about daily editing challenges.
Telegram added new manage features, also you could use an open source admin bot to manage spam.

Not trying to be glib here, but would an option be to “not use Telegram” and instead use a platform that isn’t subject to such censorship?

If domains aren’t blocked in Iran, would this forum (and subforums as needed) work? If domains are blocked in Iran then obviously you’ve got a whole other series of problems.

Thank you for you suggestions but we already considered not to use Telegram at all. It would not work and hear’s why:

  1. Telegram is the most popular communicational platform in Iran and if we stop using it completely, we would lose a great potential to gain more mappers in the future.
  2. Since we have a complicated situation in legality of developing open source maps, Iranian users seek a more private platform to contribute.
  3. Not using Telegram because of a glitch shows our submission and hence approval of this unjust discrimination and I guess It’s not our mentality as contributors to open source data.
  4. To stop using Telegram and cut ourselves from other nations is just another act of disassosiation to this community – Iran OSM community is filtered from inside and sanctioned from outside.

I just want to add, using riot for OSM-related stuff does not mean you have to abandon Telegram at all. Telegram is, in my opinion, not the best secure choice as there are from time to time security concerns like the closed-source-servers but thats not the topic here. Nevermind, you still can use riot for riot-stuff and if you guys decide to set your own server up somewhere it is possible due to federation to connect to all the users of other servers. As far as i know, there might be a Telegram-Bridge as well, so even that would be possible.

Unfortunately there is not “Official” channel, but afaik there is github-discussion somewhere about using Riot for communication and/or even set up an OSM-Server as well.

There is - anything hosted at is to some extent “official”.

If you mean there is no official Telegram channel then you’re right - that’s a third-party company that OSM is not involved with, and any use of services like that (and those of any other third-parties, be that Microsoft or Sina Weibo) will be potentially restricted by limitations that that service puts on you - perhaps demanded by the government where the service is hosted, or by restrictions that your ISP/other infrastructure/Government puts on it.

There are no easy answers here, but I don’t think that the argument “we have to have all our discussions on Telegram because that is where most potential users are” is a good one. By that argument in the UK (where I’m from) we’d have all OSM discussions on Facebook, and in doing so would alienate lots of people currently contributing to OSM. Open networks (public mailing lists and forums) make a lot of sense and it’s easier to route around problems with them than with networks hosted by a commercial third-party.

I meant explicitely in matrix/riot. There is a group (channel) thats called “official” but thats just some IRC-Bridge with no interaction yet. And there are quite some local groups, the spanish group is quite big, iirc. The issue mentioned but that is more for organising and not per country yet.

IMHO Telegram is a propietary closed platform, and it’s not a wise choice for any open project.
Its difficult for me to undestand why some OSM local communities insists in using Telegram or other non-free platforms.
We all need a free (freedom, not price) communication platform, to keep alive a free project like OSM. These platfoms are already there for us to use them, like this forums and mailing lists.

Should we use a free platform or a “popular” (propietary) platform? I think there is only one right choice, choice freedom, choice a free platform controlled by the “OSM team”. The other option is giving power to unrelated third parties, losing control, accepting censorship…

Well, its the same problem why people choose to stay at WhatsApp. “Because verybody is there” and its an OK reason. But i don’t understand why to use it in Iran, for example or why it became so popular. Nevermind.

I still would stick with the matrix-protocoll and the mssenger for it. It is possible to use the public server ( or to set up an iranian server. It is even possible to create a Telegram-Bridge ( for example. I still wish for an official channel, but yeah. Spain has a channel, 860 people, argentiania with 552, latinoamerican has a channel, nicaragua, germany, The “official” room with an IRC-Bridge is just in case - but not a lot of people there.