OSM Etiquette Guidelines

I would hope we can remove bad posts after the fact (ie pre filtering is not needed)

yes, this is why it isn’t a safe space. You are not safe, people can throw anything on you, and they will be sanctioned afterwards, when the child has already fallen into the well, as we say in German.

Would you consider a place a safe space where someone can shoot you and there is a good probability that they will be punished for it afterwards? Is this comforting?

Cheers Martin

We are not asking the impossible, we don’t want to pre-approve every message but make sure we have the tools to mitigate any potential harm as soon as possible, and that’s doable right now.

About appealing decisions, currently there is a proposal for the governance of these forums, including a team who is ultimately responsible for decision making.

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LCCWG Moderation subcommittee has come up with the following document last year:

It also covers this case underneath “Reconsideration Requests”

so basically board has activated Etiquette rules on some mailing lists while the process how to appeal is still in draft state?


I believe there’s still no moderation team up and running yet, there are a few open topics that need to be resolved. Check out the most recent OSMF board meeting minutes for more details.

Hello everyone,

Thank you so much for your time providing input here. Co-designing the next steps for these forums is important, and we are happy to see the excitement and commitment from a lot of people engaging in the conversations.

After evaluating all the feedback in this topic, and some conversations within the @forums-governance team and some board members, we want to implement this in a way that respects everyone.

Local communities know what works best for them, and it’s important that communities can set their own rules. These forums will therefore allow local communities to decide if they want to have guidelines for their own categories, that they will list or link from the pinned topic in them.

It is also important to avoid having a legal vacuum for moderation to work and be understandable and predictable. If a community does not adopt its own guidelines, it will link the OSM Etiquette Guidelines by default.

We keep our commitment for these forums to be a welcoming, healthy, and safe place for everyone, and we hope that the coming months will allow us to learn more about how to keep evolving to support this goal.

Thanks everyone!

The @forums-governance team


I don’t like that view, that says that it’s worse to call someone bigoted than for someone to be bigotted against you cf. Panti’s Noble Call (more). EG apply to posts on social media

IMHO it is a very basical isssue to have some kind of an etiquette for this forum (as well as for any other communication platform) and I believe the OSM etiquette guidelines would serve quite well for this purpose under the conditon the guidelines would be available in every language spoken within the community.

Besides that I fully agree with Tordanik and Nop that additionally specific and explicit rules are necessary to cover country/national requirements to avoid endless and frustrating discussions in the case of conflicts.

I also fully agree with dieterdreist that a forum open to the public can never be a “safe space” unless every post ist monitored before delivery. Every user can post whatever he/she likes if it is in accordance with the rules or not. Of course posts maybe removed lateron and users be banned but once the word is out the damage is done. I understand a “safe space” as an illusion, in any forum as well as in real life.

I agree with you that is is much worse if someone behaves and talks like a racist than to call such person a racist but how far is this relevant for the OSM forum? I understand this forum as a place to discuss about issues related to OSM - at least it was like that until now. From that point of view I think nukeador is absolutely right with the statement

“I don’t think anyone would be calling names to anyone on an OSM platform, it’s off-topic.”

There should be no space in this forum to call D.Trump a racist or W.Putin a war criminal etc. as for such issues other places are available … or shall this forum serve as some kind of another social media platform in future?

There’s several examples of OSMers calling out other OSMers racist/sexist/etc, and often accurately IMO. It sounds like that sort of action leads to bans here… :neutral_face:

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I disagree with that. Keeping harmful text on this platform exposes more and newer people to rh harmful text. Removing the text prevents that damage.

Plus, people will act differently and (IMO) are likely to post harmful text if they believe it will be deleted and unpublished.

I think the normal course of action here would be to report people you think have been acting as racist/sexist through the process report violations of the etiquette guidelines.

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I have not experienced that so far in the old forum but I take your word. Nevertheless it does not make the forum a better place calling someone a racist, sexist or the like even if it would be the truth. If someone breaks the rules by posting racistic or sexistic stuff it should be dealt with according to the guidelines.

Probably I did not express myself clearly, but I did not want to say any harmfull text or bad stuff should be kept on this platformv - the earlier it will be removed, the better. My point is: If someone insults or attacks you in a post it hurts even if you assure yourself the agressor is nothing but an idiot. Removal of such posts and/or ban may give you some kind of satisfaction later but will not remove the initial pain. From that point of view there is no safe space in this world, not in real life and neither anywhere in the internet and it does not make sense in my opinion to pretend we could create such place.

One can try to make it as safe as possible (and I fully support that) bot not more than this.

I wish you are right with that but my experience tells me people with bad nature ore rude manners often do not take into account such sanctions, not even a ban … but it’s always worth a try.

The @forums-governance team has confirmed this approach at last week’s meeting.


I was looking for moderator guidelines for the forum users group, and I am surprised to see the Etiquette guidelines only mention the mailing list. Or am I missing anything?


What will be the implications of the discourse migration for the countries’ users group moderation process?

Each user subforum migrated here will need to define a group of moderators to ensure the defined guidelines are followed. The moderation process you linked is still not approved by the board AFAIK, once it’s approved I guess it should be evaluated/adapted to these forums needs.

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I just checked it and came to the conclusion that the process described is inadequate for the forum as most of its measures are strictly for the mailing list, while ignoring additional possbilites you have in a forum. E.g. on a ML there is no way to make a mail unsent once it is out, but in a forum you can edit out offensive content.

Also, some of the rules would be overly optimisitic for the forum with its multitude of subforums. Like “arrange a meeting of the moderator team and achieve consens before acting”. Most of the time, you have only one moderator, or you’re lucky if you get a quick response by one out of three existing moderators. I have seen reports in the forum which still lacked any response after a week. And in the worst cases, we have a legal liability to remove illegal content fast. I admit I only had to remove stuff relevant for the attourney once so far - but once would be enough for OSM.

So it definitely would have to be reworked.

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You’re not missing anything. The moderation subcommittee was looking at the mailing list, and they wrote these documents & procedures.

I’m not 100% sure of the copyright status of the EGs, however since it was uploaded to the OSM wiki, the documents are CC-BY-SA 2.0, i.e. creative commonsly licenced, so anyone may use & copy the document (incl make modifications), without needing permission. So anyone can use “adopt” the EG for their own site, community, or group (like this) if you want

13 posts were split to a new topic: How moderation should work (and flags)?