Proposal to add the 🍿 emoji as a reaction

Honestly never considered this, though it’s a good point and could be used in a harassing way. I’ve always used it in a “the author sounds angry and needs a hug” context for lack of a better use. It’s a weird reaction for this community kind of hard to use in a business/collaborative type context that we have here.

@forums-governance can we split the hug reaction topic please?

I would rather have :tada: and :eyes: integrated.

Unfortunately, almost every emoji can be offensive if used inappropriately. For example, responding with an :eyes: emoji to a comment from someone with a visual impairment, or using the :popcorn: emoji for a critical HOT task aimed at stopping hunger in a disaster-stricken area.

While text posts can be easily moderated, it’s more challenging to moderate emoji reactions. Emojis can be easily misunderstood due to our different cultural backgrounds, which is why I’m generally against expanding their use.


Even the commonly known :+1: is seen quite differently and not at all positively in some cultures.

I think more to the point, if someone posts something horribly offensive, and other people :+1: it, that’s an offensive reaction. This is not an argument for removing emoji, it’s an argument for being considerate and using them appropriately.

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Use cases for the reaction:

  • A new open data stuff from some gov’t is available for import in OSM
  • [Any post about landcover, landuse and natural=wood]
  • Yesterday the routing worked fine, now it doesn’t. Something has changed/stopped working.


Some emojis are definitely more prone to abuse. But not having any emojis cannot be the answer.

Fair enough. But is this really a problem here? In my experience, the OSM community forum is generally a very safe space. There are heated arguments for sure, but people ge emotional about landuse=forest write a long paragraph about stuff. I don’t expect emoji abuse to be a problem like it is on other platforms with … different user bases. One could try it and if it gets abused, remove it again?

I do think that people on the OSM discourse are not as diverse as our community as a whole. We are all quite similar.

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Generally I believe we should not overrate the meaning of the set of emojis being available as reactions here. Of course every emoji can be misunderstood and in some rare cases one may even want to misunderstand what the user of the emoji wants to express by using it. And yes, different cultural background will result in different emoji preference. Nevertheless emojis nowadays are a normal part of conversation all over the world so they have the right to exist, like it or not.

In a forum with mainly factual topics like ours of course we could do without emojis … ok, let’s say :+1: and :-1: are fine, and that’s it …

… hmmm, let me add that :smile: and :open_mouth: are helpful from time to time, may save a lot of words …

… not to forget :frowning_face: and :cry: and also :star_struck: to show other emotions …

… and why not use :heart: or :hugs: from time to time to express appreciation …

or even :popcorn:

It’s hard to believe that someone might really misinterprete the meaning of these very common emojis, but to be sure to avoid any misunderstanding it would be easy to add a small table in the guidelines or the “First Steps” guide defining how these emojis are to be understood in our forum here.

And well, if this is a real issue, we could easily arrange for a vote which emojis we want as reaction and which ones we definitely do not want … :thinking:


The more we assume that a message is clear, the more problematic communication can become.
This is because we don’t consider that the message might be interpreted differently.
Everyone decodes a message according to their own culture and expects others to adhere to the norms of their own culture.

Even simple English can be misunderstood.

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If someone is not white-skinned, should there be a special skin tone version of emojis like :+1:t4: or :+1:t3:?

How should the OpenStreetMap Diversity Statement be interpreted in practice?
Can a default thumbs-up emoji be considered a specific attribute used to discriminate against non-white people?

Sure, and this is the reason why emojis have been so extraordinary successfull all over the world, because it is much easier to misunderstand words in any language than a smile for instance.

For me this emoji looks like a hand wearing a safety or household glove, because this kind of yellow is not a natural skin colour and imo is not to be understood as such. Nevertheless I would not mind if the colour of that emoji would be green or purple or whatsoever. If that is an issue it can probably be changed. My full support is granted.


This discussion about skin tone emoji modifiers is interesting, but frankly it’s off-topic.

@ImreSamu it’s clear that you have an objection to the :popcorn: emoji being added as a reaction option. It would be extraordinarily helpful if you could stay on-topic and simply and clearly state your objection and the reason why you object so that it’s not obscured by all of these side discussions about cultural differences. If there is a specific, non-hypothetical reason why :popcorn: is offensive, please state it. It’s not enough to wave hands and say “someone might be offended,” because then you’re simply derailing the debate without giving anyone an opportunity to examine the argument against it.

  • Saying that something “might be seen as disrespectful or inappropriate” or “could be misunderstood” without a specific example is derailing the debate.
  • Saying that some other group should make the decision is derailing the debate. (did the Communications Working Group approve adding the :-1: emoji? no…)
  • Pasting links to tangentially-related content that doesn’t answer any questions about the topic on hand is derailing the debate.

So far, the only firm objections seems to be:

using the :popcorn: emoji for a critical HOT task aimed at stopping hunger in a disaster-stricken area.


Emojis can be easily misunderstood due to our different cultural backgrounds, which is why I’m generally against expanding their use.

Are there other specific, clearly-described reasons why we should not embrace this salty, buttery (but sometimes sweet and nutty) snack?


There was also an observation earlier that the :popcorn: that Discourse has popped looks more like French fries than popcorn. I must admit that, as more of a :couch_and_lamp: :fries: couch potato than a moviegoer, I’m more familiar with the variety of microwave popcorn that comes in an inflatable bag, courtesy of this popcorn farm I mapped.

You can put my vote down as an eh, sure, why are we still talking about this instead of mapping? Try it on and if it doesn’t fit, delete it. The drama-filled posts won’t get deleted along with it anyways. :empty_popcorn_bag:


This really is getting off-topic but I’m going to drop it in here because (a) it’s one of my favourite images and (b) it explains so much about OSM communication channels.


Germans: “Da kann man nicht meckern”.
(One can’t complain)

Swabian: “Ned gschimpft isch globt gnug!”
(not scolding is praise enough)

I must be a bad American. I find I’m more critical than most and my awesome threshold is much higher :smile:.

I believe we cannot overlook cultural differences.
As a large multicultural community with many local perspectives, OpenStreetMap (OSM) needs to lay its forum’s cultural foundation with great care, especially if it aims to grow and become more successful.

In the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT OSM), for example, colonialism is a recurring theme. They interpret Western cultural dominance differently from how we in the West might understand it. It’s also known that Americanization evokes mixed feelings among non-Americans.

I prefer to avoid unnecessary cultural conflicts.
I hope the main OSM communication channel remains as culturally neutral as possible.

Unfortunately, the Global South is not yet significantly represented to influence our communication culture effectively. Adopting a more American-style communication form, characterized by frequent emoji use like in Slack, might be premature and have drawbacks.

I fully accept the joint decision of the OSM Communication Working Group and the OSM Local Chapters regarding the :popcorn: (popcorn) emoji issue. Additionally, if they issue a general guideline on the principles for expanding emoji reactions, that would be even better. It would help avoid debates on similar proposals in the future.

The topic of cultural differences isn’t new to our discussions.

From an American perspective,
‘The Culture Map’ by Erin Meyer highlights these variations.

Additionally, many of her lectures on this subject are available on YouTube:

Exploring cultural landscapes is more challenging than mapping visible physical spaces. However, if we want to understand each other’s cultures and collaborate effectively, we have no other choice.


Those groups have nothing to do with decisions about which emoji reactions are used on the forum. Deferring to those groups who have nothing to do with the issue at hand is just more attempts to derail the conversation with handwaving arguments and bury the proposal with process. If you think emoji reactions is the purview of those groups, start a thread proposing it. If if the foundation or the forums governance team came to OSM US1 asking for a “decision” from our local chapter about a forum reaction emoji, I would recommend that our executive director find a polite and professional way to say “bugger off2, this is not what local chapters do.”

But I’m glad that you fully accept the decision of groups that in no way have a role in the decision.

1Where I’m a board member, and speaking only for myself.
2A British cultural term that means “go away”
3Unattached footnote to say that as an American, I find all emoji reactions to be awesome as noted by @Richard’s excellent graphic above.


@ZeLonewolf @ImreSamu

I would love to have the :popcorn: reaction right now.
On a more serious note: This discussion is getting quite heated, but I’d say it’s still fine. Let’s make sure it stays that way.


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In Europe/Hungary, where I live, people are mostly familiar with Facebook’s seven reactions.

This is what most are accustomed to, as it’s their primary social media experience.
Anything beyond these reactions is seen as unusually complex and hard to comprehend.

If we need a reference point, I suggest using Facebook as a baseline.
If Facebook expands its seven reactions, we could likely do the same.
And if Facebook adds the :popcorn: emoji as a reaction, we should consider adding it too.


I am not entirely against emojis.
In fact, I think we should first establish an emoji culture within OSM.
For instance, we could translate every OSM document into emojis.
We could start with the OSM Diversity Statements:

  1. :earth_africa::handshake::busts_in_silhouette::pray: - The OpenStreetMap Foundation and global community welcome everyone.
  2. :hugs::speech_balloon::rainbow: - Our community is about mutual respect, tolerance, and encouragement.
  3. :rocket::star2::family_man_woman_girl_boy::rainbow_flag: - We aim for a diverse and vibrant community.
  4. :world_map::sparkles::people_holding_hands: - A diverse community creates a better map.
  5. :scroll::handshake::eye_in_speech_bubble: - Our diversity statement is all-inclusive.
  6. :no_entry_sign::facepunch:t4::fist:t6::fist:t2: - Discrimination on any grounds is not tolerated.
  7. :older_adult::baby::earth_africa::briefcase::pray: - Attributes like age, culture, gender identity, etc., are respected.
  8. :palms_up_together::globe_with_meridians::speaking_head::earth_africa: - We welcome people of all languages and backgrounds.
  9. :earth_americas::books::e-mail: - Encourages local chapters and communication in local languages.