Regarding regional categories hindering unified communication...(지역 카테고리가 통합된 소통을 방해하는 문제에 대하여...)

On several occasions, I’ve expressed the opinion that the default view of OSM is biased toward certain regions whenever I’ve had the opportunity.
However, I think the regional categories(communities) reinforce this tendency.
I believe that regional categories should be used to discuss topics that are specific to that region, but in practice they are used to speak the language of that region.
As a result, the conclusions of those discussions are also stuck in the region where the language is spoken.
In other words, things discussed in a particular language are not being shared with other English-speaking countries.
Even with the translation feature…

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you see this problem and how you’d like to see it solved.

여러 차례에 걸쳐 기회가 있을 때마다 OSM의 기본 시각이 특정 지역에 치우쳐 있다는 의견을 낸 적이 있습니다.
그런데, 지역 카테고리(커뮤니티)들이 이러한 경향을 강화시키고 있다는 생각이 듭니다.
저는 지역 카테고리를 그 지역에만 연관된 주제를 논의할 때 써야 한다고 생각하지만, 실제로는 그 지역의 언어를 쓰는 카테고리로 쓰이고 있습니다.
그렇다 보니 그 논의의 결론 또한 그 언어를 쓰는 그 지역을 벗어나지 못하고 있습니다.
쉽게 말해서 특정 언어로 논의된 것들이 다른 영어권 나라들과 공유되지 못하고 있습니다.
심지어 번역 기능이 있음에도 불구하고…

여러분은 이 문제를 어떻게 보시는지, 그리고 어떻게 해결했으면 좋을지 의견을 여쭙고 싶습니다.


To add my comments,
I think regional categories should be reserved for discussing topics that are only relevant to that region, or for spreading news and socializing in that regional language, and that topics that need to be discussed and discussed with everyone should be posted in the general category, regardless of the language used.
(Of course, it would be nice to write together in other languages if necessary).

Of course, translation is not perfect, so there is a concern that the exact intent of the writer will be conveyed (if there is a problem with accurate communication, I think we need a system that can aggregate the results of discussions in a specific region).
However, I think that the more we communicate and discuss with each other, the more informed, unbiased, and diverse perspectives will be reflected.

제 의견부터 덧붙이자면,
지역 카테고리는 그야말로 그 지역하고만 관련된 주제를 논의하거나 그 지역 언어로 소식을 알리고 그 지역 언어로 친목을 다지는 용도로만 쓰도록 안내하고, 모든 사람과 함께 논의하고 의견을 모아야 하는 주제는 쓰는 언어와 상관없이 일반 카테고리에 글을 쓰도록 해야 한다고 생각합니다.
(물론 필요하다면 다른 언어로 함께 써도 좋을 것입니다.)

물론 번역 기능이 완벽하지 않기 때문에 글 쓰는 사람의 정확한 의도가 전달될 수 있을지 하는 우려가 있습니다.(만약 정확한 의사 소통에 문제가 있다면 특정 지역의 논의 결과를 취합할 수 있는 시스템이라도 필요하다고 생각합니다.)
하지만 이렇게라도 서로 소통을 하고 논의를 해야 좀더 알차고 편중되지 않고 다양한 시선이 반영될 것이라고 생각합니다.

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The capacity of human beings to socially interact with others is
limited. Each of us can only “know” so many people. If all of OSM were
on the same platform, in the same forum, even with the best translation
features, it would be a forum without a heart and soul.

Yes, it is possible that groups in different countries or language
regions come to different conclusions about how to use a certain tag or
when to use a multipolygon and when not - but is this really a problem?
Is it absolutely necessary that OSM is 100% the same in every part of
the world? I do not think so.


First, thanks for the feedback.
I don’t think you’re necessarily wrong.
However, I’m not the only one editing my region.
My judgment may affect edits in other regions.
They may give completely different attributes to the same feature.
And that lack of unified concepts is trickling down to the OSM wiki articles and making them even more confusing.
Please be considerate of other non-European/non-English-speaking contributors who are confused about fitting into a European or English-speaking perspective.

먼저 의견 고맙습니다.
당신의 말이 반드시 틀리다고 생각하지 않습니다.
하지만 제가 제 지역만 편집하는 것은 아닙니다.
제 판단이 다른 지역의 편집에 영향을 미칠 수 있습니다.
한 지물에 전혀 다른 속성을 줄 수도 있습니다.
그리고 그런 통합되지 못한 개념이 OSM 위키 문서에까지 영향을 주고 있고 그것이 서로를 더욱 혼돈스럽게 만들고 있습니다.
유럽 혹은 영어권 시각에 맞추기 위해 혼란을 겪고 있는 다른 비유럽, 비영어권 지역 기여자들에 대해 조금 더 고려해 주시기를 부탁드립니다.

That is true. Of course, the more mappers there are from some regions, the more influence they’re going to have at a project as a whole. It is what it is. So the tagging conventions are dominated by British English, and Germany is strong too. My own country of Croatia has much less influence, as there is much less of Croatian mappers.

However, I think the regional categories(communities) reinforce this tendency.

Hm, I find that strange. Imagine if Korean Discourse category did not exist (i.e. if it was deleted, or if it was never created in the first place). Do you think more Koreans would contribute to OSM and participate in discussions, or less? I don’t know for Korean case - but for Croatian one I would guess even less Croatians would participate if there were no Croatian category.

I believe that regional categories should be used to discuss topics that are specific to that region, but in practice they are used to speak the language of that region.

Many of the discussions are local. For example, in Croatian forum (and mailing list before), we’ve mostly been talking about how to tag things that are specific to Croatia, local imports, or about issues with local mappers. Much rarer are we discussing about tags that are used worldwide, but are not well defined for anyone so would benefit from whole-world view. When we do, we take it to the general tagging forum instead of discussing in our Croatian community, e.g. Tagging healthcare:speciality=* inside a hospital

As a result, the conclusions of those discussions are also stuck in the region where the language is spoken.

I don’t know your statistics; can you estimate how much of the issues you are having are local, and how much would benefit from wider-world view?

Sure. So does mine. Every region has its specifics, even when we try to invent tags to be useful globally.

I am trying. There are bigger cultural differences than just language being spoken, though. In the Korean discussions I’ve seen, most of the things that are common there I’ve never heard of before, much less seen with my eyes in my life. In some there were some similarities so I might offer some of my (european-centric) experience; in others, I could contribute nothing due to me not knowing anything about the subject being discussed.

Also note that while it’s easy to say that OSM is Europe-centric, Europe is very wide thing. I’ve been in more OSM Korean discussions then I’ve been in many country-specific forums that are European. It is also a question of volume and free time. Even I had 24 hours a day free to only follow OSM-related discussions in various languages and countries, I’d be unable to follow all of it.

So, my suggestion would be - be bold. Go and enable “follow 1st post” for tagging category and this site feedback. Translate that first post and see if it interest you, and if it does, track it and translate and read it. If you have something to add, just reply to it - feel free to write it in Korean if it is more comfortable than English for you, people will translate it from their side too. Sometimes it will not be very clear (that translations are not perfect), and people will ask for clarifications. Try to clarify as best as you can. And so, you will be the change that you want to see in the world.


Thanks for the great suggestions for future reference.

I’m not suggesting that we get rid of communities or merge them, but rather that we bring out topics that are common to the region that are only discussed within the community.

To give an example, I think the following discussion should be widely shared even in non-English speaking countries.
Is there consensus on mapping pavements (sidewalks) separately to roads?

The reason why I chose to view this topic post is because it was a topic discussed in the 한국/조선(Korea) community a while ago.
I insist that these things should be widely shared beyond the language barrier.

실례를 들자면, 바로 아래와 같은 논의는 비영어권에도 널리 공유되어야 한다고 생각합니다.
Is there consensus on mapping pavements (sidewalks) separately to roads?
이 주제 게시물을 보기로 든 것은, 마침 얼마 전에 한국/조선 커뮤니티에서도 논의를 한 주제였기 때문입니다.
이런 것들은 언어권을 넘어 널리 공유되어야 한다고 주장합니다.

I agree. If you find a topic discussed in Korean community that might be useful for wider audience, please do bring it to tagging category Tagging help & support - OpenStreetMap Community Forum

But is it not shared? Anyone interesting in tagging discussions should be following that tagging category. Yes, I understand that is harder for non-English speaking people to find interesting topics due to lack of thread title (subject) translation support in Discourse.

Until support for thread title autotranslation is implemented however, the best one can do is find interesting topics that would be useful in their community, and link them back to to their community, inviting them to follow/read (with autotranslator help) and write (in Korean if they don’t know English) replies in that specific topic. Then other people can use autotranslator to read and reply to their comments too.

But somebody would need to take that effort to make an announcement to their community about interesting topics - for example, I might for Croatian community, or you might for Korean community. Or, even better, one might volunteer to once a week help translate OSM weekly and then post link to that in their community - OSM weekly seems to cover most interesting things that happen.

I agree with you that it would be good idea, but how exactly do you propose to share it more widely?

I had two main ideas above to move closer to that goal (example is Korean, but applicable to any non-English language/community) :

  • translate OSM weekly to Korean language and post it automatically in Korean community category
  • help lobby for Discourse to support thread title/subject translation (so Korean community could more easily participate in tagging and other relevant discussions directly)

Thank you for your feedback.
Let’s start looking for alternatives again, starting with the local community.
If there’s anyone out there who agrees with me, I’d love to see you discuss it in your own local communities.