What is our vision of OGF?

Posted by oscar2002 on 12 July 2017 in Spanish (Español)

Along the last week’s, I saw a lot of crossed accusations between “young” or “inexperienced” users and the consolidated users of our community. (Because althoughit seems like not, I read almost every thing that is wrote, not only in the User Diaries, also in the Blikis). And is because of it, and because I’m a member of these community and I love it, I think we should reflect about what is for us OGF and how we show it to the people. When I arrived here three years ago, I was thirteen, and I saw OGF like a game, a way to get funny and build giant empires like in “Age of Empires”, but today I have a really different vision of that place.

Along these threeyears I have get a notable improvement of my cartography, but also a “mental improvement” Actually for me OGF is an “artistic project” a way to express the things that I like the most (the architecture, the urbanism, the history, the geography…), a way to “disconnect from reality” and get some fun and also a place for see different points of view from great people.

Compared with other usuaries, I’ve got “less time” for develop my mapping, and I wouldlike to can carry out more collaborative projects like the one I’ve got few monthsago whit the Uuser Click, but because my situation in the map,isn’t easy.

Where I want to go is: ¿what is the vision that when show to all of OGF? We need to consider that we are in the XXI century, so there are kids like me that have born in the digital era and therefore, we should be able to deal with the perfil of “kid with 13~16 years old with a lot of time and a lot of arrogance, because with the time,it would be the most common.

BUT, not fit it we should decrease the cuality of the map. ¡No way!, but probably we should change our focus, especially, in the theme of “offer territories”. Maybe, apart of that change in the “User’s territories Policy”, we could offer guides, but focus on constance and improve of the User, probably oriented to something more “audio-visual”, and if we meet with users that don’t want to become better, probably we should left them in “blue territories”. Why not crate different levels or categories only binding on the acquisition of territories, based on experience and not in time? I think that, sincerely, we are afraid of scare new users with these “methods”.

I want yo to now that I getready for help and collaborate with all in the extent that my knowledge and my situation allow me for it. For finishingI would like to thank all the admin team and all the users that help me in my trajectory with OGF with and infinite patience. I wouldlike to thankyou also for your time and reading all, and I request you for left your comment below with RESPECT for all the users and avoid that any debate that could appear be transformed in a child’s war.

Have a beautiful day, Guillermo Cara (my real name,je).

P.D. Sorry for my bad English.

Location: Plaza Mayor de Puerto Elisabeth, Puerto Elisabeth, Provincia de Granata, Pohenicia

Comment from Demuth on 12 July 2017 at 18:41

This is a perennial topic (that got brought up in the previous diary entry, I guess that's part of what inspired you to ask this?) That is, the balance of more serious mappers and those who are, well, less serious. But you bring up an aspect of the question that I think we haven't really approached before: very young users - 12 and 13 and maybe even younger - and how to include them/have a dialogue with them/respond to them, in particular when they cross boundaries - literal map boundaries but also boundaries of etiquette and interaction.

I agree with what I think you're saying, which is that 12- and 13-year-olds learn a lot by being here and you don't want to have some kind of age limit that says they can't be here, especially considering how sophisticated they can be technically even at that age, even if they maybe are a bit immature in their judgement and sticking to the rules here which may seem complicated (and unnecessary or unfair to them), which ends up in them getting smacked down because, well, following the rules is part of what makes OGF work.

But it sounds like you are suggesting being more stringent about when someone gets to map outside blue areas/gets their own territory? I'm not sure exactly how that would work or how different it might be from what we have now.

I do want to say that even if people get a bit ticked off sometimes and snippy, I think so far things seem to have a way of working out in the long run here. Feelings might get hurt, but I hope not for long.

Anyway, that's my two cents for what it's worth. Not sure it helped much.

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Comment from Marcello on 12 July 2017 at 19:03

I'm a teacher - serious.

And my worst nightmare is having constantly to teach 13 - 17 year old boys. Their self-esteem is galactic, their attention span atomic. But still most are willing to learn (skills more than knowledge IMHO) and with proper handlng most fare well in the end, while some even become amazing craftsmen.
But some are just ... and that small minority not just frustrates their direct environment but also can bring complete social systems to a grinding standstill.

I fully agree with Guillermo that involvement with OGF is not just a matter of learning skills (geography and cartography, sometimes much more) - it is a mental growth process. Some people are just not into that, and they can frustrate others.

The problem is: how to recognise who is what; and what to do then ? ( my default solution: outlawing cellphones in classrooms - yeah, like I as adult have even a close chance ...)

As is stated somewhre: OGF is not just a internet site, it is a social experiment. And we are all part of it. If we want to make it a success (and even our definitions of that may differ), we better realise that dealing with peple in cyberspace is an extremely hard challenge. Without eye-to-eye contact and long-term relations communications can be mis-understood in so many ways so many times. And younger people are both more vulnerable and more irritating...

I wish I had an instant solution, but I haven't. So far, OGF has worked, and so far it has worked for me. But reminiscings like Guillermo's are a good reminder for me that I, too, have to watch my attitude.

Marcello (and his keyboard that fails frequently, sorry) (and who always breathes with joy if he hears he can do adult teaching for some time ;-)

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Comment from TheMapper27 on 12 July 2017 at 20:24

As a 9-year-old, i find it really hard to co-operate with older users, even with 13 - 17 year olds!!

I totally agree with all of you, we all have to move on into the 21st century and accept younger people.


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Comment from Alessa on 12 July 2017 at 22:21

Thank you for the honest view, Guillermo. I agree that the site teaches a lot. I have learned a ton about rail and mass transit, for example. I haven't mapped much yet, since I lack the confidence to do it well. When I put together Salda's winter Geolympiad bid, I learned a ton about things—even winter sports that I grew up playing! It's the main reason I come back. I love the intersection of creativity and learning.

As for community: I personally believe that the majority of users here are well-meaning and try to be good citizens of our virtual world. My year here has demonstrated that. It is a tough social experiment, and we're going to experience growing pains on a regular basis. I think it is fair to have an open dialogue about a potential age minimum—I'm neither in favor nor against one as it currently stands. Incidentally, there are legal reasons why most sites have an age minimum (often 13), but I'm not sure how that may apply here. It depends on the laws of wherever the site is hosted, too. (Germany?) I think the core issue here isn't age but lack of etiquette and poor behavior. Bad behavior isn't confined to an age group. We live in an angry society, and it seems some just don't care about treating other people right or learning to resolve a situation instead of immaturely escalating it. Sure, we all make mistakes. Sometimes we act rudely or simply come off in a way that's not productive. It happens. I would hope that most users would assume good faith and try to work it out. I think the majority of people here do try to do the right thing. I really believe that.

As for the main part of what Guillermo suggests: restrictions or guidelines on user territories would be a huge shift away from the current site structure. It would fundamentally alter the OGF experiment and change the dynamic of everything that is done. There may be good to come of it; there would also be a down side. Without getting into all of it here, I do not believe that having these rules would produce better users. It might produce better mapping and more knowledge, but it won't stop a lack of etiquette. I think it could also stifle freedom of expression and creativity. I always try to keep an open mind to good faith ideas, so I'm happy to listen and offer my opinion if it's wanted. It's an interesting discussion to have.

All the best to all of you, –A

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Comment from bhj867 on 12 July 2017 at 23:37

TheMapper27 are you really 9 years old???? :o

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Comment from adminero_us on 13 July 2017 at 11:13

I agree with most of the things said in the post, but I'd like to tell you that OGF is the ONLY website where you can create a fictional but life-like country. There's no alternative to this website, and it makes OGF special, but it also means that restricting what new users can do will be pretty frustrating for them.

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Comment from zhenkang on 13 July 2017 at 14:31

OGF is special as it not only concerns mapping, but also how RW elements in the real world is brough together and make into something creative and unexpected. The more you map, I believe that there will be more cooperation and more cooperation can result in better mapping through sharing of ideas (though no copying please!)

I believe that this site may also have generational gaps- it is inevitable as any type of people are interested in geofiction. At least, now I know that there are people younger than me (I'm a teenager below 18) who are interested in geofiction.

I half wished that I have discovered this site earlier in my life though, I have an interest in geofiction all the while even before this site was created.

However, if this social experiment is a success and finished (I'm not sure when, maybe in decades?), then what? Maybe if we reached it then we'll talk about it.

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Comment from Ernestpcosby on 13 July 2017 at 17:45

Guillermo opens a great discussion here about what seems to be the deeper issue here. Demuth, Marcello, Allessa, adminero_us and zhenkang all make pretty good points too. It seems like a minimum age for new mappers might be a good idea. I was about 13-14 when I first joined, so I guess I'd imagine a new minimum age being closer to 11-12, unless it needed to be higher for legal reasons. I suppose existing mappers like TheMapper27 would be grandfathered in if we did such a change, to be fair to them... but 9 is reealllly pushing it.

The only thing that I might imagine could help is maybe if there was a designated area for new mappers' new territories, and sort of a three step instead of 2 step process:

  1. Map in a collaborative blue country

  2. Map in a private very small new mapper territory- maybe if there was someone not currently an admin who is willing to join and help respectfully send advice to new mappers when they really mess up in a super obvious "this is ridiculous" way

  3. When their new mapper territory shows quality mapping, signs that they are improving and willing to accept feedback, then give them a chance to map in a private country and allow them to move their existing work to that country if they so choose.

I would say, though, that if that person has been a large scale quality contributor to OpenStreetMap, that we might give them more leeway. (Maybe include that as a question in the sign up process, "Have you contributed large amounts of mapping to OSM? If yes, would you be able to link to some of your work/list your account name?" )

Other than that, other thoughts:

I think it's helpful to distinguish between:

  1. the mappers that are currently inexperienced and perhaps slightly more childish but though perhaps slightly stubborn, are willing to accept feedback and make efforts to improve

  2. the mappers who couldn't care less about the rules and don't want to improve, just want to do their own thing

I think many of us can identify with and once were ourselves type 1. When I first joined the site, it was before some of the newer rules and guidelines, and I accidentally mapped a city underwater in someone else's territory. XD The admins respectfully told me what I was doing wrong and I ended up getting a territory eventually, which at the time is where (Forrinte?) is now. I produced mapping far worse than a lot of the new mappers do now XD Eventually I left for a while and came back and started mapping current day Freedemia. It started off looking a lot like some of the new mappers today with scale completely off, crazy zigzagging roads, etc. There was an incident where I had stubbornly put glaciers and snowy mountains in an equatorial tropical country and didn't want to change it, etc.

It's only from time, cooperation, and patience, my own patience and the patience of the admins and the other mappers that frankly put up with me over those times, that Quentinsburgh and Freedemia have slowly started to look, arguably good/realistic.

I want to thank you all for being patient with me over that time. However, I fear that in our frustration with type 2 mappers, we aren't giving the type 1 mappers the patience and help that I got anymore. I would be in favor of new policies that pertain to new mappers, but I also believe that it cannot be done in place of patience and allowing new mappers to make mistakes if they're willing to work and improve over time. Otherwise, the "experiment" will fail miserably.

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Comment from Thunderbird on 13 July 2017 at 18:01

How would an age minimum even be enforced?

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Comment from Ernestpcosby on 13 July 2017 at 18:51

@Thunderbird, you're right, It might be a bit difficult to enforce. At the same time it's difficult to enforce across the board for a lot of sites, and a lot of the existing OGF policies are kind of hard to enforce too. If it turns out there's some legal reason why there could/should be one, it'd probably be better to have one in policy at least. But it's just an idea. I think it should come down to the legal aspect. But considering the range of ages on this site, many much older, it might be best to have some type of protections. So far thankfully everyone on this site seems to be decent people (even those who may seem to terrible collaborators and map makers) but I wouldn't want the door to be open for any younger mapper to get harrassed or something by an older mapper- such an incident would be tragic, for the young person involved and for the site. If I make any sense. It's hard to explain what I mean

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Comment from oscar2002 on 13 July 2017 at 20:33

Thank you to all for your comments. I think @Ernestpcosby said what I want to say with his ideas:

  • When I arrived here three years ago I missed something of “visual” help. Of course, a lot of users and the guides helped me, but read that (and read it in English being Spanish) is not the same that “see it”, so sometimes it was confusing, and above all when was about set up things like the API in JOSM. From there the idea of make videos like tutorials, for example: about scale, make realist buildings or highways, etc.

  • I also think that create a new admin, with the job of “guide” new users is an excellent idea, but it would be a hard job, I suppose.

  • Also, each new user could have a portion of land designated exclusively and elected for him. That would allow to new users to develop their mapping skills with the guarantee of that territory is only for him, and when he had a “good level”, he could take away their job to his own and definitive territory. Whit that action, we also would end with the “only 10 editions users with their own territory”…

  • About the age limit, everybody can lie to a computer, so I don’t know how we would solve this aspect.

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Comment from TheMapper27 on 14 July 2017 at 00:55

@bhj867 yep. Not lying

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Comment from bhj867 on 14 July 2017 at 12:33

Wow. Im 30 now, at 9, i was drawing maps with crayons in my bedroom floor and being told I couldnt play outside after 6pm. Times sure have changed.

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Comment from zhenkang on 15 July 2017 at 00:18

@bhj867. Times sure changed, but I think when I was 9 my mother just leave me a book to pacify me to keep quite. Haha

As for the age limit, well, see how many Facebook users are below 13... The internet is like some protective shield to many people.

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