Friday 25 March 2011

Fairy land

Another string of pronouncements have been made on the Talk mailing list by the ODbL deniers about why OSM should not accept the new licence and contributor terms. Grant despairingly wonders why they should come to these conclusions.

People come to these conclusions because it suits their agenda, not because of the facts. Why let a carefully written licence and all of the discussions that have gone before get in the way of a good conspiracy theory? The world is full of conspiracy theorists and FUD mongers; the fact that OSM attracts them simply shows the project is big enough to attract the cranks as well as the serious.

Some people will always glaze over when confronted with a big blob of words, whether that's a licence agreement or something more important like an explanation of how dangerous radiation is. They then seem to go off into fairy land, inventing fearful scenarios and outcomes that are wrong.  Doing thought-experiments is a great way to test the limits of a licence, but you have to keep checking that you have not exceeded the bounds defined by the licence otherwise you end up in fairy land.

I fully and wholly respect anyone who has an objection to the licence change and who wants to use the CC-BY-SA licence as it is, I just haven't been convinced by their arguments. What I don't respect is the underhand way some people undermine the licence change process by spreading FUD and untruths about what it means and the way the project will work when the change is complete.I support the change to ODbL. I believe it will benefit OSM, but even ODbL is not powerful enough to drag everyone out of fairy land.


gom1 said...

Well said

Russ Nelson said...

Do you now see why I say that the license switch is damaging to the community? The fact tht you feel free to accuse other community members of bad faith is proof that I am right.

Chris Hill said...

Lots of things damage the community. Trolling damages the community. Imports of poor quality data damages the community (some would say most or all imports damage the community). Poorly thought-through tagging schemes that get a few votes to get adopted damage the community. All community members start as newbies so anything that is hard for newbies damages the community. I don't hear you arguing against these, or other damaging things.

Changing the licence has damaged the community, but not as much as some claim - most OSMers really don't care. How many people click through licence agreements without ever reading any of it?

The changed licence will allow the community to use the data more widely and ultimately grow the community of users and developers as well as contributors.

I'm happy to hear the argument, but when some people who perceive they have lost the argument resort to underhand tactics then I'm not happy. These tactics to scare people into questioning the change by making unjustified claims about losing ownership of OSM or other such lies are unacceptable to me.