Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mappers are expendable

So as anyone who follows my Dopplr will know, I have a punishing travel schedule and typically circumnavigate the world three times in any given week. There’s just one reason for that - I’m spreading the word about OSM.

Actually there used to be two reasons. I used to put a GPS in the window (Business Class, natch. Thanks VC guys) and then ‘encourage’ the pilots to trace ground features. Unfortunately that had to stop after the episode where I asked them to do a couple of flypasts of the outline of the Pentagon and in fact I haven't been allowed back on American Airlines since.

Now many of you, my disciples, will have heard me talk about OSM. Wherever I am, you'll know there is one word I mention a lot in my talks. Community. Community. The C in SteveC doesn’t stand for Community but it should. Community, Community, Community. I’m a bit like Steve Ballmer in the Developers speech but without the sweaty armpits.

Listen to that word carefully. Community.

Not ‘mappers’.

TeleAtlas have mappers with their Map Insight thing, but they don’t have a community. Google have mappers, but they don’t have a community. Wikimapia have mappers, but not a community or even a licence, though they do have awsome moustaches and a song. And People’s Map don’t have mappers or a community but they do of course have beards.

So we’re the only ones with a community and that’s why we succeed.

So that means the community is more important than any single mapper. If you, as a single mapper, are endangering the community, we can’t afford to keep you. We have over 200,000 mappers now, we won’t miss one or two. I know this sounds a bit like socialism but I like to think of it as the market overcoming obstacles, or 'community libertarianism'. More on that in my forthcoming book 'Thoughts of Chairman Steve'.

Community is everything. For example Potlatch doesn’t have a development community which is why I keep bellyaching about it. Currently it has only one developer and 50,000 users. It would be much better if it were more like Mapzen which has 50,000 developers and one user.

So in August this guy Anthony arrived and has since proceeded to crap all over our mailing lists at extremely high volume. The talk list now comprises Anthony and five mad Aussies and everyone else has fucked off in desperation.

Anthony has a bit of a track record of fucking up communities and, in particular, of following his own pig-headed opinions on copyright no matter what anyone else thinks. Now he’s determined to do the same on OSM.

Mappers are expendable. Community is everything. 20 pages of tiny edits do not give you the right to ignore the community. The hive mind of OSM has not disappointed me yet. Go to it, disciples.

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