A few people didn’t like the first incarnation of this writing, and that sparked some private discussion. Weirdly enough, the first thing that I got asked by private email a couple of times was «What do you intend to get out of this workshop?». It sounds like an oddly specific question to me: perhaps I misunderstood the W3C and OGC folks when they asked participants to provide a statement about their position; somehow I understand that question as them not wanting to know my opinion about the topic, but rather, my stance towards the topic and other parties.
Since that question seems to be a FAQ, the first part of this essay is going to be…
Part 1: The motivations of an outspoken Spaniard
So, where do I stand about web maps, what do I intend to achieve here? There are a lot of facets in play here; and the points made in later sections of the essay make references to economics, politics or technics. To structure all this, I use a framework made of bits of political theory. I shall borrow a page from Javier de la Cueva’s book «Cyberactivist’s Handbook», which I can roughly (and hastily) translate as:
In order to construct what we understand by “the political”, [german political theorist Carl] Schmitt analizes the different disciplines of knowledge and finds out that they are defined by pairs of categories: in morals it’s the categories of right and wrong; in aesthetics it’s about the beautiful and the ugly; in economics the categories are the beneficial and the detrimental. In politics, Schmitt concludes, the categories are those of friend and enemy.
With that in mind, let me spill my guts.
Culturally, I’m a Spaniard. Maybe you, dear reader, don’t realize this now, but my culture might be wildly different than yours. Do not be lured by all the years I’ve spent perfecting my whimsical English prose: don’t assume I think as you do, or that I write as you do, or that I can work with the same language registers than you, or that I read the same meanings between the lines as you do. I’m passionate about maps, which doesn’t mean «I like maps a lot», but rather «I feel and express strong emotions about maps».
Historically, I come from the working class. You know all those motivational photographs of the humble starts of megacorporations, whose owners started off from a garage? I’m immune to those, because I grew up in a block of condos and my family didn’t have access to a freakin’ garage.
I have been a FLOSS advocate for half my life. I believe that the moral thing to do is to lower the barriers of entry to data and software. I will take actions that benefit the user; but not the “end user” understood as a consumer: the user understood as a tinkerer. I think people deserve to be able to take things apart and see how they work. I fully endorse IAB’s «The Internet is for End Users»
During my career, I’ve been a board member of the OpenStreetMap Foundation, and am now a charter member of OSGeo. Politically, I consider that I owe an allegiance to OSGeo and OpenStreetMap (and, to a lesser extent, other like-minded projects). That means I will take actions that benefit OSGeo/OSM, even when I don’t speak on behalf of OSGeo or OSM.
(And just so we’re clear here: these words are my own, I do not intend to speak on behalf of OSGeo nor OSM, and my point of view doesn’t necessarily represent the point of view of the entities I consider myself affiliated with)
I became a Leaflet maintainer back around 2014. Being a FLOSS maintainer has become something that feels like a thankless job. I know that not to be the case (people are thankful), but it feels thankless nonetheless. It’s a weird feeling of responsability and attachment. There’s a constant stream of bug reports and complaints from strangers (which I somehow feel obliged to attend to), and very little on the side of resources to improve things (which, you know, would be
</sarcasm>). I just cannot really spare 700 bucks on a MS surface to reproduce the
PointerEvent touchscreen bugs, not to speak of that one bug that needs a car from a specific manufacturer to be reproduced.
So, from a egoist point of view, I want to lower the burden of maintenance on the FLOSS stuff which rests on my shoulders. My rough expectation is that every hour spent on saying “no” to things translates to 5 hours that I don’t have to spend implementing and fixing code.
I guess that about covers a broad, multifaceted, intersectional view of my motivations and values.
Be aware that I shall treat these as part of my personality, and as axioms. It’s OK if your values are different than mine, and it’s OK if you reason and act according to your own values, but I shall accept no discussion on who I am, or which values I do believe in.
(If you, dear reader, are thinking about disparaging my personality to counter any of my arguments, I shall call that out as an ad hominem attack, then flag it, tag it, maybe report it, and finally ignore it.)