Michael Arrington on OpenStreetMap

The other day, one of my coworkers forwarded me a link to an article on TechCrunch about OpenStreetmap.

For a moment, I was exited to see OSM getting some press. My excitement faded rapidly, when I saw the article made a rather glaring factual error. It claimed that OSM is a product of Cloudmade.

Sloppy journalism is nothing new, and nothing to get overly excited about. In the comments, a few people tried to correct the mistake, pointing out that OSM is a project in it’s own right, and Cloudmade is a company that uses the OSM data.

Mr. Arrington replied to these comments that he “fully understand[s] the relationship between Cloudmade and openstreetmap.” Clearly he does not.

To say that Cloudmade is in charge of OSM is an error of the same magnitude as saying that Canonical is in charge of Debian. It’s totally ridiculous, and anyone who spends 10 minutes poking around the web could have figured this out.

Arrington then goes on to insult the entire readership of TechCrunch:

“for the vast majority of our readers [the relationship] just isn’t relevant.”

Evidently the difference between the actual facts and made-up malarkey is not relevant to the TechCrunch readership. Maybe TechCrunch is the high-tech equivalent of the Onion, I don’t know.

Not content to insult his own readers, he goes on to slag off the entire open source universe.

If even 1% of our readers gave a damn I’d write a post explaining how projects like these are able to stay on track, and why there is always just one for profit company guiding it.

Evidently he thinks that open projects alway have a for-profit company behind them. I’ve been an active contributer to OSM for over three years now, and I’ve never once been “guided” by Cloudmade in any way whatsoever. Does anyone know what for-profit concern is “guiding” Wikipedia or Mozilla? I sure don’t.

After several more comments tried to correct Arrington’s mistake, he decided that the OSM community is “nasty” and closed down the comments.

Well, sorry TechCrunch. We’re open source people. When we see a mistake, we file a bug. We tried to help you fix your buggy article. It’s what we do. You didn’t listen, and so your article is still broken, and you look like a fool.

7 thoughts on “Michael Arrington on OpenStreetMap”

  1. From Michael Arrington’s Wikipedia entry. “In 2008, he was selected by TIME Magazine as one of the most influential people in the world.[3] Wired magazine also included him in a flowchart of “internet blowhards” citing his obsession with “Web 2.0″.”

    To recap, a blogger makes a mistake, his readers take him to task, he throws a temper tantrum and then shuts down the comments after blaming everyone else. Did I get that right?

  2. well that’s not good. I’m not sure if this is a mistake or that is the intention of techrunchs article to put a focus on Cloudemade. Well anyway I don’t like how they ignore our advices 🙁

  3. I think Michael Arrington is in the wrong line of work. He obviously isn’t cut out for journalism.

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