Everyone in the MapStory community, from the newest registered user to our founder, Dr. Christopher Tucker, operates by a common set of seven "core values". They are:
Good ideas can come from anywhere. We strongly believe this. And, when we say we are mapping the history of Earth, we mean the whole Earth. MapStory seeks to be diverse in the cultures, genders, nationalities, ages, and sexual orientations represented in the user base, the perspectives represented in published StoryLayers and MapStories, the languages that the platform is available in, and even the technical environments required for use and contribution. We have a long way to go to achieve our desired level of universality, but we will continually strive to do better.
MapStory is built around the idea of openness. We believe the internet's true power lies in its ability to empower open communities to share knowledge and ideas for the good of mankind. Therefore, we seek as much transparency in the MapStory community as possible. We expect data sources to be transparent as well as user actions. We recognize that privacy and anonymity can be useful in some cases, especially when sensitive information is being shared. But, despite rare and justifiable exceptions, we seek transparency.
MapStory is based on the assumption that there are always ‘multiple versions of the story’. Unlike Wikipedia, therefore, we allow for multiple versions of a StoryLayer or a MapStory covering the same topic. However, the evidence you use to talk about the past can certainly be of differing levels of accuracy and completeness. You are entitled to your own perspective, but not your own facts. Therefore, wherever evidence proves a StoryLayer or MapStory to be inaccurate, we expect editors to remedy the error.
We often refer to the MapStory "community". By this we mean the registered users, donors, administrators, staff and anyone involved in making MapStory work. But, we also use the word with a deeper intent - to signal how we seek to relate to each other and operate together. Communities value the contribution of every member, and make decisions out of consensus whenever possible rather than executive fiat. They also are adaptive and open to continuous change and improvement. If they aren't, they wither and die. Finally, communities tend to value having a good time, which we do too!
MapStory is a self-organizing and flat community. Unlike a traditional university that is broken down into clear hierarchies and divisions, our only hierarchy or division is between those that put forth the effort to make things better, and those that don't. We are a "do-acracy". This comes with the need for responsibility, though. If you see something that is wrong or could be better on MapStory, it is your responsibility to address it, either by reaching out to an administrator or taking action yourself. What's more, if you see another user that is violating the community's core values, it is your responsibility to reach out to them and let them know, and/or to flag their work so an administrator can investigate further. Finally, its your responsibility to build the community - to help it become diverse in background and perspective, to organize events and activities, and to fundraise so MapStory can keep going.
Related to responsibility is civility. New knowledge is not generated in places where violence and vitriol rule. Sure, knowledge generation is benefited by strong debate, peer review and competition. But debate, peer review and competition can be conducted without resorting to personal attacks and threats.
As a public resource MapStory seeks, as a technical platform and community of people, to operate in accordance with applicable laws in the countries where it is available. We don't expect our community members to like every law, and indeed we hope they advocate, organize and protest to change laws they find unjust. But, at the same time, we expect applicable laws to be respected so long as they are on the books.