[OSM-talk] Barriers of Entry
wendorff at uni-paderborn.de
Wed Sep 14 09:02:56 BST 2011
+0.5 to your thoughts.
On the one hand, yes, I agree: We should not aim to make OSM look like
not needing any skills, but on the other hand there are in fact parts of
OSM where help with not much more skills than "taking a dog for a walk"
That is not necessarily the map database itself.
But in reporting bugs via e.g. OSB (at least partly) I see one possible
source of help.
Specialised Editors to complete particular tasks, that need not much
efford, could be another one.
I agree, that full-feature-editors (comparable e.g. with JOSM) are not
possible to use without skills (or they are dangerous to harm the
database because of users not knowing what they do).
But an "address completion editor", where it's easy to fill in post
codes, streetnames and housenumbers could be useful - easy to use and
less error prone.
It's true: Users need skills to participate (further) in OSM. But if we
don't want to only have technophile people with computer skills, we have
to motivate less skilled people to learn more.
Am 14.09.2011 09:24, schrieb Frederik Ramm:
> there are many different types of barriers. There are of course
> those we tag with "barrier", the physical ones. They are used to keep
> unwanted, unauthorized or unsuitable people or vehicles out. There are
> barriers of entry in the form of entrance exams at places like
> universities, with the aim of assessing the likelihood of someone
> succeeding in their studies. And of course there are job interviews,
> where employers sometimes raise the barrier of entry so high that only
> one in 1000 can pass.
> Barriers of entry are not always a bad thing; they might keep you and
> from entering a tunnel for which your vehicle is too wide, or they
> might make it less likely for you to spend years at university with
> little chance to earn a degree.
> In OpenStreetMap, people sometimes point to our barriers of entry and
> blindly claim that they must be bad for us. The main page not
> welcoming enough, the editor too difficult, the path to signup too
> cumbersome, and on and on.
> Now some of this might be true and I don't want to keep people from
> improving the overall OSM user experience.
> However one has to keep in mind that what we're doing here is, and
> will always be, more complex than, say, taking your dog for a walk.
> Making a map does require a certain amount of abstract thinking, and
> of being able to picture things in your mind. Taking part in OSM does
> require a certain willingness to engage with a community; OSM is not
> for loners. And so on.
> Barriers of entry are good if they accurately reflect the demands that
> lie further down the road. A barrier that prohibits 3m wide vehicles
> from entering a tunnel that will narrow down to less than 3m in the
> middle is not an arbitrary restriction that should be torn down but
> something that helps everyone.
> For OpenStreetMap, we don't gain anything from making it look like
> participating in OSM was the easiest thing in the world. You have to
> possess some skills, and you have to be willing to engage with other
> people, or else your contribution is unlikely to be pleasant for you
> or the project. Taking part in OpenStreetMap requires more
> sophistication than, say, tweeting about where you're having dinner.
> We must keep that in mind. I think it works reasonably well at the
> moment, more or less by accident. OSMers are very self-selected, you
> don't stumble across OSM (and much less the signup page) unless you
> invest at least a little effort in looking. But this might change if
> we have more exposure in the future.
> If we think about design and user friendliness, abolishing barriers of
> entry unquestioningly would do us a huge disservice and only lead to
> frustration on all sides. A barrier of entry that discourages those
> who unlikely to make an edit without breaking 10 things, or those who
> can make an edit but are unlikely to answer a question from another
> community member about it, could be a healthy barrier.
> Before someone misunderstands that, I'm not saying we should introduce
> some kind of entry exams or so. Anyone who wants to participate should
> be allowed to. But it should not be our aim to make the whole world
> want to participate because only a fraction of them can.
> talk mailing list
> talk at openstreetmap.org
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