[Osmf-talk] Proposal: Welcome Wagon Working Group

Alex Barth alex at mapbox.com
Mon Sep 24 16:00:40 UTC 2012

Richard -

This is an excellent idea. I'd like to get involved.

I like getting started with an email campaign to start learning more about new comers.

Here are the next actions I'm seeing

- Identify the group we'd like to target
 - Going for a small percentage is good, we'll wind up doing much work manually.
 - I think we should limit geographically, depending on who's going to join the WG (e. g. I could contact east coast mappers). Ideally we get people involved from young OSM countries to get good diversity.
- Find a way to generate email lists based on the groups we've identified.
- Identify a tool chain / best practices for contacting (Christian: what did you use in France, what was the volume of messages you sent out?)
- Come up with a process that ensures appropriateness and privacy. Contacting a day / days after sign up, contacting after first edit is probably fine. Letting large email lists go through many hands not so much.
- Identify measures - what are we looking for?
 - Response rate
 - Issues identified when getting started (e. g. stuff like language, looking for download not editing, etc.)
 - ...
- Formulate the email and start sending out.

I think we should time bound this effort and run for e. g. two months and see what we get, the immediate outcome would be a great many of individuals who got a little more help to climb the learning curve, a report of what we found and a much better idea of how to make this effort sustainable.

How do we kick this off? Get on #osm this week?

On Sep 23, 2012, at 12:59 PM, Richard Weait <richard at weait.com> wrote:

> Dear All,
> I would like to suggest a "Welcome Wagon[1]" Working Group.  An OSMF
> Working Group dedicated to learning, understanding and promoting best
> practices relating to new mappers.  In this email I outline my
> "vision" for this potential Working Group.  I seek your comments,
> participation and ultimately, community and Foundation approval to
> proceed.
> Background
> Many OSM accounts are created but never used to contribute data to
> OpenStreetMap.  Many more accounts contribute a single changeset and
> are not used again.  It seems logical, though it is unsupported by
> data at this time, to suggest that "more mappers, mapping more often,
> is better for the OSM project and data set."  It seems likely, though
> again, unsupported by data, that these many new accounts are an
> excellent group to study, with a goal of creating more and better
> mappers.
> Goals
> Test, record and learn what works best to encourage responsible
> mapping in new mappers.  Test, record and learn what non-mapping
> social interactions improve mappers and mapping.
> Tasks
> Tasks of the WWWG are largely To Be Determined.  An example is,
> "Contact a percentage of new mappers with one of a series of
> semi-custom emails. measure the responses and differential responses
> between the semi-custom emails and the mappers who were not contacted.
> There are many unanswered questions, and questions that have been
> answered through experience but without hard data.  WWWG might be the
> way to answer questions like, "For what reasons are n% accounts never
> used?  What percentage of mappers are frustrated by their first
> attempt at mapping and leave the project?  What series of tasks or
> goals provide the easiest learning curve to new mappers?  Are there
> different types of mappers?  If so, what are the differences? How do
> we recognize them? How do we assist them in becoming reaching their
> goals?"
> Working Group vs. Community
> Some aspects of new user welcome and guidance are already ably
> executed by individuals in the wider OSM community.  This should
> continue.  I suggest that some aspects of new user welcome and
> guidance are better suited to a formal OSMF Working Group.  i see the
> benefits of a Working Group as:
> Coordination - by using a uniform procedure and tools, a larger corpus
> of response data can be collected and analyzed.
> Institutional memory - individual community members who welcome others
> may know what works and what does not, but that information is not
> necessarily shared in the form of project wide best practices.
> Privacy - While initial work may be performed using only public
> information, the group may find that sensitive data provides
> additional insights.  This data can only be accessed and evaluated
> within the terms of OSMF privacy policies.
> Efficiency - If tools are developed to assist in this research, having
> the unified tools available within the working group is an advantage.
> WWWG vs. other WGs
> There is a small amount of overlap in interest between this proposed
> WWWG and other Working Groups.  WWWG is primarily a communication
> function, but to a more-restricted audience than the mandate of the
> Communication Working Group.  I don't see and exact match in
> responsibilities and so I suggest that this be a new group, rather
> than an additional task for an existing group.
> Next steps
> I hope that this email will garner some measure of support in the form
> of "that sounds good", and / or "perhaps this idea can be included"
> and / or "yes, somebody should definitely do this" responses.  Even
> better would be responses in the form of "Yes, I want to do some
> specific tasks in this area" and / or "We are doing similar things in
> our sub-community and want to participate on a broader scale".
> So, let's hear it.  What do you think?
> Best regards and happy mapping,
> Richard
> [1] Welcome Wagon is / was a business in USA and Canada from the
> 1920s. It greeted new home owners with samples, coupons and
> advertisements for local participating businesses.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welcome_Wagon  I'm not suggesting that
> OSMF start such a business.  I'm suggesting that we learn the best way
> to welcome new users, then eventually, make recommendations to do a
> better job of welcoming new users.
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Alex Barth
tel (+1) 202 250 3633

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