[Osmf-talk] Proposal: Welcome Wagon Working Group

Dudley Ibbett dudleyibbett at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 24 17:43:00 UTC 2012


I am new to Osmf but signed up for osm about 7 months ago.  Since then it has become a hobby and I continue to actively edit on a frequent basis.  I guess I am therefore of no great interest to the proposed working party but I would make the following comments as a recent(ish) new member.

When I did my first edit, someone sent me an email welcoming me to osm and provided me with some feedback.  It was much appreciated as making your first contribution, for me, was quite daunting.  I assumed at the time that this was how osm worked when new people started to contribute but it would appear this was very much down to the individual and the local region where I made my first edit.  I would have liked a mentor or at least the offer of a mentor.  Someone that was there to provide positive feedback in a non judgmental way.  I would recommend your working party looks at this.

The newbies email group is certainly a very good idea and I found it very useful as people appreciate you are new and still learning.  I have now signed up to some other email groups and am glad I have only done this recently as these are clearly for experts and I would have found then quite intimidating.  

Language is important.  So I would suggest any working party is separated accordingly.  It has taken me a while to realise how international the project is.  Most people dont have exposure to this.  If someone had accused me of "vandalism" when I had made an error due to being new to mapping it would have been quite upsetting.  However it does appear that the word is used when it might just be an error due to lack of experience.  I wouldn't want to pre judge any working party but keeping support local, in terms of language, would seem a good idea until people appreciate the international nature of osm.

In the last 7 months I have realised mapping is a skill and quite time consuming and I am still a novice.  It is also very enjoyable, makes you much more aware of the environment around you and it is very pleasing to see your work readily appear on the osm map.

There's more I could say but this email is already a bit long.



> From: alex at mapbox.com
> Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2012 12:00:40 -0400
> To: richard at weait.com
> CC: osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
> Subject: Re: [Osmf-talk] Proposal: Welcome Wagon Working Group
> 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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> > osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
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> Alex Barth
> http://twitter.com/lxbarth
> tel (+1) 202 250 3633
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