[Osmf-talk] Proposal: Welcome Wagon Working Group

Martijn van Exel m at rtijn.org
Tue Sep 25 01:46:50 UTC 2012


Sorry for chiming in so late.
A great idea. I would definitely be hopping onto that Wagon.

On Sun, Sep 23, 2012 at 10:59 AM, Richard Weait <richard at weait.com> wrote:
> 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.

Consider also that not everyone seems to agree with the 'more
(mappers) is better' mantra. There are those whe think that there
should be a (sizeable) barrier to entry and this is something to take
into account: there is going to be resistance to initiatives to
attract more and different (casual?) mappers. I realized this when I
started discussing introducing badges
(https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Badges) with folks (I still think
it can be a grand idea when you get it right, StackOverflow style,
encouraging quality and positive contributions over pure quantity -
but let's save that for another thread)

> 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.

That requires a significant, premeditated coordinated effort. I'd love
to see it happen but we may need some help (Academia? folks who just
got awarded a Knight Foundation grant?)

> 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?"

There is probably also a list of 'common sense' low hanging fruit that
could be embarked upon right away. Improve welcome emails to new sign
ups. Inventory of new mapper resources (videos, useful apps, wiki
pages, ...). A bit more of a stretch already but still pretty low
hanging fruit: I'd love to see Pascal's new contributor feed linked to
some kind of 'MVP OSM' (http://www.slideshare.net/napo/mvp-osm)
smartness to connect new mappers with experienced folks in the area so
as to not have that depend on experienced mappers being dependent on
them knowing about Pascal's feed.

> 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.

All agreed, plus the fact that the output of a working group is likely
(but not guaranteed) to carry some more weight in the community that
that of an individual.

> 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?

After SOTM US, I definitely want to commit time to this. The best way
to start IMHO would be to get together on IRC or similar with a group
of interested folks and convert ideas into a first set of actionable
items. I don't know how working groups are formed officially, or even
if there's any ratification process involved, so I could not advise

martijn van exel

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