[Osmf-talk] Directed Editing Policy

Tim Elrick osm at elrick.de
Thu Nov 23 02:35:09 UTC 2017

Hi all,

I am Tim, a new member of the OSMF. I am following OSM as a university
researcher for more than three years in which I have worked with OSM
community members (among them Roland Olbricht and Peter K├Ârner) and
quite a bit of OSM history data.
As I have moved to Canada now, I saw the huge differences in amount of
OSM data compared to Germany (were I lived before), I wanted to get more
involved. One way of doing so is get into mapping much more as before,
the other way is motivating students at my new university to get
involved as well by setting up an open mapping group. This group had
organized one of the mapathons last week at OSM geo week/Building Canada
2020 (for my two cents on the discussion on this see my response to the
talk-ca list today).

I am still amazed about what volunteers were capable of building within
the last 13 years. I understand that many of the long-standing OSM
members are concerned about new mappers (involuntary) entering data not
according to the OSM standards. In this sense, I welcome the proposed
directed editing policy. I also think it is well-crafted, esp. given the
oversight and modesty the DWG showed over the last years in times of
conflict within the community. So, a big thanks to the OSMF board and
all involved in drafting here!

I do appreciate the suggestion to set up wiki pages by group event
directors for the community to have a responsible person to talk to, in
case it is needed.

However, I am bit concerned about the policy not differentiating enough
between paid and voluntary mapping groups. I think, the OSM community
needs especially the latter to nurture a steady flow of new crazy, uber
or epic mappers. To get those, as we all know, it takes hundreds, if not
thousands of hit-and-run mappers (long-tail phenomenon).

As Dan already expressed yesterday, we should not expect a mapathon
participant to know all good mapping practices as thoroughly as we would
from a paid mapper (as it is the duty to know all the rules and
regulations that come with a job). Whereas all participants of a
mapathon turn up voluntarily (of course, I know that some of the
participants are just drawn to the event for the pizza or 'that hot
dude' who participates in the event as well; but most of the
participants are genuinely interested in learning about mapping and they
are enjoying it). If knowing the 'good practice' is just what is written
on the OSM wiki [1], then that might be doable, albeit already asking a
lot (as it needs prior investment in time before the event); if it is
meant to thoroughly tackle good practices in OSM then it would mean a
quite high 'barrier to entry', as it involves browsing lots of wiki
pages at many different places (global OSM pages, national and local
ones) and hours to understand the rules of the game as OSM has evolved
quite a bit over time.

I appreciate this evolution as it made a pretty good, diverse
geodatabase for many different use cases. I just would like to advocate
to not making it too hard for newbies to join the crowd (and I still
think, that voluntary group events, if done properly, are a very good
way to increase interest in OSM and open data as such, as well as
motivating people to get involved in OSM mapping (and even getting the
odd new uber mapper)).



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