[Tagging] Changing proposal process rules - RFC

Seth Deegan jayandseth at gmail.com
Thu Jan 7 00:04:41 UTC 2021

Okay, I'm going to drop this:
I recently messaged list-requests at openstreetmap.org about creating a *Proposals
mailing list.*

I explained that the tagging mailing list is getting *way* too busy and a
separate list for proposals would be nice.

Michael Collinson responded and suggested naming it "
tagging-proposals at openstreetmap.org".

Please read all of my reply and the updates on the two proposals I have
created about improving Wiki functionality regarding the Proposal Process
after the reply.

*My Deeply-thought Reply to Them:*

*I was going to write a response agreeing, but instead after some pondering
about it, I decided to write a system change suggestion/rant instead:*

I think the *best* solution for the future of discussing proposals would be
to limit proposal discussion to their Wiki Article Talk Pages and
discontinue the habit of discussing them on both the tagging mailing list.

*Pros include:*

   - *Accessible by everyone, especially newcomers. *The knowledge of the
   existence of the Wiki is a lot more prominent in the OSM community than the
   mailing lists. Creating a Wiki account and immediately being able to edit a
   Talk page is a lot easier than figuring out how the mailing lists work,
   signing up using the user-unfriendly UI that sends your password in raw
   text, worrying about how many people you'll bother if you send a message to
   a list, if you're sending a message correctly, etc. These were all hurdles
   I had to clear when I dove into the OSM community 5 months ago and had
   never used a mailing list before.
   - *You don't have to go to the mailing list archives if you want to see
   previous messages (that you may have deleted). *Especially for my
   current proposal that is in RFC, I've had to constantly add references
   both previous conversations in the Talk page and tagging mailing lists to
   the proposal's page so that other users who don't subscribe or read through
   all of the Talk page or mailing list RFC can easily have the conversation's
   progress and result summarized. If discussion was limited to the talk page,
   users would know where to look for *all* previous conversations.
   - *It limits conversation about the proposal to one communication
   channel. *OSM already has a communication channel problem. Downsizing
   can definitely solve it.
   - *It allows for discussion in more than one language. *The Wiki
   supports creation of pages in multiple languages, unlike the tagging
   mailing list which is limited to English. However, I think this may only
   work if there's a page created of the proposal in another language.
   - *When you edit the talk page, it gets automatically added to your
   watchlist, meaning that you get the same emails/notifications you would if
   you were subscribed to the mailing list.*

*Cons include:*

   - Talk page editing only allows source editing
   <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:VisualEditor> and not visual,
   meaning the creation of topics/replies is not as user-friendly as replying
   to an email.

*You might notice though, if we remove the usage of the tagging mailing
list for proposals, where are RFCs/Voting status updates going to be

This is where still having a dedicated mailing list like
"tagging-proposals" might be an option. The only difference is that it will
be an announcement channel and not discussion mailing list. Even so, I
would probably not like to have another mailing list. *Here's why:*

I am an active community member of the OSM World Discord Server and am the
"usual person" who manually posts updates to what proposals are in what
status on the #proposals channel of the server. The fact that I have to do
this manually is quite annoying. We do have a Matrix-linked bot that posts
tagging mailing list updates in a dedicated channel, but because proposal
discussion and tagging discussion is mixed, we can't just add this to the
#proposals channel. My posts are *extremely* helpful to the members of the
Discord Server since most are not subscribed to the mailing list. The votes
and feedback from those that saw my proposal update posts in the server on
recent proposals has made a noticeable impact on voter-participation and
community input for all of them.

An announcement mailing list would work, but because it's a mailing list,
it means that every other external communication channel (like Discord)
outside of the mailing list itself would have to establish a middle-man bot
that would post these updates to their channel from the mailing list.

A better option would be to have a dedicated webhook, SMS, or other option
that can broadcast updates proposal status much more bot-friendly and
possibly provide better formatting than what an email can. Options include:

   - Dedicated form or site similar to OSMcal that any user can post their
   proposal updates to.
   - Wiki bot that broadcasts a notification every time one of the Proposal
   Status Categories on the Wiki gets a page added/removed (unfortunately
   adding a category to a watchlist doesn't mean new pages added to the
   category give notifications
   - Or something else?

*Updated Information/Proposals:*
I have created 2 topics/proposals for the Wiki on it's Meta page that solve
the "Talk page source editing only" problem and the proposal notification
problem (however further automation could be added) using MediaWiki

   - Add Structured Discussions (Flow) Extension
   Changes talk pages using this extension to this user-friendly page that
   allows for easy conversations.
   - Add CategoryWatch Extension
   "extends watchlist functionality to include notification about membership
   changes of watched categories"

lectrician1 <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/User:Lectrician1>

On Wed, Jan 6, 2021 at 5:01 PM Graeme Fitzpatrick <graemefitz1 at gmail.com>

> On Thu, 7 Jan 2021 at 08:51, Brian M. Sperlongano <zelonewolf at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> I agree that the mechanics would have to be worked out carefully to make
>> sure that kind of thing doesn't happen.  I'm envisioning some sort of
>> automated process to make the announcement happen rather than relying on
>> the proposer to do the cross-posting.  Since we use a wiki template for
>> proposals, in theory this is automatable with some work.
> That "should" be fairly straight forward?
> Start at "Proposal Draft" which doesn't go anywhere as you work on it
> Change status to "Proposal Underway" automatically sends a RFC message to
> the RFC list
> Then change to "Voting" automatically sends a Voting message to the same
> list
> Thanks
> Graeme
> _______________________________________________
> Tagging mailing list
> Tagging at openstreetmap.org
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/tagging
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