[talk-au] What is a discussion brief?

Herbert.Remi Herbert.Remi at protonmail.com
Sun Sep 22 23:41:37 UTC 2019

What is a discussion brief?
A discussion brief serves to describe comprehensively what we know before we go on to review an issue in OSM. The objective is to decide how to solve a nagging problem. I resist in saying the “best way” as I think often there may be no golden rule to be found.
I think it enough that OSM is consistent and that we have a definition of quality. Quality is important because when we are trying “improve” OSM it is often “quality” issues, but if there is no consensus of what quality is, then there will be differing opinions on what to do. This is one of the reasons that discussion can become quite circular: the same word means to different people different things.
Therefore, please go through the facts presented at the top of this brief and the quality definition and try to find fault with it. The information should be true and factual. The quality definition should be complete (nothing missing) and fit for the purpose described in the brief.
The next step is the review of the OSM guidelines and Australia guidelines. Everybody in OSM knows something of these. Even beginners need to know some basics. This section is intended to provide a level playing field: it is a reminder and education all in one. I hope this helps get the participation of the widest possible audience, not just the knockers. Again, please go through the facts presented in this section and suggest corrections if any errors are found.
The next section of the discussion brief will present a problem with inconsistency or quality found in OSM and specifically in the ACT, which is my area of interest. The purpose is to reconcile what is in OSM with the guidelines and other known facts (laws and regulations) to decide what is the best way to proceed. I think in most cases, the decision will be to revert to the guidelines. There is an issue here that the guidelines are often ambiguous or even conflicting. This can be resolved by changes to state, country or general guidelines. Considering all the work already done, I think guidelines are in many cases likely to be serviceable and that the problem is more likely to arise from poor or inconsistent implementation. A social solution is then best which involves bringing the current generation of mappers for the area up to speed, once again. This is a perpetual task.
The final step is to fix the problem. Going into OSM and mapping is the least of my concerns. OSM mappers do that very well and it is the reason that OSM is so successful. Another task that may arise from time to time is updating OSM guidelines. This is a wiki job and not suited to everybody. Any football team has only one goalkeeper but many players on the field. Wiki is like that. You need some people doing it but many more mapping. We would hope, that the wiki guidelines are the first place that the mapper goes, but if not, then it will guide future controversy. At the very least, this process should feed some mapper experience back improving the guidelines.
This process could be done for other states and countries, but I am not getting personally involved in that. I would like to thank, however, the many people who do map areas they have never been and never likely to go. This makes the OSM task a lot easier for the rest of us.
I hope to release the first discussion brief soon.
Discussion C: Two steps forward and one step back - confusion about tagging bike tracks in the ACT.
I look forward to your contributions.
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