[talk-ph] Fwd: [OSM-talk] A plea for meaning ful changeset comments

maning sambale emmanuel.sambale at gmail.com
Fri Jul 30 12:45:58 BST 2010

A reminder to add useful comments in your changesets.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org>
Date: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 7:18 PM
Subject: [OSM-talk] A plea for meaning ful changeset comments
To: OSM <talk at openstreetmap.org>

Dear all,

  we've had the changeset feature for quite a while now and I believe
it is very helpful in a number of ways.

I can select an area and see the edit history for it (soon, hopefully,
even ignoring those world-spanning changesets). I can click on a
username and see what that user was up to in the last month (or at
least what they thought they were up to). It is so much easier to read
a short phrase about an edit than having to look at the area and
history of affected objects.

There are two groups of people however who refuse to put in proper
changeset comments, and instead write "...", "some mapping", "fixed
stuff", or even "none of your business".

One group consists of vandals and morons who never wanted to be part
of the community in the first place; who consider any srutiny about
their edits an invasion of their right to map crap at best, or want to
hide what they're doing at worst. They write "..." as a shorthand for
"kiss my ass community". It is useless to try and talk reason into
these people so I won't even try.

The other group consists of well-meaning mappers who are valuable
members of our community but who perceive the need to enter a
changeset comment as a kind of nagging, nannying, and who might be
tempted to enter a useless comment as a form of protest against that.
I'm sure everyone who has to work with version control systems of any
sort knows the feeling - change one line of code and then have to
write two lines of commit comment!

To them, I say: Yes, you're right, it can be a pain sometimes, but if
you practice it for a while, it will be an easy routine. If writing
English takes you too long, use your national language, that's no
problem. And you don't have to write long sentences, a few words are
sufficient. But that little bit of time you spend when committing your
changes adds so much value! OpenStreetMap is not about the data, it is
about the community, and the community is exactly who benefits from
your changeset comment - someone checking edits in an area, maybe even
preparing something for the press to demonstrate how many people are
working in an area (and how diverse their work is), someone wanting to
get a quick idea of what another community member's area of expertise
is... all that becomes easy with proper changeset comments. Changeset
comments can even be messages to other community members - they see
what you're doing and they might start to help out or do the same in
their area.

Don't be fooled; the small changeset comment that you enter when
uploading stuff *will* be read by many people. Done well, changeset
comments are tremendously helpful.

Please use them!


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