[OSM-talk] Potlatch again

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Mon Jan 12 15:07:05 GMT 2009

Gert Gremmen wrote:

> Thank you Thomas,
> The image you provided to prove your solution
> was a complete surprise to me and may contribute to a
> solution for this everlasting Potlatch Critic.
> You are right, and I am right.
> My screen looks entirely different, due to the missed option
> (I mean: I missed it and probably also those users that have problems
> editing with Potlatch) to show ways as THIN LINES.
> Am I right in assuming that Potlatch in default mode shows fat ways
> and fat nodes ? Then just changing the default setting
> of this switch would improve a lot in editing quality.

Heh - you can't please all the people all the time.

I got asked to do the fat ways and fat nodes for our Stateside  
friends whose main editing work is realigning raw TIGER data onto the  
better-rectified Yahoo imagery, and were finding it frustratingly  
tedious to click on the thin nodes.

So here's something you, and others reading this message, can do  
which would actually be useful.

For each zoom level (z13-z20) Potlatch has its own line thickness,  
POI size and node size. Personally I think z13-z16 are about right  
but z17-z20 need some attention. (There's even a case for having z20  
as super-thin lines because, by definition, if you're editing at z20  
you want precision.)

But I don't have all the answers and would like to know what others  
think. How thick should they be? Do not put it here because mailing  
lists are utterly useless for bug-reporting - things just get lost.  
Use this trac ticket:
Hey, if you've never used trac before it can be your introduction to  
this fascinating world.

(While doing this, remember Potlatch takes a few seconds to redraw  
lines at the right size for that zoom level. I need to speed that up  
in the next version.)

> And to Richard:
> Why react so strong ?
> Instead of cursing  just ask why others
> experience problems and not shoot (screw?) the messenger
> especially if he provides proof of editing problems.

The way to provide proof of editing problems is to do it politely.  
Not screaming with capital letters everywhere. Not _assuming_ it's  
the fault of the editor, that the editor author is unaware, and what  
I find most offensive, your implication that the editor author is  
blissfully sailing along without any intention to ever improve  
Potlatch, in a mail that arrived a couple of hours after I'd checked  
in some more stuff for Potlatch and API 0.6.

Despite all that, I would have responded more politely had you not  
done exactly the same thing last month:

> Im a mapper, not a coder, and I won't make a Patch for obvious
> reasons.

Patches don't have to be code. (I said this last month, too.)

Joining two ways in Potlatch is pretty easy. You mouse-over the other  
one until the nodes light up blue, and a little tooltip appears at  
the top right. It could be better (for example, I'd like to have  
"connection" nodes appear as concentric circles - (o) - to make it  
clear) but it's pretty good thus far.

So why do people get it wrong? And I'm not doubting that they do.

Well, one of the reasons is that our beginners' documentation is the  
weakest part of the whole caboodle. Put yourself in the position of a  
newbie. You're not sure what to do (as Chris Schmidt observed on  
#irc, "editing topology is hard") - you may not even realise that the  
roads have to link together. So you click the nice "Help/Wiki" link  
on the left. There's a big button marked "Beginners' Guide", so you  
click that.

And then it all goes wrong.

First step: Collect Data. Erm - maybe. I don't think I need that, I  
just want to draw a tram line along this road. And it's telling me  
something about a collaborative mapping project for Korea. Maybe I'll  
skip that? This map thing is harder than I thought.

Second step: Upload Data. Help. I need to upload something? What's  
that? I have to save my files to GPX, it says? And "download it into  
JOSM for editing"? What do all these strange letters mean?

It's insane. The user doesn't even know what Potlatch is yet, let  
alone JOSM. They just clicked "Edit" to add 500m of tram line.

What would be the single best patch anyone could contribute to OSM  
right now? Rewriting the beginner docs from scratch. I'm 100% serious.

> To d
> Thanks for putting oil on the waves....

+1 :)


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