[OSM-talk] Proposal: New Working Group "Welcome WG"

SomeoneElse lists at mail.atownsend.org.uk
Tue Oct 2 21:12:10 BST 2012


Richard Weait wrote:
> Dear All,
>
> I recently discussed an idea for a new OSMF working Group on the OSMF
> talk list.

Like many other people, I've contacted new local mappers over the last 
couple of years and can probably contribute some stats to help collate 
the "was contacted", "how" and "what the results were" numbers.

However... Maybe I'm not fully au faux with the new "SquareFaceTwit" 
world that we're living in, but the wiki page 
<http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/User:Rw/Proposal:Welcome_Working_Group> 
as written does seem a bit creepy - maybe it's just cross-Atlantic 
cultural differences.  To me, an invitation to a Stammtisch from a group 
of local mappers seems personal and positive in a way that 
"Congratulations you've just added a restaurant" is not.  A generic 
"newsletter" introducing the wiki, the help site, the mailing lists and 
IRC might make sense, but anything more specific would surely need to be 
sensitive to local cultural differences.

Another problem is that mapping can be complicated, our tools can be 
hard to use and our documentation can be rubbish*, which means that all 
new mappers make mistakes 
<https://help.openstreetmap.org/questions/1022/what-are-the-most-common-mapping-mistakes-that-other-users-make>. 
Often, they'll sort it out themselves, but if not after giving them a 
reasonable period of time to do so I'll usually try and send a friendly 
"welcome-and-by-the-way" mail explaining the problem, how to fix and 
prevent it, apologising that yes, it is more complicated than it looks 
sometimes, but saying that everything is fixable.  I think that "giving 
them a reasonable period of time" is important - I'd worry that if 
people feel that they're "not up to standard" they'd leave.

One thing that I have wondered is how do we know which areas are 
"covered" in terms of welcoming new people, and also checking for 
problematic edits and doodles?  In the UK we recently had bits of London 
disappear by mistake, which wasn't corrected for a while because it was 
"everyones and no-ones problem".  If that happened in Derby or 
Nottingham in England I'd be able send a 
"welcome-and-oh-dear-something-appears-to-have-gone-wrong" message with 
a mental picture of the affected area; outside places I'm familar with I 
wouldn't be able to do that.

Cheers,
Andy

* this genuinely isn't intended as a criticism - writing stuff that's 
easy to use is really, really, hard.

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