[OSM-talk] our Q&A site help.openstreetmap.org is dying

Tobias Wrede list at tobias-wrede.de
Wed May 20 07:28:07 UTC 2020


Hi,

we have several channels in OSM to facilitate discussions and support. 
First touch point for new users is often help.openstreetmap.org. 
Questions relating to mapping in general, tagging, editors, development, 
OSM based applications are asked there and get answered in most cases.

The site is based on OSQA, a software which has not been maintained in 
some time. Some application errors have surface in the past but had to 
be ignored since no fixes are coming from OSQA any more. Until now we 
could live with that. They were annoying but not critical. There are 
open tickets on OSM github to move the help site to some other framework 
(https://github.com/openstreetmap/operations/issues/149, 
https://github.com/openstreetmap/operations/issues/377) but there isn't 
exactly an abundance of volunteers to take care of that.

Usability of help.openstreetmap.org has now seriously worsened over the 
past few days with some js error popping up for longer and longer times 
(https://help.openstreetmap.org/questions/74831/why-does-the-add-a-new-comment-button-sometimes-not-work). 
Buttons to support formatting questions and answers are gone, comments 
cannot be added and moderation functions (reporting, converting 
questions to comments etc.) are not working anymore.

If this continuous we can shut down the site soon. Even if this problem 
got resolved somehow it's only a matter of time until a new problem 
arises. The site provides a low entry hurdles place to ask questions 
that can be solved by simple answers. I'd hate so see it gone.

I'm neither a programmer who could help out on the technical side nor am 
I involved in OSM organization and politics to have an idea on how this 
could be sorted out. Question around: Can we find someone to take care 
of the technical side? Can we involve any of the OSM organizations to 
find, maybe pay, someone? Does the community even find it worthwhile 
keeping the site?

cheers,

Tobias






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