Archiving of - 1st March 2024

IMHO the two things missing are:

  • pinned FAQ on how the help category works (how is somebody even to know how the voting is supposed to work?)

  • moderation that enforces the Q&A style, for example by (re-)moving non-questions and non-answers

that technically the plugin is slightly underwhelming is undisputed, but it is what we have.


To be clear - it’s not just the help category, it’s “post voting” anywhere in the forum, which is turned on by default in the help category, but can be turned on anywhere. There’s nothing on “post voting” in or the usually more useful yet.


These ideas do seem like they could make a difference. Do you and the other moderators of @mods-support need some kind of assistance from the governance team in that regard? I can’t promise that we can always help, especially if it involves upstream changes, but please let us know in any case.


I presume that the ‘Account Removal’ option promised in the Privacy Policy will remain available here as well:

  • “Wiki and forum accounts will be renamed to a pseudo-anonymous name, but otherwise will remain as is.”

It would be advisable to ensure that after an ‘Account Removal’ request, the user’s OSM edits and help forum entries, activities, can no longer be linked.
In other words, they should not receive the same user_USERID ( pseudo-anonymous name ) globally, even if the email addresses for the 2 accounts are the same.

And I assume that the help forum’s email->username database will remain forever because how else could a user prove they are not trying to delete someone else’s data?

The question is whether we actually really need to recreate Stack Overflow style site. In the internet forum age we didn’t have that and the world did not collapse.
The point of SO really was gamification to climb up in ranks. OSM community forum is orders of magnitude too small for that to matter.


Could we make the placeholder text in the help and support category ore explicit about how the post voting topics work?

Maybe a less wordy version of:

Help and Support topics normally use a Question and Answer style post where answers can be voted up and down by the community. If your question is not likely to have a straightforward answer consider disabling voting by clicking the + in the top left corner of this draft and selecting “Remove post voting”.

I’ve asked about trying to make it clearer that responses to existing answers should be comments by removing the nearby reply button in another topic, but I don’t know if that’s possible with the current plugin.

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No, but OSM has had this since (at least) 2015 2010 and it’s been working well for “new user type” questions. Discarding the concept because the new software isn’t as good as the old software was would be a real shame.

(Date based on wiki page age.)
Edit: found question 1


This has been discussed recently in

where I argued that we should discontinue the “answer” format as inappropriate, confusing, inconsistent with the rest of this site, and overall useless. Just because it used to work this way does not mean it was a good idea in the first place.

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Looking at this again, the user summary pages actually do a decent job of gathering (links to) contributions all in one place (except votes). The main downside is that in my case I will need to archive 19 versions of the page to get a full list of all my answers.

I don’t suppose admins have a nice stable site setting that might be able to set the number of results per page for the questions and answers to e.g. 500, or 1000 prior to archiving? It might cut down on the number of static pages we end up with and make it reasonably straightforward to get a backup list of contributions.

See also Broken reply allowed to Q&A answer

Thanks for taking this initiative :clap: ! While the Q/A plugin may still have room for improvement, the community forum serves as an excellent resource for any questions I may have, and I frequently rely on it.

I’m simply curious about the reasons behind not importing the help data. Having the ability to search for such data directly within the forum could have been beneficial, preventing repetitive questions on new posts. Additionally, it would have facilitated the integration of a new community members with their pre-existing data readily available.

Is there documentation available that outlines the decision-making process? I’m new to these procedures, so I appreciate your understanding. :pray: :pray:

There is no existing importer for OSQA so we would have to write one from scratch and nobody has volunteered to do so - even if somebody did so it would require a considerable investment from operations to test and debug it before it was used live.

A number of people heavily involved with also expressed a view that quite of lot of information there was rather outdated so it might be better not to bring it over.


Actually the principle idea was to generate one high quality answer for each question rather than have dozens of forum threads repeating the same things.


Well help is not the wiki or the forum but in any case I don’t believe we’ve ever had such a request nor am I sure if we would have any way to comply with one - we don’t really have a good way to do it for the wiki because mediawiki doesn’t really support deleting users.

Given that such a request at the moment would likely involve somebody diving into the database directly to try and anonymise the name and that the archived site is just going to be static HTML it’s unlikely we would be able to do such a thing for the archived site as it might requiring editing vast numbers of HTML files to change the name.

An import would preserve our ability to edit and update information that is outdated (or will become outdated in the future). In contrast, a static HTML archive means that we will be permanently stuck with outdated information.

Of course, it is entirely correct that it would have taken considerable effort to perform an import and that no one with the required abilities or resources has stepped up to take on that task. But let’s not pretend that a static archive is the ideal solution.


Are there any provisions in place to preserve a database export for potential future imports?

Where are these volunteer opportunities announced? I might not have a lot of resources, but I do have the skills for the task and would be interested in helping out sometimes on certain topics. Perhaps other developers who are not aware feel the same way.


I can’t think of a single thing that I do in OSM that was in reaction to “an opportunity being announced”. :slight_smile:

Usually the way that it works is that someone sees something missing, thinks “that should not be too hard to fix”, investigates it (and if they were correct) volunteers.


The closest software I’ve seen in use recently is lemmy. It’s more reddit-like than OSQA-like, but the way it handles threading does tend to push the best direct response to the top. There’s been a recent flurry or interest in ActivityPub software recently, but I’m not sure how stable the newfound interest is.

Example post here at the community modded by @Pieter_Vander_Vennet over on Anyone with an e.g. account can comment and vote up, but I think you need a proper lemmy account to downvote.

Of course if we want something under the or domains someone would have to host it etc etc. and like I said it isn’t quite the same experience. A quick Google on theming mentions that it exists, but I’m not seeing many screenshots, If it were possible to make the test of any ‘second tier’ and below comments smaller and increase the indent it might go some way towards getting a similar feel for an “OSM Q&A community”.

Edit to clarify: I think if we could get the plugin here to work well that would be preferable, but we seem to be having difficulties there.

Wow. I’ve been putting all my content on because I thought it was a better website than this discourse site. Can we deprecate this one instead?


Unfortunately the help site’s the one whose software is unmaintained and showing its age.

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