Documenting the history of OpenStreetMap

This is off-topic, but since you asked for it and it is somewhat related (and maybe helps to understand the discussion), I will explain my “answers” to your questions:

Agree! Many people also remove all other content of the page (as the template says). I guess this caused further aggression.

True, it should just happen some time before the user requesting/proposing the deletion forgets about it, because then any argumentation will be a bit awkward. It looks to me as there was some lack of maintenance in the past. :slight_smile:

Well, admins check the deletion requests (so that no one “rushes though” and gets everything deleted that they want). The idea of {{delete proposal}} is to make other people aware of an ongoing discussion. Admins usually do not check those, because they are not the masters who decide. Instead, they wait for the community to make a decision and then execute it. Their task is basically double checking and executing the request if the check was passed. (Any admin may correct me.)

I do not understand. You can always comment on the talk page, I would just change the template to signal that the discussion is not done yet.

There are very clear cases, for instance the results of broken redirects report (either change redirect or delete it, but mostly deleting) or spam. I would usually do them right away, but since we discuss, I will not request any deletions. Talking about occasional wiki editors, I would strongly discourage it as well.

I see the problem, but on the other hand, I would suggest to put those pages you are interested in on your watchlist. I often check pages simply because I received a notification e-mail. You can also check, Category:Labelled for deletion (deletion requests) and Category:Deletion Proposed (English deletion proposals). If we extend the time too far, then they will fill up even more (currently 240 in the first category only), but maybe you got a point.

Any further comments on the draft?
@dieterdreist Is everything okay with point 4 now?

And I think this is how it should work in most cases unless there is some sort of urgency to delete the page.

The Delete proposal template encourages delete discussion on the talk page, the other delete doesn’t. So if it is decided that the page should not be deleted you have a good record why it was not deleted in the first case but ot in the other case.

admittedly there are a few cases that are very clear like the broken redirects you mention but you get the idea… nothing that has the potential to incite discussions should be done by a plain delete.

I see the 240 pages in the delete category and think maybe it grows so big because people use it wrongly which makes the job for the admins difficult. The first one which I click on is and sure I believe it is not uncontroversial to do a plain delete on this one without any further discussion. So I am reverting that.

Another problem there if the pages are Polish or whatever other language… do we have enough admins who speak all languages?

Mapofix is obviously a user name, so I moved the whole page to the user namespace instead. This is probably the best place to keep such stuff.

No matter how elaborate you make this criteria, there will be always corner cases and different opinions. It should be stressed that if in doubt we generally prefer keeping over deleting. Deleting things requires special care and may waste admin time and the time of many people for a very modest gain at best.

Also we need a clear and simple deescalation policy - how about: “if anyone places a {{delete}} template and it is contested or reversed, proceed with {{delete proposal}} or forget it”.

Did anyone look how many of these 240 are by user Adamant1? I see there might be quite a few - and I would suggest all those requests for deletion are suspended, changed to delete proposal or handled otherwise because previously not all of his delete requests were uncontested.

Already included that in my draft:
This means that the contesting person has to change the template (and not simply revert the page). This would just escalate the situation.

I would like to add a section explaining the terms “deletion request” and “deletion proposal”.

I agree. Added this as no. 5 in “General” section.

I think there is a gain (not just a “modest” one) of deleting pages in general, please have a look at my draft and previous comments by me.

I am in favor of not escalating the situation, however I see considerable problems with the idea that someone opposing the deletion should actually place a deletion proposal on the page. If I would place the delete proposal template on the page other users might mistakenly get the idea that I was somehow in favor of the deletion. Also, I think the person placing the delete proposal should add an appropriate section to the talk page (sometimes people forget this) and restate the reasons there. Obviously someone contesting the deletion should not do this.

Anyone using {{delete}} instead of {{delete proposal}} should be in my opinion be aware that this is not just an ordinary edit but in case of disagreement will necessarily provoke swift counteraction.

Taken together I think someone using {{delete}} instead of {{delete proposal}} should consider beforehand that anyone may revert that edit without prior discussion and be prepared to make a {{delete proposal}} as a second attempt.

I hope that if this is clarified in the documentation (also in the docs of the respective templates!) the procedure can take a more reasonable course.

Imho it is important to add that a {{delete proposal}} is a call to start a discussion about deleting a particular page, whereas {{delete}} is a request to delete it without further discussion. Yes… usually pages don’t get deleted seconds after placing a {{delete}} on them but as far as I know there is no guarantee that this will not happen, there is no specified time limit to reply or anything that I know.

will reply to that comment directly.

I will explain this with the following example. You find the following page:

{{delete|this is irrelevant now.}}

For some reason, you oppose the deletion request and revert. You comment is something like “Please use {{delete proposal}} instead”. Now, someone else visits the page and finds no sign of deletion.
Then the first person steps up again:

{{delete proposal|This is irrelevant now. I created this by myself and it was based on misunderstandings.}}

The two of you finally agree on deletion, but the third person missed out, because they found the page with no sign of deletion whatsoever.

No one will think you wanted deletion, because you did the following change (you typing in uppercase) if you use a edit summary like “Let’s discuss first!”:

{{delete PROPOSAL|this is irrelevant now.}}

How about this:

Looking at the list of recent deletions, you can see that only Lyx recently deleted pages not created by themselves. The user stated:

Since admins are trusted users and usually not involved in these deletions, I do not see the need to act urgently (same as for deleting pages).

Edit: irritating error in wiki syntax

Would it be that big of a deal if the discussion was repeated every few months? Pages change and new people come along. There shouldn’t be a hard and fast rule like “we talked about this once so never again.” Also, if the deletion proposal was originally put there due to fitting the deletion criteria that should be more important then what a few people say and could be worth revisiting on pages if criteria changes.

There wasn’t an instance where that happened. At least not where they were contested within the rules of a revert or for a plausible reason.

If the use the {{delete}} method is discouraged except in instances of “own” content, that might persuade people from using it even where its clear that it should be used, out of fear backlash. Including on pages that were discussed already.

Well there shouldn’t be an urgency, there also shouldn’t be no urgency either. One of the reasons I decided to use {{delete}} originally instead of {{delete proposal}} was because there was some pages with {{delete proposal}} on them from like 5 years back that never had any discussion. There should be a reasonable time where if know one comments then just a {{delete}} can be used. {{delete}} still allows for discussion on the talk page to. It even suggests it. There’s just more of urgency to it. So its not that either you use {{delete proposal}} or no discussion can happen.

There was also a few cases where a {{delete proposal}} was never added to the pages, but multiple people had said years ago on the discussion pages that they should be deleted without anyone coming along to argue against it. At that point a {{delete proposal}} was redundant in my opinion, because people had plenty of time to comment already if they wanted to. Although. I still got reverted on those.

Both encourage it. They just serve different purposes. It doesn’t mean discussions can’t happen with {{delete}} though. People just decided to freak out and not do it.

So because some of my deletion proposals where contested then that means they are all BS? That’s a pretty cynical approach to take. As I said before most of them weren’t contested and got deleted.

Its also worth mentioning that all articles related to Kosmos I originally added the deletion requests to because it was part of the cleanup project and people requested they be cleaned up there (including the person that originally created the software somewhere else). I figured the clear statement one the cleanup project page by others that the pages could be cleaned up was enough and that it therefore wouldn’t cause controversy. Again, the request to clean up the Kosmos pages was on the cleanup page for years without any Opposition or comment against it.

After the deletion proposals caused controversy I requested that the people who had the problems discuss it on the Cleanup Projects talk page. So it wouldn’t happen to me or anyone else again. Those people decided to continue berating me on my talk page though, instead of dealing with the original, actual cause of it. People who don’t know any better shouldn’t get chided or demeaned for doing something other people requested. If there’s a problem with the Cleanup Project requesting things be deleted, it should be dealt with there. It was and still isn’t my problem. The only reason I requested the pages be deleted in the first place was because it was mentioned on Cleanup Project and I had nothing better to do at the time. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have ever cared about deleting pages.

Doing a {{deletion proposal}} instead of a {{delete}} was never mentioned there as an option either. Nor did anyone who contacted me throw it out as a possibility in between the insults and reverts. Originally I had wanted there to be discussions about the pages being deleted , but I assumed (apparently wrongly) that it would happen with {{delete}} since the template specifically says “If you disagree with its deletion, please explain why on its talk page.” Otherwise, why would it say it?

One note: I would not consider discussion on diary entries or on this forums as a good place to change what is deleted and what not on OSM Wiki.

Yes, if there aren’t any arguments in favor of the proposal in the deletion discussion of a draft, and no other discussion before, it may be deleted. But if there are people in favor of keeping it, then they can not be dismissed with the argument that it was within a deletion discussion and doesn’t count therefore, i.e. in this case it should be kept.

Why not and where would it be a good place to disscuss it then? The way I imagined it, whatever is decided here will probably be passed through the mailing list or something before being implemented. So its not neccesarily a stright line from here to inforcement.

This was what I planned as well.

Yes of course. I misunderstood beforehand. Maybe, I thought a bit too complicated there and the sentence is rather confusing.

Well, more in general I am a bit fearful of people saying “We have to keep it because it is a proposal.” and then we are stuck and all of our rules do not help. Any change we could implement to avoid such a situation?

While I agree that there are situations where a page can be deleted, it is an exception. Generally we should not delete content, and this includes abandoned and rejected proposals, especially when the tags are in use and it is the only documentation. Rejected proposals where the tags are not in use, may still contain content (comments of people voting, discussions, etc.). I think we agree, at least I thought I found these principles also in the draft.

The draft is a tradeoff between the people’s opinions on deletion. It is good to hear that we agree. :slight_smile:

Now, I would like to widen the focus a bit and include wiki pages about outdated software. As I already mentioned, there are a lot of pages about Kosmos with a deletion request. Looking at all of the pages starting with “Kosmos”, I would like to come up with some guidance about deleting them.

  • Should we delete them?

  • Can we set up some rules as for the proposals?

  • Is a maybe a template like Historic artifact start useful for subpages as well?

Regarding my own opinion, I am not sure yet. I created this template for mayor pages, but I do not think it is really applicable to pages like “How to install Kosmos?”. I am also not really sure if it is worth keeping them, because they might clutter the view and when a software is broken or simply unavailable, you do not need a manual, right?

I would not delete these either. Someone is still using this software, and we do not gain anything with deletion of the documentation of these. It’s ok to note at the top of these pages current information like “no active development “ or “unmaintained software”, so that people can decide if they want to use it nonetheless, or use some software which is still cared for.

It kind of hinges on what the wiki is for. If its only a document of OSM history or things related to it, then the pages about Kosmos rules should be deleted. They are two steps away from OSM and the information can be found on other sites. There’s already a lot of websites with rendering rules for it and an O’Reilly book about it, among others. Also, a lot of the articles are redundant, exact copy/pastes of other articles, and creator of it even said references to it on the wiki could be cleaned up. Plus, it hasn’t been updated since 2009 and Maperitive is around. It might be different if Kosmos was unique or if the rendering rules were transferable, but its not and they can’t be used with other software.

To me the wiki isn’t for general cartography stuff. Nor is it for how use software or hardware that uses OSM data. Things like how to use the interface in OsmAnd, what map icons mean in different software, or how to use specific GPS units can all be found in better places. They aren’t specifically relevant to OSM anyway and know one would maintain the data even if it was. People already aren’t updating the version lists for a lot of the software. The less data rot the better. Id say the same for the Kosmos rules.

More generally, banners shouldn’t replace basic article quality standards. So the language in an article for outdated software should be in the past tense and the software’s status should be mentioned in the article itself. Pages for outdated software shouldn’t be “frozen” or not editable anymore either just because the software is not maintained. On a couple of articles I was reverted by different users when I changed the word “is” to “was,” which shouldn’t happen. On the Kosmos page there is no way to tell in the actual article that it is no longer available. There’s also been a dead link in the article to download for at least a few years. People were fine putting the “outdated software” template up though and calling it a day. Things like that shouldn’t happen either. Templates shouldn’t be used as an easy replacement to having clearly written, up to date articles.

Reading current WikiProject Cleanup I would conclude the opposite (Objectives, 2nd bullet). (But maybe it is worth talking to the people of the JOSM dev team to place all documentation at one place, probably their wiki.)

When creating this template, I aimed to indicate clearly that a page refers to historic content because I thought that the readers might not suspect historic content in the wiki as they would merely think of the wiki as a manual. I was also a bit annoyed by the warning template which made these pages look inconsistently and abandoned.

When I updated the Yahoo page, I thought about whether it would be wise to condense all relevant material onto one page and request deletion for the rest. So, I was thinking of suggesting a deletion for a page like Yahoo coverage. In this case, the wiki would have lost the information about the exact coverage of Yahoo’s imagery, except for the coverage maps around Oslo, Norway and Melbourne, Australia. I moved them over to the main Yahoo page to illustrate the coverage.

Maybe, we can conclude that deletion is appropriate where content has been moved to a different page?

I can not really come up with another trade-off there, because I think that deleting half is even worse than to neglect the pages.

P.S.: The main problem I have with current deletion actions is that they seem to be not very thought through (meaning every case checked individually) and they appear periodically like someone is going through all pages that could be irrelevant and then requests deletion.

I think condensing the information and moving it to the main page of whatever the thing is would be a good idea. In the case of Kosmos there’s no reason there can’t be a section on its page discussing rendering rules (or for that matter one page called Kosmos rendering rules that’s link to from the main page). Especially since a lot of the articles related to it are redundant. One subject doesn’t need to be spread across 500 pages. In most lot of cases it makes it much harder for the reader to find the information they are looking for. Aside from just being completely unnecessary (there’s no reason it can’t just be a sub-topic of an already existing article).

That sounds fine to me. It shouldn’t have to be a 1/1 transfer though. Condensing it is fine if it doesn’t come at the cost of anything important being left out. It should be double checked by someone besides the original person who transferred it though in cases where there’s a proposal discussion just to be sure.

I can’t speak for other people, but I know in the cases that involved me I put a lot of thought into it ahead of time and reviewed each article. People have a tendency when something is done that they don’t agree with that the other person didn’t think it through. In most cases the tendency is wrong and its just a difference of opinion.

For my edits that’s because I go to college. So I only have a month or two of free time every six months or so during breaks to contribute seriously to the project.

It is a voluntary project and people contribute when they can. Just because some people edit things more sporadically then the few hardcore editors doesn’t mean there’s nefarious intent behind it. Most of us have lives outside of OpenStreetMap. So I wouldn’t read into it to much. In general, there shouldn’t be a standard of how many edits a person has or what schedule they do the edits on for the edits to be valid. Otherwise the place is run by the people with OCD who edit all day, like Verdy_P did. He made a lot of mistakes and a bunch of junk. The fact that he was the top contributor and never missed a day of editing didn’t help at all. If anything it just exacerbated the problem.

In the end it should come down to the quality of the content someone adds or the edits they make. That’s it. Everyone makes mistakes though. Just because someone has been here a long-time or has a cartography degree (or whatever) doesn’t mean they should get a pass on things or be able to get their way “just because.” Also, we should support each other in improving our editing skill and creating better articles. Be they new editors, sporadic ones, seasoned ones, or whatever.

Btw, since we are on the subject what do you think about article pages like (he created some other articles based on brand tag to). Personally, I think its out of the range of the purpose of the wiki. Its not related to OSM, geographical (like a town or city would be), or really related to mapping in any way. Also, allowing pages like it could set a bad precedent where the wiki might become a dumping ground for brand information spam or brand based edit wars (its pretty idiotic that he’s claiming Harley is a defacto tag).

It is technically a tag though. I told the guy I was going to request the page be deleted, but maybe I won’t because I don’t want to “cause a controversy.” There should be basic standards for what articles should or shouldn’t exist though. Even Wikipedia has notability guidelines. Its clear that once pages like that are created its much harder to get rid of them then it is to just not allow them in the first place. Someone could probably make the idiotic claim that its worth saving just because it exists, due to “historical importance” or some none sense. Or at least hold its deletion up in a two year arbitration process, that would be unnecessary if there where notability guidelines.

(Just an fyi, this isn’t an attempt to side step the purpose of this forum topic or anything. Figuring out notability is a big part of figuring out what should or shouldn’t be deleted, requested for deletion, or created in the first place. It would also help with article quality and reduce wiki “bloat” overall.)