Downvoting for support topics

I’d prefer to enable them everywhere.


Agree that to replace help.osm, a way must be found for the community to ensure that future readers of the thread will see the “good” answers first, whether that’s by upvoting the good or downvoting the bad I don’t care much. A “bad” answer with lots of sad smileys added to it but still appearing first won’t be very helpful. Anything that requires the involvement of a higher-privilege user (moderator, admin, whatever) is not sustainable.


Sometimes an example helps. I suspect that is just spam, and (with a website set to a no-longer existing issue at github) is just a spammer.

However, there’s enough potential relevance in the question and the long follow-up “answer” to not just report/hide it as spam, but it should be downvoted (both the question and the answer).

Thanks a lot for asking first. I am not. I am an individual who has been trying to bring sovereign respect into the products and tooling used for mapping efforts around the world. What I see over and over again is disempowerment when ‘open’ maps are used by ‘closed’ institutions FOR people who deserve to be afforded self-determination. My projects all have ‘mapping’ outputs as a designed side effect of sovereign interactions.

The “Big Aid” industry (including Oxfam, Red Cross, UNOCHA, DARPA, and all the other Fine people I met at HHI field training exercises) has a consistent policy to NOT inform citizens of aid that scheduled or even what’s coming. The policy is trained into new workers every Semester. The narrative is controlled and in my opinion colonialist in nature.

So I’ve been supporting HOT efforts as I can, but spending more time in the Cardano space, trying to use these tools to build bulletproof, self sovereign solutions that give one ‘credit’ for existing by leveraging the data-economy. These systems were meant from the get-go to reduce trauma by providing self-efficacy and organic empowerment ( a self maintaining network of relevant resources).

I have observed the attempts over the years to create an educated cadre of mapping enthusiasts. The results are not exciting. If, instead of teaching people how to be cartographers, we empowered them to express their needs and publish the things they have to offer, then we could have all the crucial data and associate it to a location. However, who would participate in such a system unless they controlled all the inputs/outputs and derivative uses of their data?

Since that system does not yet exist, I am calling for a re evaluation of the ‘mapping community’s willingness to offer up details that are not tuned to benefit citizens directly, but only as a hope, after the fact. Mapping today is an extractive paradigm that has no place in an egalitarian future.

We can be and do better with some self-reflection that understands the power dynamic at work in the real world.

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Generally when using the Discourse software that runs this site, when a reply is marked by the topic’s author or by moderators as the accepted answer, it gets highlighted and also appears at the top of the topic, just under the initial post/question.

Here’s an example from another community that uses the same platform:


I’ve read through the Question Answer Plugin page on meta.discourse a bit. It looks very promising. Here is also test implementation where one can see what upvoting and threading looks like: What's it like to be a bat? - #15 by michacassola - Question Answer - Try Pavilion.

It’s very close to the old OSM Help except for the downvoting. Somewhere in the thread on meta it also says that rearranging of comments is possible.

I’d very much appreciate if this plugin could be installed here and given a try. As I understand from the thread on meta it can be removed again without loss in the discussions.


Can I just reiterate what other moderators on OSM Help (@SimonPoole, @woodpeck, @SomeoneElse) have said, current moderation is ‘light touch’ and moderators “accepting” answers on behalf of the OP is unusual (mainly when it is clear that the answer has been accepted, but the OP is perhaps not familiar with the Q&A framework). We can’t rely on this type of activity being carried out by moderators.

I’d far rather see downvoting than have the possibility of introducing my personal approach to OSM in moderating answers. Typical current moderator activity includes: removing spam (along with Ops team), changing answers to comments, moving comments to maintain thread consistency, correcting typos, and closing off-topic or unanswerable queries. I spend far more time on OSM Help as an ordinary user answering queries than any kind of moderation.

So far suggestions have mainly involved greater involvement of moderators. This intrinsically means expanding the pool of moderators.

@TZorn that does have some promise.


The current behavior is that topic creators can accept answers themselves.

Those activities you list are not only available to moderators on OSM Help but also to everyone with a certain reputation. Few things I cannot do as non-moderator is removing spam or banning users. Those other activities you list could be mostly achieved here with trust level 4. I had asked somewhere else to promote the OSM Help regulars to this trust level so that we can continue with this light-weight moderation.

Downvoting is still an unanswered question. On the other hand the old site is so buggy that I would promote moving someplace else even without downvoting. Not necessarily here.

(On a side note: I was surprised that moving the forum seems to be the main concern. I would have thought the Help site had the bigger need to be replaced. Looking closer in Help requirements before deciding for Discourse would haven been appropriate.)

Just on that question it seems entirely reasonable for the team to concentrate on one migration at once, and then come back to migration of the help system from OSQA :slight_smile:

We can provide trusted support user with a special group to be able to moderate the #help-and-support category. It’s just a matter of agreeing who this people are and get them OK with this.

That’s exactly what mainly happens on OSM Help, but moderators can accept an answer on the OPs behalf. But as I said it is not a usual activity.

@TZorn: I was merely listing the common types of activities which moderators do carry out, not necessarily those which only they can perform. As someone who has been a moderator on OSM Help for a long time I have little memory of what I could do beforehand!

Unluckily I noticed this thread Is it allowed to add custom namespace/tags for specific project? too late that is a prime example of well intentioned, but dreadfully, and in some cases bizarrely, wrong answers (that I can’t down vote).

This highlights that “solution” is very different from the OSM Help “accepted” and will introduce considerable ambiguity when the accepted “solution” is at variance with the OSM consensus.

I think “solution” is fine for very specific queries concerned with troubleshooting, but is inadvisable with queries about tagging and absolutely not recommended for legal questions.

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@nukeador Could you enable the Question Answer plugin so that we can test if it helps improving the situation?

I think what is even worse now than not being able to downvote is that answers to answers are disconnected. So even if someone makes a good argument against a suggested solution it is not always clearly visible for the help seeker.


Checking with the @forums-governance team in order to make sure we tackle this request.


Let’s move the conversation to

This request (together with upvoting adn sorting) will be solved once the mentioned plugin is ready for deployment.