Getting ready to welcome support users and topics

Opening this topic to list all items to consider to allow #help-and-support category to welcome users and topics with a nice and familiar experience for everyone.

  • A recognition mechanism to the most useful Help OSM users. Maybe by creating and granting “Support Guru” badge or similar here.
  • Import the most popular Help OSM tags to be available for their use here.
  • Plan for a multiple-language support, probably through top level language categories.
  • Transition and communications plan with Help OSM admins.
  • Generate a static site with all the old content.

/cc @Firefishy @SomeoneElse


There are probably enough people here already to start answering #help-and-support questions. People are still asking questions at All Questions - OSM Help because they don’t know that exists.

As I’ve said elsewhere (I think - might have been Slack or Discord) the top couple of rows at are (roughly) the people who answer most questions. Some of those are less active currently, but a quick glance at each user tells you who those are.

I’m not sure that importing tags is a big deal, providing that search is half-decent.

Personally, I’d be entirely happy for all languages to be mixed up together in one category. People should be able to ask in their own natural language and should not be under pressure to translate into English themselves. On the fly web translation has been a thing for years, and is pretty good.

The only “admin” on is Tom I think, though a number of the highest reputation users are moderators, and can accept answers on behalf of users and delete spam.

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(just to echo what I’ve said elsewhere a few days ago)

For the help site, there’s no “meta” there so the best way of communicating is to ask a “question” (maybe “Did you know…”) and keeping it on the front page by commenting. I’ve offered to do this but obviously didn’t want to jump the gun while the launch was still in progress.

@SomeoneElse please go for it, we need to get most active users attention to this topic so we can co-design the new space here :slight_smile:

I’ve created this topic there, it would be good if someone can mass-dm the most active users about it:

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At some point, it might be useful to add some sort of banner, or notice, on the help website to redirect people here.

And eventually we will to update the various links, on the wiki, in iD, etc.

Maybe not so soon though.

I was thinking, maybe we could bootstrap the category with some common questions.

On the top of my head:

  • Why my change is not visible (yet)?
  • Change is visible, but routing doesn’t work ?
  • Tile usage policy, why I am blocked?
  • uMap, can’t edit my map anymore?

And so on…
Some answer on the help website are really nice, and should be copied over.

It would also be a good occasion to set up some standards (tags, service involved, enough details…).

Thinking of that, is there any way to enforce a template for new posts ?


If the software doesn’t support this it may be possible to swap the logo in the header out for one that has an “Archived” stamp across it?

I suspect in the end the way to force a migration would be to disable new signups. Assuming that this site works as well as the last one … we don’t have any test questions yet.

It should be noted somewhere, to get a RSS feed of new topics like on the old website, it’s as easy as adding .rss to the category URL, like this : Help and support - OpenStreetMap Community

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@H11 can you kickstart a topic with some FAQ so we can pin it and make it wiki over #help-and-support? That would be awesome :blush:

We can define a template for new topics, in fact we are currently using one taken from the other site.

I would particularly suggest contacting existing moderators on OSM Help to see if they are willing to continue in this role here (both SomeoneElse & I are mods).

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Quoting from a post on a Discourse forum

Discourse is designed to encourage discussion, which is pretty much the opposite of a question and answer site.

On the help site we had a fairly strict policy wrt discussions and tried to keep things similar to a stackoverflow style. This helped keep things manageable particularly considering that a substantial part of the audience were just transient users, coming in for one question to never be seen again.

While it is not clear if the same people will actually turn up here, the powers that be aka @nukeador need to indicate if a similar style of management will be supported here. The other side of the equation is the technical support of such a model in Discourse itself, there seem to be multiple Q&A plugins, could we know which one has been installed? And as has been suggested, can we have a test category or whatever with this feature enabled?

We enabled a few ones to be able to match the same features as Help OSM:

On moderation we can have similar features, defining a group of mods for the help category. These plugins are already usable over #help-and-support

My view is that a similar style of management should be encouraged for the Help and support category. To me, that includes:

  • One question per topic
  • Closing duplicate questions
  • Moving open-ended questions/discussions to other categories

On the technical side, we should still enable sorting by votes to replicate the help site’s functionality.

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I’ve seen it now, it might need an update though. New topic ?

@nukeador I wrote this post.

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I’ve read this in another topic :

I would find it a shame that the old Help website is delete, made read-only, with a notice to come here all right, but there are links everywhere (wiki, changeset discussions, mailing-lists) pointing to

I’m pretty sure a static clone would be pretty easy to make and maintain.

Is there any discussions, decisions about this ?


@H11 moving your message where we are preparing for Help OSM transition.

Adding a point about making a static archive of all the old content.

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One of the obvious problems with Help as it stands is that many questions & their answers are either very outdated or no longer applicable. People still post new responses to them after years.

There are significant advantages to starting afresh without having to do triage on the existing help questions.

It would be very useful to be able to properly close queries so that they do not get revived and to indicate clearly which ones have outdated answers


We can set auto-close topics after certain periods of inactivity.

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