Getting ready to welcome support users and topics

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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@nukeador I don’t think auto-closing is necessarily appropriate. Sometimes someone asks a question which is not answered, but the topic eventually becomes one of broader interest. In the main I’d be looking for moderators to close topics which are no longer relevant/out-of-date.

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I see there is an option also to auto-close topics that have a solution after X time.

in the help system you can accept an answer, but it is still possible to add new answers or act on existing ones.
Sometimes, the best answer changes by the time, or updates are necessary to reflect changes in the system


In case I was not that clear, I was just saying that a static, archived version of help.op… would be nice, for all the links pointing to it. But I would add a banner, or a note of some kind, on every page, to warn visitor that it’s an archived version, and link here for up to date answers… I’ve seen many communities doing this, and I think it’s quite relevant.

I was not saying we should try to import part or all of help here.


3 posts were split to a new topic: Legal advise over help and support?

Hi. I was pretty busy with non-OSM things the past few weeks and it seems I missed a bit of progress here. :smile: I try to sound my opinion on a few points mentioned.

I’m also in favor of just archiving the old site in an read-only mode and start from scratch here. I guess I’ll need to build up my reputation from scratch, too, but I will get over it. :smile:

If I understand correctly, this site is meant to unify the old help (Q&A) site, the (some) mailing lists and the old forum. If that is the case it should become very clear to very user that different categories/sections of this site should be used differently. In the help section we should have one question per thread and limit us to straight forward answers. No discussions. Users should be able to quickly find answers when using the search function. Moderation is needed here. I’ve used my limited reputation based moderation rights quite frequently on the help site to split out new questions, change answers to comments and so forth. In the other categories I would not see need for moderation now.

On the old help site we frequently saw users asking questions in their native languages and it did work. There was usually someone with the same language skills or answering with the help of translation services. Having one built in would of course be a neat thing. I would not want to split the help section into languages.

We’ve seen quite some SEO spam recently. I’m not sure but I believe currently it is only Tom that can purge spammed questions/answered. Having more people being able to do that would be great.

One main advantage of the old help site (just as with Stack Overflow) is that one could thread answers and comments. It was immediately clear which comments belonged to which answer or to the question. Comments often being quite necessary also to get additional details on the problem. If someone created a new answer instead of a comment users with moderation rights could move the comment to the right place (there was a bug in the software, though; so that that sometimes did not work). Even with being able to vote on an answer I fear we get a lot of confusion if now asks to specify the question, answers and comments are all in linear order. Any plugin that could help with that would be highly appreciated.

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I’m the only one that can suspend users I think but there are others who can hide questions, comments etc.

It’s a pain though for several reasons. Firstly even I can’t always see content that other people have deleted so it can be hard to verify reported users if other people have cleaned up. There’s also a bug that crept in at some point that means I have to hack around in devtools to suspend people!

You can see the people with moderation powers (black diamond next to name) here:

I can’t remember who asked me to act as one now, but at some point there was a shortage of people in the role.

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