Imports community category?

Sure, I can explore that option

Thanks for the input,
-James Crawford

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Posting this here to help inform the discussion. I was curious how many users participate on this Discourse forum using the import tag vs. the Imports mailing list.

It turns out a conservative estimate is 2x the active participants for Discourse vs. the mailing list since the beginning of the year.

Edit: I just fixed the colors being swapped on this chart ^

There are a few more graphs like this on my post here if anyone is interested.

I’m definitely in favor of migrating the discussion to primarily be on this forum and updating the wiki guidelines as well.


The imports list is yellow in the first graph, but purple in the second graph.

Readability aside, it’s interesting to see that the discourse forum is already more active than the mailing list, considering that the mailing list is required for imports, and the community is presently just a discussion center.

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The imports list is yellow in the first graph, but purple in the second graph.

Whoops! :upside_down_face: I updated the colors to be consistent.

On the tag-versus-category topic:

Most imports are of interest to and require buy-in from various local communities. I feel like posting in the relevant community category with a global #import tag would be more likely to be seen by members of potentially-affected local communities that aren’t regularly engaged in imports.

Just searching for the import tag shows most of these being posted in the target local community rather than the General category anyway.

I’m not super familiar with all of Discourse’s features, but my hunch is that posting in the affected community channel and tagging with the #import tag would require fewer cross-posting steps to get the thread in front of people who are watching a particular country channel.


I see that on the current version of Proposal:Imports Mailing List Migration - OpenStreetMap Wiki it is mentioning the #import tag, so maybe the tag rather than a new category is the direction chosen. Wasn’t quite sure how to interpret the end of this discussion topic…

I spent some time thinking about the whole tag versus category thing recently, and I’m starting to think that a category seems to be a better choice, since I’d imagine that a separate category would be easier to discover and additionaly be more organized.

I’d be happy to moderate one if we are able to get it created.


But if Imports is a category how would you propose sharing a notices with the affected local communities? For example, if it is an import of US addresses would you make a second post in the US category linking back to the post in imports?


I just figured out that you can subscribe to receive emails from all discussions with the tag. This seems like the superior way to go, since it provides the additional engagement with the local community, while still enabling all users to observe all import discussions in one place. This is certainly the way that I would like to enact.



Good morning all,

Fresh out of bed, I just figured out the perfect way that we should use the discourse for the import RFCs.

If you submit a new RFC, you can just apply the #import tag as well as a second tag like #import-proposal to specify that it’s a new import proposal, so anyone following the tag can decide whether they want to follow all import discussion, or only new imports.

Let me know your thoughts on this solution.


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Someone on Discord has mentioned and the voting there.

This forum can be used in mailing list mode (I use it that way). Is it planned to allow new “imports” threads to be started by email?

The challenge might be that (as I understand it**) the ability to create new threads by email is forum-dependent, and the proposal seems to be to use an import tag in whatever other forum is most appropriate, and not all of those may have the ability to create threads by email enabled.

If new import discussions could be created by email, I suspect that many of the reasons for opposing a move would go away.

One of the challenges that new users face with mailing lists is that they may be unfamiliar with how they work (sign-up, etc.)… Has anyone end-to-end tested the “proposed new procedure” to see how easy it is to post as a new user from an email client?

Edit: See discussion of “new threads by email” here.

** new threads by email was discussed a few months ago, but I don’t know what the current state is, or how usable it is as a new user.

Naturally posting on a communities local forum wouldn’t work for communities that don’t have their own forum.


@SimonPoole @SomeoneElse to both of your points:

It is possible to make points via email, the only hurdle that I imagined was that it may not be possible to add tags to the post unless you submitted via the website, which would be a killer, since the tags would be the required step in writing an import proposal.

After looking it up, it appears that if you add [import import-proposal] to the subject line, it adds the tags to the post. So yes, it would absolutely be possible to submit proposals via email.

The idea behind the whole local community + tags thing is that if the local community exists, you can both have the required discussion, as well as the local discussion on the same post. If the local community doesn’t have a category on the forum, you can always submit the post to the general talk category with the required tags, and those following the tags can still find the post.


True, and some communities are dormant because of the extra bureaucracy requirements of this forum compared to the old one.

It’s official!

I would definitely suggest creating a new OSM user and testing this theory, rather than just saying “it appears that…”. I’d imagine that you’d run into the following issues.

  • A brand new OSM user can create a forum account, but that forum account won’t immediately be of the trust level needed in order to post to the forum by email.

  • Not all forums will support “new threads by email”

  • As @SimonPoole has already said, we need to tell people what to do if no community exists, or that community exists but is closed to submissions.

A search here finds no test proposals tagged with import-proposal, so I can only assume that the proposed process hasn’t been tested. Obviously if you want this new process to work you have to address the issues raised e.g. here.

Yes, this is a site setting that could be relaxed in order for mappers to more easily participate by e-mail. (It looks like there’s also a setting for unknown e-mail addresses to post as “staged users” in the interim.)

We really need to revise vote durations for longstanding practices and tags. I’m sure I’m not the only one who found out about it after voting concluded.

It would seem to me to be common courtesy (for a few months at least) to also post import prooposals that merit it to the international mailing list too. That won’t apply to all of them of course.

Which import proposals? My impression is that almost all of them are limited to a specific country, if that. I don’t think we’re very likely to have more global automated imports like OurAirports or GEONames in the future. Our standards are too high for that these days.

On the other hand, if we’re talking about the proposal to shift proposal discussions to this forum, no existing process is a good fit for that proposal. Technically, it’s just a proposal to edit an article on the wiki, something we normally discuss on the article’s talk page, or perhaps Talk:Wiki for something more disruptive. It was good that @SherbetS reached out to the imports list (and @ElliottPlack reached out to the imports-us list) as a courtesy, as those lists were the primary audiences affected.

For something as longstanding as the import guidelines, it couldn’t have hurt to overcommunicate further, but I’m not sure the outcome would ultimately be any different. As @woodpeck has pointed out on behalf of the DWG, the most important thing is not the process but rather the results: there needs to be a robust discussion, and the import needs to be executed well.

I think it would be perfectly reasonable for the import guidelines to be more holistic and less prescriptive, but especially after seeing how this forum proposal played out, I’m not volunteering to make that edit. :sweat_smile: