*"OpenStreetMap has several resources for learning about the project, asking and answering questions, and collaboratively discussing and documenting mapping topics. *
*Things that are less welcome at help.openstreetmap.org include…discussions… put them on the mailing list or forum. *
Suggest a link to the Forum be added to that top level help page and this this language be added (from the FAQ) to inform what goes to HELP and what goes to FORUM.
*Before you post to HELP at help.openstreetmap.org, ask yourself: Is there, at least theoretically, the one single all-encompassing perfect answer that will immediately close the topic for me and probably also help many others with a similar issue? If yes, post here. If no…then don’t, post to the FORUM or post to a MAILING LIST for more general discussions. *
Also suggest that the HELP page misleading HTML be updated
OpenStreetMap Help **Forum**
(when you copy the link it adopts the title to the name of the link)
Words like “forum” and “community” are not really the focus of the quick, short answer HELP desk.
Might also suggest that the HELP page up at http://www.openstreetmap.org/help might instead be a Wiki page, where wiki users could just go ahead and improve it over time. For instance I could have edited the help page directly for the above changes, now someone “else” has to do it. It actually takes more time here to explain it than just getting the job done in one straight go. Perhaps there are other “locked” / “static” HTML pages up at that level that might better evolve over time as Wiki pages too?
A lack of linking the main sources for OSM knowlwdge and discussion is there indeed, and some users including me tried some efforts many years ago to give links from one site (FAQ, Forum, Wiki, etc) to each other … with NO success.
But it seesm that these “interlinks” are not wanted by the main OSM developers. In my eyes: when landing on the OSM forum, new users are not always aware that there is a wiki for documentation and a forum for discussion. … and vice versa.
There might be some reasons why such an information is NOT wanted on the main pages of forum and help.osm.org … but I cannot feel good with that. It seems that the forum should be keept a bit secret.
Different OSM communities communicate in different ways. For example, the German- and Russian-speaking communities are very active in the forums for their languages/countries here, but post in the UK or US forum here and you’ll be watching tumbleweed for a couple of months until you see the next post. Those communities are best reached by mailing lists (and I’m not making any judgement that A is better than B here, just describing where people are) or for instant chat, IRC. It wouldn’t be fair on new English-speaking users to suggest that there is a vibrant English-speaking community here - there isn’t.
The problem that you had with the help.openstreetmap.org site was that it’s really not suited to in-depth discussions - the “question, comment and answer” format simply doesn’t support it. Hence, when you pasted a long series of follow-up questions in an “answer” to https://help.openstreetmap.org/questions/40887 you were referred elsewhere. You’re not the first person to make that mistake (I did too!).
The first paragraph of https://help.openstreetmap.org/faq/ does link directly to the lists, forum, wiki, and wiki page for IRC. Whilst it’d be technically possible to have “every page linking to every other page” I think that what we’ve got now is a good compromise. What we certainly shouldn’t do is to suggest that “everybody uses the same method for communicating” - people should be able to use what works for them.
Incidentally, not mentioned so far (but very important) are the channels of communication with the developers. Increasingly that’s via the relevant component’s Github and #osm-dev IRC, but there are exceptions (e.g. JOSM’s trac).