Moving to the new forum for proposals and voting

Currently the proposal process states that for new tagging proposals, you are required to announce it on the tagging mailing list and that voting is done via the proposal page on wiki. Proposals can still be written on wiki and optionally discussed on the talk page. That doesn’t change.

It is known that voting on wiki is not really accessible to all community members and that a lot of mappers (including myself) find the mailing list not a nice place to communicate. This raises the level to make and vote for proposals for quite some mappers.

With this new forum and its new possibilities, is it an idea to change those 2 requirements?

  1. Require to announce the proposal here on the forums, optionally in a new sub community, instead of the mailing list
  2. Use the voting system of discourse. You do public votes (see who voted for what). The options can be
  • I approve
  • I abstain from voting, leave a comment below
  • I oppose, leave a comment below explaining why

Those posts can start with [RFC] Proposal name and [Voting] Proposal name

Let me hear what you think


Note that this change would need a clear approval on OSM Wiki.

Previous, even small, changes to proposal process were done also as proposals.

Or require both, or require doing at least one.

Personally I would prefer first to require both to make sure that discussion/review actually happens, rather than just moving all the process at once. But yes, using Mediawiki for discussions is kind of ugly hack.

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Yes, discussion can happen both here on the forum AND on the talk page. I don’t intent to change that. I want to see a change in the place where we vote (now on the wiki page => move it to the forum here using polls). Also, the proposal process requires you to announce the proposal on the tagging talk page. I want to drop that requirement in favor of the forum here.

And I am aware of an official vote needed for this change. I wanted to start a discussion to see if there interest in it

I would rather support requirement to do both. I am not entirely sure whether discussion here will work well.

Note that both request for comments and vote notification announcements are happening.

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I disagree with using the voting system on this forum. The wiki is not a barrier of entry, and great care is taken so that it’s easy for new users to vote and add their reasons for doing so.

However, I do agree with using the community forums for RFCs and voting proposals. Related discussion I started on Talk:Proposal process. The proposal process page has been updated to including details on posting on the community forums. It’s still means you have to dual post on the mailing list and forums but it’s better than just the mailing list by itself.


There are quite some people who really dislike the mailing list. It is an old system and it can be really overwelming for new users, this in contrary to this new forum.

It would be best to have one official place (i propose the forum) to announce it. You are free to optionally cross post it on other communication channels like the mailing list or places like discord.

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Is there a way to get email notifications about potential RFC/votes posted in, without getting emails about things posted in for example German subforum?

You can get an rss feed for this specific community for specific tags. You can attach to every new rfc a tag like for example wiki-rfc . Click that tag and add .rss to the url

I think this needs to be discussed on the tagging list. It is ok if the tagging list decides to move to the forum, but it is not ok if someone on the forum suggests to take something away from the mailing list. If your dislike for the mailing list is so great that you cannot be bothered to even inform the people there of this plan then you are not the right person to lead such an initiative.


I don’t think it’s a good idea to have a discussion in two places paralelly. Some people will only see discussion here, some only on the mailing list. If the same discussion is available in two places - it’s great, but having two separate discussions - not so much.


Yes, for Proposal we should have a seperate “community” like the german or the polish - where it should stay idk - and then you can change the notifications on community basis (the glock on the upper right hand of the category overview)

I would clearly advise a complete shift of the mailing lists. As @rmikke said, it only leads to double postings and confusion.

But let’s look at a slightly different aspect. The software version of Mailman currently in use at our company is 2.1 (.29 from 2018; current would be .39 from December 2021). Mailman 2.1 is effectively end-of-life and only supplied with security patches for extreme vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, upgrading to the current version Mailman 3.0 is not trivial either. For security reasons, it would therefore be better to do something about the system in general. Since we now have software here that supports mail, among other things, I see no problem in not migrating the mailing lists here as well.

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I see no problem in having things discussed on several platforms. In the end it would be nice to have one outcome on all platforms, but since we have no single conclusion most of the time, even on one platform, it doesn’t make much of a difference.

Even votings on different platforms are not necessarily bad. If one platform clearly outperforms another in whatever aspects, it will probably become the main platform. Might even be a mailing list, can’t imagine why, but I can’t rule it out either.

Peter Elderson

FYI: I plan to install the Discourse Upvotes plugin to once it is production ready. The plugin might be useful.

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That is an interesting question what is the deciding opinion - what mailing list subset of OSM community wants, what OSM Wiki subset of OSM community wants, what Discourse subset of OSM community wants.

And if opinions diverge, which is the most important and deciding.

I’m very much in favor of making this forum the discussion platform of record for OSM for one very simple reason: everyone with an OSM account already has access. The mailing lists and the wiki both require setting up a separate account to participate. This may not seem like a barrier to entry for those who are already using those platforms, but for those who are not, it surely is. I can send a link to a thread on this forum to any mapper and it will be relatively straightforward for them to read it and then sign in with their OSM account to post a reply.

For comparison here’s the experience with the mailing lists:

  1. I send a mapper a link to the first message in a thread
  2. On the archive site, they can read the whole thread but it is a very rudamentary interface that some people will find too cumbersome
  3. If the mapper does read the thread and wants to respond, they then need to subscribe to the mailing list
  4. Once subscribed, they will find there is no clear way to respond to the thread, because the previous messages are not delivered to them. Sending a message with a matching subject line may do the trick, but it’s not obvious.

This forum provides an undeniably better experience for a new user to join a conversation mid-thread. Making that process as easy as possible to as many people as possible is hugely beneficial in my opinion. We never know when a mapper who has never participated in tagging discussions before, will become interested and want to respond to a proposal RFC. We should make it straightforward for them to do so.


As said before, i wanted to gather some initial feedback before writing a proposal. And it was good because i see some reasoning here i never would have thought of.

I indeed dislike the mailing list but i was ofcourse going to use it for the proposal because that just is the current proces.

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I think anyone can propose things and have a vote on any platform, or multiple platforms. We could try it: for a regular cfv, post it to the forum in addition to the mailing list, with a poll, in addition to the wiki-edit-voting.

I, for one, see myself as a member of all three. I think I have the same opinions on all three platforms.

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I am also active on all three (and some other). But there is no full overlap and each one has some own strengths and problems.

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