I would like to add for those who don’t know me (yet) personally that as a recently new (and highly motivated) OSM mapper I may have a different perspective compared to those who have been here for a long time:
- I did not see any general instructions/guidance when I started mapping (including a link to this forum or the Thailand wiki)
- I see inconsistencies everywhere, even on the most basic tags, leading to confusion on how to do things
- The global/country guidelines don’t seem to be followed or enforced
- No one ever commented on my first changesets after I requested a review.
- Some of my local additions were wrongly reclassified by non-local mappers (e.g Grab) and my changesets comments were never answered
For these reasons and probably like most other new mappers, I was demotivated and I eventually stopped using OSM.
Like in any open-source software project, I believe the more consistency and the higher quality you see, the happier mappers will be, new ones will stay and make maps better which is in turn good for the whole community.
On the opposite, when quality reviews are inexistent, guidelines are incomplete, or when mappers are allowed to not follow them and rely on their own interpretation, you create a toxic environment where instead of contributing for the community you do it just for yourself.
Yes, part of my mapping is motivated by my own activities (enduro) and some tags are important to me (surface, source, motorcycle) but I have no intention to “map for the renderer” and I prefer to do things rather by the book, again for the community and not for myself.
As a software and data engineer, I thought I could use my experience, skills, and time to improve guidelines, so that we could reduce inconsistencies and improve the overall quality, to make it a friendlier environment for new mappers.
Simply looking at the OSM maps and guidelines in developed countries tells you that while it may take many years it’s definitely possible to reach.
In the last few months, I have spent quite some effort coming up with guidelines for minor road classification to counter Grab’s obsessive residential tagging. It was not a success but in the end my reviews, messages definitely helped reduce mistagging.
I have also reviewed changesets in my area and provided guidance to new mappers and I have seen positive feedback and changes.
However, I have learned recently the hard way that some mappers, including long-term contributors, refuse to follow guidelines or any general consensus agreed in the past, and I was told that there is nothing we can do about it. The current policy being that guidelines in Thailand could be seen as mere suggestions and simply cannot be enforced.
I felt very disappointed because this policy means that all efforts I have spent on improving guidelines were pointless.
Hence this long message and this simple question:
Are you happy with the current policies and so feel my philosophy or intentions do not fit with the local community?
If not, what could be improved and in which priority? e.g.
- improving and simplifying guidelines
- cleanup conflicting tags
- welcoming message with important links for new mappers
- invoking Data Working Group when mappers refuse to follow guidelines / general consensus