The kind of thing you mentioned actually happens every month in China. Most of it is because many changeset just describe an area that no one has ever described. It covers everything from improving streets to improving roads. It is difficult to summarize. We are commonly known as “pioneer on wild land”
Editors may not necessarily have the patience to fill in every changeset as carefully as they would like to fix a place, but out of the principle of not dampening the enthusiasm of editors, most mapper active in community is usually more tolerant of such bad comments, and in rare cases they can’t help it, will be reported to DWG
Does this comment make sense? Yes, but the 200+ consecutive ones are all the same “drawings on villages and other situations in the Zhangjiakou area based on satellite images such as MPI and Esri.”
But I decided not to report him a second time, because he is the only mapper in the whole city. I have always believed that countries or regions that allow everyone to write changeset comments must be regions with basically complete data.
As the saying goes, “Only when you are full will you consider more issues.”
For a prefecture-level city that requires 1000+ changesets to complete, it is pale and powerless to require any detailed changeset comments. I think this is not good, but forcing it may not achieve the purpose of improving the drawing quality by improving changeset comments.
Original reply in Chinese (Yes, above is machine translated, I'm lazy)
Until we have OSM software capable of mind control, any auto-generated comment is going to be no better than e.g. “added X buildings in Y place” (with another tag containing source or imagery). It’s literally no more information than is in the .osc file already.
This is true. For example, I recently wanted to split an overly large industrial area into several small pieces (c143777767+c143778354). I might write a list of reasons to explain why I want to do this (because it can be expressed more precisely, because here It’s not all industrial areas and there are greenfields, and attach those reason in comment)
But if editors are asked to better describe their intentions, and their intentions may be simply to “pioneer on wild land”, how should we guide them in writing comments? For example, the case I took the screenshot above (first of all, I think that even blocking his account again will not solve all problem), how to describe those edits?
Original reply in Chinese (Yes, above is machine translated, I'm lazy)
But it does not need to be (much) better than “added X buildings in Y place”. As a fellow mapper, I just need a clue what was changed to even decide whether I need to review the changes (for whatever reason). I don’t go policing after fellow mappers, but when I inspect an area using OSM history or Neis OSM Tiles the rough descripton of a changeset works just fine. I need to dig deeper using OSMCha or similar tools only if the comment indicated something of particular interest for me. And the bloke who only ever “changes some things” also has a mixed record of good and bad edits, so I’m seldom reassured when I find his name in the area history.
Well, sure, but what I’m saying is that literally 9 out of 11 examples of good changeset comments follow roughly (or exactly) that form, possibly with the source added. So when both a large amount (majority?) of existing useful comments as well as the documentation follow that form, and that form could (presumably) be generated, why shouldn’t we provide that generation to mappers?
Sure, no tool will be able to provide the why as in “added buildings I found during a bike ride through the town”, but it should be achievable to generate “added buildings based on a survey” (based on the contents of the changeset and the source= tag). We can still encourage people to write more (and maybe some even will who don’t today, having been freed from specifying “what”/“where”/source in their comment), but I actually think this might improve the overall quality of the comments.
I’d say, stating that banning hashtag-only comments implies discriminating against Generation Z is an oversimplification of the facts. To begin with, not every Gen Z person actively uses the hashtag symbol in the sense relevant to the proposal, but also, I see little to no reason why Gen Z people couldn’t write more meaningful changeset comments, whatever those are (I think a discussion of that is outside the scope of my reply here, if not of the entire thread).
In the end I am but a minor contributor in this vast ecosystem (a Gen Z one!), and while diversity is an OSM value, and one I very much support, it’s not the only core value of the OSM project, and in my personal opinion, the improvement of the accuracy of OSM data is more important than alleged discrimination based on a vague relation between the use of a single typographical symbol and an age group.
Most people who use hashtag-only changeset comments do not do so because they think it is cool but because someone else - or a piece of software - told them that’s the way to go. I don’t think we’d be curtailing anyone’s free expression if we ask them to write human-readable comments; even if hashtags were somehow the lingua franca of a specific generation, a sentiment I don’t agree with, that would not be a valid reason to use that single-generation language in a multi-generation project like OSM.
I’d also politely request that this discussion not be derailed by whataboutism - “if you are against X then you must also be against Y and HERE’S MY ARGUMENT WHY BEING AGAINST Y IS BAD”. I have not suggested to reject contributions from users of software that forces them to use auto-generated tags and therefore I am loathe to discuss how useful (or not) they are in this context.
You have a point there, but a little redundance is not always bad! If someone writes “traced buildings in South Warokee” and instead the changeset has moved a POI to another part of town then it is likely that the POI move was a mistake, whereas if the comment reads “moved restaurant to new location” then we know that it was intentional.
Redundance is always part of human communication and language, and it makes a lot of sense especially as the group that is communicating becomes more diverse (different backgrounds, languages, cultures etc).
Then the core should be how to help mappers accurately describe their drawing motivations(such as “moved restaurant to new location”). But I think many times the mapper may not know exactly what it is doing. It just copies the elements that appear on the satellite map. It is as simple as “refinement”. How should they write comment at this time?
Anyway, at least I think the editor should give users a chance to choose
You are again not discussing the original topic. The original topic is not about deprecating auto generated human readable changeset comments (like Streetcomplete or Every Door do), but hashtag-only (and therefore most of the time not human readable).
Your example of a bad changeset comment has one hashtag #added and then some words, so it is no hashtag only comment. Actually I don’t know why you put the “#” there, it is quite uncommon I think. The changesets of Streetcomplete and Every Door don’t use hashtags.
Even if it is off topic: I like the changeset comments of Streetcomplete and Every Door, because they describe what was done in a human-readable way.
A small tweak to the Organized Editing Guidelines which could be useful in this context is to change “Changeset comments should include” to “Changesets should include”. As written, the OEG currently do not allow the hashtags to be put into the changeset’s hashtags=* key.