United States subcategory

Category name

United States

Is this a top-level category or a subcategory?


Description of its purpose and which open mapping groups it will serve

Forum for mappers of the United States to discuss OpenStreetMap topics.

Why is this new category needed instead of being hosted as part of the existing ones?

There are no categories yet for issues specific to the United States.

Is this a new space or does it already exist on other platforms? Where?

The OpenStreetMap US community primarily communicates on two platforms:

In addition, there are some subnational mailing lists:

Current volume of messages on the former platforms, if any (per week/per month)

The OSM-US Slack is very active, with probably hundreds of messages per week.

The talk-us@ mailing list can have up to 30 messages per month.

The subnational mailing lists might only have a few messages per month, if any at all.

Is there a transition plan for the old platform to this new one? (please link or describe)

No plans, just vibes.

Due to the high volume of existing communication platforms, we don’t expect to discontinue them anytime soon. Slack hosts the majority of our discussion right now, though there are enough US mappers with reservations about discussing an open data project on a proprietary platform that we can’t rely solely on Slack to reach the entire community. So we tend to have more consequential tagging discussions on the mailing list.

But Discourse hasn’t had the same problem as Slack, since it’s open source, and more transparently connected to the OpenStreetMap web infrastructure. Ultimately, I think there’s enough incentive for the US mapping community to transition towards this platform. It’ll just take time.

(Optional) A link or list of the category specific guidelines

This community will seek to opt in to the OSM US Code of Conduct and Moderation Process. In the unlikely case that isn’t successful, the OSM Etiquette Guidelines will apply.

List the usernames of the category moderators

All of us have been active in OSM for over a decade, and actively participate in discussions on existing platforms.


Thanks for the request.

While we wait for the proposed moderators to comment here they are OK with the role, it would be great if you could edit the initial message adding next to their usernames a brief description on why each moderator was proposed. This is asked as part of the process to provide transparency and allow a community conversation to happen here.

As per the current Moderation Selection Criteria note that for the list of moderators to be approved, 5 days of community discussion will need to take place here (always including weekend days) and then a voting poll to validate the list by the community will be open for another 5 days too.

Thanks again!

Another aspect is that Discourse, like the mailing lists and the old forum, is a different form of communication than a real-time chat platform like Slack. Even though OSMUS Slack is on a plan that allows for permanent archives, older content isn’t designed to be very discoverable. Discourse archives have the potential to be more digestible than either Slack for this reason, and more usable than the mailing list for technical reasons.

In the medium term, Discourse could be useful for discussions about, for instance, tagging policy, with Slack taking a less prominent support role. Slack meanwhile would continue to be a good place to get help with spur-of-the-moment questions and socialize with other mappers.

Nothing is for certain, but I think it’s worth taking advantage of this platform and seeing how it works out.

I’m happy to serve as a moderator. I volunteered to help get things going here, however if others step forward I’d be happy with that as well.

1 Like

4 posts were split to a new topic: Enforcing global vs local guidelines

In my personal capacity, and not speaking on behalf of OSMUS where I serve as a board member, I endorse all three proposed moderators, based on their history of working with the community, and effective communications on difficult topics. I would specifically point to Ian’s long-standing moderation of the OSM US Slack space, Zeke’s charting the course on difficult global discussions on the meaning of highway=track, and Clay’s interactions with many competing interests on the OSM Americana project spaces as evidence of their suitability as moderators here.


Appreciate the endorsements, @ZeLonewolf.

I’ve updated the moderator list to add some info on who we are, and to include @ElliottPlack. Ian has already confirmed in this thread that he’s willing to moderate, so we’re just waiting on Elliott.

Also, I endorse all proposed moderators without hesitation. They are upstanding, responsible citizens of the OSM US community.

I also offer my hearty two thumbs up to the proposed (/ nominated?, even if self-nominated or self-volunteering?) moderators. It’s great to see familiar, solid, long-term OSM US-based community members with such enthusiasm to help this nascent and promising online forum.

It’s been over a week since the original post, so I think we’re ready to start voting once @ElliottPlack confirms that he’s willing to be a moderator.

1 Like

Oh sorry I’m in. Confirmed via this post.

Again, I have had truly productive and/or delightful interactions/collaborations with everybody here (except Rubén, you are new to me, I am cheered by the great work I see you extending into the Discourse side of things). I have read the Moderation Selection Criteria and all of the volunteers here should easily sail through with flying colors; I’ll call all of them “top shelf.”

It truly is exciting and inspiring that we are building this community here like this with august members in the USA who are so obviously dedicated to OSM. I offer big thanks to the (proto-) moderators for standing up. OSM keeps getting better and better, and greatly so with this open platform!

Hello again everyone,

Five days have passed for the community discussion so now a voting poll is opened for another five days to validate the final list.

The list will be validated if it gets at least 80% of yes votes. Note that votes (who voted what) are public to help identify any abuses.


Do you approve @clay_c @ezekielf @iandees and @ElliottPlack to be category moderators for the “United States” category?
  • Yes I approve
  • No, I don’t approve (please comment below)

0 voters


I clicked to vote. Nothing else happened. Does that mean my vote has been recorded?

If you’ve successfully voted, you should now see a Remove Vote button.

1 Like

26 voters isn’t huge, but it is certainly “enough.” More importantly, what’s not to like about unanimity?!

The #communities:us category is now created and the approved moderators have been added to the group.

Please make sure you request an update to the OSM Community Index to include this new channel for your community and remove any former/inactive one.

Also, please make sure you edit the “About community category” topic to include a link to OSM Etiquette in your language, you can provide a translation if needed on the wiki.