To all recklessly editing newbies

Posted by Jedrzej Pelka on 18 July 2014 in English (English)

Why using a new tag without reading its wiki page before?

Comment from Zverik on 18 July 2014 at 15:21

also, to experienced mappers Imgur

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Comment from AndiG88 on 18 July 2014 at 15:31


But using the Wiki page can also go wrong ;D

For example the German Wiki told you to use fireplace=yes for a outdoor bbq place on the ground.

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Comment from Richard on 18 July 2014 at 16:44

To all old hands:


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Comment from mvexel on 18 July 2014 at 17:19


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Comment from chillly on 19 July 2014 at 10:39

To all diary writers:

Don't be hard on newbies, they need our help and tolerance and we need their local knowledge and potential.

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Comment from jutezak on 19 July 2014 at 13:17

Making tags is hard. Especially with the international differences in cafe's, restaurants, lunchrooms, bars, pubs. Or pharmacies and drugstores.

And double functions: supermarket AND pharmacy. Or pub AND restaurant.

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Comment from Jedrzej Pelka on 19 July 2014 at 14:14


Sure we should be patient towards newbies, but don't you sometimes want to throw a tantrum when repairing the mess after somebody who had a lot of will to contribute, a lot of valuable information to add, but NEVER F...ING EVER bothered to read any most basic tutorial on OSM Wiki?

Broken geometry, roads not connected to each other but "glued" to landuses, buildings and administrative boundaries instead, absolute ignoring of Name is the name only rule, hiking/cycling routes drawn as new ways above the existing ones... I'm calling it "Potlatch diarrhoea" :) I wonder how other experienced mappers call such cases. By the way, it's not about Potlatch itself, it's about the total ignorance of some overenthusiastic newbies.

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Comment from davespod on 22 July 2014 at 12:57

@Jedrzej Pelka

Chilly is right. However much you feel like throwing a tantrum, the only way to achieve a positive result is to be positive. If you must, throw an actual tantrum in private, then proceed to write to the user welcoming them, encouraging them and offering them some polite tips and assistance. And if you cannot bring yourself to write that friendly email, write nothing at all.

This is not like developing software. That person is possibly the only person who will go out and survey a specific area in person, and the only person who will lovingly maintain that area in OSM as the world changes. That is worth far more to the project than tagging expertise, or other editing skills. All of that can be learned with encouragement. Being in the right place cannot.

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Comment from SomeoneElse on 15 June 2015 at 12:35

What @davespod said is absolutely spot-on. For example, it's completely out of order to "Welcome" new editors with changeset discussion comments like on this one:

(which in case it gets hidden, says just "WTF is this?"). The new user's "crime" in this case was to add a name (and address information!) but to omit a tag such as "amenity=school" or whatever else would have been relevant. They've made exactly three edits to OpenStreetMap.

Imagine if you walked into a new town and within three minutes of arriving someone pointed at you and said "WTF is this.". Not nice.

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Comment from Jedrzej Pelka on 15 June 2015 at 15:41

@SomeoneElse This new user is a part of some larger action (primary school teachers asked to add their schools or something like that), an action that seems to lack any coordination or standards.

As a novice mapper, before even doing my first edit, I read OSM Wiki and many tutorials. Of course I did some mistakes, correcting them in later edits. But I was cautious, all because of my respect to the project and its data. I have no respect to people who join and start editing like frenetic doodling kids, without reading any introduction before. Forgive me I'm such a badass...

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