A thought occurred to me a few days ago while using iD in work....
"If I was a new user and needed help what would be the fastest way to get that help to keep me interested in editing?"
As with my Local Chapters V2.0 diary post I'd like to preface the following by saying I do not have the necessary skills to implement what I am about to propose but I would hope that this post will prompt someone with those skills to run with this.
What I think might possibly address my original question above would be real-time 1-on-1 help.
The best way I see of doing this is by adding functionality to iD which would do the following
- New user clicks a "Get real-time assistance" button
- In IRC, in the main channel and applicable regional channel (if one exists) osmbot would announce to the channel that "User XXXX is requesting editing assistance in #osmhelp channel"
- Anyone can then click on the #osmhelp channel name to join it and provide help
As for possible issues with doing this:
- Why not send them to #osm?'
Simply because when its busy in there it can be very difficult to follow a conversation. In addition with all the techy chat that goes on in there (not a bad thing) it may be a little intimidating for new users
- Why also announce to a regional channel?
Should mitigate against language barriers
- What if nobody answers them, it will look bad on OSM?
The topic of a chatroom is the first thing someone sees when they enter a chatroom, adding a disclaimer to the topic along the lines of "Openstreetmap is run by volunteers so it may be a while before your query is answered" or something like that.
- Is something like "really" needed?
Thinking back to when I first started editing. The very beginning was very frustrating but through a local site I posted about the issues I was having and was given the #osm-ie details. Within minutes of joining that chatroom I was flying and best of all, everytime I had a question about something, it was answered very quickly. If it wasn't for the help I received that first day I would, in all likelyhood, have given up on OSM.