iD Newbie friendly feature request

Posted by DaCor on 8 February 2014 in English (English). Last updated on 9 February 2014.

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.

Comment from robert on 9 February 2014 at 12:29

Yeah, I’ve had ideas similar to this ( ) which have been generally well received, but of course nothing’s happened because, as with everything, it needs someone to implement it (and I’m busy implementing other crazy things).

Another (slightly more far fetched) possibility would be integrating with something like to enable us to offer actual hands-on assistance to users.

Comment from BCNorwich on 9 February 2014 at 14:53

Nothing happening at #osm-gb

Comment from Hawkeye on 9 February 2014 at 17:19

Yep, really good idea. Could try adding to iD github issues list as an enhancement idea:

Ultimately, people hate reading instructions - people seek information from other people first (when possible). So live chat makes sense at a psychological/design level.

And some how implemeting would be amazing too. List is on my long wish list of things to look into trying out but doubt will have time too.

Comment from DaCor on 9 February 2014 at 19:01

Posted to github

Comment from malenki on 16 February 2014 at 20:26

Sounds good for me, too.

Comment from Tordanik on 21 February 2014 at 21:14

Perhaps there should be some kind of integration with GeoChat for JOSM, too?

Comment from The La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo on 28 February 2014 at 21:12

Fantastic idea. I nominate the fantastic KiwiIRC web client if you were to go ahead with this. It’s far superior to qwebchat and its (largely outdated outdated) ilk.

Comment from DaCor on 28 February 2014 at 23:17

Unfortunately, as I stated above, I do not have the necessary skills to implement something like this. My background is not one of a programmer unfortunately

My hopes with the above post were that it would inspire someone with the necessary skills :)

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