At the new year I had the crazy idea to go for a 2023 OpenStreetMap Editing streak (Try to do at least one edit every day). I knew I wouldn’t manage to go the whole year, but once you start doing these things on January 1st, you feel compelled to carry on.
But I only managed… two weeks
This is a screenshot of part of the “How Did You Contribute” tool. Designed to look like github’s profile section for showing off your contributions (Lots of other neat facts and figures besides that on that tool).
I forget who it was, but I’ve seen at least one person showing off their OSM edit contributions covering an entire year for 2022, and some other folks doing it in previous years, and thought I should be able to manage it myself. In principle it’s not that hard. It’s easy to find edits to do. The hard bit is just making sure you edit every day. Even for this short two week period I had a couple of minor panics as I realised I needed to get an edit in before midnight, and a couple of nights where I’d gone to bed early and then remembered to make an edit using vespucci while in bed!
I’d forgotten about “OSM Streak”, the little app dedicated to this idea. You sign on, and it gives you points for keeping your streak going, with suggestions for simple edits to make. I think it sends you reminder messages too, which sounds helpful.
I don’t think finding simple quick edits was ever going to be a problem for me. I have many unprocessed survey photos which, if I were to work on them bit by bit, could easily be strung out to half a year’s worth of editing. I also found it surprisingly easy to (in those bedtime vespucci sessions) think of edits to make in my neighbourhood with more detailed tags I’d forgotten to add e.g. whether local cafes have internet & outdoor seating. I suppose I would’ve run out of those fairly soon though.
Of course there’s always HOT mapping. I didn’t do much of this but, tasks.hotosm.org offers an endless supply of edits to make. They’re not always super-quick, for example if I do straightforward mapping of a square, I find it can take a surprisingly long time (although there are ways of choosing quick tasks). Of course you could dip in to a task before releasing it back to a yellow state: “Is this task completely mapped?” -> No. Validating a square is quicker, but for this purpose (if we’re being lazy or in a hurry) we want to find one which involves a quick bit of editing before marking as valid.
…but my editing streak was all over when I fell asleep while reading bedtime stories to the 7 year old, and didn’t wake up until after midnight. I was shattered after hosting a 3 year old birthday party on Sunday!
So two weeks was pretty lame, and yet I’m quite glad it’s over, because despite everything I’ve said about being easy to find edits to make, it’s still not easy to make sure to get the edit in every day. I don’t need that stress in my life!
I actually started to do the same thing for github commits, but as you can see on my profile there, I managed a measly four days of that. Even more lame! In fact it’s a pretty lame performance on my github green chart in general. Github commits are potentially even easier to do, depending on how much of a cheat you want to be, but for genuine code contributions, not really. A minimal code contribution, even a simple improvement to a personal project, is less of a casual undertaking than an OpenStreetMap edit, for me at least. I was inspired by John Resig - Write Code Every Day, and would like to be the kind of person who regularly and casually cranks out public code. Maybe one day.
Hopefully there’s lots of folks doing better than me with their 2023 streaks!