I tend to wonder a bit about this community we supposedly have. In about 6 years of edits, but only about 200 edits, I had one single interaction with community and it’s still bugging me 2 years later.
You see, this character wandered over to my changeset and commented that they had removed a trail because it “might be misleading” and they couldn’t find it on their USGS map.
Which is cute considering the USGS for the area doesn’t date back to 1995 like much of them. It dates back to 1960. You can’t find the Redwood National Park on most of it, much less any of the trails the park has made. You find the logging roads the park has actively and successfully decommissioned. The one thing you can be sure about USGS for this area is that it is wrong. Heck, I hiked on a combination of Forest Service and USGS maps all over the west for a couple years and I’ve gotten to a point that if I see these two sources agreeing, I am certain I’ll run into something very different on the ground. It’s better than a coin flip. So it’s not even uncommon that USGS is wrong. It’s just particularly wrong in this area. And it should be obvious.
But it wasn’t to this new then mapper. So they submitted this changeset to “exclude a non-existing trail”.
It’s an official trail! It literally has signs at both ends pointing it out! When you get a permit to backpack here, they send you a map that includes this trail! Yes, with all those fords that have been left swimming there in the creek. I painstakingly got it onto that map using my GPS track from actually hiking this actual trail and imagery. That track bounced around a lot there under the big trees making it quite an effort. I want this trail back.
So that bit of community didn’t leave a good taste.
On the other hand, some have pointed out that there’s always a community in knowing you’re part of a great bit project. Got to admit I’ve always felt that one. And the straight up selfish suspicion that the more edits I do, the more likely someone will notice OSM was super useful to them and start making it useful in all the places they go, and on and on. There’s that too. Because at some point I’d like to be able to, when looking at FSTopo and USGS maps thinking “How will these be massively wrong today?” when they agree, then look at OSM and say “Ah, that’s how,” rather than finding out the hard way.
And that bit of community has always been pretty good.