Talk:Good changeset comments

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

What is it good for to edit a text nobody reads?

If somebody keeps deleting my newly erected building again and again because it is not in the image, he will not read my changeset. He will read the note-tag on the building outline. So what is it good for to edit a text nobody reads? --Lulu-Ann 00:05, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

The sloppy mapper in your example probably doesn't read your changeset comments and this specific problem will be dealt with more effectively by a note tag. But that doesn't mean that nobody reads it. For example, every user of tools like OWL does read changeset comments. And I expect that there will soon be more of these users when such a tool is be built into the front page. --Tordanik 08:17, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes obviously the point of writing good changeset comments is to communicate something to those people who *do* read the changeset comments. There's plent of scenarios in which changeset comments are useful. You've mentioned one scenario, one type of interaction, in which they don't help, but actually you're wrong about that even in this case, because if a third person looks into your edit war, they will be able to quickly see what's going on and which of the two users were being careless much more easily if you include brief changeset comments. -- Harry Wood 11:38, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Not something new users need to be careful about

I think it's very extreme to try to argue that we should not bother with changeset comments at all (but interesting/weird that some people seem to have that opinion)

My view is that some people spend far too long worrying about changeset comments. It's not data. It's relatively minor meta-data. The philosophy I follow, and I would encourage everyone else to follow, is to slap something in there quickly, and then carry on mapping. While it may be useful on this wiki page, to spend some time thinking about what makes a good changeset comment, we should not suggest to new users that this is something they need to be careful about, and read up on before they can contribute.

-- Harry Wood 11:42, 9 January 2013 (UTC)


I tried to write something about hashtags on the page. It's a debated topic. There was some mailing list discussion which was partly about hashtags, but I think more generally about folks using pre-populated changeset comments. I know some folks would say hashtags have no place on a page about "good changeset comments" :-/ Lot of mappers using them though. Better not be silent on the topic

-- Harry Wood (talk) 22:07, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

Thanks! Fine for me - having not read any discussion about hashtags in CS before. --Aseerel4c26 (talk) 22:13, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
I feel the paragraph could be a tiny bit more critical, and should perhaps mention the possibility of using actual changeset tags instead. Still, it's great to have it mentioned, as it's a widespread practice. --Tordanik 18:13, 19 September 2016 (UTC)
As currently written the "hashtags" paragaph reads about right to me - maybe it could be more critical, but not a big deal (essentially it says "by all means use silly hashtags but please use good changeset comments _as well_"). --SomeoneElse (talk) 23:23, 13 January 2017 (UTC)

"Hashtags" are not really meant to be used by machines. Since the begining they are standard keywords intended to be understood by humans, except that Twitter uses a convention by prefixing them with a "#" sign to indicate where we expect a word to be used as a searchable keyword: Twitter message length restriction requires such solution, but even in Twitter, the #Hashtags are used like standard words read within the rest of the message, without requiring a compelx syntax. I think that this "#" is not even necessary and Twitter should better develop a plain-text search engine, and could automatrically detect keywords in sentences that have relevant contents to look for in order to generate a link on them.

Some wikis use another way to mark keywords usable as links, such as capitalisation: the links are automatically created even if they still don't match an existing page for the topic: here also it's not necessary to add some Custom syntax to generate the link like what Mediawiki requires: the creation of distinct pages is just enabled everywhere. A "red link" in MediaWiki will still use a plain-text search by default, but this search is disabled when the link exists (there should be a compromize allowing a MediaWiki link to go to a page combining an article and automatically including also some search results.

In summary, we don't need really #Hashtags, but just classic keywords. But if needed we should be able to specifiy a list of keywords in changesets, separately from the summary. Improvements are still possible in OSM data search engines to add this support, and would just require a single "keywords=*" tag in the changeset (no need to use any "#" there, this is just a space separated list of readable words or identifiers).

If needed we could also have "keywords:<lang-code>=*" to specify keywords tuned for a specific language (if the words are otherwise ambiguous if interpreted in another language) or use a convention using a "<lowercase-language-code>:" prefix prepended to a word, or "<uppercase-ISO3166-code>:" to indicate a country. — Verdy_p (talk) 15:26, 28 July 2017 (UTC)