Community forum

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The OpenStreetMap Community Forum (community.openstreetmap.org) is the discussion forum provided by the OpenStreetMap Foundation for the OSM community. This forum is intended to replace several older platforms, including help.openstreetmap.org.

You can log in to the forum with your main OSM account. If you don't already have this, see Creating an Account. This is not the same as your OSM wiki login. You never need to create an account directly at the forum site.

An introductory guide for new users has been posted.

History

In April 2007 Lambertus (former long-time administrator) took over the unofficial forum from Dave Leverton. Dave set it up as a test and never intended to run the forum for real, but users found the forum through search engines and started to use it. Due to lots of trouble with spam Dave wanted to shut the forum down. At this point Lambertus took over the forum and began running it over at osm.na1400.info until it moved to the forum.openstreetmap.org domain (end of October 2007).

The forum used to run PunBB because of its low resource requirement and speed. During the conversion to a proper international forum with UTF-8 support (see below) the forum switched to FluxBB which is the opensource non-commercial alternative for PunBB.

Authentication

In November 2007 the forum started using the main OpenStreetMap userbase for authentication. Since then there was no need for a separate forum username/password anymore.

UTF-8

OpenStreetMap is very much an international project with users speaking and writing in many languages. Unfortunately this aspect was not properly addressed during the early days and the forum ended up using the default Latin1 characterset instead of the international UTF-8. In fact the first forum did not even have functional UTF-8 support. That the forum also failed to enforce even a specific characterset was troublesome because converting all posts to UTF-8 proved to be quite an ordeal as many posts actually contained multiple character encodings. Luckily, while a few posts ended up garbled, almost everything was moved successfully to UTF-8 over the course of a month (February 2009).

Today, posts can be enjoyed in e.g. Thai, Polish, Russian and many other languages.

OSMF takeover

In early 2016 Lambertus became inactive and after few months of trying to contact with him the forum was eventually migrated to clifford (OSMF controlled server, at the time located in University College London) and a new admin team took over.

Discourse migration

A new forum platform, based on the open-source Discourse forum software, was set up and opened on the community.openstreetmap.org domain in 2022. The goals included replacing aging software and reducing fragmentation of OSM communication channels. The transition was overseen by the forums governance team and migration of content from the old platform was finally completed in March 2023. Existing URLs are now redirected to the new platform.

See more about the history until about 2015.

Discourse formatting

For formatting, Discourse uses Markdown-it, a subset of BBCode, and a "safe" subset of HTML.

Links to formatting tags and attributes

Using via email

It is hoped that it might be fully usable via email.

Guide

You can reply to an email with just the text +1 and you will be recorded as hearting (❤️'ing) a post.

You can create a new topic in a category by emailing the correct *@community.openstreetmap.org address:

Category Email address
General general@community.openstreetmap.org
Help & Support help-support@community.openstreetmap.org
Tagging tagging-support@community.openstreetmap.org

Red x.svg To do: How does this work with subcategories? Do you just put the : in the email?

Problems & solutions

  • Discourse does not accept emails that are too short. You can add some text from a Lorem Ipsum generator to your message.
  • Discourse sometimes deletes quoted text.

Red x.svg To do: Link respective Discourse bug reports.

See also