Peter.doerrie/New Community Platform

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This is a collection of ideas how a new Community Platform for OSM could look like. Its goal would be to succeed the Wiki and preferably most other channels of communication without loosing and in places enhancing the communicational abilities of those platforms.


As the proposed changes would mean a total restructuring of the OSM-infrastructure it would make sense to implement them step for step to enable a thorough real world test of each and every component.

  1. basic system goes live. Includes Mapping Projects and Free Pages
  2. User Pages are going live
  3. Potlach editor is included
  4. Combination and Tagging Pages are included

Important Features

  • Multilingual
  • Open Source
  • wiki style changeability for all registered users
  • Voting mechanisms


The content would be structured by several different "Content Types". Those would have a different appearance and functionality. All pages would be available in every language (providing somebody translated the content). A page can either have one "main" language, when for example English is used to describe the Mapping project London and individual informations are translated into other languages. Or it has "parallel" languages (two or more) where the same site has different content in different languages and this is known and wanted by the users.

Mapping Projects

Mapping Projects (MP) can be geographical or thematic and are organised hierarchically. MPs can be "linked" to each other regarding their hierarchical position.

Linking should be done automatically. Every MP is joined to a node, a polygon, a way or a relation. The relation "Nile" cuts through the polygon "Egypt" and a link is automatically established.

Map Features

There would be two central pages: an "approved combinations" page and an "approved tags page". These are read only lists linking to the individual "Tag" and "Combination" pages. Nobody would have the right to edit these pages directly, as it should be done via the individual pages. A list of all pages in this content type:

  • "List" Pages
    • Approved Tags
    • Approved Combinations
    • Obsolete Tags
    • Deprecated Combinations
    • Proposed Combinations
    • Refused Combinations
  • Individual Tags
  • Individual Combinations

Approved Tags

An alphabetic list of all key=value combinations which are part of one or more approved Combinations and their synonyms.

Approved Combinations

A sorted list of all Combinations that are currently approved

Obsolete Tags

An alphabetic list of all tags that have been at one stage, but are no longer part of at least one approved Combination.

Deprecated Combinations

All Combinations, that got deprecated by a direct challenge or were succeeded by a new Combination.

Proposed Combinations

A thematic list of all currently proposed Combinations.

Everybody can open a Combination proposal. There he has to specify all the usual stuff about his idea:

  • tags, that will be introduced by this proposal
  • tags, that will be deprecated by this proposal
  • Combinations that will be deprecated by this proposal
  • Thematic categorisation
  • Why OSM needs that combination
  • All the information found on a regular Combination page

One feature proposal can include several tags. Every proposed tag must be given a "category" (for example "Streets") so that it can be sorted.

The proposed feature will automatically appear on the "proposed features" page. All users that have opted in will get a notification.

All would-be deprecated Combinations on the "approved Combinations" page would get a red tag saying "contested". All users "watching" this feature will be notificated.

The proposal can be discussed and changed throughout a predefined period. The "owner" of the proposal has the right to prolong this period once. In the End there will be a "voting period" and the proposal is closed. All users can choose to be informed about individual or all starting "voting periods".

If the feature is approved by a majority of votes, The tags will be moved to the "approved Combinations" page. In this case the "deprecated" Combinations would be automatically moved to the "deprecated Combinations" page and all newly introduced tags would be added to the "Approved tags" Page

Individual Tag pages

All tag pages should list the following informations:

  • tag=value combination
  • List of synonyms (see below)
  • Links to the Combinations it is used in, sorted by status

If a tag is used in a combination it is automatically moved to the "obsolete tags" page

Every user can introduce a synonym to this tag=value combination for example

highway=motorway <-> straße=autobahn

This is being documented on the User Page.

Individual Combination pages

A combination should feature the following informations:

  • which tags are used
  • what the combination means (with real world examples)
  • how it could be rendered (renderes can opt to automatically use the given rendering rules or pictograms here or develop their own rules)

Combination removal

Every user can open a "feature challenge" on an already approved tag. It would be marked as "contested" while the challenger would have to give an explanation. This can be discussed and changed for a given period. In the end there would be a vote which would need a 2/3 majority.

If successful the tag would be moved to the "deprecated features" page. If not, the user would be banned for one month to challenge that tag again.

Map feature API

There would be an API that would allow programmers to automatically include the specified tag combinations into their editors as presets. Also, renderers could include the predefined rendering rules and pictograms, if they choose to do so.

User Pages

every User would get a User Page which would automatically list the following:

  • Recent edits (on Page and the Database)
  • active proposals and challenges
  • watched combinations
  • watched Mapping Projects
  • Languages spoken
  • Used synonyms

The user can also opt to include the following automatic informations:

  • User diary entries
  • location (with
  • etc.

Adding to that every user can open private or public subpages for notes etc.

Free Pages

On Free pages no predefined informations are displayed. They can be used to realise pages which fit into none of the other categories (For example GPS-Reviews, LOLcat, etc).