Talk:FAQ

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Discuss the FAQ page here. Please note, if you want to ask questions there are better Contact channels to use


Changing Top 25

  • These FAQs are meant for average people: non-contributors.
  • They are ranked from most-asked on the top to least asked.
  • The questions are the most-common questions, even if they are branded like Google Maps.
  • These questions' answers are explained as simply and generically as possible with a two-sentence limit.
  • If you want to edit a question or answer, keep it as simple as possible with only common terms and 1 complex sentence. If you are unsure about your edit, post it here before making it.
  • If you want to add a question that you think is more important than one of the others that is there, the number of questions must remain at most 25, so one will need to be removed. Please discuss here before doing so.

Page too big. Too many FAQs

The FAQ page is too big. There are too many FAQs. Some of them are clearly not "frequently" asked. And some of the answers are too verbose, and could be covered by linking to pages elsewhere instead. There's wiki warning "page is more than 36 kilobytes long", but also from the point of view of usability of the page, we need to prune it a little. -- Harry Wood 11:06, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

@Harry Wood: Which ones you would propose to remove? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 08:19, 25 April 2021 (UTC)
I wrote that in 2009 when the page looked like this. In particular there were a few very long answers on the page, big enough to be a wiki page in their own right. Looks like those have been rationalised now. The page is still pretty long mind you, so a little pruning is still something worth thinking about. -- Harry Wood (talk) 14:11, 28 April 2021 (UTC)
Personally, I'm not too worried about the length of the page (no-one's going to print it out and read it as a bit of bedtime reading!), but it does make sense for each individual answer to be as concise as possible. It may make sense to send the user to other pages for more details, but what is critically important is that any text that a user might want to search for is on this page. That's what was broken in the recent attmpt to split this page into several mini-FAQs - a user couldn't search for their problem here and links to here from the help site and elsewhere were therefore broken. SomeoneElse (talk) 12:40, 2 May 2021 (UTC)

New FAQ

I have started a draft of a new, simplified FAQ.

I plan to move this page to More FAQ when it is done and the draft to here.

Please contribute to it here and see the instructions here.

--Lectrician1 (talk) 04:35, 9 February 2021 (UTC)

  • Why not edit existing FAQ? Why would simple and full answer would be on separate pages? It would be far better to have for each answer something short and fuller answer immediately after that. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 12:56, 9 February 2021 (UTC)
    • Also, it would lose history. Please, do not do this Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 12:58, 9 February 2021 (UTC)
  • BTW "Because map data from Google Maps is sold for profit" is untrue - it is not sold, at most you can get very limited API access and services such as Google Maps Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 12:56, 9 February 2021 (UTC)
  • @Lectrician1: - please, do not mass replace current version with new one or move pages. Some edits from User:Lectrician1/FAQ are a very good idea, some make things worse. Please, make changes by editing FAQ rather by overwriting it with a new page Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 16:44, 9 February 2021 (UTC)
    • An general FAQ IMO should be understandable and accessible to the average internet user. These FAQs are not. Unless you want to go through this mess and clean it up, I would rather stick with my version. This could become a Contributor FAQ which I would feel would be more appropriate for the current set of contents --Lectrician1 (talk) 16:57, 9 February 2021 (UTC)
      • It is not OK to delete everything and mass replace it by your version, even if for the most part it is superior. Why you have not edited this page? That would result in more clear history 17:02, 9 February 2021 (UTC)
        • Because I don't feel mostly any of the questions are suitable for a FAQ. The ones on my Draft are a lot more general and simple. I thought it would be easier to start fresh than to go through this (and delete and place these questions somewhere else). --Lectrician1 (talk) 17:32, 9 February 2021 (UTC)
      • "Unless you want to go through this mess and clean it up" - I went through your FAQ draft edits and copied clearly useful content (some was skipped and may be worth including, some was skipped due to being wrong) Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 17:17, 9 February 2021 (UTC)
        • Okay and what should we do about all of the other questions that I don't feel belong here? --Lectrician1 (talk) 17:32, 9 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Okay, so after thinking about it, I think we should put the top 25 question here and categorize the other questions on subpages FAQ/Mapping, FAQ/Development, etc. Links to these pages would be provided on this page. --Lectrician1 (talk) 21:34, 9 February 2021 (UTC)
    • I have added the top 25. Like I planned above, I want to move all of the other questions to other pages.
      I want to move the FAQ#Editing section to Editing FAQ, FAQ/Editing, or Editing/FAQ. Which one should I do? --Lectrician1 (talk) 15:15, 11 February 2021 (UTC)
      • Why you split thiss into so many subpages? Looking at it again it seems to me that your rewrite actually makes far more sense that I expected, but now I am unhappy about bunch of subsidiary pages. In most cases it seems that content should be either at FAQ or on dedicated pages that would be linked from FAQ - for example Contributing FAQ has no reason to exist, I think that for example "How do you communicate?" section should be merged into FAQ, or used to improve Contact channels and deleted Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 07:28, 13 February 2021 (UTC)
        • Feel free to do whatever you want. The subpages are useful because they can be linked back to their original topics, like I did with Wiki FAQ.
          Do you want to continue having more sections here other than Top 25?
          I agree that how do you communicate could be used to improve Contact channels.
          --Lectrician1 (talk) 18:10, 13 February 2021 (UTC)

Can we please roll back to 9th Feb and start again?

As can be seen from https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/w/index.php?title=FAQ&oldid=2107930 there's lots of useful stuff that used to be here that is here no longer. Lots of other resources link here (highly upvoted help answers being one of the more obvious categories). I've just tried to use it right now to answer someone's "how do I close my account" question and suddenly found that all the most useful comment had been removed. This page isn't supposed to be "nice" or "pretty", it's supposed to be useful. If someone wants to create their own "top 25" list on a new random wiki page feel free, but please don't break the wiki for everyone else who relies on it.

Anyone performing "rearranging" actions that add no new content should also consider the extra load it places on all the translators into many other languages - while you're entirely free to commit your own time to work of no value, how exactly do you have the right to commit their free time to that activity too?

Taking a step back, there has been a trend to move away from wiki documentation in a number of areas because, although some wiki editors are excellent and take a balanced view of what should be here, some simply cannot help themselves imposing "their view" on everyone else. I'm worried that e.g. an increased reliance on github means that some people around the world simply won't have access to OSM content, but unfortunately the trend away from the wiki will only continue while undiscussed edits like this continue to happen.

SomeoneElse (talk) 14:01, 20 February 2021 (UTC)

@SomeoneElse:
"I've just tried to use it right now to answer someone's "how do I close my account" question and suddenly found that all the most useful comment had been removed"
I'm sorry if this happened. All of the content has been retained from the original page, but moved to respective subpages listed in FAQ#Other FAQ pages. I moved that question to OpenStreetMap FAQ.
"This page isn't supposed to be "nice" or "pretty", it's supposed to be useful"
This page was convoluted and posted as a cleanup task for a reason. Readability is especially important when someone is looking for information. People will get frustrated when they see a large page (with a huge contents section) and might not want to even search for their question. What also worsened this was the incorporation of information that was way too detailed for the person of the typical user experience (probably beginner) coming here.
If this is our main FAQ page for the entire project, it should be readable, the appropriate page size, and cater to the population most-likely in-need of these FAQs.
All of the subpages have also been put at the top as the first section for a reason as well.
"extra load it places on all the translators into many other languages - while you're entirely free to commit your own time to work of no value, how exactly do you have the right to commit their free time to that activity too?"
I did not consider this. Like I said earlier, all of the questions have been retained. If you want to copy information onto translated FAQ subpages, please do so. Also, I don't think there is an expectation on this Wiki that all content needs to be organized the same way for all languages. If language communities want to have a page their way, it seems like they're able to. The English and French versions of the Main Page are different. Many other pages on this Wiki are as well.
If you would like consistency and better tracking of consistency, I'd recommend supporting adding the Translate Extension.
"Taking a step back, there has been a trend to move away from wiki documentation in a number of areas because, although some wiki editors are excellent and take a balanced view of what should be here, some simply cannot help themselves imposing "their view" on everyone else."
Please don't attack me. No documentation should move away from the Wiki. In good faith, I'm just trying to improve the experience for everyone.
Maybe I'm imposing my view, but as discussed above in the main part of this section, cleaning up this page to a manageable size was probably impossible. What the standard should be when a page is too long and contains too detailed contents (and what the standard is on Wikipedia), is to move the information to other more detailed pages, which is what exactly what I did.
"I'm worried that e.g. an increased reliance on github means that some people around the world simply won't have access to OSM content"
I do not see a large amount of questions posted on issues as OSM github projects. I Watch the OSM website, osm-carto, iD, and even more OSM repos. I also don't know how useful or used this Wiki is for information. I hope it is used and useful, and I hope my edits can make it more so as well.
"but unfortunately the trend away from the wiki will only continue while undiscussed edits like this continue to happen"
The edit was discussed (see above your comment). I also appreciate your feedback, even after the edit was made. I hope my reasoning can make sense to you and that we can continue to discuss, as we should.
I discussed this major edit before I made because I recognized it was major.
--Lectrician1 (talk) 23:00, 20 February 2021 (UTC)

With regard to "All of the content has been retained from the original page, but moved to respective subpages" that won't help. Someone will come to this page because they've followed a link from elsewhere, and will search for the answer to their problem here. If they don't find the text that they are searching for, this page has failed.

You said that "Readability is especially important when someone is looking for information" but that fails to understand how people use FAQs. Someone does not think "let me find the FAQ page and read all the things listed there". Instead they're trying to do something, are unable to do so, and will search (using OSM's "help" or "about" links, or a search engine such as Google) for an answer. It's helpful to have a contents section at the top, but the old page https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/w/index.php?title=FAQ&oldid=2107908 had a better example of that. The new "Contents" section doesn't have the detail to help someone find their answer; it just reads like a "listicle" from Buzzfeed or similar.

Re "Please don't attack me" - I'm not attacking you personally. I'm sure that you did do what you did in good faith; you just didn't think it through and consider why people would come here and how they are likely to use this page. I've read the section at https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Talk:FAQ#New_FAQ and there are exactly two contributors to that - you and Mateusz. That's not a discussion, that's a conversation. Even if it more people had been aware of what you were planning to do, a "discussion" that only takes place on https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Talk:FAQ will not reach most of the OSM community, or even the subset that uses the many resources listed at e.g. https://openstreetmap.community/ to talk to each other. In particular it won't reach the most important people - those who actually use this page to answer questions they have.

It's because of the above that I'm suggesting a rollback to 9th Feb before your edits so that links from e.g. the help site will start working again and this FAQ page can actually do its job again. SomeoneElse (talk) 11:48, 21 February 2021 (UTC)

@SomeoneElse: I think we should just put a warning at the top of the page saying the content has moved. Page contents are not always going to be permanent.
Also, some of the questions from the previous one have been retained, but shortened. Their longer ones still exist. On one of the questions I put a link to the longer answer of that question. We could to that for other questions here as well.
The reason I reformatted the page to begin with was because it was a cleanup task. It was a cleanup task for a reason. Reverting it in my opinion would do much more harm than the organization that has already been created.
--Lectrician1 (talk) 17:46, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
Saying "It was a cleanup task for a reason" doesn't really explain what you thought that the problem is. Was there a queue of people saying they "found this page boring because all the external links to it worked"? There is a small subset of people in OSM who think that reformatting wiki pages like this (and elsewhere, retagging things from tagging that everyone accepts to "more modern tags", just because a dozen or so people agreed on a wiki page to endorse another form of tagging) is of benefit to the project. Unfortunately changes like this are at best neutral and often (as here) cause harm - in this case the changes made it more difficult to find information. I appreciate that it's difficult to accept that something that spent a lot of time doing wasn't helpful or was actually harmful, and that this revert won't bring the time that you spent back, but after waiting a couple of months and seeing further comments here from other people with the same view as me I think that a revert is surely the best way forward. SomeoneElse (talk) 13:37, 24 April 2021 (UTC)

Following further comments here I've rolled the page back to 9th Feb. There is still some duplication (which is far less of a problem than people not being able to find information), and some of the newly created pages can perhaps have their content deleted and be set to point back at this one. SomeoneElse (talk) 13:25, 24 April 2021 (UTC)

@SomeoneElse: Why would you do this? This discussion has been between a mere 3 people and you decide to roll back all my work? Even if you maintain the page in this state, please do not remove the content on the other pages. It actually makes sense for those pages to exist and for the content to be divided anyways. --Lectrician1 (talk) 21:35, 24 April 2021 (UTC)
For start it was four people, see https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:FAQ&diff=2141667&oldid=2116661 (and who knows how many similar use-cases become broken!). Note that noone agreed with idea of splitting this page into gazillion of pages, one person was strongly against, one was highly dubious and one described this change as causing very large problems. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 08:18, 25 April 2021 (UTC)

Links like https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/FAQ#How_can_I_close_my_account.3F%3E really need forwarding

Hi. I'm working for the Membership Working Group. For years, we have directed people to this link https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/FAQ#How_can_I_close_my_account.3F I see SomeoneElese already pointed it out. But really. Be reasonable. We can't even edit all the places that use that link. If we can't forward it to the right page, the answer needs to be back on this page in some form. Everything else is agony. Datendelphin (talk)

@Datendelphin: it is now added. There were less than 25 questions anyways, so it could be added.
Why 25 question count is supposed to be related at all? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 06:40, 24 April 2021 (UTC)
That works for us of course. Thank you! --Datendelphin (talk) 09:45, 2 May 2021 (UTC)

"you own the data" is misleading

user retain copyright to what they contributed but they do not own/control contributed data, for example they are not allowed to withdraw ODBL licencing Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 06:37, 24 April 2021 (UTC)

Section by section review

Some of the content here is a bit outdated. For example before I changed it just now https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/FAQ#Another_user_has_changed_something_I_edited._I_think_they.27re_wrong._How_do_I_contact_them.3F still told people to send messages to each other, and as an afterthought said "You can also use the in 2014 new introduced changeset discussion feature". A more 2021 answer would tell people about history on osm.org itself, and then in the most popular editors (iD first). Also that sentence isn't in an English sentence structure. It's not the only one; there are quite a lot other sections that would also benefit from "native speaker review" (as may the translations of this page in other languages of course).

I've tidied this one up along those lines, but there are lots of other sections that also need doing.

For completeness, a previous editor had removed the "Potlatch" section here - that makes sense to me as although the editor is still in use it's not in _new_ use by many new users. Arguably the rather convoluted JOSM section could be removed too for the same reason. SomeoneElse (talk) 12:53, 2 May 2021 (UTC)

New question

We need an answer to a common question "Why [something] doesn't show up on map?". Where [something] is a rarely used tag. Could someone help with writing the answer? maro21 16:40, 7 June 2021 (UTC)