User talk:Johnwhelan/How it works

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Page moved from "How it works"

"How it works". How what works? You want to describe how OpenStreetMap works? Well you can't do that on one page. Which particular aspect of how it works are you going to cover? Name the page accordingly. You seem to be launching into some .osm XML examples, so this certainly isn't a "how it works" guide for beginner mappers. If I was writing a "how it works" guide, I'd write it completely differently... and ultimately that is the problem.

There are many different ways you might go about explaining OpenStreetMap in a few paragraphs. If you want to craft a document written the way you want it written, a grand distilled summary of the whole of OpenStreetMap on one page, then this wiki is not really the place for you. If you want to join in with collaborative attempts to summarise the project, welcome! Make your changes to the About page or the Beginners' guide. Can't see anything to change there? Difficult isn't it? Collaboration is more difficult than doing your own thing ...and yet these pages are certainly not perfect (in fact the Beginners' guide is rather a mess)

Like many people who have gone before you, you've decided create a brand new wiki page ('How it works') to side-step the problem. It's not actually helpful though. It's duplication and wiki mess.

But actually I'm formulating some new thoughts on this. Maybe we can accommodate this kind of contribution. The difficulty I have with this type of page, is that it ends up being fairly disastrous from a wiki organisation point of view. The page title, and the manner it is linked to. If it was clear that this was a one-man attempt to explain the project, then it would be fine.

...and so I propose we move this page to 'User:Johnwhelan/How it works'. i.e a subpage of your user page. This is an approach used on wikimedia projects userpages and subpages as a scratchpad area. Indeed some OSMers have done this already, to create their own tag summaries. As well as making the page title clear, we can write a top sentence declaring that this is your summary.

Following this approach I am even imagining that we might encourage people to write their own 'beginners guide' in this manner. Perhaps even a competition! It's not as helpful as chipping in and improving the central Beginners' guide, but the distilled nature of this kind of guide can mean that at least some people will be able to create better guides individually, than we can collectively.

-- Harry Wood 16:27, 5 October 2010 (BST)

I've done the move. I still need to think about making a page with a list which would link to pages like this, among other people's personal documentation attempts -- Harry Wood 10:27, 15 October 2010 (BST)