What kinds of questions can I ask here?

OpenStreetMap has a number of ways for community members to get in touch, ask questions, and discuss issues. We have a number of mailing lists, a forum, talk pages on the wiki, we have IRC, and last but not least this help system.

The idea of the help.openstreetmap.org forum is to find (ideally) the best-suited answer, or couple of answers, to a question that is likely of interest to many people.

The difference between the various media lies not mainly in who participates, but in the way results are archived and made accessible. IRC and the lists or forums are more of a fleeting media and have a bigger "expression of opinion" component whereas this site here is supposed to remain factual.

And of course, before you ask please make sure to search for a similar question. You can search existing questions by their title or tags.

What kinds of questions should be avoided?

Please avoid asking questions that are not relevant to OpenStreetMap, too subjective, or too argumentative.

Things that are less welcome at help.openstreetmap.org include

  • very specific questions the solution to which is unlikely to benefit others ("can someone tell me what is broken with way #123123?") - these are best asked on IRC or the mailing list/forum.
  • non-questions, especially suggestions ("Do others think OSM should do more of X, like I do?") which should go to the mailing list/forum, or bug reports ("When I click X in program Y it crashes, why?") which should go to trac.
  • discussions ("is the multiplicity of ways to communicate a source of frustration to anyone else?") - put them on the mailing list or forum.

Before you post to help.openstreetmap.org, ask yourself: Is there, at least theoretically, the one single all-encompassing perfect answer that will immediately close the topic for me and probably also help many others with a similar issue? If yes, post here. If no ("I wasn't looking for one big answer, I wanted to hear thoughts from many others", "I just wanted to get people thinking...", or "I wanted to get the message out hoping that people would email me") then don't.

What should I avoid in my answers?

This is a question and answer site - it is not a discussion group. Please avoid holding debates in your answers as they tend to dilute the essence of questions and answers. For brief discussions please use the commenting facility.

Who moderates this community?

The short answer is: you. This website is moderated by the users. The karma system allows users to earn rights to perform a variety of moderation tasks

How does the karma system work?

When a question or answer is upvoted, the user who posted it will gain some points, called "karma points". These points serve as a rough measure of the community trust in the user. Various moderation tasks are gradually assigned to users based on those points.

For example, if you ask an interesting question or give a helpful answer, your input will be upvoted. On the other hand if the answer is misleading it will be downvoted. Each vote in favour will add 15 points, each vote against will subtract 1 points. There is a limit of 200 points that can be accumulated per question or answer. The table below explains karma requirements for each type of moderation task.

  • add comments -> 0
  • close own questions -> 60
  • reopen own questions -> 120
  • retag questions -> 150
  • edit any answer -> 400
  • delete any comment -> 400
  • open any closed question -> 600

What is a gravatar?

Gravatar means globally recognized avatar - your unique avatar image associated with your email address. It's simply a picture that shows next to your posts on websites that support the gravatar protocol. By default gravatar appears as a square filled with a snowflake-like figure. You can set your image at gravatar.com

To register, do I need to create a new password?

No, you don't have to. You can login with the same username and password that you use on the main OpenStreetMap site, or through any service that supports OpenID, e.g. Google, Yahoo, AOL, etc. Login now!

Why can other people edit my questions/answers?

The aim of this site is to produce a knowledge base containing typical questions that people ask and good quality answers to those questions. So questions and answers can be edited like wiki pages by experienced users of the site and this improves the overall quality of the knowledge base content.

Still have questions?

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