Working Group Minutes/DWG 2017-02-08

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

DWG meeting minutes

2017-02-08 22:00 UTC, on IRC.


  • Peter Barth
  • Deanna Earley
  • Ethan Nelson
  • Vladimir Marshinin
  • Paul Norman
  • Frederik Ramm (minutes)
  • Guillaume Rischard (from marked point on)
  • Eugene Sandulenko
  • Andy Townsend (chairing)
  • Serge Wroclawski


Andy opens the meeting at 22:05, notes attendance, asks if any points need to be discussed before starting with the agenda. Nothing is raised.

1. Policies

Discussion about the role of the DWG in creating policies - do we simply wait until community comes up with a policy they want us to enforce, or do we create and recommend new policies to the community for adoption? Discussion is inconclusive but tendency is that we only write down what the community expects anyway. Serge notes that the community doesn't have a process to come up with policies themselves. Peter mentions that the German community is writing a policy on organised/corporate mapping.

Agreement that there should be some easily accessible documentation of all policies/rules that are enforced by DWG. Paul notes that ideally, knowing the policies should not be required for "normal" mapping.

Deanna to compile a list of policies/rules.

2. Backlog of Cases and Tickets

Not enough DWG members participate in the handling of tickets on OTRS. General mood is that OTRS is too difficult to use and takes too much time, has too many options we don't need, and lack of integration with E-Mail and OSM blocks/messaging only adds to workload. Discussion about whether to write our own issue tracker, use Github, or use a different self-hosted tracker that we could maybe extend to integrate with other channels. Eugene mentions potential integration of Github with OSM through their API. Guillaume joins at 22:30, during this discussion. Frederik points out that tracking tickets will always be additional work, no matter how good the software.

Ethan to investigate alternatives to OTRS.

Andy available to field any "OTRS is crap I can't do XYZ" questions from other WG members. Page "Ticket_system" on DWG wiki has been created.

Frederik to re-configure to feed directly into OTRS, and create a separate mailing list for internal use only.

3. Spam in Notes and Diaries

We frequently get complaints about spam in notes and diary entries. Discussion about who is responsible for dealing with them. Agreement that we're not responsible for diary spam but will forward complaints accordingly. We can already hide notes and will use that when asked.

Deanna might tidy up

4. Transparency and Reporting

Guillaume notes that this topic has an internal and external facing side, as it took him long to get an understanding of DWG procedures after joining. Discussion about whether the ticket system needs to be private (result: yes, because those who complain to us do so under the assumption of privacy). Block messages and changeset comments form the bulk of our communication and are public already. Agreement that better documentation of policies as discussed in point 1 will already improve transparency, and that we should add regular reports about cases handled. Discussion about whether these should be hand-crafted summary activity reports, or automatic exports from the ticket system. Andy mentions that some larger problem areas warrant special reporting, e.g. the Western Sahara issue.

Andy and Frederik to extend OTRS with custom fields that can be used in automated reporting, script some form of report generation that could then be run monthly, and whole group to test-drive this.

5. Redactions

Discussion about when to use redactions and when simple reverts are enough, and refresher on how redactions work for our recent arrivals. Generally only things with license-incompatible sources are redacted, but if necessary this could be expanded to other issues that have legal implications, like the publication of personal data.

6. Applications for DWG membership

A recent application for DWG membership was rejected by majority vote, and the applicant asked us to explain why, and/or reconsider the decision. Discussion about how to deal with such a request since individual DWG members are not required to explain their vote, but at the same time a rejection without any reason is unfriendly and intransparent. Decision to provide to the applicant some bullet points from the discussion that we had ahead of the vote and email as soon as possible.

Group to draft message.

7. Any other business

Inactive DWG members

There are no hard and fast rules about how much you have to contribute if you are a member of DWG but we expect that you quit on your own account if you feel you don't have the time. Discussion about dormant DWG members. Decision to remove one member who has been inactive for a long time; no need to write special rules about this though.


Discussion about whether DWG should request funds from OSMF board to offer coding trophies in connection with the move to a new ticketing system or the preparation of the "moderation branch" for the OSM API. Decision not to do so right now because we don't have concrete enough plans.

Moderation branch

The moderation branch is a promising GSoC result that would allow various items on the OSM web site to be flagged for moderator attention (see but it requires considerable work to be ready for review and merging. Discussion about what to do to get this merged. Inconclusive.

Old imports review

There's a few imports more than 5 years old which might need attention and perhaps even reverting. Discussion about how to enlist the help of the community in this inconclusive due to the late hour for most participants.

Plan for 2017

Generally our 2017 wishlist is:

  • better transparency through automating the generation of reports about our work and making the standards we uphold clearer;
  • improve our ticketing system
  • try to get the moderation branch merged
  • further extend the group to cover more languages and geographic areas

Peter to wrap this into a slightly more elaborate document.

Meeting End

The meeting ends at 2017-02-09 00:25 UTC.