The MapRoulette Blog

Introducing Challenge Health Measures

Published: in Uncategorized by .

I want everyone to enjoy fixing and improving OpenStreetMap with MapRoulette. Whenever I talk to MapRoulette users, I ask them what the one single thing is that I could do to improve their time spent using MapRoulette. The answer I get by far the most frequently is: “Please do something about old and irrelevant tasks!”

In the next version of MapRoulette, we introduce two changes to MapRoulette Challenges that will hopefully go a long way to improve task quality: Archiving stale Challenges and capping the number of tasks per Challenge. In this post, I will discuss both.

Archiving Stale Challenges

Creating Challenges in MapRoulette is easy. I want it to be that way, everyone with a little bit of OpenStreetMap experience should be able to create one. A side effect of this is that quite a few mappers create one or more Challenges, and then never check back in to see how their Challenges are doing, if mappers have questions, et cetera. We already introduced Challenge Comments and required Challenge authors to set an email address where they can receive MapRoulette-related notifications.

Now we are taking it one step further by archiving Challenges that have Tasks that were created more than 6 months ago. This will gently force Challenge authors to come back and revisit their Challenge, refreshing the tasks. They will get an email notification when the Challenge is being archived because of staleness.

We may refine this system in the future and I am hoping for your input.

Cap on the number of Tasks per Challenge

In addition to archiving stale Challenges, we are also imposing a cap on the number of Tasks allowed per Challenge. This used to be unlimited, but it will be 50,000 going forward. What we hope to achieve with this is that Challenge authors think carefully about the Tasks they are asking the OSM community to solve. It’s easy to create a large Challenge to cover, say, all the parks in the world. We would rather see Challenges that are more targeted, so that the community feels more connected to the Challenge. Limit the Challenge to a single country, for example. See how that goes, then add more Challenges for other countries. (This is quite easy if you use Overpass and the Cloning function for existing Challenges.)

We hope that these changes end up being the improvements I want them to be, so everyone can enjoy MapRoulette more. Let me know what you think by emailing maproulette@maproulette.org or going on Twitter and tweet at @maproulette. Happy mapping!