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You could have spent this time improving the docs...

Not really. If I thought I can you can be sure I would, because it's what I usually do (and that's why I prefaced my post as being unconstructive).

But I can't for the several reasons. First off, I don't have enough domain knowledge myself yet to improve the docs or even confidently develop for OSM. And, yes, I'm planning to correct this omission, but not even soon enough.

The second reason is, that b2b model I pointed out to be wrong in my opinion is the very idea of OSM at this point. You can see claims quite often, that stuff I mentioned isn't important, because OSM is the data, not the service. That's why I've written this post, explaining why I think ignoring "the service" part is hurting "the data" part, in hope that somebody from OSM community would read it.

On the docs: there's a good project underway at learnosm.org to write proper beginners' docs. As soon as they're ready for primetime they'll be linked from osm.org (I believe there's a current issue for that), though they're not quite there yet.

On the "b2b" thing: I think that's a mischaracterisation. It's not "to business" specifically, it's to anyone who wants to make use of the data. There are already OSM-powered consumer-grade mapping sites for particular verticals (I run one for UK cyclists, http://cycle.travel/map) and more are on the way.

But it's not true that osm.org goes out of its way to avoid being a consumer service. It may not be the prime focus (and nor should it be) but there's a lot happening on the user-facing side of OSM: a significant redesign last year, lots of stylesheet improvements underway, and routing going live in the next couple of months, for example.

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