being bold

Posted by Dion Dock on 10 June 2010 in English (English)

I have a memory of OSM copying the Wikipedia motto "be bold". However, I've noticed the USA mailing list errs on the side of "be accurate". In particular, it seems like proposals to automate the correcting data are typically declined in favor of human review. Now, I'm not suggesting we turn OSM into "bots gone wild", but is it realistic to expect all problems to be fixed by hand?

What does being bold mean to you?

Comment from TomH on 10 June 2010 at 08:00

OSM long since turned into "bots gone wild" I'm afraid, and it's a complete nightmare.

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Comment from Andy Allan on 10 June 2010 at 08:14

Automation of corrections is quite rightly frowned apon. If there is any task in OSM that seems like there's not enough people to complete by hand, then the answer is to recruit more people.

I think TomH is being a little pessimistic on this, but certainly the few bots that we have need to be reigned in.

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Comment from Richard on 10 June 2010 at 09:27

I think we only ever applied "be bold" to the wiki, not to the map itself. :)

In OSM, "be bold" should always be tempered by "respect others' work". OSM's greatest success is that we have a community who produce wonderful things. Stomping over their work, especially by automated edits, will generally annoy them, with the result that they leave and we consequently get a worse map into the future.

For 90% of the world, 95% of the time, bots are unjustified. In the States, there is an argument to say that bots can be run to correct the mistakes of the original TIGER import. Frederik Ramm, for example, ran a bot to remove node tags from TIGER data, which vastly reduced the size of the data with no ill effects whatsoever.

In other words, if (in retrospect) we think the original TIGER import script did something wrong, there's no harm in fixing that by a bot. But this is a very rare exception.

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