OpenStreetMap

Removing others entries from the database

Posted by Rovastar on 22 April 2011 in English (English)

With some users not signing off the new contributor terms to the new ODBL. I am starting to remove these problem users edits.

The problem is that a long time ago some users made rough maps of major roads, etc that others have done precise mapping on and they will all be lost as these ex-users throw their toys out of the pram.

So I am deleting the roads (or whatever) and recreate it.
The problem is have is sometimes it is painstakingly slow to tell who the original looking up the history of the way on the web.

I might even start deleting those that have declined and recreating their data.

Otherwise we will get big areas on the map with no data at some point.

What methods/tactics do others have for this?

Comment from giggls on 22 April 2011 at 13:06

You should not do this!

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Comment from Rovastar on 22 April 2011 at 13:10

Like I said there will be large areas that will not be mapped at some point because of the license change. Their data is dead data and frankly why should my hard work be lost editing all the curves in the road when the original author hasn't or doesn't want to sign up. It is better to wipe out there work and start again rather then editing their initial way.

I presumed others where doing something similar. Why are you not alexz?

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Comment from z-dude on 22 April 2011 at 13:24

Basically, you're copying someones work and not crediting them as per the CC-BY license they had on it.
You're taking someones drawing of a road or a path and tracing it out and putting a more restrictive CC-BY-SA on it.

What you're doing is laundering other people's work to change the license on it. We don't do it with copyright work, and we don't do it to copyleft work.

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Comment from Rovastar on 22 April 2011 at 13:40

No not at all. I am deleting others work and then recreating it in my own way - bing imagery, etc. I am not copying their work in any way. I am deleting their work - the complete opposite of copying it.

I don't see I am doing anything wrong. In fact I would encourage other to do this too. I am trying to get this done now rather than later when we have to.

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Comment from Andy Street on 22 April 2011 at 13:52

As someone who has declined the new CTs I find it rather presumptuous that you've decided that I'm anti-ODBL and that my edits are worthless. Just because I've not accepted *YET* doesn't mean that I'm not going to.

Anyway, why do today what you can put off until tomorrow! ;o)

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Comment from z-dude on 22 April 2011 at 14:02

no, your exact words were "So I am deleting the roads (or whatever) and recreate it. "

The old edits were "cc-by". People shared their stuff with the only restriction being that they were attributed.

An individual edit isn't "The database"

There's nothing "wrong" with the old edits. In fact, the old edits were more Open than the new edits.

Old edit: CC-BY Just attribute the original editor.
New edits: CC-BY-SA Attribute the editor, and 'share alike'.

While your'e at it, are you doing to purge the stuff that was public domain? Ie, the TIGER data in the states and the Canvec and Toporama data from Canada?

Deleting CC-BY data is the equivalent of burning free books because they don't have a copyright symbol on them. It's destructive, and it takes away from the public knowledge.

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Comment from Vincent de Phily on 22 April 2011 at 14:04

So...
1) don't do that work yet, there may still be many users who will accept the odbl.
2) doing a copy-paste of the data just to "solve" the old-license issue is a no-no.
3) doing a delete,recreate_from_scratch is legal, but you're losing history and credit while it is not always necessary.
4) if you're going the delete+recreate route... you might as well wait until the "license sysadmins" (whatever their name is) do the delete for you, at the proper cut-off date.

As for your initial question... JOSM can give you the selected object's history much faster than the website can.

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Comment from ToeBee on 22 April 2011 at 14:51

Even if you think this is the right thing to do, it is still premature. More people are agreeing every day. I have even seen several people changing their minds. Because people were forced to make a choice, I know some people who were still undecided selected "decline" because that was the only way they could get back to editing the map while they decided. A "decline" is reversible. An "agree" is not.

So you may be destroying historical data and doing extra work for nothing.

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Comment from SK53 on 22 April 2011 at 15:15

I must agree with others here: do not make any kind of pre-emptive edit on the basis of whether users have or have not agreed to the new license and contributor terms. It will just make life difficult for everyone.

There are plenty of things that you can do with respect to data which is not currently licensed by all contributors under the new terms. For instance, you can go and do a survey of areas affected: I'll bet things have changed, additional POIs can be added etc. A survey is a positive contribution at any time.

But most of all, you can work to persuade people that their contributions are valued and that we'd love their work, effort and insight to continue within OSM. Pre-emptive deletion and calling their edits 'problem edits' does not contribute anything to achieving that goal.

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Comment from Richard on 22 April 2011 at 19:26

alexz: either you're confused or I am. We're not moving from CC-BY to CC-BY-SA. We're moving from CC-BY-SA to ODbL.

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Comment from sdoerr on 22 April 2011 at 20:31

You definitely shouldn't be doing this. I'm a user who has declined the CTs, but I fully expect to accept them in due course - I just wasn't ready to make up my mind on Sunday evening. I believe we have something like 3 weeks to do so. Unfortunately, there was no 'ask me later' option, so you had to either accept or decline at that point. I personally found I could not do anything on the openstreetmap.org site (not even look at the standard slippy map) until I chose one option or the other. I understood that only the 'decline' option was reversible, so I chose that one. No change of licence has yet been made, so it is extremely premature to start removing others' data.

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Comment from chriscf on 22 April 2011 at 21:41

My tactic for dealing with this is to wait until it's needed, and leave it to someone who knows what they're doing. I expect that's the same tactic most others will use too.

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Comment from Rovastar on 22 April 2011 at 22:34

I don't understand the many negative comments. I think waiting is the wrong option here, editing stuff from a dead users who will take away all that object/way if they are the original author is completely a waste of time. I think more should be aware of this.

I would rather the make these changes now than when suddenly all the data is deleted. Cut off the dead wood before it consumes more.

I didn't realise that those who declined could still edit. What is the point of that!?

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Comment from RichardB on 22 April 2011 at 22:53

Umm, but they're not "dead users". They are merely users who haven't accepted *yet* and may well still do so. Users who have declined can also change their minds.

From those users' points of view, you are simply vandalising their contributions.

Have you actually tried to contact those users and see what their intentions are?

I would say it's best to wait and see. It may be that those users will have accepted by the time the change actually happens.

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Comment from Rovastar on 22 April 2011 at 23:13

From my point of view I think they will be vandalise my work. I am sorry I am not going to pander to these people.

I think clicking on decline is stating very clearly that they don't want to continue. I think it is naive to think most of these will change their minds.

Why on earth would you want to edit something and have it disappear soon after surely you want to keep your edits. I have been doing a load of road straightening recently adding masses of points to make roads curve correctly.

The logical option is to now delete the existing way and recreate it from scratch. If we do it like that we will save our edits and they will not be wiped out.

I think you are infact making more work for yourselves if you keep this tainted data in there.

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Comment from z-dude on 23 April 2011 at 03:07

Well, for discussion sake, a person who clicked the 'I Consider my work to be Public Domain' checkbox (me), deleted one of your paths, and put in their own Bing traced playground instead. http://www.openstreetmap.org/browse/changeset/7940134 This is the kind of edits we will be seeing if we do a 'purge' of map data - it's a silly edit, and it's point is to prove how silly a 'delete and recreate' edit is.. I think this type of edit does not contribute to OSM... besides, the original contributors granted the OSMF the right to use their work. I don't think there will be a huge purge which creates holes in the future map. I don't think we have to go and proactively delete things.

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Comment from Rovastar on 23 April 2011 at 09:47

I don't agree, there will be a large numbers of lost data. I still think the overall lost data will be huge for even 10% of people that decline and/or cannot (left the project, have no interest, not using their email address, denounce all technology and live in a cave, died, etc)

Also these could well be older edits with major trunk roads, etc. Why not start to mitigate this now?

If you are mapping an area then it is better to delete and recreate rather than edit. For example a park might only be mapped very roughly say just a square when, in fact, it is a more complex boundary shape. I can only see deleting and recreating this as the best opinion to save time/effort in the long run. I have no fear over editing someone else's work and don't mind if you do it to my work if you add more detail.

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Comment from chriscf on 23 April 2011 at 10:14

As has been stated already, many have clicked on decline because they had to click on something. And in case anyone's thinking of making a big deal of this, around 150 people have actually hit the decline button, and some of these have since accepted. On the other hand, some 12000 have accepted. I figure that the vast majority of active contributors have faced the click-wall already.

At the end of the day, we're a project that collects and distributes data. If we have to lose some data, we'll just collect it all over again. Remember that we need to resurvey from time to time in any case. We're not working to a deadline - our product is a living artefact.

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Comment from Andy Street on 23 April 2011 at 11:40

"I think clicking on decline is stating very clearly that they don't want to continue."

Why?

"Why on earth would you want to edit something and have it disappear soon after surely you want to keep your edits."

Because they believe that it isn't going to disappear, perhaps?

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Comment from Rovastar on 23 April 2011 at 12:00

"Why?"

Well they choose decline for the moment at least. I expect many choose decline because they have no intention of continuing a few will revert back but not many. I expect the amount of decline to increase overall.

"Because they believe that it isn't going to disappear, perhaps?"

Wishful thinking, perhaps?

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Comment from Andy Street on 23 April 2011 at 12:28

"I expect many choose decline because they have no intention of continuing a few will revert back but not many"

Where can I view the statistics that lead you to this conclusion?

"Wishful thinking, perhaps?"

Perhaps, perhaps not.

What is wrong with erring on the side of caution? If you wait then we'll be in the same position and you've lost nothing. If you start destroying other people's work left right and centre then you risk creating bad feeling and damaging the community for years to come.

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Comment from Rovastar on 23 April 2011 at 12:42

"Where can I view the statistics that lead you to this conclusion?"

Well I think only 2 or 3 people has appeared to reverse their decision from the graph linked above and the number of declines increases.

Also looking at http://odbl.de/ there are a lot of ways (25+%), etc that will be effected still by non-signing up. Not just decliners I am also thinking about old editors.

"Perhaps, perhaps not.

What is wrong with erring on the side of caution? If you wait then we'll be in the same position and you've lost nothing. If you start destroying other people's work left right and centre then you risk creating bad feeling and damaging the community for years to come."

I don't see that. There is no difference from me editing an area/way/etc and improving the map. I am not spitefully doing anything. The map gets a better map as I have added more detail to the area where before it was poor.

The only difference is I have replaced it why my version rather than a co-edit with theirs.

Are people really so possessive over their own data?

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Comment from paulbiv on 23 April 2011 at 13:49

Just to comment - many UK contributors have clicked decline because of the continuing uncertainty about the use of anything that might plausibly be a derivative of the Opendata from Ordnance Survey.

When there is a clear statement that acceptance of the Contributor Terms allows use of any data source that has been opened by the UK government, then those contributors will accept.

I understand the situation is similar in other countries that have opened to CC-BY and CC-BY-SA.

Therefore, leave these contributions alone, and for those handling liaison with these data sources, we need a clear statement before any stupid action like this takes place.

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Comment from chriscf on 23 April 2011 at 13:50

Unfortunately, yes, some people really are that possessive over their data.

Also remember that Bing is sometimees misaligned and out of date (anywhere between 3 and 11 years in my area), and GPS traces may also be outdated. There are different opinions on remote mapping, but the one thing most people would agree on is that if you don't know what you're looking at, deleting and retracing stuff really isn't a good idea. It's fine to do things like this if you've personally resurveyed the area and found a big enough difference to make it worthwhile, but don't do it with random other users just for the sake of writing them out of history.

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Comment from chriscf on 23 April 2011 at 13:56

Just to comment - many UK contributors have clicked decline because of the continuing uncertainty about the use of anything that might plausibly be a derivative of the Opendata from Ordnance Survey.

They're doing it wrong. Repeat after me: "having contributed tainted data in the past does not prevent me from agreeing and contributing clean data from here on in"

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Comment from Richard on 23 April 2011 at 16:18

paulbiv: define "many" - I'd estimate that the number clicking 'decline' because of OS concerns is less than 10.

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Comment from compdude on 23 April 2011 at 20:16

Why are you doing this?

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Comment from compdude on 23 April 2011 at 20:21

Many of these people may not have agreed to the license terms probably because they stopped using OSM, haven't noticed that there's new license terms, or haven't had time to read them. Don't just delete the roads they surveyed for that reason.

Also, even conventional GPS's aren't 100% accurate; they can have a margin of error of up to several yards.

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Comment from paulbiv on 23 April 2011 at 22:19

Richard:
In my patch - apart from myself - signed up as I'd planned to replace my streetview buildings with Bing edits on grounds of accuracy, all the three current major contributors have expressed comments of this nature in these diaries.

I signed up very unhappily because I'd have preferred to have an authoritative statement from OSMF that it believed the CTs were consistent with use of OS opendata. We haven't had that, just people saying it didn't bother them.

And fron Chriscf - it's the data contributed validly from surveys as well as any possibly tainted data (that had been opened by the UK government with the intention of being used by openstreetmap before the CTs were drafted) that bothers people.

I've used streetview a tiny amount - to find that this tiny amount, where I can't be assured that the attribution terms will be carried through downstream, causes the loss of a huge amount of surveyed work is really annoying.

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Comment from chriscf on 24 April 2011 at 00:47

Paul, the fact that you might have traced a couple of streets from StreetView once isn't going to prevent you from agreeing. Remember that if it later turns out that we can't keep the OS data after all, then it'll have to be removed whether you agree to the CTs or not, so don't factor it into your decision. All this bollocks about OpenData meaning people can't sign up is exactly that - bollocks.

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Comment from Rovastar on 24 April 2011 at 03:35

"Many of these people may not have agreed to the license terms probably because they stopped using OSM, haven't noticed that there's new license terms, or haven't had time to read them. Don't just delete the roads they surveyed for that reason."

Why do you want these user's, soon to dead, data in the db?
If you see some of this data why do you want to keep it. Dead users data?!
I will remove the data from my local area and recreate it better. Nearly always you can create better mapping if you put the time in.

I think the problem here is some people don't like the fact that I edit others data. Nothing to do with the fact that of the license as I am making better data for all.

I will be editing the others data anyway all I am doing is removing old data and creating it again from scratch by myself.

"Also, even conventional GPS's aren't 100% accurate; they can have a margin of error of up to several yards."

True, but as I am mostly a bedroom mapper, it doesn't bother me too much. I can map buildings, formation of roads, etc better than gps anyway.

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Comment from kevjs1982 on 24 April 2011 at 09:53

"I think clicking on decline is stating very clearly that they don't want to continue. I think it is naive to think most of these will change their minds."

On the country - I am happy to accept the changes, but as I have, and still am to a small degree, using OS Open Data and due to all the FUD being spread about leaving me unsure whether or not I can accept the new contributor terms I have had to click "Decline" as there was no "remind me later" option available and I am unable to revert and accept should the need arise.

"True, but as I am mostly a bedroom mapper, it doesn't bother me too much. I can map buildings, formation of roads, etc better than gps anyway."

Actually you can't - I used to think pretty much the same and while Bing and OS OpenData Streetview are excellent tool for assisting with mapping (e.g. where exactly did that smooth track turn to a bumpy soil, was it before or after the bridge?) nothing beats going out and actually mapping - you pick up lots of stuff not visible on the aerial photography, and find that the aerial photography is wrong in many cases (e.g. the aerial photography of Hucknall doesn't show the tram station - the service opened in 2003!), especially where development is on going (e.g. round Margidunum on the Fosse Way - or for that matter anywhere between Widmerepool and Farndon) and in many cases you'll find the tracks you thought existed actually aren't, or only have private access which is visible from Bing right next to a decent Bridleway which wasn't (e.g. between Flawford and Plumtree). Even if you are working from photos you took yourself last year you would be missing all the new signs for National Cycle Route 15 which have been popping up, and the new cycle facilites being installed in Nottingham city centre for instance. Even if you still use Bing to map you'll have some GPS traces to line it up properly - the alignment of Bing can be substantially out in places - many photos round here suffer from roads jumping 10 - 15 meters where the photos join!

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Comment from Richard on 24 April 2011 at 18:39

Chris is right on this one IMO - if we find that OS OpenData isn't compatible with the new license+terms (and I don't believe we will), we'll simply go through the database and delete anything with 'source=OS OpenData' or similar. After all, if we'd been told that it was incompatible, how could we leave such ways in?

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Comment from paulbiv on 24 April 2011 at 18:57

Thanks, Richard, that's helpful.

Rovastar's attitude is that anyone who clicked decline because they were unsure of the situation would have all their edits removed.

Once we get to the end of the relevant period it will be easier to see. However it does seem odd to click accept for all previous edits when some of them may carry the viral OS attribution licence that is the CT/OS problem.

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Comment from Richard on 25 April 2011 at 17:36

Slight correction: that is claimed by some to be a problem with OS OpenData - not everyone believes it is.

Regardless, it'd be helpful if those declining were to add something to their user page explaining why, whether it be "I'm declining until I hear more detail on attribution" or "I'm declining because ODbL is teh evil!!11!!1111*^%£$". If it's the former I agree that remapping would be premature. If it's the latter, I can't really fault Rovastar, tbh.

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Comment from RichardB on 26 April 2011 at 11:53

"If it's the former I agree that remapping would be premature. If it's the latter, I can't really fault Rovastar, tbh."

Which is why I suggested that Rovastar actually tries to get in contact with the declined mappers to see what their intentions are, rather than just assumes that their data is "dead".

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