OpenStreetMap

I have noticed several instances where another contributor has modified entries I have made over the preceding months and years, without advising me. Having initiated a discussion with the reviser and received an explanation that I felt was inadequate, I provided further explanations and requested the reviser to reverse the changes that they had made, and that I would agree to taking the matters over which we disagree to an open forum, if there was still a disagreement.

At this time the revisions I disagree with have not been reverted, and I have heard nothing further from the reviser.

I can make the reversions myself, which will involve significant work, or I can choose to abandon OpenStreetMap altogether, on the basis that there is no effective protocol to protect my contributions from changes without notice or discussion.

I welcome comments from other contributors on the protocol for dealing such conflicts of opinion.

Comment from Nakaner on 24 March 2019 at 18:35

Could you please provide the IDs of the changesets you are complaining about? Did you comment these changesets publicly so that other contributors can read the dispute? If you want help, you should tell people how to help. ;-)

Please mind that user diaries are not the optimal forum for your type of complaint. The OSM forum, Talk mailing list or a national mailing list might be more appropriate because it is read by far more mappers.

Comment from Hjart on 24 March 2019 at 22:06

Pretty much all contributors make changes to data without notifying previous editors. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever (in ~9 years) seen anyone advise previous editors before making changes and I don’t really think there’s anything we can do about that. The way you “protect your contributions” in OSM is by using tools such as OSMcha or WhoDidIt to detect activity in the areas you care most about. Both of the above tools can produce rss feeds, which within a few minutes can notify you of any changes in those areas.

Comment from Warin61 on 24 March 2019 at 23:49

Hi, First, your entries into OSM become OSM ‘property’ .. so they may be of interest to you, but they are not really ‘yours’ any longer. I view it as giving. Second, I make changes without notifying past contributors. Usually these are up dates, or adding detail. Only when I am not certain, I disagree with the entry or there is a pattern that does not match present tagging that I will try to contact a past mapper. Third, contacting a past mapper is a curtsy not a requirement. Last, best to get some other locals involved as they may have other ideas too. Hopefully a good conclusion can be reached.

Comment from ConsEbt on 25 March 2019 at 02:00

Hi Robert, I can only encourage you to firstly share the changeset numbers of the changes in question and reach out to the person who did the change as well as a mailing list.

While it is easy to write something into your diary it is not the most common place for interaction.

I would also like to pint out that while the option to contact people regarding their changes not all read the notifications or react to them.

In some cases changes made with local knowledge might not be obvious to others mapping from a far. If you are local and can verify the items in question are correct you should be in a position to argue for a revert. However if you dislike how certain features have been tagged I would encourage you to reach out and engage in the wiki/mailing list to foster a better common approach to map the feature in question.

Best of luck

Comment from majkaz on 28 March 2019 at 16:47

This seems to be a case of setting your expectations unrealistically high.

I am “watching” recent changesets in my area and contacting contributors, when something seems fishy or sometimes simply very different from what I know how it looks like on the ground, this isn’t the case of old changesets. As soon as the history shows, that the changeset is several months/years old, there is, IMHO, a reasonable expectation that the situation has changed in the meantime. For this, I am simply correcting / mapping the new reality, without contacting anybody.

In my experience, if you don’t catch the change within the first two or three months, it is too late in the big picture. I am/was active in HOT-OSM projects, and I find myself somewhat puzzled, when somebody contacts me about changeset more than 2 years old. I am even sometimes asking why is the person even contacting me now. How can you remember why did you map something this way and not the other one? How is the person even looking at the same aerial pictures or situation on the ground?

Even on recent changesets (few days old), it is sometimes a simple difference in the opinion how to map, and both could be perfectly valid. There is no way you can “protect” your entries. You can ask why the change was made but often, the only reason is simply different point of view. If you feel very strongly, you can ask that the changes are reviewed/reverted. In most cases, the result will be “It is not as bad as you see it, can stay as it is”. I wouldn’t revert without discussing it at least on local list. And I wouldn’t get into edit wars with the other contributor, this way lies the madness and vandalism.

If the changes are hurting the map, then yes, be prepared to go as far as the top of the OSM-food-chain and put a request for a revert. If you are not ready to make the effort, to explain your reasoning and show why it should happen, the new change in the map is not as bad as it seems to you.


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