[OSMOpinion] OpenStreetMap must not be the petri dish of political-driven nonsense

Posted by assanges on 3 September 2021 in English (English). Last updated on 4 September 2021.

OpenStreetMap must not be the petri dish of political-driven nonsense

Yet here we are again, the Chinese Commies just spit on everything they thought was rightful. Yes yes, I explicitly use the term 'Commies' as gallantry since I came from 'the Taipei and environs' by their courtesies. BTW, 'Taiwan' or 'Formosa' is the place if you can't recall.

I was rather indolent to express any political views on the OpenStreetMap as it should be a site to record facts, not a place to be poisoned by political flim-flam. However, the landscape has changed too much from a niche and friendly environment to a colossal and somewhat hostile one.

OpenStreetMap is not and shalln't be the sacrifice in the political struggles

More and more Chinese mappers joined as China rises, but many rather acting irrationally and nonconstructive. These mappers can mainly be categorised into 4 major doctrines:

  1. OSM datasets exploiting: denying the existence of Xinjiang internment camps, the de facto status of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, nor the territorial dispute on the South China Sea and Pinnacle Islands;
  2. Invalid notes abusing: creating notes unrelated to data qualities and asserting Chiese political view;
  3. OSM wiki vandalising: improper editing on the page ‘Taiwan’ and clearing OSMTW community early discussions;
  4. Heavily mapping on unrealistic constructions in a foreseeing future: e.g. Beijing-Taipei Expressway, China National Highway 319 (Kaohsiung-Chengdu)

Unfortunately, all of them were never cared to listen nor discuss, while the community members try to be friendly and sagacious. Which let me rethink the need to embrace or cope with such gibberish, rather.

Relentless attempts from these resentful Chinese users tried to assert their perspective on the maps and wikis, of which I think were bêtise and nescient, mostly had been reverted time by time with a huge amount of effort. The community now must confront the inconvenient truth for that we were amassed at the centre of a political tug-of-war, action needs to be taken to prevent collateral damage.


Changesets vandalising TW

Changesets claiming the disputed territories or waters as Chinese

Changesets covering up Xinjiang internment camps

Invalid notes asserting political views claims Taiwan is a part of China

Vandalising OSMwiki

Wonderful poppycock from zh-CN users (no offence but yes poppycock)


Location: Liming Village, Zhongzheng District, Station Front, Taipei, Taiwan

Comment from Ottawajin on 7 September 2021 at 12:45

Sorry to hear that. 😟 It must be a pain to clean up.

Perhaps editors under a certain edit count should not be allowed to edit fundamental map features. Wikipedia already does something like this by protecting certain controversial pages that are often subject to vandalism or edit wars. I’m not sure how this would be implemented in OSM, but as more and more people become aware of OSM’s reach, there is the possibility of more problems like this emerging.

Comment from ndrw6 on 8 September 2021 at 08:39

This is definitely a matter for OSMF and DWG to act on.

Conventional vandalism resolution techniques won’t work because of the scale of this issue. It is a state promoted malicious mass editing campaign of OSM and other crowd sourced databases. The goal of the editors to exert their soft power on people outside China, needless to say they are not interested in improving OSM. Any discussions only delay fixes, which aggravates the problem.

At very least we need to be able to streamline tracking such changes, moderating them, reverting them and banning the authors or placing them under moderation again.

This is not a new problem but it has been ramping up quickly over the last several years. This year Chinese government’s rhetoric has become particularly aggressive towards their adversaries and the Western world in general, so we can expect this practice to spill over the rest of the world.

Comment from SomeoneElse on 8 September 2021 at 09:50

This is definitely a matter for OSMF and DWG to act on.

@ndrw6 , if you look at the “Changesets vandalising TW” above you’ll see that in each case (respectively 5, 3, 3 3 and 3 years ago) each was dealt with - the approach taken was to engage with the person making the change and explaining how OSM works; the key document being the “disputed territory” one here. The person replying is a DWG member.

At very least we need to be able to streamline tracking such changes…

My reply to that would be quite simple - “go on then”.

All of the tools available to users within the OSM community (including the DWG) were written by members of the OSM community (again, including the DWG). If you believe that something is missing you’re more than welcome to create that missing something.

This isn’t just a problem around Taiwan or around mainland China - elsewhere in other conflict areas we regularly see OSM users trying to put across their political views by “small” changes to borders (nudging a few nodes here and there) or admin level changes (“so and so isn’t really a country”). Part of this is just a misunderstanding of what OSM should show - we think Taiwan most definitely is a country because it passes the duck test for one; some other international organisations (such as the United Nations and the IOC) do not. The DWG regularly gets complaints of the form “The United Nations thinks X therefore you should also think X”.

Tracking the on-the-ground situation via international press reports (in a variety of languages, often with conflicting biases) is hard. Arguably a much easier problem would be tracking area changes to admin entities such as countries (if you want to help, you could even use this as a starting point).


(from the Data Working Group)

Comment from ndrw6 on 8 September 2021 at 12:27

Andy, I’ve checked some places where I expected to see fresh vandalism and, I admit, the problem isn’t currently widespread. It is an anecdotal evidence but I’d have definitely found something by now.

Having said that, I wouldn’t treat this matter as yet another border dispute. It is about Chinese government actively encouraging its citizens to exploit international platforms to spread its vision of the world. Borders are an obvious target but all OSM data are at risk. So far we are safe, probably because hardly anyone in China is aware of OSM, but it only takes one WeChat post and we will find it impossible to undo the damage.

Comment from SomeoneElse on 8 September 2021 at 13:18

It is about Chinese government actively encouraging its citizens to exploit international platforms to spread its vision of the world.

We actually see that sort of thing for lots of places - at least we see lots of what is essentially the same form email filled in by different people, and sometimes we get requests form government officials and agencies too. I’ve dealt with at least one in the last year from someone who signed themselves as something like “Insert Name Here”, so it’s fair to say that sometimes the people passing these on don’t always read them too closely.

In terms of consolidated tickets, over the last year we’ve had most related to the Armenia / Azerbaijan conflict, then various Chinese conflicts, and then (tied for third) Ukraine / Crimea and India. If we get a dozen copies of the same complaint we’ll consolidate them onto one ticket, of course.

Where goverment officials aren’t directly involved it’s not possible to say whether these were initiated by a particular goverment or not - clearly levels of authoritarianism and “management of thought on the Internet” vary hugely around the world**, but this sort of “Internet Tribe” behaviour isn’t just limited to people living under authoritarian regimes - just look anywhere that comments are allowed on subjects as diverse as politics, football or bitcoin.

** and I’m certainly not trying to suggest some kind of moral equivalence among all governments here.

Comment from assanges on 8 September 2021 at 17:43

My sincere salute to you Andy, your tireless efforts made a huge difference, also other DWG members.

The TW community active members are always in discussion on such issues since edits from hostile CN mappers never ends. I’ve also aware of other territorial disputes you’ve mentioned but seems that etiquettes or manner means nothing upon PATRIOTISM.

NM$L (btw a great username, just good as ‘wnkr’ or ‘pr**k’) did assemble some templates for CN mappers in his/her user page, which I thought were despicable to call irrational puppets and will cause severe damage to OSM if more and more follow their footsteps.

P.S.: I totally agree with you that I rather would like OSM to keep its current shape, i.e. bijou governance since all forms of authority will rot in all sorts of means.

Cheers, assanges

Comment from booktiger on 12 September 2021 at 12:59


OSM上的破壞每時每刻都在發生,並且很多也都是與政治傾向有關的。很多來進行上述破壞的用戶,實際上只是不太了解OSM的運作規則。而您的這篇文章試圖將大部分Chinese mappers都打成”the Chinese Commies”,將一些小貓兩三隻的破壞行為當作國家攻擊。這顯然是故意抹黑來自中國大陸的地圖編輯者,非常不利於OSM社區建設和OSM在大陸的推廣。實際上類似的破壞行為中國編輯者也經常處理,比如說有一些越南編輯者也經常破壞南海島嶼,一些日本編輯者也會破壞釣魚島群島,但是我們從來沒把通過幾個note,修復幾個name,退回幾個編輯鼓吹成”a huge amount of effort”。也沒有寫篇日誌把中國編輯者都打成中國政府的傀儡用戶。






Comment from FreedSky on 12 September 2021 at 13:19

这个文章通篇阅读下来,我感觉就鸡蛋里挑骨头。只因为编者来自这里就带有偏见,我想如果你经常玩osm那就应该知道很多问题都是客观存在的,比如京台高速和到高雄的道路,我见过一位是管理员的台湾用户跑过来really。都不会自己搜索一下维基百科,我觉得osm数据参考一定是当地用户最有发言权的,编辑你没有居住过的区域一定要秉着尊重当地,这也是为了osm能在更多地区发展。 osm对于争议地区采取的方法就是实际来,而osm本来就鼓励当地用户去提供很准确的数据,我见过一个学校在osm标注成监狱,就因为一些媒体的偏见,我打开天地图搜到了学校。 osm的破坏者很多,我见过中国用户编辑钓鱼岛归属导致中日两方一些新用户搞编辑战,我见过南海隔三差五有越南新用户做破坏三沙市的编辑。当然这些你看不到,因为你眼中只有中国。

Comment from FreedSky on 12 September 2021 at 13:28



Comment from FreedSky on 12 September 2021 at 13:35


Comment from NM$L on 12 September 2021 at 15:28

您这才是政治宣传,大部分中国大陆的编辑者在了解OSM基于实控性质后就不会做出上述变更,加之,除了极少数极端编辑以外,如“京台高速”您竟称它是争议领土有关的变更,这让人很难理解您的脑回路,“京台高速”是这条高速实际在用名称,符合“On the Ground”原则。我们深切知道,中国大陆目前对台湾的确没有实控(不排除未来会),中国大陆声索台湾地区,如果只是在评论区吵吵,也没有对地图进行破坏。您目前的通篇大论,才是您振振有词地倾泻您的政治观点。

Comment from SomeoneElse on 12 September 2021 at 16:09

@NMSL - the last line of your comment translates for me as “Your present whole article is the one that plausibly pours out your political views”.

That’s more than a little bit disingenuous coming from someone who has an OSM profile that currently says “𝑆𝑎𝑓𝑒𝑔𝑢𝑎𝑟𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑠𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑖𝑔𝑛𝑡𝑦, 𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑔𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑖𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑒 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒, 𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑙𝑢𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑝𝑎𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑜𝑡𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝐻𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝐾𝑜𝑛𝑔, 𝑀𝑎𝑐𝑎𝑜 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑇𝑎𝑖𝑤𝑎𝑛” below a map of the People’s Republic of China’s claimed, rather than on the ground, borders, and your “(do not rule out the future)” / “(不排除未来会)” comment above.

With a DWG hat on I’ve helped several people in this thread (on all sides of this issue) with previous problems and with the rest of the DWG will continue to do so - interpreting the policy as fairly and as even-handedly as we can. It would however help everyone to turn down the rhetoric somewhat - references to “𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛”, “commies” or “patriotism” don’t really help anyone - as long as we share a common planet we’ll have to work together.

Andy (from the DWG)

Comment from assanges on 12 September 2021 at 18:58

Once again, I would rather not argue with any irrational expressions, I wrote this opinion to call for action on consisted vandalism. I need nobody to point fingers at me like the Foreign Ministry, “I have to ask, whether you understand China? Have you been to China?” … “You have no right to speak on this. The Chinese people have the right to speak.” …” China welcomes all well-meaning suggestions, but we reject all groundless accusations.”, I’ve been living in China for years, thank-you.

First thing first, I’m not the one cherry-picking, the Chinese mappers that only does vandalise never needs to be handpicked, with that being said, there are also dozens of unspoken Chinese mappers who share the same values and created a variety of datasets, my uttermost respect to them for their hard work.

too young, too simple, sometimes naïve.

– wisdom spot on by the elder1

Secondly, one does not simply do instructions on how things work in Wikipedia, I never bite newcomers if they did things unintentionally. I used to assume good faith in everyone (except spammers) until the integrity of Chinese Wikipedia was already compromised by WMC, you just don’t speak the same language as political fanatics. Your motherland was too superior for a person like me to understand, I would like no more debate on such as I rather finding hard times to determine whether your speeches asserting the specific set of perspectives were politically motivated or not, thank-you.

Finally, I “acknowledged” the position of the de jure status of the G3 Bejing-Taipei Expressway and G319 Kaohsiung-Chengdu National Highway by China, although I might never have any positive feelings. However, any unsolicited edits on Taiwan Strait Tunnels would be perceived as destructive and meaningless to the OSM, those were merely drafts from a piece of paper without mutual discussion or understanding. No comments apart from “deeply concerned” on Xinjiang because nobody has the full pictures except the lingdao (leaderships) despite I watched a lot of “biased” reports on such issues. And please, try not to bring other vandalising parties in, that won’t necessarily help, that just not justifying any vandalising. If there are only individual cases on similar mappings, everybody can revert untroubled and go for a pint or a sip or a cuppa after, and the fact is, no, there’s no such thing as far as I observed. Never envisaged talking politics in OSM, but the Politics, always do the knock-knock.

“Things that happened in China remains in China, we the Chinese have the rights to talk about, not somebody sits in thousands of kilometres anyway”, that might sound sensible to you, but no, it is not. Who is being biased, I beg to differ.


1: Toad worship (incl. elder) is a Chinese Internet meme spoofing former leader Jiang Zemin, the quote precisely reflects my thoughts on how all other local communities view the CN communities.

Comment from woodpeck on 14 September 2021 at 14:30

One thing to keep in mind is that China is not a country with freedom of expression. If China officially claims to control a certain territory, then a Chinese citizen who knows that this claim is wrong would risk getting into serious trouble for saying so - they endanger national security, they’re terrorists, and so on, just look at Hong Kong.

Turning this around, any Chinese citizen who is in line with what the Chinese government claims to be true, might: (a) actually know first-hand that what the government says is true; (b) have consumed government-censored/curated/manipulated material and therefore honestly believe that what the government says is true even where it might not be; (c) know that what the government says is false, but not dare to say it for fear of being put into a “school” for “re-education”.

So it is very hard, from the outside, to trust a Chinese mapper on matters of international interest. Not because they are bad people (they’re not!), but because they live in a country that is at place 160 of 169 on the world freedom index.

In a twist to usual OSM rules (“local mappers know best”), in order to give Chinese users the best map, it might be best if citizens of China refrained from editing anything of international interest (including China’s borders) - or really anything their own government might have an opinion on.

Comment from booktiger on 24 September 2021 at 03:32

楼上的蠢驴言论快笑死我了 我不做任何评价 因为实在太好笑了以至于我都不知道从哪儿开始评价

还是那句话 “希望您認真學習一下維基百科里的”假定善意”和”對新人友好”,把所有的編輯者都當成一個個會獨立思考的正常人,而不是認為只有自己是自由公民,來自大陸的編輯者都是被意識形態洗腦的傀儡。”

Comment from NM$L on 24 September 2021 at 04:58

@SomeoneElse 是的,我也承认我在本人的用户界面放置了上述内容,但是我并没有做出任何不实际的编辑,绝大部分时候,我都在编辑本地的内容。我所放置的图片,的确不符合On the Ground 原则,但是该页面的图片是外部图片,且图片如此只是因为我需要遵守中国的法律法规,没有对OSM数据产生破坏,您应当理解,在其他国家用户使用您们的服务时,他们也需要尽可能遵守当地的法律法规;即使是我的文字声称内容,也并没有对OSM的地图数据产生破坏,我只是在复述中国《宪法》内实际存在的内容。我也理解,所谓“爱国主义”等你提到的内容对OSM的数据并没有用处,但是您不可以因此就不让人持有“爱国主义”,甚至我相信您也有,这是作为任何一个国家公民应该有的,包括自由的美国(当然我不知道您是否认为其自由),他们也会在课堂上让同学爱美国;但是我不会将“爱国主义”带入OSM的数据,如果OSM是开放包容的且这些人没有做出破坏地图数据的行为,那OSM难道不能包容这些人吗?如果不能,那我也没有话可说了。

您也提到,您和DWG将会在这里公平地解释On the Ground原则,但是在您接下来几条评论里,一位名叫woodpeck的DWG成员发表了他的观点,他认为所有的中国用户都不是言论自由的,来自中国的观点大概率都是不客观的;我认为,如果您们如此认为,您们也无法公平地解释On the Ground原则,因为您们根本不会相信来自中国的一切证据和内容,您们甚至可能认为我们不是一个能够独立思考的用户,那么不论我们如何说都是徒劳,当然,我不是在这里来讨论政治的。针对这一点,我希望您们可以了解一下自由的百科全书——维基百科的“假定善意”原则,将中国用户当作“人”而非“傀儡”,我认为这对您们在这一点上会有许多帮助,可以让地图更好。


Comment from FreedSky on 24 September 2021 at 07:41


Comment from ndrw6 on 24 September 2021 at 11:26

@FreedSky, which part of the woodpeck’s comment do you disagree with? And is it really his comment of NM$L’s interpretation of it? To me woodpeck has accurately described the problem OSM (including OSM in China) is facing - a trust crisis. How do you recognize politically motivated or self censored edits? How do you deal with cases where questioning correctness of official information is illegal? How do you deal with propaganda, unreliable information and your own biases?

Our current system can deal with small-scale non-systemic violations if there are enough people who can and are willing to verify edits. New Chinese government policies make these violations systemic and restrict access to information (and sometimes places) needed to verify them. This is dangerous, as it is only the low scale that keeps OSM in China afloat and that can change very quickly.

What will you do if one day you find hundreds of people vandalising your edits, whilst claiming on the ground knowledge? You won’t be able to fix that, even if you know you are right. Or, if you do try fighting back, you will attract unwanted attention to yourself. Even if you were outside China and had nothing to do with it, you would still have better things to do than fighting propaganda and file hundreds of DWG complaints.

Comment from FreedSky on 24 September 2021 at 16:00

@ndrw6 您的评论再次验证了那个道理,我也无意和你讨论(因为不会有结果);硬要讨论就是您和woodpeck已经先入为主,你们觉得我们这边用户都是“假定被控”。


我觉得DWG最近在中国和不丹的问题处理就有很大的问题,首先大量的道路DWG工作人员可以通过 查看到,而且两个村庄也能在sentinel看的很清楚,然而dwg的成员直接退回成对不丹有利的状态后开始了漫长的调查,这个时间越久越让我感觉到西方的双标。


Comment from Jyunhou on 24 September 2021 at 16:16




最后,如果有你们认为OSM上面的某些内容是中国政府操纵的,那么OSM作为一个“Open”的地图,应该能聆听我们的观点,我甚至可以提供非中国的媒体报道作为佐证。但是如果像woodpeck根本就不打算信任中国mapper的任何一句话(甚至不相信他们提供的BBC News,哈哈哈😅),和像edvac那样装成聋子,无视许多有力证据的话,那么这个号称Open的地图已经是把针对中国的racist发挥到极致了,为什么不考虑一下全域封禁中国用户呢,只要OpenStreetMap不再对中国Open,那么它就能更加Open了。

既然许多人都声称on ground,那么你们又怎么知道它不是正确的?他们提供了证据,那么你们提供了可靠的证据来反驳吗?许多人说台湾不是国家,你们可以提供许多证据来证明它是,那么,我不会对此作出任何破坏。但是许多人说庞达村(Pangda Village)是中国建立的,那么你们有证据反驳了吗,你们找到它被战争摧毁,还是被地震摧毁,还是用最新的卫星影像证实它根本不存在?既然如此为什么要坚持一个没有证据支撑的观点,它是写在《圣经》上面,还是写在《古兰经》上面了不可侵犯?


Comment from ndrw6 on 24 September 2021 at 19:43

@FreedSky, based on your 50k edits and long history in OSM I assumed you are part of the trustworthy faction of the Chinese OSM mapper. And just then you bring Chinese excursions into Bhutan as an example of DWG bias! You couldn’t have shown a more contentious example. These villages have the same status as artificial islands in South China Sea - no one outside China would call them a Chinese territory.

This brings the question: if an experienced mapper like FreedSky has a strong political agenda, who in Chinese OSM community can we trust? There must be many trustworthy people in there, hopefully still majority of Chinese mappers, but how do we find them and how do we assure they are in charge of the review process? DWG can step in in case of blatant international violations, but someone still has to review changes within China.

DWG, there are quite many name= tags in Bhutan written in Chinese and FreedSky has just added some more. I have no reason to assume they are not valid (even if it is highly unlikely they are based on a local knowledge) but at very least they should be mapped as name.zh= with name= tags reserved for names in local languages as per OSM convention.

Comment from Jyunhou on 25 September 2021 at 03:58

@ndrw6 你说“no one outside China would call them a Chinese territory.”。评价一个地方是不是中国的,不要看别人是怎么说的,而已看别人怎么做的,西方有句著名的谚语“一只鸟长得像鸭子,叫声像鸭子,走路也像鸭子,那它就是鸭子”。如果一个地方由中国政府建立了村庄,有中国人居住,有中国士兵驻守,有中国设立的军事设施,那这里就是中国控制的。就像阿鲁恰纳尔邦,那里有印度人居住,有印度士兵…所以我们不会支持在OSM上将其修改为中国领土的行为,即使中国政府声称它是中国的。如果你们支持阿鲁恰纳尔邦是印度的,那么为什么不能接受其它地方是中国的,是要搞双重标准针对仅此一个国家吗?Open(Except China)StreetMap?

Comment from FreedSky on 25 September 2021 at 09:36


These villages have the same status as artificial islands in South China Sea - no one outside China would call them a Chinese territory.


就好比Siprus客观存在是两个国家,但是其中一方不承认。您这个言论就和前几年South China Sea Arbitration结束后很多人用这个事件来修改,一样不符合on the ground选择,你的这句话同样是破坏这个选择,那osm最后不再是open而且 show Western values map。😂

Comment from SomeoneElse on 25 September 2021 at 10:43

(replying to part of NM$L’s comment above addressed to me):

I also understand that the so-called “patriotism” and other content you mentioned is not useful for OSM data, but you can’t prevent people from holding “patriotism” because of this. Even I believe you do.

On the latter point, in my case you might be surprised, but it’s absolutely true that many/most people have a sense that “their community” or “their society” is somehow “better”, “different” or “exceptional”. In OSM I’ve seen evidence of that from the UK, US and German communities among others - it’s an entirely normal part of the human condition.

Howver, in OSM we have a concept of verifiability, meaning not just “I think this is X” but “if other people looked at it, they’d think it was X too” To take another border dispute as an example, where should OSM say one country ends and another begins? The answer in that dispute (after discussions in OSM forums designed to include all sides) was “where the military frontier is”. This frontier is very clear on aerial images, and while they can sometimes be open to interpretation, the aerial images themselves don’t have a political point of view - they’re just pictures.

Let’s not have an argument about values (at least, not in OSM) but instead let’s talk about verifiable data. What evidence is there in this case that is not tainted by political influence from either side of the dispute?

Comment from SomeoneElse on 25 September 2021 at 10:52

One more point about verifiability and sources, alas it seems that the terms of (see here) at any licence level below Enterprise are “Non-commercial use”or a CC licence that isn’t compatible with OSM. There are potential ways forward involving asking the organisation (or who actually licences the imagery, if someone different) whether OSM could use it, but without that it looks like we can’t use it right now.

Comment from SomeoneElse on 25 September 2021 at 11:03

About names and languages - above someone’s said that “but at very least they should be mapped as name.zh= with name= tags reserved for names in local languages as per OSM convention”. For the avoidance of doubt, that’s not what the OSMF’s policy says.

I can think of plenty of places around the world where “the main language of a country is X, but people here most speak Y”. The OSM policy is as closely as possible to follow the situation on the ground in the “name” tag and to ensure that name:xx tags are used to capture other genuine names for places (i.e. not just transliterations) in other languages. Sometimes OSM communities decide to use multiple names in the “name” tag, and that’s fine too, providing that’s really the local community decision.

Comment from ztzthu on 25 September 2021 at 12:00

(Replying to SomeoneElse)

One more point about verifiability and sources, alas it seems that the terms of (see here) at any licence level below Enterprise are “Non-commercial use”or a CC licence that isn’t compatible with OSM.

Here it says Sentinal dataset are compatitable with OSM. And whatever the liscense is would NOT change the status quo.

Howver, in OSM we have a concept of verifiability, meaning not just “I think this is X” but “if other people looked at it, they’d think it was X too”

So let’s talk about the China-Bhutan region disputed area, shall we? Yes, “I think the disputed area belongs to China”, and we have provided all the proofs to convince DWG, such that “if other people looked at it, they’d think it belongs to China too.”

This is our concept of verifiability. Where is the concept of verifiability from the DWG side?

Unfortunately, without any proof, DWG pesumes that 1) the disputed area belongs to Bhutan, NOT China; 2) China users are vandalizing OSM. Otherwise why would DWG change the China-Bhutan border BEFORE the investigation starts?

According to your concept-of-verifiability theory (as well as OSM guidelines), DWG is vandalizing the most in this China-Bhutan disputed area case, because DWG cannot verify the its own presumption.

And DWG has replied NONE of our comments at the comments area. Please take a look at it.

Comment from NM$L on 25 September 2021 at 12:11

@SomeoneElse 您说得有道理,我可以理解也支持DWG的对于争议地区验证。谁正在实际控制土地不是谁嘴上说说,或者纸上谈兵就能做到的。您们在检查争议地区时,需要证据支持,且证据不应该被立场左右,我们也非常认可这一观点;对于我们来说,我们也需要可靠来源来支持我们的修改行为。

接下来我就来说说我关于“可验证性证据”的一些想法,就以最近出现的DWG回退中国—不丹边境附近洞朗地区庞达村(Pangda in Doklam)白玉地区杰罗布村(Jieluobu or Gyalaphug in Baiyu)的事件为例((1)(2)):对于这种边境争议地区,至少目前我们自己和您们都是无法亲身到达的,无法自己去验证,但是我们也回去查找相应的证据,如果有足够的证据表明中国正在实际控制这些地方,且实际控制足够稳定(比如这些情况已经维持了数月之久),我们才会小心翼翼的去做出修改。如果您翻看白玉地区杰罗布村附近的编辑,其实您会发现是最初我修改的,我无凭无据做出了修改吗?显然不是,比如我在这里就可以给出一个视频证据,虽然视频是带有政治倾向的,但其所包含的杰罗布村的航拍和街景(视频04:08处甚至有中国国旗和带有中国特色的“杰罗布村(中国共产党)党群服务中心”出现,这些要素已标注在OSM中:(1)(2))、对村民的采访(尽管采访内容有政治倾向,但这仍可以证明那里有中国公民居住)是真实存在的,还包括一些来自中国媒体的报道说杰罗布村由于未与中国国家电网互通,政府在那里单独修建了水电站(我们暂且不讨论报道的政治倾向,但从卫星图看,水电站是客观的),以及哨兵卫星(Sentinel)的航拍图片也可以显示那里有唯一通向中国的道路,相似的证据不论是在洞朗还是杰罗布村还有很多……(如果您或DWG需要,我可以继续提供,当然如果DWG始终保持沉默,之后我可能会在日记中分析一下这些证据)。正是有了这些中国实控杰罗布村的证据支撑,且确实没有不丹实控杰罗布村的任何证据,我在至少半年后确认情况稳定才做出了修改;并且在修改时,我并没有按照中国的声称线修改,因为有卫星图表明在白玉地区东部有多个不丹村庄(例如贾斯比(Jasabi)等等),在权衡后我按照了中国和不丹各自村庄之间的山脊线和河流划定了最后的实控线,当然这有可能不准确,欢迎DWG对这里更准确的边界进行调查(如果确实没有结果,我建议划出一片同时不属于双方的地区)。

目前DWG做出了回退,如果DWG需要调查,我们也理解,我们支持您们进行调查,但是让我们费解的是为什么经历了3个星期任然没有关于此的任何音信。我们认为:DWG可能觉得我们即使给出了证据,因为我们是中国人,我们不客观,所以DWG认为这个边界线可能不正确。当然这些不是针对您,您在我最初进入OSM不清楚规则,将曾母暗沙(James Shoal)划入中国国界时,您在变更集评论了我,让我给出证据,我当时误以为您在向我索取南海诸岛的实控证据,于是我发送了大批的有关于西沙(Paracel Islands)、南沙(Spratly Islands)等的证据,没有发送关于曾母暗沙的证据,您后来回退了;但是我现在重新审视我这个更改时,我认为您是正确的,尽管确实有证据中国在曾母暗沙使用军舰巡游、投放水下主权碑,但那些都是七八年前的消息了,不足以支持现在的情况;后来您甚至在西沙群岛遭到某个越南用户破坏时,您也帮忙回退,我认为您是非常客观公正的。我希望通过我们这些讨论,我们可以解决这些误会,谢谢。向您致敬。

Comment from NM$L on 25 September 2021 at 12:15

@SomeoneElse 针对您在2021年九月25日 10:52的评论: 如果您认为不可以使用Sentinel的图像时,请参看iD中自带的MAXAR影像;另外,我并不认为您只是参考Sentinel的图像,不使用其绘制地图,是没有问题的,这只是第三方的佐证。

Comment from ztzthu on 25 September 2021 at 12:16

And in case DWG overlooked my comment, I copy paste my comments here

Dear DWG,

While we admit that the China-Bhutan border, as a disputed border, needs further investigation by DWG, there are still a couple of questions that we want to address.


What is the proper way to show if a place is under investigation by DWG? If tagging “fixme=what’s this” alone is sufficient, why have you ADDITIONALLY changed the China-Bhutan border before the investigation starts (as shown in changeset #110858577) ?


It seems that the current borders (and the choice between two ditributed borders) are imported from the LSIB dataset. How would you guarantee that this dataset is consistent with the OSM “on the ground” rule, especially considering the fact that this dataset is released by the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, and is of US interest?


Do we have a rough schedule about such investigation performed by DWG? It has been 15 days since the first changeset (#110858577) and there has been NO result. We have already shown lots of proofs [1,2] about China controlling the distributed area, and we think it shouldn’t take a lot of time to perform such investigation.

Please fix this as soon as possible, otherwise leaving the case unsolved with a wrongly-mapped border would be a vandalism itself to the OSM community imho.

Thank you for the investigation and apologies to any caused confusions.

Best regards

Comment from ndrw6 on 25 September 2021 at 13:36

@SomeoneElse it is now obvious we engaging in a discussion with Chinese nationalists, the very people causing problems this thread is about. The only thing we have achieved is uncovering a few of them. And some (NMSL is a common acronym/slur used by Chinese nationalists) were clear from the beginning.

DWG should decide how to handle weaponization of OSM. Just like spam, it only benefits editors and/or their sponsors and damages credibility of the project as a whole. In this particular case the Chinese Government encourages using Wikipedia, OSM and other non-Chinese media as an outlet for its rhetoric hoping that anything that gets through will stick or at least will provide a “counter argument” for other publications. Just like with spam, OSM and DWG should not apply a good-will rule to these edits.

Note that artificial islands in South China Sea, Chinese outposts in unpopulated areas of Bhutan, “re-education” camps in Xinjiang cannot be independently surveyed (even by Chinese citizens, if they are not affiliated with the government), so any features not present in the satellite imagery (name, usage tags) originate from the Chinese Government only. Any such edits should be reviewed and flagged for a revert or disciplinary actions. As these areas are relatively small geographic locks (after some clean up) may be a good solution. It would be better to not have any data in there than simply carry over Chinese propaganda.

Comment from ztzthu on 25 September 2021 at 13:45

@ndrw6 could you please confine the discussion to osm changeset itself, rather than simply labeling OSM China editors as nationalist? As per the China-Bhutan border case, I don’t see anything wrong from our side.

We are not weaponizing openstreetmap, it is the openstreetmap that is discriminizing China Editors.

Comment from ztzthu on 25 September 2021 at 13:53

@ndrw6 and whoever comments in this post:

Just wanted to give you guys some basic idea of how discussion should work: Try at least counter-argument instead of pure tone-response.

Debate pyramid

Comment from ztzthu on 25 September 2021 at 14:02

给楼里的中国编辑者提个醒:参照上面的辩论金字塔,讨论的时候请避免人身攻击或立场上的攻击(Ad Hominem / Tone Response)。请就事论事,指出错误。

Comment from NM$L on 25 September 2021 at 14:36


  • 关于我的用户名:我使用什么用户名是我的自由,只要用户名“NM$L”没有侵犯你或他人的权利,那这个事情就与你无关。再者,你为什么不认为“NM$L”可能是“Never Mind $candal and Liber(永远不要在意谣言和中伤)”的缩写😅?

  • 其次,在你的发言中,仍然充满了偏见,你的发言与woodpeck无异,都在大声指责中国做出了不符合你期望的事情。如果你认为中国人是所谓的“不自由”的,你还不希望他们发表自己的观点,你不是让他们更不自由了吗?你认为来自中国或者中国以外的资料,但凡是有利于中国的,都是虚假的,是“垃圾邮件”一般的。你自己从事件开始就站在一个不公正的视角,你就更没有资格对需要站在公正视角处理的问题指手画脚。你所谓之“OSM不应该对中国用户假定善意”就更是赤裸裸的在地域上差别化对待中国人了,换句话说,是“地域歧视”,你与其长篇大论说中国用户不可以这样不可以那样,不如直截了当表明你是一个地域歧视者。

  • 不论你怎么说,你有怎么样的偏见,你都无法改变事实。你无法到达中国在南中国海控制的人工岛,你一样无法到达越南控制的部分岛屿,那你否认越南对部分南中国海的岛屿的实际控制,而将他们在地图上的标注删除?(我都承认越南的部分实际控制)而且,比如,即使你从不丹方面想进入在中国-不丹边境争议地区的庞达村,你也无法到达,庞达村和其他中国实际控制的争议地区是中国西藏自治区日喀则市亚东县边境出入管理局或者中国其它的市、县级边境出入管理局让你无法到达,不是不丹或印度的机构让你无法到达,这也是证明中国在控制的一个角度。边紧张的地区无法轻易达到,这对任何国家的一样。

  • 你如果认为来自中国的,都是中国的大外宣,那你干脆提议删除中国境内所有数据,因为在你眼中,中国境内的所有数据,都可以是在为中国做宣传。OSM的地图数据,是根据实际来绘制的,即使你认为中国在那些土地上修建建筑和道路不是为了加强实际控制或其他目的而是为了宣传,中国还是修建了;既然修建了是一个既定的客观事实,修建的内容就可以根据On the Ground原则标注,而不是你认为这些建筑是有政治倾向的,这些建筑就是虚假的,不能标注的。

Comment from ztzthu on 25 September 2021 at 14:50


Note that artificial islands in South China Sea, Chinese outposts in unpopulated areas of Bhutan, “re-education” camps in Xinjiang cannot be independently surveyed (even by Chinese citizens, if they are not affiliated with the government), so any features not present in the satellite imagery (name, usage tags) originate from the Chinese Government only.

But we do have satellite map showing China controlling the China-Bhutan distributed area right? Did you overlooked the comments and links posted by Freedsky and me ?

Any such edits should be reviewed and flagged for a revert or disciplinary actions.

I agree that further discussion is necessesary if there is no consensus. However, there should be a chance that we could sit down and discuss together, instead of ignoring all comments from China users.

As these areas are relatively small geographic locks (after some clean up) may be a good solution. It would be better to not have any data in there than simply carry over Chinese propaganda.

China-Bhutan disputed area is not small right ? And won’t this proposal disobey multiple OSM rules, e.g. mapping for renderer ?

Also, what really is Chinese propaganda in your opinion? Can you please explain more on that?

Comment from Jyunhou on 25 September 2021 at 16:09


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