Removing a large contribution

Posted by lorimar on 23 March 2010 in English (English)

Unfortunally, due to the large import of buildings from our primary map, I had to remove a lot of contributions from other users, particulary "Barbaskon". I apologise for doing that, but I think you'll agree that higher data quality are the mission...

Location: Jeppsagård, Staffanstorp, Skåne, Götaland, 24545, Sweden

Comment from CoreyBurger on 23 March 2010 at 23:13

Sorry, I am going to disagree. Users create data. Removing their content without at least informing them is a great way to chase away all our users.

Comment from CoreyBurger on 23 March 2010 at 23:23

In fact, I would go so far as to say you should revert your changes until such time as you have contacted all the users in the area where you deleted data.

Comment from jorchr on 23 March 2010 at 23:37

Well, I suppose that CoreyBurger didn't look at the changes. It is in fact a great contribution that the municipality of Staffanstorp did, to upload all buildings in very great detail. I don't see any other way than to remove the corse outlines of the same buildings during this process. It may be unfortunate that someone made an effort to draw buildings based upon areal images, but if they can be replaced with all building outlines based on official GIS information, there is no other way to do it! I say thank you very much for donating the official data to OpenStreetMap!

Comment from CoreyBurger on 24 March 2010 at 04:38

The issue isn't the quality of the data. It could be the world's best data. The issue is the removal of data that people spent time working on. Without contacting them, you have just told them that their time and their contributions are worthless, because the data can be deleted for no reason at any time.

Comment from jorchr on 24 March 2010 at 17:59

Thats almost right, CoreyBurger. Data can be deleted at any time. But not without reason. Data can be deleted, or rather replaced, with better data at any time. In this case, buildings with approximated coordinates where removed so that they could be added with much more accurate positions. Without this principle, there is no way to improve the map, since someone have added each point and segment in the database.

I have spent many hours drawing roads and buildings in the region, but there is no way that I would object if authorities donated all the country's official GIS data to OSM. That wouldn't be possible if old inaccurate data couldn't be removed in the process.

Comment from lorimar on 24 March 2010 at 20:09

To quote the official FAQ of OSM:
"The essence of a wiki-style process is that all users have a stake in having accurate data. If one person puts in inaccurate data, maliciously or accidentally, the other 99.9% of people can check it, fix it, or get rid of it. The vast majority of good-intentioned participants can automatically correct for the few bad apples. "

We hoped that our donation would be of good use for the OSM-project. I thought that this was a Wiki-project, just like Wikipedia, were everyone is free to add or remove data.

CoryBurger: I'm sorry if you feel that we have destroyed your project. We have a lot more data - ready for donation, but we are not sure if we should upload it.

Comment from Vclaw on 24 March 2010 at 21:07

Have you followed all of the import guidelines?

Specifically, discussing it with the community, before you import anything. And documenting it on the wiki.
Also, how do you know that your "official" data is better than what was there previously?

Comment from jorchr on 24 March 2010 at 22:17

It had been better if the import was discussed on the wiki beforehand, I agree. The imported material should have been tagged with source. However, there is no question that the imported data is better than the previous. I estimate that the new material is at least 10 to 100 times more accurate. The map looks great with every building, house and shed, in place.

I understand that people reacted to the phrase "removing a large contribution", but in fact the contribution has not been removed. It has been replaced with a much better contribution. As long as there is no licensing issues here, I can't see that anything wrong has been done.

Comment from CoreyBurger on 25 March 2010 at 05:59

I should be absolutely clear: I have never edited in the region in question, so this is not crying foul over "my data". This is me expressing concern that you are riding roughshod over contributers without realizing that without contributors, OSM ceases to exist.

Comment from Grillo on 25 March 2010 at 07:05

I agree, without contributors like lorimar, OSM ceases to exist. Stop whining about people adding data. That, if something, scares users away. Also, there isn't much of a Swedish community to talk about, and I informed those on IRC, even if I didn't know about this beforehand. I met lorimar at a GIS meet a couple of days before and discussed it though.

CoreyBurger: do you suggest that you have to ask earlier contributors before you improve on their work? In that case, I think you have misunderstood the wiki idea... If people get angry at other people for improving their work, they shouldn't contribute to OSM.

Comment from rycee on 25 March 2010 at 09:09

I would also like to chime in and say that the import indeed is very good and – while my contribution in this area is much smaller than Barbaskon's – I'm perfectly happy about the removal of obsolete data without being notified. That said, the import could have been handled somewhat more smoothly (as per jorchr's remark) and with a bit more care (I've noticed and fixed a few relations broken by the import).

So all in all, I applaud this import and any future ones the municipality chooses to make. Though, preferably performed in greater cooperation with the community as I suspect we have many things to learn from each other.

Comment from barbaskon on 29 March 2010 at 09:14

Hi y'all!

I for one welcome these improvements! This initiative has made me even more proud of my previous contributions to OSM! I hope there will be more contributions like this from different GIS providers.


Comment from CoreyBurger on 29 March 2010 at 20:57

Grillo, deletion and incremental improvement are different things. The latter is very much within the wiki concept, deletion (and replacement) is usually frowned upon. There is a simple solution: make very public that you are planning and try and contact as many of the affected contributors as possible. Allow a reasonable period of time before you go ahead and try and work through any issues.

Comment from Grillo on 4 April 2010 at 19:50

Just to be clear about this, "deletion" here applied to some rough building outlines, that were replaced by official municipality GIS data. That is improvement.

I think you have just got stuck on the word "delete". Every time we improve something we delete what has previously been created.

Login to leave a comment