Two days ago an anonymous user added a bunch of notes surrounding the Orlando area that denote the location of Aldi convenience stores. I added a few but then go to thinking about how odd it would be for someone to just drive around to all the Aldis in such a large area and opening notes for them. I also noticed that the addresses listed in the notes where the identical text to the addresses listed at the Aldi website’s store finder, including identical abbreviations.
It looks to me like someone just used their website to get the addresses and probably something like Google maps to get the location, and then opened anonymous notes. I am considering removing the data I had added and closing the existing notes as having sources with questionable licenses.
However, this opens up another question. When should we trust anonymous notes? I was an opponent from the beginning of anonymous notes for various reasons, including this issue. I have no way of getting back to the person that reported these notes, and so I cannot ask for clarity. It is possible that by closing out all of these notes that someone just wasted their time /trying/ to contribute useful data.
I am also left to ask myself how I should handle future anonymous notes. Should I just close them all out if it is not clear that the data they are reporting is likely original source and not copied from another source? The notes themselves state “This note includes comments from anonymous users which should be independently verified.”, but there are no guidelines on the wiki about what further verification would entail. Since leaving them open would make it difficult to find notes worth looking at they do need to be closed out if there is no reasonable hope for resolution.