User:SK53/Form Letters

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These are lightly redacted examples of messages I have sent to mappers using the OSM messaging system. I hope they are polite and not overly judgemental. I don't expect them to be perfect by any means, but by putting them here I hope that I can make it a bit easier for other people wanting to send a message with similar sentiments. By all means make suggestions as to how these could be improved.

Users deleting perfectly good data

From time to time (mainly) new users delete data because places are private or at least not directly accessible to the public. Nearly always such edits need to be reverted. What is usually needed is a modification of access tags.

I notice that you have deleted ******** from OpenStreetMap.

From your edits I understand that your concern is with the access status of the *******.

OpenStreetMap's over-riding policy is to map what is on the ground: broadly speaking we regard censorship or elimination of accurate representations of 'ground-truth' as akin to vandalism. As part of our dedication to mapping what is on the ground we are very interested in providing information on access rights. (in fact this is something that we can do better than the Ordnance Survey).

From reading the comments on your edits it would appear that the suitable access rights for ***** is access=destination (this is less strict than access=private, which would imply that visitors, delivery vans and the post would not have access). Looking at the geography I imagine you may suffer from potential use as a rat-run.

I have accordingly reverted your original edits and added this access tag. It should display as a dashed overlay on the road: this also will be picked up by SatNav applications which use OSM data. If the path in the field is ONLY accessible by residents then this can be changed to access=private. If there are any other specifics: is the road made-up or not? is there a marked speed limit? any speed-humps or access barriers

Removing data is anyway fairly pointless: the absence of **** was immediately flagged up as a discrepancy between OpenStreetMap and Ordnance Survey data, which was how we found your edits anyway. Someone would have come and added it back within hours not days. It is much better to refine the data, which usually achieves the same end result.

I also note that Google have StreetView for your road: this suggests to me that access may be somewhat more liberal than you suggest. I have added a note requesting an independent survey by a local OSM volunteer.

Stupid Mass (automated or otherwise) Edits

I would suggest you do not do mass edits of this type:

source:website to website.


In one case it is a reference to information used to tag the object (usually an OpenData source), in the second it is the website of the relevant tagged object. They are different, and by making the change you degrade the information in OSM.

You have degraded the quality of data in OSM: which is not far of vandalism. Anyone using this ink in the hope of ordering Fish & Chips will be disappointed (for instance from OpenLinkMap or any number of mobile apps).

I wonder if you have checked this edit against the mass edits policy.

Deletions for personal maps

Not infrequent. A new user does not read the material in front of them (inlcuding editor messages about deletion) and deletes lots of stuff to make a personal map:

I'm sorry to say that your initial edits of OpenStreetMap do not appear to be constructive. You have deleted a large part of ********.

I assume you have done this for a private map. The editor should have warned you about excessive deletion and asked if you were sure. Perhaps you did not bother to read these warning messages.

OpenStreetMap data is a shared resource so in doing so you have stopped people being able to use OSM-based GPS applications (in many parts of the world this includes emergency services/responders, as well as ordinary members of the public).

This is probably not the first, or last, message you will receive from OSM contributors.

In the meantime I have reverted all of your edits except the last one.

PLEASE DO NOT USE the OPENSTREETMAP EDITOR to create personal maps. It is perfectly possible to download OSM data for this purpose, but not to use the editing facilities for common map data.

First edit needing minor tweaking

Often a first edit misses out tags, accidentally deletes something, or puts tags on the wrong object.

Many thanks for updating OpenStreetMap.

Apart from saying thanks, I felt I owed you an explanation because I've changed things again after your edit.

You inadvertently removed XXXX. I've therefore put it back.

You added a way without tags, but looking at the aerial images this looks like a building I have therefore added a building=yes tag.

Lastly you added XXXXX. This type of facility is widely tagged as amenity=xxxx on OpenStreetMap. I have therefore taken the liberty of adding this tag myself.

I, and other regular OSM contributors, really appreciate people such as yourself who contribute their local knowledge to the database. Having many extra eyes noticing what has changed is essential for keeping stuff up-to-date. If you have any queries do get in touch.