[Tagging] Rio de la Plata edit war

Christoph Hormann osm at imagico.de
Fri Aug 7 07:27:23 UTC 2020

I concur with a lot of your observations and like you i had essentially 
given up on the idea of the coastline representing meaningful 
information in the long term.  But considering this is a very sad 
conclusion which essentially means OpenStreetMap failing in its primary 
goal in the single most fundamental mapping task of the planet, namely 
the distinction between ocean and land, i am trying my best here to 
work towards a consensus - no matter how slim the chances are from my 

> 1) We should establish an agreed "OSM Coastline position", which I
> suggest would approximate to the position of the coastline on 1
> January 2020.
> 2) Any edit which moved the position of the coastline by more than
> 20Km from the established position should be classed as vandalism,
> unless such movement had previously been agreed by the community.

That is a practically feasible approach but it would form a major 
beachhead in abolishing the principle of verifiablility in 
OpenStreetMap in favor of adopting the major consensus narrative of the 
OSM community as the reality to map rather than the intersubjectively 
verifiable reality.

To put it bluntly:  In your scenario if the OSM community agreed on 
ignoring the physical reality mapping of the coastline could depart 
arbitrarily far from said physical reality.

We de facto already have the situation that if edits are contested the 
status quo is the fallback.  And more strongly formalizing that in case 
of the coastline could be a good idea.  But to forgo having a 
verifiable definition of the coastline tag supported by consensus is 
not a good idea IMO.

Christoph Hormann

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