[Tagging] Deprecation - waterway=riverbank vs water=river

Andy Townsend ajt1047 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 5 22:08:52 UTC 2021

Hello, Andy from the DWG here.  Answering these not in the order they 
were asked...

On 05/03/2021 21:07, Volker Schmidt wrote:
> It was executed as far as I can see by people with no local knowledge 
> producing important errors - I stopped after the first two rivers I 
> looked at, both had serious errors. The first one had a spelling error 
> *Fiume Zero <https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/105082369>" (correct 
> name) on the center way and "Fluro Zero 
> <https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/912239873>" on the (newly created) 
> riverbank. The second river had lost at least one Island.
> Errors on such large objects are difficult to spot as the soften 
> complex multipolygons.
As ever, I'd suggest commenting on changesets that cause problems, with 
specific examples of broken data.  These will get emailed to the user 
and will also appear at
http://resultmaps.neis-one.org/osm-discussion-comments?uid=219297 .  For 
completeness, I did flag an issue with an edit to 
http://osm.mapki.com/history/relation.php?id=8590110 in 
https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/93571473 (on that list, but not 
a riverbank) which was addressed.

If you raise an issue and it was _not_ addressed, email the DWG about 
it.  A search through historic DWG tickets does not find a complaint 
about these edits (despite what a comment on 
https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/93565271 suggests).

> Without announcing anything in this thread and without consensus 
> ZeLonewolf has  nearly completed a Blitz to push through this change...
> I consider this in the first place an operation of bad faith and it 
> should be immediately stopped and reverted.
> The whole process is controlled  from a personal wiki page 
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/User:ZeLonewolf/Procedure/River_modernization>.
Looking locally to me, despite 
showing "United Kingdom" as "complete", http://overpass-turbo.eu/s/14HA 
finds some edits, a quick manual check doesn't find any related to this 
"riverbank" activity.  It finds some tag changes, such as 
https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/242966917/history , but not anything 
obviously pointless or wrong (again, based on a quick manual check).

So it looks to me that that user's page might be taking credit for edits 
that that user has not actually made.  Again, taking an example local to 
me, http://osm.mapki.com/history/way.php?id=102787828 was changed by a 
different user in http://osm.org/browse/changeset/93205715 .  That 
(different) user got one complaint about those edits: 
http://resultmaps.neis-one.org/osm-discussion-comments?uid=115894 , and 
the DWG didn't get a complaint about that either.

> The tag in question waterway=riverbank 
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:waterway%3Driverbank> is a 
> valid tag with its wiki page and its JOSM preset.
> The tag is not on th wiki list of deprecated features 
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Deprecated_features>, to the 
> contrary that page lists waterway=riverbank as on of the recommended 
> substitutions for the deprecated landcover 
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:landcover>=wate 
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:landcover%3Dwater>r
Despite what that personal wiki page says, most of the recent edits at 
are in the US and to a lesser extent Canada.

Changeset comments suggest that where edits had been made in the US 
(e.g. https://openstreetmap.org/changeset/97723126 ) it was with the 
buy-in of the local community.  I can't comment on whether that is 
actually the case or not, but I don't believe that the DWG have received 
a specific complaint about it.

Personally, I thing that changing "waterway=riverbank" to 
"natural=water; water=river" is an entirely pointless activity, but both 
are established tags that mean exactly the same thing*, so we can't 
really argue (as is often the case with pointless or mechanical edits) 
that any meaning was lost.

To summarise:

  * If stuff is getting broken, comment on the changeset immediately. 
    "Stuff getting broken" might be rivers losing islands, or it might
    be a loss of meaning due to tag consolidation, or something else.
  * If the user does not reply, or does reply but doesn't fix the
    problem, email the DWG at data at openstreetmap.org .
  * We can, if necessary, prevent an account making further edits while
    the problem is being discussed and/or roll back problem changes. 
    Change rollback gets more difficult the further we are in time from
    the original edit, but simple tag (as opposed to geometry) changes
    can usually be rolled back without impacting other edits (object by
    object if necessary, though that is time consuming).

Best Regards,

Andy (from the DWG)

* obviously changing between tags that don't mean the same is a 
problem.  If "waterway=riverbank" actually means something different to 
"natural=water; water=river" please educate me about that!

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