[Talk-us] take responsibility, not control.

Richard Weait richard at weait.com
Mon Nov 18 17:12:23 UTC 2013

When you find a suspicious edit, try to be part of the solution,
rather than merely a reporting system.  :-)

If you are experienced enough, attempt to determine which account
introduced the suspicious data.  Contact that account through the user
mail system.  Presume good faith; they may well be a new and
enthusiastic mapper with an incomplete understanding of OpenStreetMap.
 They might also be more experienced than you are and be making some
form of advanced edit with which you are unfamiliar.  Your goal is to
make contact with the mapper in question, and find out what they
intended with their edit.  Ideally, either they will learn something
and become a better mapper, or you will.  :-)

If you aren't experienced enough to do this on your own, contact a
more-experienced mapper who you trust for their judgement and ask for
their assistance.  Follow along so that you can proceed with less help
next time.

If you aren't able to get a satisfactory response within a reasonable
time, say a week or two, consider asking other mappers for their
opinion on the edits.  Are they really a problem, or simply rare or
idiosyncratic?  Consider as a group if the data should stay or not.
Please note that a "satisfactory response" is not restricted to
another mapper agreeing with you.  :-)

Repair or revert data that is incorrect.  Get help from a
more-experienced mapper if you haven't done this before.

All of this should happen before you consider reaching out to the Data
Working Group.  The DWG and the OpenStreetMap sysadmins, do have
additional tools for dealing with spammers, vandals and persistent,
umm, "whackos".  But these tools are rather heavy and blunt
instruments.  The DWG wield these tools with exquisite finesse and
with surgical precision but you can help a great deal by solving
problems before they require intervention from DWG.  Reserve the DWG
for those things that you can not reasonably do for yourself.

You can make the initial contact and do the basic research.  Please do.

Take responsibility for improving the map (we all do), but also take
responsibility for improving the mappers.  Temper this by
understanding that the mapper who you improve may well be yourself.
And that's just fine, too.  :-)

Best Regards and Happy Mapping,


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