[Talk-us] NYC Name Vandalism

Alan Brown adbrown1967 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 5 01:36:11 UTC 2018

Hi -
I haven't commented on this forum for several years, but this event did catch my attention. 

There are some uses of OSM map data which would not allow for frequent updates - offline uses - and therefore, a way of catching such vandalism immediately - less than a day, even - would be very helpful.
The thought that occurred, is that certain attributes of certain high profile objects should be caught - or even stopped - very early.  The name tag of New York City should be an obvious example - what would  cause it to change (short of us selling it back to the Dutch, or similar event)?  A new user, offensive language (one of the new street names in  the changelist had the word "fuck", and "Adolf Hilter") - these should be immediate red flags.  In principle, changelists could be submitted to some sort criteria that could trigg moderation, instead of automatically checking it in.

Granted, it would be nearly impossible to make this criteria perfect: there's  not offensive about the word "Jew", but it was applied in an offensive way in this situation; I'd have no idea what would be offensive in Hungarian, much less Thai; someone could draw something offensive (like a peeing Android) that would be very hard to catch; there are places like "Dildo, Newfoundland" that are legitimate.  But I don't think it would be all that hard to flag a changelist like this last vandalism, without interrupting legitimate edits by very much.  At very least, you can force your vandals to be clever to succeed.
In our usage, we will scan the names of significant objects for potentially offensive changes.  But it would be good to have some sort of gateway in the OSM database itself.  I don't understand any of the details of the OSM check-in process, if there is any monitoring for potential vandalism.

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