[Talk-us] Identifying mappers (was: Re: Taking a break and a call for help)

Andy Townsend ajt1047 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 22 12:19:15 UTC 2020

On 22/03/2020 00:45, brad wrote:
> How can I tell who is a one-edit-and-done spam, amazon logistics 
> account, and who is a first edit noob?

With Amazon, I think all their editors have profiles that say that 
they're working for Amazon Logistics.  They'll all have relatively high 
edit counts.  Their changeset comments tend to be informative, but 
unimaginative.  They tend to reply to all changeset discussion comments.

To pick an "obviously Amazon" edit local to me from the history tab at 


has a relatively high changesets_count.  The user page


says "I work for Amazon Logistics".

Spammers often create one account per object, and a "first edit noob" 
will obviously also only have one edit (so far).  Spammers tend to add 
verbose spammy "description" tags, don't add normal OSM tags (even a 
"first edit noob" will usually manage to add a reasonably appropriate 
OSM tag in iD, but spammers don't bother). Spammers often mislocate 
stuff - if spamming for "name=foo" they'll search for "foo" and add a 
spam item in the middle of a road or pedestrian area, something that a 
new real mapper is less likely to do.

There seems to be an "SEO guide for OSM" somewhere that suggests that 
spammers add spam nodes as places of worship.  I've no idea why, but it 
makes things easier to spot.

With "new" editors I tend to try and give them the benefit of the doubt 
when contacting them for the first time (at the DWG* we see a lot of 
reports of "spam" that is really just poor mapping). Sometimes it's 
pretty obvious though - a church called "Bob's Paving" in the middle of 
a desert with a description of how good Bob is at paving is unlikely to 
be genuine.

Best Regards,


* OSM's Data Working Group, who (among other things) deal with reports 
of spam notes and spam users.

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