[OSM-talk] Who's That? OSM User Names Database

Ilya Zverev zverik at textual.ru
Sun Jan 20 09:48:39 GMT 2013


2300 users have changed their username at least once. 126 of those did 
that twice or more. One of the problems with OSM API is that it heavily 
relies on user names, not even allowing to query users by their 
identifier. As a result, when a user changes his display name, he 
virtually becomes a new user, with no history and no links to his past. 
He even gets new logins in forum and wiki, with clean state!

A new service http://textual.ru/whosthat/ remembers. If you see a user 
in an object history who you'd like to question, but he appears deleted, 
just enter a part of his name into search box on that site, and you'll 
get his current display name. For example, this user 
http://textual.ru/whosthat/?id=347929 has changed his name two times 
after being caught vandalizing the map.

Source code, API documentation and a link to the database dump are 
here: https://github.com/Zverik/whosthat

Also, there was a poll on how to solve the problem of changing display 
names: http://polls.cc/q35Mva/results/ and a trac ticket: 
https://trac.openstreetmap.org/ticket/4671 . Maybe in 2015 whosthat 
service will become obsolete.


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