[OSM-talk] Deleting data

Russ Nelson nelson at crynwr.com
Sat Oct 19 05:05:01 UTC 2013

I've recently had two instances of people deleting data that I had
entered. Their rationale? You only map what's on the ground. 
Their authority to do so? Armchair mapping.

This is wrong, and it's got to stop. Nobody should be deleting data
that somebody else entered unless they have actually BEEN to the
place, failed to see any trace of the mapped entity, and are an expert
at identifying the mapped entity. This should be the case no matter
the entity: whether fire hydrants, buildings, intersections, park
benches, railroads, canals, whatever.

This, of course, has to be tempered against the TIGER data, which is
flawed. So I think the rule of thumb should be: delete, but if
somebody else reverts, then you have no authority to start an edit
war unless you've been there and they haven't. Or if you have any
doubt, send them a message via OSM: "Can I delete this?"

Apparently some people object to seeing things in their editor which
they can't see on the aerial photograph. I counsel tolerance,
humility, and in the case of JOSM, liberal use of the Filter to hide
data that bothers you (I almost always edit with border=administrative
hidden. I don't see them on the ground, but I don't suggest that we
should delete them).

We need to make sure that the Wikipedia deletionism doesn't take hold
within OSM. Because, if I have to spend time defending the data I've
already entered, that will take away from my effort to enter new
data. In case you think I'm blowing smoke out my butt (who the hell
blows smoke out their butt??), I've entered about 90% of the lakes in
NY that are there, and about 50% of the rivers and streams that I have
looked for (so far). I've aligned the TIGER data in about 7
counties. It's a huge amount of work that nobody else is doing, and it
would be a shame if I had to stop people from deleting what I've
already done.

I stand firm against deletionism! 

--my blog is at    http://blog.russnelson.com
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