[OSM-talk] stop deleting abandoned railroads

Russ Nelson nelson at crynwr.com
Fri Aug 14 06:23:29 UTC 2015

Maarten Deen writes:
 > On 2015-08-14 07:44, Russ Nelson wrote:
 > > Maarten Deen writes:
 > >  > I beg your pardon? I read this as "nothing can be deleted", since 
 > > you
 > >  > say that deleting something you don't see (which usually means it's 
 > > not
 > >  > there) is reason for a ban.
 > > 
 > > No, nobody is going to get banned for just one action. But if they
 > > consistently go around deleting things because *they* didn't see the
 > > thing, and are counselled that that is not how we do things, and
 > > persists in doing it (and advising others to do it), yeah, deleting
 > > things that can be seen is reason to ban somebody, just as is any
 > > other kind of damage to the map data.
 > That last statement is something different than "I didn't see it,
 > so I deleted it" So I'm still confused. Please confine the answer
 > to the deletion of things that are not present.

You are mixing two ideas: 1) that something is not present, and 2)
that everyone who doesn't see something is competent to judge that it
is not present.

Examples: a blind person doesn't see anything. Why can't they delete
everything? Trivial, I know, but that's the claim. Less trivial:
someone with limited vision. Are we now administering eye tests before
we allow people to map? What about somebody with left neglect? Should
they delete something because it's on their left? They won't see it.

Less trivial examples: A subway (for all of the meanings). A
pipeline. Aqueduct. Buried electrical mains. We map above-ground, why
not map buried? Underground fire hydrants. Rich Welty has mapped all
the fire hydrants in the Albany area, for good reason. What about
places where they are underground? Don't map them??  Why? Delete them
if they're mapped?

A very strong example: we map political boundaries. The only boundary
I've ever seen is the one between the US and Canada. It's a 30' wide
clearcut with concrete pillars every klik or so. We map
placenames. Never seen a big pin sticking in the ground saying
"Potsdam, NY" where we have it mapped.

What if I was to add the aqueduct which goes past Aqueduct Race Track
on Long Island, NY? It is without question there (the name "Aqueduct"
should be a pretty good hint), yet it cannot be seen anywhere. Why not
map that? Why map the Catskill aqueducts, which also cannot be seen?

See? The simple "Delete things you don't see" is just plain wrong.
And "I didn't see it so I deleted it" is not always a valid
defense. If I started deleting NY political boundaries, I'd get my ass
canned in a New York minute, and deservedly so.

Obviously there could be a project called "ISawItMap", where you only
map things that an ordinary man can see. OpenStreetMap, however, is
not that project.

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