[OSM-talk] Automated edits code of conduct

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Mon Jul 11 00:02:09 UTC 2016


On 07/11/2016 01:23 AM, Matthijs Melissen wrote:
> My main issue with the AEcoc is that it is nearly impossible to comply
> with, especially the part that says that community consensus is
> necessary (or rather, "said", because this requirement seems to have
> been silently removed).

Which part has been removed and by whom?

The December 2014 version says:

"If you plan to make an automated edit, outline it beforehand and
discuss it on a suitable mailing list ... We do not require or recommend
a formal vote, but if there is significant objection to your plan - and
even minorities may be significant! - then change it or drop it altogether."


"OpenStreetMap is very much built on consensus. A majority of voices on
a mailing list does not give you the right to do whatever you please to
the data created by the minority. ..."

The current version says:

"If you plan to make any automated edit, you should discuss and document
your plans beforehand. Documentation should be placed on the wiki and
the proposal should then be discussed them on a suitable Mailing lists: ..."


"OpenStreetMap is built on consensus, rather than a majority voting and
you should therefor be sensitive to proceeding with major changes even
where the great majority support the change."

There might be a potential misunderstanding here; some people seem to
believe that the policies outlined in the Wiki are some kind of "law"
and that if you comply with it, you are always "right". (Wikipedia tends
to run into a "lawyering" problem with this - they have policies, they
call somebody out for doing something stupid, and the person then says
"but I have followed all the policies, you cannot do anything, ha ha!".
This is great fun for those who do stupid things and have a lot of time
to conduct procedural discussions, and a great nuisance for everybody
else in the project.)

In reality, the automated edititing rules are general guidelines set up
to minimize problems but you can follow them and *still* cause problems
(a fact that is mentioned in the document: "If you have followed this
policy then this means your account will not be blocked right away when
someone complains, but you might still have to change or stop what
you're doing if people dislike your actions and / or their side-effects.")

You might say that the whole document is just a more wordy version of
"if your edit pisses people off, you'll get into trouble".

> Could you point me to a single worldwide mechanical edit that
> satisfies the AEcoc guidelines?

I can't but then we don't track them at DWG - we don't grant
permissions, we only act when we either hear complaints, or see faulty
(or otherwise problematic) edits ourselves. Haven't you done something
about musical instruments once? IIRC there was a bit of an issue with
you asking for a "vote" on the issue, thereby making it sound as if 51%
were enough to carry such an edit... but you did run it in the end,
didn't you?

Personally, I think that world-wide mechanical edits should be the
absolute exception since it becomes more and more difficult to engage
the world-wide community in a discussion; the danger of causing problems
in a far-off corner of OSM with an automated edit is just too big.
Having said that, if someone makes a world-wide edit that they discuss
on the talk or tagging lists before and that are ok with everyone (or
almost everyone) there, they have at least shown diligence and a will to
do it right. If they run their edit and then someone from Peru
complains, they might still need to revert or fix it, but at least
they're not the lone-wolf guy who didn't care what others think and DWG
will certainly treat someone who tried to do it right but failed
differently from someone who didn't even try!


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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