[OSM-talk] Automated edits code of conduct

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Tue Jul 12 12:35:25 UTC 2016


On 07/12/2016 03:03 AM, tuxayo wrote:
> The questions is how legitimate are they. To know if we can enforce them
> strictly.

Enforcing anything "strictly" is likely to cause problems. Rules can
only be enforced strictly if they are so well written that any idiot can
enforce them by simply following the instructions ;)

For example, a few years ago we had a user called "worst-fixer" or so
who did a couple of large-scale edits removing the "created-by" tag. Now
this was a mechanical edit against the rules, and there was a consensus
in the community to remove those unwanted tags piecemeal instead of
creating a new version for hundreds of thousands of objects, needlessly.

Strictly enforcing rules would have meant reverting all these edits but
that would have been quite silly (causing another extra version to be
created), so they were allowed to stand.

The rules we have are guidelines, and they depend on respectful human
beings letting themselves be guided by them while trying to reach a
common goal, together. The rules are not made for being followed
blindly, "by the letter". Having such rules would put us firmly into
Wikipedia territory and open us up to "lawyering" on the part of those
who commit mischief but found a loophole in a rule that seems to allow it.

> That would also allow DWG members to intervene with a greater legitimacy
> because it would not come from their status.

Having a DWG whose legitimacy comes from rules would allow everyone to
start endless discussions about DWG's interpretation of the rules, or
finding loopholes in the wording. This is what happens in Wikipedia and
it allows troublemakers to waste an awful lot of volunteer time by
posing as innocent, rule-abiding people.

> I agree that showing them at sign up wouldn't help. However it's to be
> expected that first time mass edits are done without knowing the AECoC
> as nothing more than the JOSM search and replace tool is needed. Is not
> like importing which require more documentation.

Perhaps we could make JOSM cleverer in detecting such cases and alerting
people to the rules. JOSM already pops up tons of warnings - about
moving lots of nodes, about displaced aerial imagery, etc. - it could
also say "you're changing a lot of objects over a geographically large
area at the same time and you haven't zoomed in on any, are you sure you
have read the rules..."

> The reporting of AECoC violations could be done in a dedicated open
> mailing list so we could have accountability about how these issues are
> handled.
> *Any thoughts about this? This is a concrete proposal.*

DWG is happy about every case that the community manages to handle
between themselves, without DWG having to get involved. If such a
mailing list would help taking some of the load off DWG's shoulders and
DWG would then only deal with those cases that the community can't
handle or where things aren't clear enough, sure that would be great.

>> I'm all for discussing the rules we have, but I'd like to know what
>> exactly the problem is. "There has been no vote on these rules" is not
>> the honest reason for this thread

> Why? Considering the standards required for tags and automated edits,
> not having comparable ones for the content of the AECoC is inconsistent
> compared to it's importance.

The rules about automated edits stem from their ability to upset many
people in the community. Reverting an automated edit will usually only
upset one person. It is a logical fallacy to believe that just because
automated edits are a problem that needs to be regulated, the reverting
of automated edits needs to be regulated as well.


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

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