[OSM-talk] Responding to vandalism

Bas Couwenberg sebastic at xs4all.nl
Thu Mar 16 14:46:18 UTC 2017

On 2017-03-16 14:47, Manohar Erikipati wrote:
> It would be great to hear more approaches that could protect the map
> against common mistakes and intentional attacks. Much of the world
> lacks an active mapping community, so it is up to a small set of power
> mappers to catch and revert most of the bad edits [6]. Building better
> support systems to respond to bad edits could help more experienced
> mappers focus on community building activities.

This is a symptom of the extremely low barrier of entry and lack of 
guidance of new contributors. Anyone can signup and start breaking the 
production database.

OSM lacks a good staging area where new contributors can experiment and 
learn without breaking the production data.

Setting up your own fork of OSM for personal use like these kind of 
fictional maps is also too high, you need a powerful and costly server 
to handle the full planet and have good rendering performance.

It would be awesome to have a GitHub-like workflow for OSM, where users 
fork main planet and make their customization and submit pull requests 
to get their changes merged back into the planet. But the resources 
required for this are simply too great.

Introducing restrictions on what new mappers can edit may also help, 
editing well mapped areas is non-trivial with routes and turn 
restrictions on roads, large multipolygons for different landuses, etc. 
New mappers should learn how to work in those environments without 
breaking things before they can change those objects.

I consider OSM a database were geospatial data is integrated like 
software is in Linux distributions. None of the established 
distributions allow new contributors to upload their changes to 
production environments without review, OSM shouldn't either.

The current free-for-all policy is fine for unmapped areas, there you 
want a low barrier of entry for new contributors without too much 
bureaucracy, but in well mapped areas different policies should apply.

Kind Regards,


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