[OSM-talk] Bad coastline edits in Sweden

Andy Townsend ajt1047 at gmail.com
Sat Nov 21 12:26:05 UTC 2020

On 21/11/2020 10:42, Andre Hinrichs via talk wrote:
> Hi!
> Difficult to find, but here are the changesets where i left comments:
> 93965382
> 94097597
> 94134166
> And the links to them:
> https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/93965382
> https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/94097597
> https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/94134166
> Andre


A couple of points immediately spring to mind.  Apologies to anyone on 
this list who's seen me make these sort of points before, but sometimes 
I think it bears repeating.  I'll use your messages here as an example 
but to be honest what I'm about to say applies to lots of inter-mapper 
communication within OSM.

One is that you've left changeset comments in English, and here this 
editor is editing in Finland with a "fi" locale, as you can see at the 
changeset: https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/94134166 .  The Åland 
Islands (where this is) are actually Swedish speaking I believe, but the 
mapper has edited in other places in Finland too,  Not everyone in 
Finland understands English - my impression (from when I used to work 
there) was that many do, but plenty don't, and it often depends on the 
job that someone does or how old they are whether they are likely to or not.

Another is that your three messages are fairly abrupt and  by the second 
and third have got capitalised words in them.  Finnish as a language 
never uses 3 words where 1 will do, so this contributor will be used to 
terse communication, but you still need to communicate effectively.

Taking https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/93965382 as an example, 
you've said that there is a problem with coastlines (but not said 
exactly which OSM feature they edited it was), told them not to edit 
coastlines again but then asked them to fix the problem.  At the very 
least the advice is self-contradictory.

The other two, https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/94097597 and 
https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/94134166 , are probably best 
described as "shouting at someone in a foreign language"**, and are 
unlikely to have the desired effect.  Also, well-meaning changes aren't 
"vandalism" - they may cause significant problems that need fixing, but 
they're not vandalism.

What I'd suggest instead is:

  * Write a longer initial changeset comment, as if you were
    communicating with another human being for the first time (which of
    course you are).
  * Look at the context to see things like where this mapper is mapping
    geographically, what language they are likely to understand, and how
    long have they been mapping in OSM.
  * Link to things that explain the problem - here perhaps
    , one of the QA sites that show these sorts of problems and the
    specific ways or relations in their changeset that caused the problem.
  * Try and be consistent - if you say "you've broken X please don't
    edit it again" then logically you must offer to fix X yourself;
    alternatively you need to explain how they can fix X themselves,
    since they clearly don't know how to, having caused the problem in
    the first place.
  * Also post your comment in a language that they are likely to
    understand.  An online translator such as translate.google.com won't
    be perfect*, but at least it'll convert your message into words in a
    language with which they are familiar.
  * As has already been suggested, by all means do ask the DWG to deal
    with it if you've tried to get in contact and communication isn't

Best Regards,


* actually (having just tested it) translate.google.com does a 
surprising good job of detecting cases in English and choosing the 
correct word ending, which is how those are expressed in Finnish

** yes - I know - I'm English, and it is something that we are somewhat 
renowned for.

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