Bulk added notes

Someone is adding hundreds of notes that seem to be added in bulk on bridges in China, only saying ''мост" (‘bridge’) sometimes with the date the note was posted (e.g. “мост 10 апр”). The notes are useless, because at that location there is a bridge tagged correctly already. I closed a number of them manually (with a comment), but they are still being added. Later I contacted the DWG but they said there’s nothing they could do really.

Today i started getting notifications on notes of my own where most likely the same anonymous is just spamming letters to comment, presumably to trigger my email notifications.



So I wonder if anyone else had to deal with this ‘anonymous’ and his obsession for bridges, or if there truly is no way to bulk delete notes.

I see the anonymous user is also spamming random letters on nearby notes by other users:




I have reviewed in JOSM and closed about 800 of those dummy notes in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgizstan, Turkmenistan).
I left closing comments at first like “no information to map” or “already mapped”, then realized my comments as useless as those notes are, and just close it.


Some notes are updated/commented anonymously few times.

мост → bridge
путепровод → bridge
трасса → road
обход → bypass

Something really goes wrong, this bot is getting insane


Contact teh DWG. http://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Data_Working_Group
Maybe they are already working on this issue.

I doubt it is a bot, there is #mapsme in the note. I assume those notes are made with the maps.me app.

maps.me app user created normal note, but later anonymous comments followed.

Haven’t you read the first post? DWG can’t do anything.

Yes I read it, but i didt’t come to your conclusion.
They describe the current situation "the DWG can hide offensive ones but other than that has the same rights to the notes API as everyone else. "
but they didn’t say that this policy can’t change, being (for me) the most obvious change, rate limiting new anonymous notes or anonymous comments.

That falls into the category of “patches welcome” I think?

You’d probably need to persuade the people who look after the website that there’s a problem with anonymous notes being created and contribute a technical fix to that problem. It’s not that difficult to review and close “problem” notes (hence me giving the API link for the “bridge” ones) - I’ve done something similar to that for various sorts of problem notes, including the “Free Parking” ones that infest the map because of a French app that people use to record “where I parked my car”, and also for some sorts of MAPS.ME and speed limit ones.

It will become a technical problem if (and when) the policy changes and there is a need to enforce the new policy. :wink:
No only in OSM, but for every API service, rate limiting could be considered as a security issue.

The API link you provided does not return the IP address of who made the anonymous change.

  • Does the database keep this info?
  • Could the search API be extended to have the IP address as a search parameter?

I thought that for privacy concerns the IP addresses were stripped from all information available from OSM.

I am not an IT expert, but I guess it is simple to program that:

  1. anonymous notes without a reply will have a limited stay-alive time and then vaporise (one month proposed)
  2. anonymous notes without a reply will appear with a different colour in OSM
  3. notes with a reply, though not resolved also with a different colour
  4. finally resolved notes in green that vaporise after a certain period (which is now the case already)

In the Netherlands we are flooded with notes that are on micro map scale. It is impossible to see the forest for the trees and mappers are starting to ignore them. So this system has to improve, it would be great help if there is a possibility to ignore notes (turn them grey or hide them) that are irrelevant for the mapper.

This is Winschoten, the Netherlands. All the red notes are filled with just a few words, no additional information let alone the source. This one for example just mentions ‘A.M. minicars’, I suppose it’s a car dealer or something, but I’m not sure…
Anonymous is adding notes that first seem somewhat useful, but if you are keep adding them in the whole country with a speed that’s just insane, it’s hard for the community to solve them all by doing surveys or have a look on Mapillary. Also, you can’t send a PM to anonymous, because he/she doesn’t have an account.

This results in a situation that ligfietser already described:

If we really want to go to town, I think the suggestion of Matrin Bosje is a good one.

But that may be too complicated.

For me it is not important WHO (anonymous or a registered user) entered a note, it is more of importance WHAT someone has marked.

You’ve got a point there. But that’s also the hardest part of it all I think, how do we create some sort of system that can determine if the given information in a note is useful or not?

Notes don’t actually vaporise; they are just hidden. The request made by the web application specifies how recently a closed note has to have been closed for it to still be displayed. If you change that parameter, you can see more, and if you know the node ID, you can retrieve very old notes.

As such, the vaporise part of item 1 may be rather more work to implement, as it may require changes to the map database, but the display colour coding is all being done in the web application, so could easily be changed in just the code that handles the web page. I haven’t looked, but his may even be code downloaded to the browser.

However, having had a comment made on it is not a reliable indication that a note is good, as non-anonymous users will comment on bad notes, requesting more information.

I’d like to see a webmap where all the notes appear and where you can mark on/off/grey/hide whatever you like. This information is stored on your computer so nobody else but you can decide what is important and what not. A slider with date is also handy, so you can choose to see notes that are less than x days old or between a chosen interval. Another thing that I would like is an export function to export selected notes as gpx file (I know such thing exist, but it contains all notes, not just a selection).

If you want to do something like that in a serious way, you should write code to run on own machine that downloads recently changed notes and constructs the full set of notes. Refetching the whole history every time is likely to be wasteful of resources in the main map API servers.