Country based authorizations

Hello Community,

Recently I’ve been blocked by DWG because I edited some military landuses in Ukraine. Reasons have been discussed in private message exchanges with DWG and are not intended to be part of this issue. I hope not to bother anybody by using another account, since the block prevents me from edit, comment changesets and login into this forum.

Back to the issue:
I came across this changeset which reverts the work of previous mapper, because an “OSM UA team” declares mapping of military objects as “prohibited during rus - Ukrainian war”.

Did OSM Board made some statements regarding who can or cannot edit OSM database on a country or “team” base?

SG.

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  1. Mapping military bases in country that got invaded right now is a quite poor idea (especially as invading Russians are so incompetent that this info is likely useful for them).

  2. You were told that you can appeal/discuss this block with OSMF

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“Edit: The mapper has been in discussion with the DWG but has not been able to give an assurance that they won’t in future map in a way that causes similar issues to the one that caused the previous reports and this block. The offer still stands; if they can agree to avoid future issues of this type then we’ll revoke this block.”

I’m assuming those issues are regarding those military landuses.
I haven’t heard of an official official statement, but this block is the next thing to that, assuming you’re not misinterpreting the issue at all. You should probably not edit military landuses and such in Ukraine. The block should be it’s own answer for you.

  1. “poor idea” is a subjective evaluation: maybe you mean “prohibited idea”.

  2. the thread is about country (or team authorization) to modify OSM database: you missed my foreword. Herein I’m not asking any block to be removed.

yes, it is a subjective idea based on my experience with OSM (quite large) and Russia adjacent situation (larger that I would want)

BTW, you likely should read Organised Editing Guidelines - OpenStreetMap Wiki if it involves some team

To answer just the factual question:

Although the OSMF board was involved with some earlier decisions regarding Ukraine, the editing conflicts since the start of the 2022 Russian invasion have been handled entirely by the Data Working Group (DWG). So far, there have been no appeals to the board in the matter, and no board decisions.

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So what do you mean by a “quite poor idea”?
Do you mean mapping should only be allowed to a white list of nationalities, immigration status, team membership? Do you mean it’s a good idea to refrain from mapping war thorn areas? Do you mean only deletion of military objects should be allowed? Would it be OK to delete a bombed bridge, maybe depending on who bombed it? In the worst case: do you mean it’s a “quite poor idea” because a mapper could be exposed to some retaliation, other than reverts?
I’m really confused by your extremely concise answer.

Data Working Group mentioned an “OSM community in Ukraine” which complained about my edits. No member of this community contacted me, nor commented my changesets. I just received a block based on issues I could not access.
Then I contacted DWG, which simply replied asking me “NOT to map in Ukraine until the end of this war”.

Taking into account the guidelines you mentioned, I posted the first message in this forum for an open, public and archieved discussion.

In the meantime, several saigon2k1 changesets had been reverted by incomunicative users with no explanation other than “mapping is prohibited”.

119085017
119084860
119084826
119084655
119084591
119084529

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Such conflicts could be easily handled using the standard guidelines. As strange as it may seem, there were and there are several other war-torn areas globally. OSM Board should have already faced such matter, but I wasn’t able to find any documentation.
Instead, I think DWG should not be overloaded by issues like this. DWG should stick to factual ones.

Given that mapping right now including things like bombed out bridges is more likely to be helpful to invading Russians rather than civilians or defenders…

Yes, I think that pausing mapping may be a good idea and I would consult mapping there with a local community.

DWG is primarily handling social/communication/behavior issues, not factual ones (unless you mean facts related to social issues).

Let’s say you are an ukranian citized trying to escape a warfare area: isn’t an information about bridges status important? Do you really think that russian army routing is performed with OSM?

So far “local community” at least users Zcor, ququruzka and Anton Melnichuk are not paused and are actively removing military objects; I reported their “work”, but DWG doesn’t mind.

Anyway I give you and hint: such acts of removing military objects are quite more interesting for an invading army than my undeleted military landuses. OSM tools allows everyone to easily spot deletions and retagging (i.e: I’ve found several military to grass by Zcor). Only poor analysts think absence of information is not useful.

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https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Russian-Ukrainian_war

Please respect local OSM community as well as local laws.

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are you suggesting we remove China from the map?

What I meant: we should not internationally (from the outside) enforce local law, but of course everybody must follow the law that is valid for them (i.e. naturally you must abide to the law of the place where you are, but we should not enforce the law of all countries, but only those that we must follow (i.e. British law).

Local law is also incompatible, for example in disputed areas, because every country that claims a certain territory will also claim that their law is relevant, also specific border versions are often prescribed, and naturally can not be fullfilled at the same time.

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Thanks Christian for reporting this wiki.

Anyway I’d like that OSM Board itself adopts this directive. It would set a legal precedent for any other war-affected areas.

Edit: if this page will be endorsed by DWG and/or OSM board, OSM will be officially dead.
You can start preparing new stickers about StreetMap and set redirections to streetmap.org

See also

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Hi. Ukraine is struggling and we’re fighting with russian occupants. Frankly, it’s not the best time to map anything in Ukraine, especially military bases and army-related infra (if you’re not russian occupant). The state on the ground is changing hourly. Please keep all the desire and efforts for better times. After the Ukrainian victory, we can set up some sort of mappathon to add more data to Ukrainian OSM DB.

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It’s not a conflict and not an issue. It’s the biggest war since WW2!

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SG keep in mind – my country in war, I think in this time mapping of any military, industrial objects or points of humanitarian aids is too dangerous even lethal for soldiers and civilians around this objects.

You can just start mapping somewere in Spain for ex. I saw there a lot of work.

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4 posts were split to a new topic: My user is blocked

I get your point and I am sure you are right, but saigon2k2 was not referring to the “conflict” in your place but to the conflict between himself and DWG I assume. I do not want to take in his position but he should not be blamed for something he did not state I think.

Good luck to you and everyone else in your place, mate!

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Since you’ve asked this question here I think that it’s important for me to reply, since I was handling the issue at the DWG, and as requested I’ll not go too deeply into the reasons given by the people who reported you to the DWG in the first place, beyond what is already public (including by things you have linked to yourself).

First things first, OpenStreetMap is a community. It is “everyone’s local map”. The wiki page how we map is a good summary - amongst other things that says “OpenStreetMap values community cohesion over data perfection”.

You are aware that Ukraine has been invaded by Russia, and that some Ukrainian mappers have deleted or otherwise tried to conceal some things within Ukraine such as military landuse. You reverted some of those deletions and made it clear in various places (including here) that you did not agree with them, and continued to argue the point on e.g. this changeset.

We can argue about how effective those deletions will be at inconveniencing invaders**; but that is a discussion for elsewhere. What I suspect that we can’t argue about is that the local community was very opposed to your reverts e.g. around Lviv. Likewise (as I pointed out to you in emails) old aerial imagery is not going to be a good source for OSM in a country devastated by war.

It’s unusual, but not completely unknown, for the DWG to ask people to stop mapping in a certain place - sometimes we might ask two mappers who have personal issues with each other to avoid mapping in each others’ areas. Usually we are able to come to some sort of arrangement that allows contributions to OSM to continue from all parties. You flatly refused to compromise, so we were unable to come to such an arrangement here. It is clearly ridiculous to expect every such request to be voted on individually by the OSMF board.

The block is not a permanent ban from OpenStreetMap - as the message says, “if they can agree to avoid future issues of this type then we’ll revoke this block”. In addition, in emails we said (and on the DWG’s OSMF wiki page it also says) that if you were unhappy with the DWG’s decision you had the opportunity to appeal to the Board.

– Andy Townsend (from the Data Working Group)

** in another context this afternoon someone referred to OSM as an “append-only database”, and that’s pretty much true - anything that was there is still there, and can be brought back at some later stage.

Edit: removal of an “elsewhere” to fix a grammar issue.

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