Difference between 'was:' and 'removed:'

Hi, was wondering what the difference is between
https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:was:
and
https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:removed:

It seems quite vague when to use which one

just from the language I would say removed: clearly tells that the feature has been removed, while was: seems more appropriate for features that transformed, but you cannot be completely sure, might also have been removed

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So recent examples:

  • An outdoor water tap that is still there but has been disconnected (probably won’t be turned anymore), would be was
  • Removed would be for something like a powerline pole that has been … removed.

Got it

Since the tap still exists it should be either disused: (“Not currently in use, but could be reinstated easily”) or abandoned: (“Still visible but fallen into serious disrepair and which could only be put back into operation with considerable effort”).

was: is for objects that still exists but have a different purpose now (“Not what it used to be”).

removed: is for objects that don’t exist anymore (“Not existing anymore because of active removal (possible duplicate of demolished:)”)

See lifecycle prefix for more information.

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I find was: particularly useful for landuse.

landuse=brownfield + was:landuse=residential describes a former residential site that was demolished.

I think of removed as something that can be put back, like a bench or bus shelter. Demolished is gone for good. Ruined is decayed unintentionally. Destroyed is for gone for good, and not intentionally. (Most common use case I see is a car ran over a structure.) There aren’t great life cycle tags for broken, missing, or stolen features that I know of.

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broken is often mapped as abandoned, unless you expect it to be repaired soon (but then we would not map it in the first place)

missing and stolen is “removed” with additional meaning

Sometimes the state of something being fixed is the temporary state. There was a traffic signal that city employees were leaving purposefully broken for over a year