Ending corporate vandalism: please vote!

While there have been recent improvements in terms of communications with GRABOSM,

I have literally zero confidence that GRABOSM will not destroy AGAIN the work of the local community:

I am aware that most of the participants in this forum have general fatigue because:

  • the exact same thing happened with Facebook.
  • the repetitive nature of these issues
  • loss of focus on what matters: mapping locally, solving local issues, and building a healthy local community

I have previously explained this context already leads to a toxic environment for new mappers, especially in such a small community like Thailand:

I am also tired of fighting Grab and fixing their mess.

Yes, stricter rules could be a good compromise to let companies/organizations continue mapping but they will be pointless without monitoring efforts (and clearly I am the only one doing it)

At the same time, Grab is a business that still generates no profits after 9 years in business, and with increasing competition, the company most likely will go bust in the next recession, so why making our life complicated?

So please let’s take action today and vote:

What action would do like to be taken to prevent further corporate vandalism?

(A) enforce stricter rules for companies/organizations on a case to case basis

  • are you willing to volunteer to come up with rules AND monitor them over time? if no, then choose another answer.

(B) ban all remote companies/organizations doing mass additions/modifications

  • no more headaches, we can regain focus on fixing internal issues first and improving our local community.

(C) change nothing:

  • this is Thailand (TiT), the “land of compromises”, the “wild wild east” where everyone is welcomed and can do whatever they want.

I vote B

I don’t like and don’t need “help” from Grab. However, I doubt there’s a way to prevent Grab’s “contributions” under current OSM User guidelines and I’m not willing to do the work necessary to change them to make OSM not accessible to corporate entities. It’s entirely possible that in order to keep the imagery and hosting OSM has, OSM must remain open to all comers. But I don’t know.

Would that we could just say go away and they would do that.

OSM Accounts cannot be blocked from mapping in a specific area, but they can be reported to DWG should they not respect a decision and a statement in the global or country wiki.

Like TomTom who was advised to not pursue their new campaign in Thailand, if it’s decided that Grab should not continue mapping, they surely wouldn’t risk having their OSM accounts blocked and lose their ability to continue mapping in other countries like Laos, Vietnam, Philippines…

https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?id=75224 and some older threads…

I’m not sure what we can actually do. Reporting this to the DWG could be an option.

I vote B.

(A) is hard to implement, as I don’t think Thailand community has enough manpower willing to keep monitoring them.

I don’t know how can you do (B) but if that is possible, then (B) is the way to go imo.

sidenote, this is my first post in the forum so Hello! although I didn’t join any discussions on this forum, I was reading all topics happening here from time to time, so I’m aware of Grab’s editing mistake that has been discussed in the community.

I’m for **“B” **too.


I’m going for “B”

It’s B for me.

I just wonder why wouldn’t Grab use a private database if they want to implement their own guideline.

I vote (A), banning Grab is not a sustainable long term solution.

The way I see it is that Grab is exacerbating issues that we would have if there were a sudden influx of a thousand new contributors.

I think focusing on processes and QC is the way to go for all new contributors and there’s a strong incentive for Grab as well as all of us to have a better map. I’m personally enjoying going around using StreetComplete to add details on the ground where much of the geometry has already been added. Grab’s been shown to be quite willing to update their process and work with us to improve things and the community should be looking into taking advantage of this.

We should use Grab as an editing arm and have them do much of the work we want done.

Disclosure: I’m in discussions with Jinal to be engaged to see if I can help fix some of the issues.

Everyone should read this eye-opening thread from October 2018,

%between% Nutchanon Wetchasit shared his frustrations towards Grab and gave the same very valid arguments as today. Like many other good mappers, Nutchanon will eventually stop contributing to OSM probably because his concerns were ignored and no actions were ever taken against corporate vandalism.

%between% For those who believe (B) is not feasible: Stereo from Data Working Group proposed in January 2019 to block Grab if there’s consensus within the community!

Hello from DWG! If there’s consensus from the local community, we can revert anything, and block the organised editing teams that are creating bad changesets.

%between% Instead exactly like today, Mishari, our supposedly community “moderator”, pushed instead the community to work with Grab, report issues, and monitor their quality, a strategy that clearly failed in the last 3 years.

@cmoffroad I think you need to breathe a little, and calm down.

  1. Remember it was me who originally got Grab to stop doing their first batch edits by getting someone from Techcrunch to take notice and flew to CM on my own expense to have a meeting to try to hash things out as well as penned this rebuttal to their PR. Also if you do a search on duckduckgo for the keywoards Grab and OSM, two of the posts in top five is either techcrunch or another post where I called out Grab for using OSM data without attribution.

I think you’ll also find most of my correspondence with Grab have been public and documented in the forum.

So you’re welcome to question anything including my integrity or shoe size, that’s the point of a disclosure.

  1. The previous head of mapping didn’t follow through with their commitments, and it was quite a let down. However the present head of mapping, Jinal, has displayed a tremendous amount of care, which is why I am willing to work with her. The community may ultimately decide to ban Grab from edits in Thailand, I think that’s ok too, I shall continue to make my case that Grab’s contribution can be an opportunity.

The question of corporate contributions to open source has been an issue for 30 years, Linus also constantly slams contributors of bad corporate patches.

  1. I’m not sure what you mean by a community moderator, I’m a volunteer forum moderator and other than the proposals you made privately to me, the only complaints or request for moderation I’ve ever received has been in regards to Russ and his colourful language describing Grab mappers, which I thought was reasonably justified.

  2. You seem to have put a bunch of facts together and strung them up in a manner that serves your purpose, which is useful if you’re into politics, or trying to score points in a playground. But as technology enthusiasts, I propose we should be more focused on having a rational debate.

Anyway, even if a majority of those “voting” here vote for an exclusion of grab or for a restriction, why should that be binding?
Beyond the small group of users of this one forum, there are many more users out there “in the wild”. Especially in Thailand, English language is an issue: hardly any thai people can write some English (neither can I write Thai). And the style of communication is not at all compatible with typical east-asian communication, thus surely deterring some potential users.
There is not a single place of OSM communication. There are mailing lists, facebook groups, and what ever even less formal groups. The users who prefer to communicate there will never find out about this initiative. And they are - absolutely sure - the majority.

I’m posting a poll to the Thai OSM forum in FB.

If there’s a clear majority here like there is now, and a clear majority on the FB it sends a very strong signal and is enough grounds as cmoffroad said to have DWG get involved. Grab will not dare move forward with such strong opposition.

However as I said before, we need to be clear about this, the last people I had to deal with were university students who also behave in the same way, with no response. If we can fix this for Grab, there’s a chance we can fix this for everyone.

Votes should happen in this forum with a reference to their OSM account.

I am not saying that university students voice don’t count, but the OSM policies should be defined in English, in this forum, and by the top and most active contributors and participants, not by random accounts who barely contribute to OSM.

If you are wondering about votes in this forum with a single post, I have reached out to the most active local contributors in Thailand because they simply deserve a voice: https://osmstats.neis-one.org/?item=countries&country=Thailand

I have also directly messaged most ex-regular forum participants.

I vote for A

Even if there are numerous problems, allowing them to continue mapping (with ongoing communication) may be more beneficial than damaging.

Normally, I would favour A, as I believe corps can make valuable contributions. But since the Farcebook disaster I just can’t see it working. So:

I vote B.

I have been down that road. The replies were along the lines of “you have to follow process. Make an edit comment for every bad edit and if they refuse to fix it we can look at it.” Sorry, but I don’t have enough time left in my life.

I favour the nuclear option:

Select all ways with import=yes
change to type "road"

That way their contributions are preserved, without anyone being routed down an irrigation ditch. This has actually happened to me. Over time most of these roads will be verified or removed.

This is the area where I live:

All FB roads are shaded red-brown, thanks to stephankn. I started mapping here in late 2010, riding my bicycle and motorbike along any paved road I could find. Then FB came along and added lots of … stuff. A lot of tracks (I didn’t map many of these), plus many roads, most of which do exist, but some are driveways or dirt tracks. I think it’s safe to assume that anything shorter than 100m is a driveway.

It would take months to verify all the roads in this 20 x 20 km area and it goes on like this in every direction. In the 2 years or so since I left OSM I have continued to collect data on my GPS and I would love to bring it all in. But every time I have loaded up JOSM I got bogged down in all this red stuff. Then I get super-frustrated and throw up my hands in disgust.

I think it is wrong to ban all corporate/organizational mappers, I think it needs to be handled on a case to case basis.

I am not qualified to comment on Grab’s edits because I don’t really follow it very closely. But if they aren’t improving and their edits are bad, sure go ahead and ban them for a while. Maybe after a few months they could have another try, and if that fails ban them again. If nothing is ever learned, fine - make it more permanent.

I don’t think I can vote on any of the options. Let me try and clarify.

I can’t vote A because I am unlikely to monitor it myself. I don’t agree with B because I think some good could come from working with corporations and organizations. Besides I don’t think DWG would allow all corporations to be banned. C isn’t a good option either, because something clearly needs to be done.

So this is what I’d like to see:

  1. Setup strict rules, that describes how bad mappers should be handled whether they are single mappers, corporations or organizations.
  2. If they despite feedback fails to improve, give them a warning (according to the rules)
  3. If they despite a warning fails to improve, ban them for a certain amount of time (according to the rules)
  4. If they despite multiple bans still fails to improve, ban them more permanently - with some room to allow them back when we feel confident that they have improved.

Maybe our problem is that we give too many chances, and we need to be stricter earlier on? Maybe we need a limit on how fast edits are allowed to be made so we have a chance to provide feedback before 10M edits have been made.

e.g. “If you plan on doing mass edits, we require that you scale up slowly so we have a chance to verify the quality. Don’t hire 1000 mappers on day one and expect it to work perfectly.”

I also feel like it would be help for organizations and corporations to have a single point of contact in the community. It often feels like that we can hardly agree ourselves and are sending a bunch of different messages. Sometimes we are just too many chefs in the kitchen. I’m not saying this is perfect either, I tried to some degree with Facebook and Mishari seems to be that person for Grab - and yet we still failed.

Anyway, I haven’t been active on the forum for a while and have missed many important discussions, I’m not even sure I am qualified to vote.