How many standards does the DWG use?

Occasionally I’ve been noticing people copying from other maps, either clearly declaring the source, or not very clearly mentioning the source, or mentioning Bing when adding names then only when asked clarifying the real source, or splitting their contributions over several changesets then turning around the question without ever managing, or doing their best not to mention their real sources, or we just gave up asking.

To make the point, I have collected the above three users (@joserrg12, @BigKev97, @Alvarado2510), just three random mappers who have been systematically copying from “official sources”. These are three I happened to notice, and I am referring to them as authors of clearly not admissible edits, I hope nobody will try to look for any personal issues behind this, as —personally— I do not know any of these editors.

(More recently @Alvarado2510 has also been editing stuff to make sure that osmose would not show red flags in his area of concern—examples 1, 2, but there’s a lot more. Let’s not look into this here, I’m just concerned with copying and why the DWG intervenes differently in similar cases.)

Now to the title of this topic.

Recently @joserrg12 mapped something in Africa, just two changesets, and he did what he had been doing in Central America, that is map without mentioning sources, and without answering to questions. But this time the question were not raised by isolated fellow mappers, rather, by members of the Apple Data Team (#adt). This time the user got a cascade of questions and blocks by the DWG, first 0-hours blocks, then 1 day, then 3 days, to end with the current 6 months block.

IMO, @joserrg12 did not do anything particularly awful, or at least not so different from what @BigKev97 or @Alvarado2510 keep doing, that is to systematically ignore common practice, the Wiki, other users, our hints, comments, questions … So why such different outcomes in treatment by the DWG?

I’m asking publicly because I think this is an issue of concern for all, not just a personal quarrel that we should solve privately.


If you are asking publicly, there is really no need to name names. This forum is neither a pillory nor a court. If you happen upon copyright infringements, there is a process for that (i.e. → contact those mappers, if nothing helps, report to DWG).

Note that supplying a source in the changeset comment is recommended, but not required. The lack of a source tag is not a reason to moderate the changeset. Neither does the DWG actively look for fishy changesets and enquire about their source. The DWG only acts upon notice and only if other means of communication to settle the manner between mappers have failed.


@mariotomo: Can I remind you that the Code of Conduct for this site explicitly mentions “edit shaming” as an inappropriate activity. As you are not accepting private messages I have to make this reminder public.


which is what I did, and what did not reach any effect during years of trying.

lacking a source, or being the reported source Bing or Maxar, in an edit adding names to roads or rivers, I ask the mapper. then the mapper mentions as above: Here maps, Google, or some National Geographic Institute. this is reason enough, as is the lack of answer when other mappers ask and you systematically do not answer. (as I read it).

I do not consider this “edit shaming”. I am not complaining against individual mappers, I’m questioning the operation of the DWG.

If you are asking publicly, there is really no need to name names. This forum is neither a pillory nor a court. If you happen upon copyright infringements, there is a process for that (i.e. → contact those mappers, if nothing helps, report to DWG).

I disagree, posting the usernames (or refering to an example changeset) is what is typically done when such kinds of issues are discussed, so that people can look into the edits and form an opinion.

I agree that DWG is a good addressee for such complaints, and I wonder what the details are that it didn’t have success (from my own experience DWG acts quickly and reliably, and I have never had any reason for not trusting in their operation).


for example, I’ve reported some edits because of …

I don’t know about mariotomo, but this is what frustrated me more. I sent some tickets to the DWG to which I had no reply at all. Not even a “we have not taken any action for the following reason: xyz”. I felt like I was the problem, while my intention was to help instead.

I’ve just checked, and the last ticket of yours that I dealt with personally was reported by you at 26/8/2022 at 15:40 UTC and I replied 26/8/2022 at 23:19 with details of the action taken (I’m not providing more details for the reasons discussed above). If you didn’t get that, you might want to check your spam folder.

That said; if every man and his dog reports a problematic user then we might not get a chance to reply to everyone individually - your report was one of 4 in this case (and I did reply to each one here). However, sometimes we get literally dozens of reports and it isn’t practical to reply to each one. Everyone will have got the initial email that a ticket was created (in this example, a mail on 26/8/2022 at 23:10 should have gone to you to say that this had happened).

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I did get that one, but that’s not what I’m referring to (I sent other tickets after that one, last one is dated 6 dec).

However, sometimes we get literally dozens of reports and it isn’t practical to reply to each one.

I read that 88% of [2022 Q2] tickets were handled by the same 5 DWG members, and that the number of tickets (and active users) keeps increasing in years but the number of active DWG members remained kinda the same (around 12-15).

Vandalizing the map is matter of seconds, but fixing needs more time and energies. I saw people blocked even 8-11 times in less than 6 months. Sometimes I wonder if being more firm wouldn’t save you DWG - and us volunteers - extra tickets and extra changeset to revert/fix/clean-up.

You got a PM about that on 8th December at 19:46 UTC :slight_smile: . I believe that that one is still being looked at. I’m not personally dealing with it, and at first glance it’s not immediately clear if it is actionable by us - but it makes sense to have someone look at it in a bit more depth.

(for the avoidance of any doubt) the vast majority of issues that we deal with aren’t vandalism; just a misunderstanding of what’s allowed and what isn’t, and what’s a good idea and what isn’t.

There is a pretty high bar set before people are excluded from the project, and personally I think it is correct that that is the case. We probably get far more problems with mappers who have good intentions, but struggle to communicate with other people, or understand how to come to a consensus - essential as part of a shared project like OSM. Speaking for myself again, I’ll always try and keep the door open to continued contribution, but will try and clearly define what sort of things are and are not OK (for the sake of everyone else in the project).


You don’t mention details, like the changesets you reported, @SomeoneElse does not mention your ticket numbers, so we don’t know what you and @SomeoneElse are referring to, nor can look up the DWG quarterly reports to see mention of those tickets.

This is an interesting point. Have you considered merging issues, allowing all reporters to be notified, to know of each other? Or going public with reports, so that we can avoid mentioning issues multiple times, or follow issues of our concern without having to bother the already overworked DWG.


We routinely merge issues internally but we treat reports confidentially so we will not tell person A that “person B has also complained about the same thing”. For the same reason we don’t make reports public but sometimes complainants do that themselves, by writing a public changeset comment saying “I have reported this to the DWG”.


While I didn’t myself (not yet), one reason I could imagine to block private messages on this discourse is being continuously called in private whenever someone’s go here complaining about activities which happens in Global South related to the incorporation that sponsored the setup of this new forum. Even if public are valid becauses still under good practices (such as protect copyright infringement) under interests of OSMF, anything that can be censored based distorted view on the Etiquette to move the complaint from the action as and deal as if was personal attack, it does happens as misuse of Etiquette.

So, the approach of blocking private messages on discourse forces what would be private discussion moves either for public in the forum or via email, both which can be exposed if power is abused for things obviously skewed. So this alone disincentives spurious comments, because having the guts to say it out loud can easily backfire.

So yes, the fact that push for public discussions escalated works as self moderating for power abuse.

PS.: my comment doesn’t imply opinion on how DWG worked on this or other cases. I actually think that group cases/complaints can be mostly operational, and deciding to not take action when unsure can be a better approach.

I think we’re loosing our focus, which was on the way the DWG intervenes in similar cases.

while we’re drifting:

I’m not aware I’m doing this. maybe it has to do with your hidden profile? anyhow, I’m happy you have written in public your reminder to the CoC, because it gives me the opportunity to mention that I completely disagree on how you read the CoC.

maybe you want to check this with each other?

back to my points of concern:

  • why were our complaints about @joserrg12 in Nicaragua and Costa Rica without effect?
  • why was @joserrg12 blocked for 6 months after the changesets mentioned in block 6360?
  • how was the lack of response by @BigKev97 accepted?
    (On the 3rd of December he did comment to some changesets but he still hasn’t provided much information to all the questions we posed: “Sorry”, “Sources”, “Perdon”, “Gracias” … And he’s now limiting his action to Puerto Rico.)
  • any hints on how I can convince @Alvarado2510 to accept hints and, for example, stop handling QA warnings as reasons to delete or mess up our information?
  • does the DWG need any help to handle the excessive work at hand? I offered a couple of times, and did not get any reply. I’d be fine with a public “Thank you, but no thank you”.

as a later addition:

  • from whom, why, under which conditions, do we allow copying from other maps? (the interested reader can look for Ticket 2023011510000024 in future DWG reports.)

I am looking over the list of processed tickets for q1 and q2 2022
and seemingly a plurality are for Europe and the United States. This may be the result of the fact that these countries have more active members or larger communities on the whole, so more tickets may be issued for Europe in any given year for example. Alternatively, the frequency or lack of of DWG action for certain areas may be a little reflective of the geographic composition of the group? This is no fault of the members of the DWG. I know for a fact that I myself would subconsciously pay more attention to tickets for Brazil and United States, because of my personal history with these countries. Maybe the recruitment of more people who live in South and Central america is in order.

an earlier example of ›from whom, why, under which conditions, do we allow copying from other maps?‹, take ticket#2021021810000146, which was handled done in 2021Q4 as No action needed.

the report went:

[right, let’s assume you do not have the time for handling @joserrg12.] the other issue is much more serious, because the guy, @Alvarado2510, has:

  1. mentioned his sources (the IGNTG)
  2. understood this is not legal
  3. started confusing the waters, to keep copying.
    (spreading his edits focusing on administrative borders over dozens of changesets, first the natural entities, wait a couple of days, a week, then using them in the relations, or doing massive questionable contributions like this one in the meanwhile.)
  4. been blocked in several occasions
  5. understood that he can simply ignore the blocks

Over the years I’ve commented on some of such changesets, with no reply, not even empty ones. 124791271, 124790622, 109829248, 102087839, 87736247

I’m not able to understand “No action needed”.

p.s.: I am mentioning people by name to give them the opportunity to intervene, and I’ve invited to this platforms all people I’m mentioning.

@DWG: As a random OSM contributor who stumbled across this thread, I would like to understand why the DWG’s official resolution to a user who acknowledges he’s copying from copyrighted sources is “No action needed” in the DWG Quarterly report. That doesn’t match at all the understanding of OpenStreetMap importing guidelines that we encourage in any of the communication channels I frequent (this forum, the wiki, the subreddit, Telegram groups, …), and sounds legally fishy.

Especially in such a clear-cut case as the one presented by @mariotomo. The mapper admits that they used a source which the Panamá wiki pages point out as an example of an invalid source due to copyright (see the how NOT to map section in the Panamá wiki pages).

Could DWG deliberations and reasoned decisions about every closed ticket become public in full detail? Either at the time of closing, or at least some time later after a cool-down period.


So in this whole thread - I still miss the answer by DWG about the question by the OP!

The OP clearly shows examples of DWG handling users by different standards.

One of these standards is a user clearly admitting to use non-compatible sources to contribute to OSM and DWG stating:“no action needed”

So the OP clearly asks:“how many standards are there and how do we know when they apply to whom?”

DWG, your move…

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Where there are numerous complaints from one person, the DWG cannot always deal with every case - some things we have to hand back to the community. Sometimes it is one word against another and in some cases the overall issue is not important enough to spend a lot of time on it. Mario has a history of requiring a lot of attention from other mappers in the region and elsewhere, and also from the DWG.

The DWG needs to be a place of last resort, where the community goes for help if they cannot solve an issue themselves. I do not want to enter a tit-for-tat here with Mario but the issues he brought to our attention were frequently issues that other people seemed less concerned about, and sometimes they were reported to us without enough specific detail to be able to be followed up.

Then, when Mario did not get the attention he thought his issue deserved, he would inquire about the status of his complaint, or write in different languages, or request that his ticket be handled by a different DWG agent because he was unhappy with the situation. In some situations Mario would ask friends of his who until that time had never so much as commented on a changeset to suddenly pop up at DWG and support his issues, or claim to be a random OSM contributor who just stumbled across this of all issues and want to know the status.

In the ticket above from which Mario quoted a part of his complaint, he also spent many words telling us about his personal mood on that particular day and went on: “If you still think we don’t understand each other, we can try as said chatting, or please handle the issue to a Dutch person, or Italian, or Russian, preferably a mathematician, thank you.”

The ticket (which actually is a complaint about 2 mappers) looks “solid” at first with five references, but three of them are to a private Telegram group, one is to a changeset that actually deals with editing offsets and not with copying from bad sources, and one is a link to simply one of those users’ block list.

Despite what was suggested in this ticket, there is no direct evidence that we could follow up that would bolster Mario’s accusations, and this is exactly what happened time and time again - the DWG receives a lengthy missive from Mario with an accusation that may or may not be valid that doesn’t provide solid evidence, and leaves the DWG to try to get to the bottom of the story by other means.

DWG communications with Mario have been so unfruitful over the years (and the evidence is that other mappers find him as difficult to interact with as we do) that whenever Mario complains that someone is misbehaving we now assume that Mario might also be a part of the problem, and view his complaint with at least a grain of salt.

Sometimes when more evidence is forthcoming from elsewhere we can proceed - it is worth noting that one of the two users mentioned in the complaint is at present blocked pending a reply from them about edits elsewhere.

The number of statuses that the DWG has for closing tickets is finite and the “no action necessary” is perhaps a little bit of a misnomer here; it should have been “no immediately actionable evidence supplied, and the complainant has exceeded the amount of attention we can spend on them”. I think we may have to revisit how we publish quarterly summaries in order not to mislead anyone. We will certainly not publish internal deliberations about the handling of tickets - most of what we do is public anyway (changeset comments, block messages, etc.), and unless people abuse our patience they will usually also receive messages when we decide not to do something.

This is actually something that I personally told Mario years ago - that the DWG cannot act as his personal OSM grief councellor. His take-away from that was apparently that the DWG must be overworked, as has been claimed in this thread.

I don’t believe that this is the case - I think that we have about the right balance of people for the workload - but we still have to be economical with our time.

Which is why I will not continue this discussion here - once again, Mario has managed
to consume DWG time that could have been better spent on other work.


Can we eventually have a public, official, serious reply from Data Working Group which don’t use argumentum ad hominem as part of the reasoning?

When argumentation against decisions from DWG are minimally solid or better (using what applies to other cases; how mappers are encouraged to take care in their regions), then leave impression focusing not is the idea, but the person who argue the idea, then it would require others who unsure about what to think that they’re would need to agree that argumentum ad hominem is valid at all. In other words, makes no sense because instead of respond the arguments, appeal by evading with attack to the person to unlegimilize the argument is fallacious counter-argument.

I’m sure you from DWG can do better explanation than appeal to obvious fallacies. No matter how annoyed you might be, this approach is very unstable.