Shadowy Supertaggers

Hi everyone,

I just noticed there’s a group of users known as “Shadowy Supertaggers” which is adding bitcoin information to OSM. I noticed some problems with it such as undocumented imports and automated edits not following the guidelines. Also it seems to me like it’s an undocumented organised editing activity. Undocumented in the OSM Wiki at least, because is documented here.
“Earn badges, sats and recognition on BTC Map for your contributions.”, this imho push users to add unverified information from here.

How should we handle this? If a revert is not a solution, I would ask you to please check for

currency:XBT + survey:date (since they are using it wrongly instead of source:date I guess)

in your local area to check if those POIs are really there (I found some in the middle of the ocean, restaurant in the middle of highways, duplicated POIs ecc.)

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If any “Shadowy Supertaggers” (really? that is self-selected name?) are reading this: please read Import/Guidelines - OpenStreetMap Wiki and Automated Edits code of conduct - OpenStreetMap Wiki

BTC-related edits are not exempt from this rules.

Revert as blatant violation of OSM rules (I did it with Changeset: 128909577 | OpenStreetMap) and notify DWG about undiscussed import violating OSM rules (I did this, presumably more people reporting this bunch will result in faster and maybe stronger response)

Tagging Instructions · teambtcmap/btcmap-data Wiki · GitHub is not valid documentation location of import, it was not discussed on imports mailing list and has unclear copyright status and data being added is broken

It should be fully reverted as soon as possible and anyone could do this.

I would additionally also check all currency:XBT and other to catch more problems like this.

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Maybe this has to do with the cooperation discussed a few months ago?

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Oh, you are right. And seems like nothing changed since then (Sep 7):

I mean, they created the Tagging Instructions on Sep 24 but not in the OSM Wiki as for guidelines.

EDIT: I started a discussion on their github to let them know about the guidelines.

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It’s kind of hilarious that @Mateusz_Konieczny is the 5th “Top Supertagger” just from deleting all the junk they mapped :sweat_smile:

As a side to that, I have serious questions about their mass usage of tags like payment:lightning, payment:lightning_contactless, and payment:onchain to objects. For one, there’s zero way they can know that information in most cases. Especially if the payment is being done on chain or not. It’s also extremely suspect to call Lighting a payment method. People are still paying with Bitcoin whatever the particulars of the protocol it’s being sent with are. Hopefully that’s something that can be worked out in the process of dealing with the rest of this.

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Hi all,

I’m Nathan, one of the co-founders of the non-profit BTC Map.

Firstly, we are serious organisation with a small core team of people that have been active in the wider open data world for decades. We deeply appreciate the importance of OSM and of the community rules. Our commitment to OSM is also reflected with our recent sponsorship of the OSM Foundation.

Re this post, we should probably separate people’s concerns into the following:

  1. The automated Galoy data-load;
  2. Community organising;
  3. Bitcoin tagging

I’ll address these in turn.


1 - Galoy Data-load

For context, Galoy are a provider of community banking software with circa. 500 verified merchants using their Bitcoin payment infrastructure. They are separate to BTC Map, although clearly our missions are aligned.

The automated data load was clearly a mistake and it was absolutely right to roll-back their changeset. BTC Map will work more closely with them to ensure that their dataload meets the OSM guidelines for automated edits, if indeed this is the chosen path forward - we prefer manual edits that are individually verified.


2 - Community organising

Thanks for bringing this to our attention (again). We’ll create the appropriate wiki entry for our community this week and provide further guidance to our community, particularly around using community hashtags in edits and avoiding automation without consultation.

We updated the tagging guidance on the Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin and Payment wiki pages a while ago and so we believe these are in-sync with our own.

Despite the Galoy hiccup, the BTC Map community has been hard at work manually verifying (visiting, calling and emailing merchants) the large amount of stale data using the now deprecated payment:bitcoin tag. You can see the results with here - we have removed almost 1000 old tags, with the majority of those not being migrated to the new currency:XBT tag as they were verified as either not existing anymore or no longer accepting Bitcoin.

There is much more work to do, but we are slowly and surely getting on with it so that we have an up-to-date dataset that is maintainable by us and the wider OSM community.


3 - Bitcoin tagging

This is probably a longer conversation worthy of a separate thread (or on the original Bitcoin Tagging thread). The Bitcoin community (payment providers, merchants and users) certainly see the value in the Lightning payment tags as it describes how they can interact with Bitcoin network. This matters.

There is not “zero way” editors can know this. It is an important step in the verification process when talking with a payment provider or merchant.

We’ve tried to align with OSM norms when naming these and we are more than happy to take further guidance, but I think we need to move past whether they are useful or not as the people using them clearly think they are.


Please tag me in any future posts that you feel need our attention or email me at nathan@btcmap.org. These details will be on our newly created community organiser wiki page soon.

I’m sure there will be further hiccups in the future, but the intent of BTC Map and our community is to sanitise the stale data (not of our making) and work with the wider OSM community to make sure we have a solid and maintainable dataset for the future.

Cheers,

Nathan

PS. the Shadowy Supertaggers is a self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek joke. I wouldn’t take it too seriously, we certainly don’t!

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Sorry Nathan, but this isn’t completely true and I’m concerned about previous edits as well. One of your bigger contributors stated that:

I usually just check against Google Maps

and:

I would check against Google Maps. If the place is marked as open, it’s enough of proof imo

when another user of your community wrote:

I typed “Google” in the edit box in OSM once and it [another OSM user] yelled at me

the same user replied:

Yea, I wouldn’t mention Google in change set comments. There is no need to mention the source or to be too explicit, “Delete nonexistent place” should suffice

This seems very fishy to me. The “Organized Edits Guidelines” states that:

What NOT to do

  • Trying to hide activities or make them difficult to follow
  • being dishonest in discussions
  • specifying wrong sources.

the same user wrote:

I usually check the same location on Google Maps
Also, Google Maps provides a lot of fields which can be copied to OSM

Again, a user in your community wrote:

so should we just trust the submissions or try to verify somehow

to which you replied:

We should try and verify. Quick Google usually suffices.

Another github issue that proves that you partly use invalid sources with non-compatible licences as Google and Bitcoin Events to verify POIs: here
I would suggest you to stop relying on Google and Google Maps data as your source, and possibly deleting the data that comes from those sources that was already added to the OSM database.

Another problem I noticed is that some of your contributors do not reply to changeset comments while keeping editing on OSM and being active in your community. I quote the guidelines once again:

Contributors should respond to communication attempts made in good faith by other contributors.

The “Galoy hiccup” user didn’t replied publicly, but wrote in your community:

And now I just re-uploaded the Peruvian ones he deleted, 77 new nodes (half of the 154 they deleted)
So all 361 from the demo yesterday are back up and should be in a good state

This isn’t a collaborative behaviour in my opinion (such as this wiki edit war from today).
Maybe they have a now invalid email and/or they do not receive changeset comments e-mails notifications? Could you check it with them please?

The Github wiki has some problems as well. The wiki/Content page features a tutorial video for new mappers that explains that the changeset comments are meaningless. I would add a post scriptum to that video linking to this page: Good changeset comments - OpenStreetMap Wiki.

The wiki/Tagging Instructions page states that:

Points, not Ways

Please tag points and not ways. If ways already exist, consider adding a point in addition.

This goes against the One feature, one OSM element - OpenStreetMap Wiki principle. The same rule is wrote here: Cryptocurrency - OpenStreetMap Wiki

What this means in practice is that we advice using the currency=* on a point

As I also wrote in the Wiki discussion page, who is “we”? Where was this discussed? Some elements can totally be tagged as ways. Such as some shops in a gallery tagged as indoor=room, or a kiosk as building=kiosk, or a mall with building=retail ecc. You have an open issue about this, I don’t personally think it’s an issue. I think it would be easier for your map to render ways as well, not every mapper would like to see his surveyed area shifted into a less detailed node because of Bitcoin rendering.

Another problem from the GH Wiki is the suggestion to use survey:date=*. Some contributors use the same survey:date with the same day value for edits in 2-3 different continents. Maybe you want to change it with a source:date suggestion.

Anyway, I’m happy to read you will start following the guidelines, maybe you didn’t know about licences until now, you can read more about it here. You could also link this forum to your community so they have a broader community to ask questions about mapping if they have doubts and questions :slight_smile: I would also like to read more feedback from other users about the “prefer nodes over ways” hint that is wrote in the GH and OSM Wiki.

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Everything seems fishy if you frame it well enough. I am the person who gave the advice not to mention Google, and my intent was to avoid pointless political fights. It’s no secret that there are plenty of people in OSS communities who tend to get triggered by certain keywords, including “Google” and “Bitcoin”. I’m not a native speaker but “being yelled at” doesn’t look like it describes a productive encounter so I didn’t really dig any deeper into that particular situation and advised the mapper to avoid political keywords in the future. There is no grand conspiracy here, our comms are public and we’re acting in good faith.

I’m not aware of our involvement in editing this page. I might be wrong since I’m not used to the Wiki tools, but it looks like this paragraph existed long before we started working on improving that data set. It looks like this is the original author: kaartjesman | OpenStreetMap. Another related thread: Convert improper element types to Nodes · Issue #933 · teambtcmap/btcmap-data · GitHub

Regarding licensing and Google Maps, I just read the licensing page you mentioned and can’t say that I fully understand it, but here are my current thoughts:

  1. We obviously can’t suggest people to grab some additional data from Google Maps, encouraging that was my mistake and I’ll stop recommending that approach.
  2. Checking new submissions against Google Maps and any other third party sources doesn’t really look problematic to me, but I’m not a lawyer. It’s not like we’re exporting data from those sources, we’re just looking into different sources in order to check if they agree with a proposed submission. The goal is not to copy data, but to not proceed with the invalid data (if we’re talking about new submissions). This seems like a non-issue.
  3. We can probably add a check box in the submission form, forcing users to submit the data under OSM-compatible license, just to make things less ambiguous.
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You do it to hide real source of your data.

See for example Summit pizza · Issue #1046 · teambtcmap/btcmap-data · GitHub (archive)

How did you verify this?: Google maps

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Google - for mapping based on Google data it happens as it breaks our rules and is clearly unwanted and is clearly stated as unwanted. In case there is any doubt: mapping based on Google Maps is not acceptable and should be always reverted if spotted.

In case of contributors trying to hide it, all suspected edits should be reverted. The same goes for tainted datasets.

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The fact that you write that “it doesn’t really look problematic to me”, “This seems like a non-issue” and that you think that “Google” is a “political keyword” and telling another people to not use improper sources is a “pointless political fight” makes me think that you didn’t yet understood the problem. You even make sarcasm of it while keeping suggesting Google Maps as sanity check in your GitHub: “Looks good, but better to check the website and (blasphemous move) Google Maps”
To be honest I don’t trust the good faith thing much anymore.

We have a similar tool called https://www.onosm.org/
It creates notes with all the info, the same way as your GH issues, and they can be closed only after a survey by a local.
I don’t agree with you that a website is enough to add the place to the database. Most https://www.onosm.org/ notes have a website included in the info, yet we wait for a survey to add them.

If this is your approach, what you do seems more like a copy and paste in my opinion. OSM is a geographic database, and the coordinates of your GH issues are kinda problematic sometimes. A website can maybe confirm the existence of a place, but what about coordinates? Yesterday I took a look at the POIs added from the GH issues. I found restaurants in the middle of the road, butchers in the middle of nowhere in some grass area, a campsite node added 20 meters far from the same campsite already mapped as an area ecc. Aerial imagery would have been enough to understand there was no business there, yet they blindly copy-pasted coordinates because a website confirmed it presence.

If I was DWG I would keep an eye from now on people adding hundred of Bitcoin POIs all around the world in a short span of time.

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I only today was made aware of this thread.

Hi, I’m Kaartjesman. I’ve been working with various long time taggers of crypto. Most of those were Bitcoin Cash taggers as that is the chain which is actively aiming for in-shop presence and thus there is a real link with OSM. I’ve written the Cryptocurrency Wiki page based on those discussions. This was all before Nathan and Igor got involved with OSM.

To be blunt, I’m really surprised by the massive number of new nodes stating that those places accept currency:XBT, my experience is that for real usage its simply too expensive and vendors tend to get tricked into trying it and then after some time stop. Bitcoin (BTC) is simply not made for that.

Fun fact, just this week there was a very notable (and trusted) Bitcoin person that tweeted about the most used Lightning wallet not actually using the Lightning Network. Undermining yet another point where people actually visiting those stores would know. Fact is, they would not.

So, I do agree with the various respected openstreetmap people on this thread, that those edits and choice of tags are against most guidelines and I suspect that OpenStreetmap is used to produce fake numbers, for support of their failing narrative.

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To add,

we have in my country a payment terminal company which has had a lot of Bitcoin vendors. Their website still shows most of them, even though the majority stopped accepting it over the years.

Point is, you have to go to the actual location to find the right info. Adding such location Just because some logo on a website is not following the OSM guidelines.

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Hi all,

@kaartjesman - Let’s not decend into a CrYptO culture war here. Whether you see Bitcoin (and particularly Lightning) as valuable or not is irrelevant for this discussion. Merchants are using the Lightning network globally as a real-time payment network.

I think it is important to clarify that we are not scraping data from Google. The data we want isn’t even on Google. In no way is Google the “real source of our data”.

We are asking people to submit merchants that they know accept Bitcoin (or, just as importantly, no longer accept it) and we are then asking our community to verify that information. Some people have used Google to help with the verification of some information for some places. Let’s not blindly extrapolate; this is not fair to our community members who are taking ownership of a crappy dataset and putting in real effort to improve it. Yes there will be mistakes, but we are materially improving the quality of the data. We now have 51 communities from around the world helping out with local verification.

That said, we clearly need to improve our verification guidance and we are always open to constructive feedback from the wider OSM community.

We will take the following measures based on your feedback:

  1. Improve our verification guidance.
  2. Instruct our taggers to discard any submissions mentioning Google Maps as a verification source. Those submissions are tiny fraction of the total submissions.
  3. Find all submissions mentioning Google Maps and re-verify the information using different sources.

If you think there are additional measures we should be taking then please let me know and we will consider them. Please try to stay constructive and focussed.

Re the point on ‘Nodes not ways’. We copied this guidance from the Crytocurrency page on the assumption that this was the consensus. This is clearly not the case and so we will remove this from our guidance immediately.

@ivanbranco - Thanks for the QA. Are you able to provide the node IDs so that we can improve these locations? I think a remember adding the butchers on myself. It is a farm that sells direct to the public. The owner of the farm provided the coordinates. I will double check these with the owner.

Cheers,

Nathan

Please also read and follow Import/Guidelines - OpenStreetMap Wiki before pasting entire database into OSM again (either in one edit or split into multiple edits).

And note that objects like Node History: 10184351658 | OpenStreetMap without info what kind of POI is supposed to be there are incomplete (is it a pet shop? bank?)

Also, objects with no presence on the ground (online-only shop without any place that can be visited by customers) are not mappable in OSM. If it has an office used by employees it is mappable, but not with payment tags.

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Yep, there were clearly mistakes with the Galoy load, which we are now working with them on to rectify. Anything without a POI type is largely useless and should be dismissed.

We are aware of the on-the-ground presence. Indeed, we are weeding these out as we verify. 59 rejected so far.

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I would also require stating source.

Case where someone is not stating source because they know that Google Maps they used as source is forbidden should also be rejected.

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This is the intent of our “how did you verify this” question, but we will tighten the language here and define what we deem is acceptable.

I will re-iterate that we can not use Google Maps as a source as it doesn’t have the information we are looking for.

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This deflection feels scripted.

I bring up experience that most of us share (adoption tends to be short term), experiences that can be verified on the ground. Your reply tried to undermine this by bring up heavy words like “culture war”.

Your statement on what merchants are actually using is then just falling from the sky again.

A couple of months ago there was a 3000 people conference in Amsterdam, specifically for Bitcoin (BTC). The organizers stated afterwards, with pride, that they registered 2000 Bitcoin transactions during the 2 day event. For things like coffee etc.

Let that sink in; less than one transaction per person made for a 2 day conference for your coffee, for your snacks or anything else.

This has nothing to do with “culture war”. This is relevant information that highlights that the OSM data can’t possibly be correct. It is off by an order of magnitude from reality.

It is not “culture war” to point out that the mapping here has the nice side effect of creating numbers which could be used to counter such common knowledge of lack-of-adoption. I personally don’t think its fair for all the people that can actually claim to be openstreetmap supporters to be used like this.

Please, Nathan, stop abusing OSM.

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I’d say this isn’t good enough.

It would be good enough if the trust wasn’t already lost. It would be good enough if we had not noticed that a large percentage of merchants are obviously invalid. Would we be checking in real life, how many more would be invalid?

These questions you pose now just invite people to lie better. I see no reason to believe they will cause those mappers to become honest. What makes you think they would become honest?

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