I joined OSM a few months ago ago, and have since been plodding along gradually filling in the detail in my local area.
Suddenly, some quite strange edits have appeared. First from a new user who made two changesets. One of the edits was a “park” given the name “nature reserve”. I duly looked up how to tag a nature reserve, and changed the tags. But I wondered where the information came from. The “nature reserve” is visible on the aerial view as a small, rectangular, possibly-wooded area, surrounded by back gardens. On visiting the area, I couldn’t see any access to the “park” or “nature reserve” except through people’s back gardens. (In fact the back gardens were included in the “park” until I changed it.)
I left a comment on the changeset but got no response.
A week later, more edits appeared, under a different (new) user name but looking (from the kind of mistakes) as though they were made by the same person. A lot of green areas were tagged leisure=common, most looking unlikely to a common. For example one of them is a school playing field surrounded by two high fences with a hedge between. One addition was a footway tagged as being 50m wide (it’s actually more like a service road, and is about 3m wide). Several others were various amenities with the entire site tagged as a building. In a couple of cases, the adjacent road had been pulled out of shape, having become attached to a corner of said “building”. A few more gave names to things which almost certainly don’t have names, such as the playground in a park (it was given the name of the park plus the word" Playground").
Initially I thought these were just clumsy edits by someone who’s not had much practice, but now I’m beginning to wonder, since there seems to be a view around that edits like these are typical symptoms of Pokemon infestation. I’ve done some repair work where I could, but should I really be asking someone to revert the edits instead? Some of them seem to contain real information (eg postcodes) and some seem to show what the mapper would like to be there—they want everything green to be a park or common— or thinks the aerial view shows.
Some people have convinced themselves that OSM data is being used by Niantic to influence “spawning sites” (or whatever they’re called) in Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go mappers have been adding things like parks, lakes and footpaths, and unfortunately some of these are fictional or semi-fictional.
You can see some more about the Pokemon side of things here:
Generally speaking, if you see someone making erroneous edits, you try to help them via changeset discussion comments (as you did here) and they still carry on, let the Data Working Group know (disclaimer - I’m a member). The group email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . Let us know as much detail as you can about the problem and we’ll be able to take action against the user if necessary.
Of course, Pokemon Go users are almost without exception new users to OSM, and new OSM users will make mistakes (I know I did), so it helps to keep all communications friendly and explain what you mean in words that a new mapper will understand - for example don’t use geometrical terms like “self intersection”.