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Someone near me made some bad edits, and they've damaged the map. I think they should be banned and their edits reverted. What can I do, or who can I talk to about this?

asked 15 Jul '10, 09:24

Matt's gravatar image

accept rate: 33%

edited 15 Jul '10, 09:28


Banning won't help much because registering again is very easy. Moreover it makes it harder to track subsequent vandalism attempts if the user name constantly changes.

(23 Oct '13, 15:11) scai ♦

It is a good idea to first discuss the matter with other mappers in the region - an extra pair of eyes cannot hurt.

If you determine that this indeed looks like vandalism, you should first contact the user who has made the changes. In doing so, always assume good faith; it is possible that the user thought that he was in some kind of "play mode" and his changes would not be recorded, or perhaps he simply logged into an editor somewhere and forgot to log out when leaving the machine, and someone else played around with it. Over 90% of suspected vandalism cases turn out to be some form of misunderstanding.

Instead of "STOP VANDALISING OUR MAP YOU IDIOT!!!!" write to them something along the lines of: "Dear user, some recent edits of yours in the XYZ area seem to be wrong, or look as if someone has been playing. Is it possible that you accidentally saved some test edits, or that someone else used your account? I would be glad if you could review the changes and correct or undo them. If you need help with that, contact me."

(Edit: If at all possible, use the new "changeset discussion" feature introduced in 2014 to contact the user because then your comment is visible to other people who will then know that the mapper has already been contacted - in contrast to a private message which is not publicly recorded.)

If the user replies and asks for help, then help him reverting the changes or find someone who can. Some users may also require some consolation because they are ashamed of having broken things.

If the user does not reply within a reasonable time (take into account that they might be on vacation or not checking their mail every day), or refuses to cooperate (or even continues to break things), you can take the matter to the OSMF data working group by emailing Be sure to include all necessary information; the data working group does not have access to your Inbox/Outbox so you will have to copy any relevant communication with the user.

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answered 15 Jul '10, 09:59

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%

edited 12 May '15, 06:49

If the vandalism is real (which means after contacting the people), do the reverts and watch this user yourself. By experience, we have seen that we cannot rely on the data working group (DWG) which is too small and is focusing on copyright infrigements.

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answered 15 Jul '10, 23:20

Pieren's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

edited 21 Feb '11, 09:38


Funny to see that negative votes on this answer are coming from DWG members !

(23 Oct '13, 14:36) Pieren

… although it should be noted that one should only do reverts themselves if one does know what the used tools do, how one would deal with edits to the objects after the vandalism, conflicts and so on.

(23 Oct '13, 14:53) aseerel4c26 ♦

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question asked: 15 Jul '10, 09:24

question was seen: 21,180 times

last updated: 12 May '15, 06:49

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum