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Is there any guidelines or policies on what can go in the change set description or OSM Notes? Recently I have seen some notes that look more like a brochure than a description of a map feature/object. Similarly, I saw a change set containing promotional information for a commercial entity. What should one do about such promotional information added to the OSM data?


asked 29 Dec '13, 08:06

BlueTiger's gravatar image

accept rate: 30%

closed 29 Dec '13, 12:27

The question has been closed for the following reason "The question is answered, right answer was accepted" by BlueTiger 29 Dec '13, 12:27

This is an interesting question, but IMHO there is (currently) no definitive answer. I will try to summarize what I know so far and might apply here:

  • "Map what's on the ground", "Verifiability" seem to be OSM words for what Wikipedians call 'neutral point of view'. So a company should only share informations at OSM, that are objective and can be verified. "best hotel ever!!!" is definitly not, but address, website and contacts are.

  • Says the messages should not be to general or personal/subjective. So a company advertising "big big business!!!" is definitly wrong, while a local store that submits it's position, the type and a weblink can be ok.

  • Lists various companies that help people to add their POIs to OSM. I guess they are experienced in how the community work to avoid spamming for their customers. Anyway, there is no kind of 'codex' etc. on how to behave and what to do/avoid while contributing and keeping customer data.

More: AFAIK most of the website uses robots.txt and nofollow directives to avoid that link spamming makes sense. Anyway, some tools/apps use description=* field and might trigger on that spam. In heavy uses, you might consider contacting the data workinggroup to fight against this antisocial behaviour, if the author doesn't react on direct messages.

P.S. If you like to add the antispamming-clause here, feel free to :)!i!/What_a_company_should_never_do

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answered 29 Dec '13, 10:14

iii's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%


Thank you iii for the information.

"Map what's on the ground" is a good enough reason to remove the promotional materials from the descriptions and notes.

(29 Dec '13, 12:26) BlueTiger

The changeset comment is solely for describing the edit; putting information about how great a business is in the changeset comment is spam and will lead to the account being investigated and likely terminated.

Information about businesses is ok in OSM as long as it remains factual. This may include contact details like a phone number or web site or even a free-form tag that describes what the business does, but advertising is not acceptable. See also "How to add the tag payment:bitcoin=yes in an OpenStreetMap editor for the CoinMap?"

If a normal mapper occasionally adds inappropriate content then you can point this out to them, and ask them to remove it - or remove it yourself if they don't respond. If however you have the impression that an account, or a series of accounts, has been created solely for adding inappropriate advertising to OSM, please email with your findings.

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answered 29 Dec '13, 10:18

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%

edited 29 Dec '13, 10:19

Thank you Frederik Ramm.

(29 Dec '13, 12:21) BlueTiger

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question asked: 29 Dec '13, 08:06

question was seen: 3,564 times

last updated: 29 Dec '13, 12:27

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