[Talk-us] Help fight advertising in OSM


over the past year or so, I have recreationally hunted down advertising on OSM and removed it. In many cases it's a clear-cut situation (there were cases where advertising borders on vandalism, with whole streets being named after a business), but there have also been situations where a local mapper had diligently copied a business's sales slogan into the description tag and was then upset to see this removed.
As more and more SEO firms start dumping their stuff onto OSM (and here I am not talking about those who actually talk to us and listen, but those who don't care), this is becoming a fight that needs to be fought by the community as a whole.
With this posting I'd like to start a wider discussion about advertising; the reason it goes to talk-us is that the USA are more strongly targeted by SEO companies and at the same time the community there is still not as big and watchful as in other regions of interest to spammers, leading to a relatively high volume of unwanted advertising in the US.
 General rant about advertising
I'll make this short as it's likely the most opinionated part of this message. Advertising illustrates a lot of what has gone wrong in western societies. There's a war on over attention, and most people are affected by it throughout their daily lives - even if you run an adblocker, you won't be immune to the attention-grabbing design of web sites and apps and games. The films you watch on TV will deliver content that fits snugly around the ad breaks. Advertising has crept into the home, into schools and kindergartens. Advertising calls you on the phone. Advertising's very mission is not to make your life better, but take your mind away from what matters, and making you want something. Advertising harms rational thought, self-determination, wellbeing, and the environment.
 Advertising != information
It is information if you say "there's a supermarket here named so-and-so, and they are open at this time, and this is their telephone number, and they sell these products". It is advertising if the products or services are described in a way designed to make this particular vendor stand out, or designed to make you want to buy. A list of products or services can already venture into the world of advertising. Example: "Sells ice cream and milk shakes" - not advertising. "Sells chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream, homegrown blueberry ice cream, and caramel fudge ice cream" - this is getting dangerously close to advertising (do you taste it in your mouth already?). "City's premier spot for delicious organic ice creams, prepared on the premises by our Italian chef", well.
 Rant about advertising in OSM
Advertising is often added to OSM in blatant disregard for what we want; for those adding advertising to OSM, we are just another vehicle to carry their marketing message across. More precisely, you will usually have a business crafting a marketing message, asking another business to "manage their online visibility" for a small fee, and that business then exploits cheap labour in a sweatshop somewhere on the planet to add the marketing message to OSM (and Google Plus, and Facebook, and all the yellow pages they can find). Data added to OSM this way consists of a factual part (name and type of business, address, opening hours), and an advertising part (usually in the "note" or "description" tag, and/or in changeset comments and user profiles).
The advertising part itself has no place in OSM, but even the factual part is often buggy in a number of ways:
* the address tags don't follow OSM conventions (suite/unit number added to addr:street, abbreviations in street names) * the placement of the node is wrong (in the middle of the road, clustered in the desert or on another continent due to some geocoding cock-up) * the placement of the node violates the copyright of whatever gecoder was used to generate it * the node doesn't have a tag that describes what it is, in OSM terms (no "shop" or "amenity" or "office" or anything - or at best some generic office=company tag) * the node doesn't actually signify any relevant walk-in business but is just put there to publish an URL or phone number (witness recent locksmith scam) * the node uses other unsuitable tags like "Keywords", "Services offered", "Category", or incorrect opening hours)
Such advertising is regularly added by accounts created solely for the purpose of adding one single business, and the accounts will usually have a name derived directly from the business name, and will never reply to any attempt at contacting them. In very rare cases it might be an actual business owner adding themselves to the map, but in the overwhelming number of cases it's just professional spammers.
Advertising also distorts the quality of OSM. If a mapper maps an area, they will most likely add *all* doctors they encounter and not just those who happen to pay money to an online visibility enhancement firm. If we allow advertisers to flood OSM with POIs, even *if* they had none of the flaws above, OSM would still lose its appeal of being made by locals who know best.
 What should I do?
Advertising has no place in OSM. If you encounter advertising, you have a few options:
* Contact the mapper responsible and politely ask them to fix it and/or stop adding advertising. In most cases, since these are throwaway accounts created by professional spammers, you won't receive a response but when in doubt, try it.
* Leave the factual information in place, remove only the advertising. I recommend to do this only if the factual information seems correct and meaningful and at the right place; if the factual information is only a name and an address, ask yourself: Should *you* be the one who completes the SEO company's job for them, or rather delete the whole business?
* Remove the node altogehter - recommended if the tagging is buggy.
* Use the business contact information provided to call/email them and ask which SEO firm they have paid to add data to OSM, and explain how this volunteer project is damaged by the actions of the SEO firm and that this also tarnishes the business reputation. Recommended if you like a little fight; some SEO operations have already been stopped from abusing OSM that way.
* Should we have some MapRoulette task or OSMCha automatism or OSMI view to detect potential advertising?
 Examples of advertising in OSM
I've made a list of roughly 1750 nodes in the US, sorted by state, that look suspiciously like advertising. The list is algorithmically generated and almost certainly has the odd false positive, where a mapper simply described where exactly the rare tree is hidden and my algorithm thought this must be advertising, or where something really is just a harmless description of products offered. The list is certainly not exhaustive; I'm sure that using Overpass to search for tell-tale SEO signs you can come up with may more.
The data is in CSV format with the columns:
If you're in the mood, grab a few and kick out the most outrageous abuses of OSM. And maybe we can establish ways to make this a habit in the project. Ideas welcome!
I wanted to include the list here but that would probably have condemned this message to spam filters, hence:
You will be surprised about the breadth of marketing blurb that has already crept into OSM.
Bye Frederik 

Koniec Ficovej éry neznamená, že prichádza raj – Denník N – Tri riziká a päť poučení z rokov s Ficom.


Ficova éra bola plná korupcie a škandálov. Najväčší problém však je v tom, že postupne ovládol štát až tak, že neexistuje situácia, v ktorej by sa Fico a jeho ľudia nemohli rozhodovať, či zasiahnu, alebo nechajú úradníkov konať, ako majú. Volá sa to únos štátu a Fico ho dotiahol do fázy, že štát je už zviazaný v kúte a čaká sa len na výkupné.

Teraz sme na konci tejto éry. Je dôležité, aby sme si povedali, aké sme sa za Fica naučili lekcie a aké riziká nám hrozia na ceste k normálu, lebo tá bude ešte dlhá a nebezpečná.

Základné poučenie je, že ísť do ulíc a povedať svoj názor má zmysel. Tu je ďalších päť z Ficovej éry:

1. Toto nie je zlyhanie strán. Ponúka sa to ako najjasnejšia reakcia: tradičné strany definitívne zlyhali. Už sa im nedá veriť. Je to omyl. Aj strany môžu byť iné ako Smer. Poučenie zo Smeru nie je v tom, že sa to so stranami nedá, naopak. Nedá sa to so stranami, ktoré iba bezbranne poslúchajú, čo povie predseda, a ešte horšie, ktoré ani nevedia, kto ich financuje a čo si za to pýta späť. Strany sú naďalej najlepšou cestou, ako zabezpečiť demokraciu: teda vôľu voličov pretaviť do riadenia štátu a to tak, aby si jednotlivci nekradli právo hovoriť v mene celých skupín voličov.

2. Pozor na nezávislosť inštitúcií. Fico a Kaliňák nám ukázali, aké dôležité je neopustiť políciu a prokuratúru. Mali množstvo korupčných škandálov, ale žiaden sa nevyšetril. Buď preto, že poslušní policajti a prokurátori vyšetrovanie hneď zastavili, alebo preto, že ak aj ich konanie vzbudilo pohoršenie verejnosti, inšpekcia nič nenašla. Ako by aj mohla, keď vnútornú kontrolu mal totálne v rukách opäť len ten istý Kaliňák. Ministerka Žitňanská to chcela zmeniť a pripravila už aj zákon. Teraz sa musí stať realitou a verejnosť musí na jeho dodržiavanie tlačiť.

3. Nezabudnime na zabudnutých. Nejde len o Bašternáka a Kočnera. Nezabudnime na Moldavu nad Bodvou. Súčasťou Ficovho režimu bolo aj pošliapanie práv menšín. Obeťou ich populizmu a útokov boli utečenci, ale najmä Rómovia. Policajti ich bijú, urážajú a obviňujú bez dôkazov. A nikdy sa nemýlia. Aj to dovoľoval Kaliňákov systém ovládnutia bezpečnostných zložiek. Uniforma má vždy pravdu, potom je ochotná aj hrať sa na slepého, keď kradne sám Kaliňák.

4. Nekradol len Smer. V nadšení z Ficovho konca nám hrozí, že zabudneme na korupčné škandály Mosta-Híd a SNS. Najmä SNS je naďalej strakou, ktorá ukradne všetko, čo je k dispozícii. Ich nebezpečenstvo je o to väčšie, že sú ochotní to robiť aj v prípadoch, ktoré nespôsobujú len materiálne škody, ale ťahajú Slovensko späť k Rusku, ako to bolo pri armádnych tendroch na novú techniku, ktorá mala byť prechodom na Západ.

5. Súdy sú stále slepé. Nie len Ústavný súd sa za Fica stal odkladiskom bývalých biednych politikov a ich poskokov. Ani tejto vláde sa nepodarilo urobiť z justície nezávislú silu, ktorá je schopná korigovať úlety politikov a ich ľudí. Bez takejto zmeny sa už nepohneme.

Ficov koniec však nebude automaticky znamenať rozprávku. Ani súčasná opozícia nie je zárukou, že výsledkom bude viac demokracie, slobody a spravodlivosti. Je to odkaz aj pre prezidenta Andreja Kisku. Ficov koniec nie je ospravedlnenkou na odchod. Toto je len začiatok a Kiska by nemal utiecť.

Tu sú riziká, ktoré nám hrozia:

1. Extrémisti budú rásť. Znechutenie z Fica môže veľa ľudí priviesť k myšlienke, že demokracia zlyhala a na všetku tú korupciu môže zabrať iba tvrdá ruka. Je to nebezpečný omyl. Fašisti ako Kotleba totiž poriadok ani koniec korupcie neprinesú. Najlepším príkladom sú županské roky Kotlebu v Bystrici. A okrem toho ohrozia aj všetko to dobré na súčasnom režime: obmedzia slobody, práva aj demokraciu. Ak Fico uniesol štát, oni by ho hneď zrušili a zavreli do koncentráku.

2. Mafiáni sú aj medzi nepriateľmi Fica. Koniec premiéra, ktorý si do svojho tímu zobral milenku talianskeho mafiána a jeho obchodného partnera a ktorý dodnes chváli ministra vnútra, čo podnikal s Bašternákom a sám býva v jeho byte, ešte neznamená, že tí druhí budú mafiánov zatvárať. Boris Kollár s mafiánmi vyrastal a rozumie im lepšie ako demokratom. Richard Sulík si v krízovej situácii pýtal rady od Mariána Kočnera. Koniec Fica mafiánov mohol prekvapiť, lebo prišiel nečakane a celý pád trval dva týždne, ale oni sa otrepú. Iba naozaj nezávislá polícia a prokuratúra môže zabezpečiť, aby sa mafia znovu nedostala až priamo do úradu vlády.

3. Nevyhrali sme. Demokracia je nekonečný boj. Prehry a pády sú jej neoddeliteľnou súčasťou. Fico, Kaliňák a Gašpar sa stali symbolmi našej lenivosti. Ak do nej znovu padneme, budeme znovu nešťastní. Ficov koniec neznamená automaticky dokonalý raj. Znovu a znovu zažijeme večery, keď čakáme pred monitorom na tlačovku Bélu Bugára, či sa rozhodne byť lojálny koaličný partner alebo zodpovedný politik zodpovednej strany. Voľby sú našou šancou nenechať to iba na nich. A potom už iba neupadnúť na štyri roky do zimného spánku.

Fico a Kaliňák skončili. Skutočná robota sa však iba začína. Nesmieme dovoliť, aby do volieb poupratovali všetky svinstvá, ktoré napáchali. Nesmieme dovoliť, aby v úradoch zabetónovali svojich ľudí. Vraždy Jána Kuciaka a Martiny Kušnírovej sa musia naozaj vyšetriť a ich vrahovia aj objednávatelia vraždy sa musia potrestať. A stále platí: ani slušný odchod neznamená, že škandály Fica, Kaliňáka, Počiatka, Gajdoša, Danka, Matečnej a vôbec všetkých, ktorí robili komparz vo Ficovej ére, teda aj Bélu Bugára a jeho ľudí, sa zabudnú. Naopak. Musia sa vyšetriť a potrestať. A to aj tie, ktoré sa stali pred vraždou Jána Kuciaka a Martiny Kušnírovej. Inak sa to všetko neskončilo a sme stále s nimi v rukách štátu, ktorý je mafiánsky.

Content of bible

TAKE THE BIBLE... Take the Bible as your geography book and you’ll miss 99% of the world. Take the Bible as your history class and you’ll be bottom of the class. Take the Bible as your biology book and you’ll get no marks at all. Take the Bible as your cosmology book and you’ll know less than nothing. Take the Bible as your medical book and you’ll be sued for malpractice. Take your Bible as your military ethics guide and you’ll be sued for war crimes. Take your Bible as your childcare book and your children will be taken away. Take the Bible as your law book and you’ll end up in jail. Take the Bible as your human rights book and you’ll be tried at The Hague. So, yes take the Bible, take it as far away as possible. And leave it there.