Statement by the DWG on edit conflicts in Crimea
This resolution was voted on by email and therefore is not minuted in a regular meeting, and was urgent enough to not wait for the next meeting to post it.
The Data Working Group is reviewing the situation in Crimea, in particular the large number of recent edits changing names. At this time we do not believe that a revert of all name changes aids in accurately representing the situation on the ground going forward, but we are looking into the edits in more detail.
In the DWG's view there are three types of edits of concern here.
1. Edits to the administrative boundary for the region.
In the short-term Crimea shall remain in both the Ukraine and Russia administrative relations, and be indicated as disputed. We recognize that being in two administrative relations is not a good long-term solution, although the region is likely to be indicated as disputed for some time.
The DWG is aware that data consumers may have problems with the database indicating the region is part of two countries.
These edits should be avoided. They do not generally have the impact the user intended in the cases we have seen, as the tags added are not generally used by data consumers. addr:country should not be added to individual objects, or added from existing ones; instead the admin boundaries provide adequate indications of country status.
3. Edits changing place names between languages
The DWG views these as the most serious portion of the dispute. The "on the ground" rule remains the method of determining the appropriate value for the name tag. The name tag should only changed in response to a change of most of the signage, a change in what the inhabitants of the place call it, or to fix a place name that was previously incorrect. These changes must not be made on the basis of government declarations or similar statements, but only direct observations of the on the ground situation.
Given the nature of the dispute, it would be best to support any name changes with a photo of changed signs or similar evidence, but this is not required.
4. Other matters
Mechanical edits changing names or country information would require consensus from both the Ukrainian and Russian communities. It is unlikely that any such edit proposals will be able to achieve this.
Creating accounts for the purpose of controversial edits is strongly discouraged.
Changesets which change the language of names or attempt to edit which country something is in must use meaningful changeset comments, not an empty comment or the same comment copied for all changesets.
Edits ignoring the above may be reverted by the Data Working Group. If edits violating this are noticed and you cannot work it out with the user, please email email@example.com about the issue, remembering to include sufficient information to identify the edits in question, relevant correspondence with the user, and any evidence.