OSM mapping -- factual or legal?

Hello all,

I am writing this to clarify what is the OSM approach to mapping – do we map things from real life as they are (beautiful or not), or do we map the things are they should be in perfect world (so it is our projection, or wishes for the world)?

The question is triggered by one place, which if I remember correctly is subject to edit, removal, edit, removal, and this is because there is path which should not exist (because it is dangerous and illegal), yet it exists and it will exist for sure, because simply life finds it ways to avoid shortcomings of local authorities.

I am in the camp, that such path should be mapped, because it simply exists, people are using it, it is visible (grass is trod down). The other camp obviously does not share my opinion, and I just found out the path was deleted because “it is illegal”. Of course it is deleted in OSM, not in real life.

There is yet another angle for it: thanks for the mapper who added such path in other place I was able to get to my destination in timely fashion. Same case – formally path is illegal, dangerous, and yet ton of people is using it because it is useful.

So… what is the guideline here?

Background info (in those cases): it is about “wild” railway crossing (on foot), but the question is in general sense.

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Ce sujet de discussion accompagne la publication sur https://community.openstreetmap.org/t/osm-mapping-factual-or-legal/97826