[Tagging] The current problem with tagging

Peteris Krisjanis pecisk at gmail.com
Sun Oct 18 17:30:06 BST 2009

2009/10/18 David Earl <david at frankieandshadow.com>:
> On 18/10/2009 14:53, Anthony wrote:
>> On Sun, Oct 18, 2009 at 8:32 AM, David Earl <david at frankieandshadow.com> wrote:
>>> On 18/10/2009 12:01, John Smith wrote:
>>>> That's a good point, having some kind of API for tags would make it
>>>> possible to have translations with very little extra effort from a
>>>> programming point of view.
>>> Indeed. See my message from earlier this month:
>>> http://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk/2009-October/043340.html
>> I'd go further than that, and only allow tags marked as "experimental"
>> (for instance by prepending "X-") to be used without an open
>> discussion and approval by a team of experts.  There are some really
>> ugly inconsistencies in the OSM tagging scheme, and without expert
>> help these inconsistencies are going to get worse and worse.
> The discussions over the last few months indicate a lot of people feel
> there needs to be a more formal tag approval process.

I think not a lot, but majority. Most of us want consistent map data,
even that "another camp".

> The problem is there is an equally strong feeling from another camp of
> people who think exactly the opposite, that tagging should be a
> completely free activity which converges on solutions by consensus and
> popularity. (I get the impression most such contributors have stopped
> even trying to take part in discussions, and just get on with it. Many
> won't have subscribed to this list).

As far as I see, problem is not that they don't want to have tags
already defined. They just don't want to get themselves to be dragged
into very long acceptance process. And they have a point - serious
mapping can be very time consuming already and when your free time is
limited, you vote for short-term gain - what is simply mapping fun.

However, I think there is nor problem nor conflict at all - simply
people who cares for tagging works on that and outputs results like
proposed and accepted features, etc. I think other mappers will use
these tags sooner or later.

> Which is why I am seeing if we can find a middle way: one that makes
> tags more accessible and manageable in automated fashion, but doesn't
> limit people's freedom to innovate and suggest by example.

No, that would be hard to achieve and in fact no one wants that. I
really doubt that 'mappers for fun' really want freedom to tag as they
want - they want their data to be usable, don't they? They just don't
want to think about it. If there's someone already done all thinking
and voting process, why not use tags already offered by them? They
want to a) map it b) throw data in OSM c) tag it and be done.

What we need is - this list where all people who cares about tagging
(and it already shows that most tagging decissions will be made in
this part of community) and some kind of wiki book 'OSM Mapping for
dummies' where could be collected know-hows and howtos (how example to
tag crossroads) in good editorial quality.


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