[Tagging] Tag:bicycle accident=true

Colin Smale colin.smale at xs4all.nl
Tue Aug 23 00:07:46 BST 2011

On 22/08/2011 18:50, M∡rtin Koppenhoefer wrote:
> 2011/8/17 Colin Smale<colin.smale at xs4all.nl>:
>> On 17/08/2011 12:19, Sander Deryckere wrote:
>>> It has a bad discription, it's a tag for a temporary feature  (at least
>>> how I interpret it) and it didn't go via the voting process.
>>> So I would just delete it and point the writer to the voting process.
>> Since when is the voting process mandatory?
>> I would guess that actually the majority of tags and values in current use
>> have not been formally discussed, let alone voted on. Discussions very often
>> just bleed to death anyway. The whole basis of OSM is "openness" - you can
>> use whatever tags you like. Discussion and voting is really required only if
>> you expect other consumers of the data to do something with your data, e.g.
>> map renderers or routing engines.
>> This is how it is; it doesn't mean I agree with it.
> IMHO you are wrong with some of your assumptions. Voting is not
> required for tags that are already established and widely in use, and
> it is not required to invent a tag or to use it, but it is required to
> set up a feature page (key / tag / mapfeatures) for a "not yet in
> wider use"-proposal. If you simply want to document that fancy new tag
> you just invented, why not set up a proposal page (nothing forces you
> to bring it actually to voting yourself)? This informs the other
> mappers that the suggestions on the page might not be generally agreed
> on.
I am always prepared to be proved wrong! My point is that all these tags 
which are *now* established and widely in use, probably got that way 
without discussion and documentation *in advance* but were simply taken 
into use by the early contributors and documented afterwards. After all, 
quoting tagstat to show how widely used your proposal already is, is 
used to support a proposal and presumably increase the chances of a 
positive vote. Evidence that the tag is not in widespread use is not 
beneficial to your proposal. Hence new tags are quietly introduced 
without discussion until there is such a critical mass of uses that a 
vote becomes winnable. Effectively tagging developments are determined 
by individuals; I see it as analagous to entrusting the implementation 
of a large company's IT systems to programmers, without effective 
oversight from architects, analysts and designers (no offence to 
programmers!) [1].

The question at hand, is whether the "inventor" of a brand-new tag 
should be encouraged to document his "invention" at an early stage, or 
whether he should be discouraged from doing so. My impression is that 
the OP favours discouragement (as others will start to follow the 
example, which may not be a good idea) whereas I favour early 
documentation and discussion BEFORE the usage gets so entrenched that it 
becomes accepted de facto. Then there will be some point to the vote.

The wiki currently clearly encourages early documentation [2]. On 
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Any_tags_you_like a Proposal is 
positioned as a way to get the renderers to do something with your tag. 
So I vote for leaving the guy alone, so long as he is not causing any 


[1] Disclosure of interest: I'm an IT Architect

[2] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Any_tags_you_like

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