[Tagging] landuse:illegal and illegal:yes/no

Peter Gervai grinapo at gmail.com
Wed Mar 30 08:00:18 BST 2011


On Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 02:59, Serge Wroclawski <emacsen at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 10:46 AM, Peter Gervai <grinapo at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 15:21, Bill Ricker <bill.n1vux at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Under the usual rule-of-thumb, to map what's visible on the ground
>>> (signed or built),
>> Like smoothness=, incline=, etc?
> Those are simple, measurable things.

First, it's not simple and measurable, at least I really wonder how
many of us measured an incline which isn't signed (I have tried, takes
time and a bit of math, and I don't even play it for most of the

Second, both, but especially smoothness (and all subjective tags,
since I personally find smoothness very useful and informative)
depends on the judgement of the mapper. I think it is normal to expect
mappers to have common sense and good judgement, which is the base of
all the mapping activities anyway. We usually decide what's a track
and what's a path, whether a road is service or residential or simply
unclassified, et cetera. All are pretty subjective.

And third: they're not "physical objects", they are attributes, which
was my point here.

> "illegal use" is not as easily measurable in the same way.It's similar
> to proposals to classify places as "dangerous".

Indeed similar. And I agree in both that it cannot be measured (like
smoothness or grade type or mtb grade) and there is no easy way to
standardise. But I do not think this makes it somehow exceptionally
unusual in the OSM environment.

>>> "Illegal use", in those words or similar. (Or tagged so by a suitably
>>> free Govt GIS file.)
>> Incidentally sometimes that's the case, as it turned out.
> I think there are so many reasons why this tag is a bad idea it's
> almost not worth bringing any individual reasons.

Such "blocking" comments are not really very cooperative. If you cite
those so many reasons they might be accepted or rejected, but nobody
can help you with those theoretical "so many reasons". I've heard very
good ones against the tag, and some which simply required a bit more
specification, but I cannot do anything about the "so many reasons"
you just mentioned. :-)

(Of course it's probably not useful to reiterate that what's been already said.)

>>> Anything else, an OSM member is making a value judgment and OSM is
>>> publishing it as a fact, which has legal consequences in most
>>> countries. OSM has a legal entity in UK which is democracy most
>>> favorable to libel tourists, where Truth is NOT a defense. (The new
>>> coalition gov't is looking at reform but don't bet you assets on it.)
>> But then you can be sued on virtually anything, like stating there is
>> a road when the owner thinks otherwise, or state its smoothness as
>> "horrible" which is clearly offensive, etc. Obviously it's quite
>> acceptable if you request the addendum for this tag not to be used in
>> the UK. :-)
> Let's not resort to hyberbole.

The original comment stated a theoretical problem which I may find
very unlikely to happen, and I believe it's probably the same
probability that someone (like a local gov't official) gets offended
that his pet road was called "horrible".

> If you saw something illegal, presumably you'd report it to the proper
> authority.

And again, you have been ignoring my comment about wording. If
"illegal" have the strong connection to "law" then please help me find
a word which conveys the same meaning but in the common sense view.

> For example, if I see waste water dumping, is this now illegal=yes?
> What if someone else doesn't think it's illegal? Now it has to go to
> court. And that's where it belongs.

What OSM does care about that? We tag the illegal dumping, so people
who like to avoid hiking in sewers wouldn't go there, or local cleanup
teams can filter on the objects and go after it, or whatever purpose
people can figure. If someone complains that it isn't illegal, I'd say
we probably happily remove the tag, and put a note that someone
claimed it, that's great, we fixed an object information with source.

If court decides its not illegal then great (if we know about it), we
remove the tag, even can reference the decision, and we made the map
better. If it was illegal then, hey, we were right.

The puspose is not to attribute that law decided something is not
legal, but to attribute things which are not what thy look like, or
things which shouldn't be there, etc. Again, you're most than welcome
to fix the wording.

> You can say "There is a pipe here with water coming out"- but illegal?

You have your decision making in your head. Why would you tag it as
illegal? For example if I see a concrete pipe which clearly 100 years
old I wouldn't, but when I see one hiding under bushes and clearly
built this spring I'd say it's hardly "legal", and I would give good
chance to courts say the same if they would care at all (which they
really don't, mind you).

> That's very subjective- it's why we have courts!

OSM will never go there and force the people to remove the pipe.
That's for the courts. But we can tell other walkersby about it.

>> But then again you are worried about the word and not its use, so
>> since you seem to be a genuine englishman, please utilise your native
>> vocabulary to suggest an alternative _word_ to use which conveys the
>> same meaning without suggesting that this status is defined by law
>> instead of common sense or otherwise. I'm no native English speaker so
>> you may be better suited to pick the proper word. (Prohibited and
>> debated was two suggestion which I didn't really like.)
> It's not the word that's the problem, it's the concept that's trying
> to be conveyed.

But all your mail talks about the word and its meaning, and completely
avoids "the concept that's trying to be conveyed". :-/


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