[Tagging] Data redundancy with "ref" tag on ways vs relations

Chris Hill osm at raggedred.net
Wed Aug 1 19:35:18 BST 2012

On 01/08/12 18:41, "Petr Morávek [Xificurk]" wrote:
> Frederik Ramm wrote:
>> Tools must serve mappers. Everything in OSM must be geared towards
>> making contribution easy for mappers. Anything else is secondary;
>> consumers are totally unimportant.
> I think, this is the point on which we fundamentally disagree.
> Consumers and data usability is important as well. It's not always easy
> to walk the thin line between the needs and preferences of contributors
> and consumers, but we should try to.
> I mean, what's the point of producing the data, if they are unusable or
> really hard to use? If we go down this road, we should employ a bunch of
> monkeys that will bang into the keyboards and produce more data for OSM.
> Who cares those data are unusable? The consumers are totally unimportant
> as long as the monkeys contribute to the project.
As a lowly monkey who contributes and a super important consumer who 
uses the data I know that most people who make grand statements about 
how important it is to have consistent data have never actually tried to 
seriously use any OSM data. As soon as you do use the data you realise 
that some kind of preprocessing to extract what you are interested in is 
always required. You write that code once and use it again and again so 
dealing with anomalies in the data becomes easy - really. How would we 
render maps, write editors, routers, data analysis or any other stuff 
with the existing data if it was so hard to do? Of course my maps, 
analysis and other outputs would be very small without the monkeys, as 
you call us, adding data.

Discussions are useful and can be fun, but real proposals need to be 
grounded in reality. The reality is that OSM has to focus on mappers. 
Data consumers have to accept what they are given. You will find it's 
not as hard as you think. If the product you write ignores people's 
(sorry monkeys') work and they want it to appear they will adapt or ask 
you to adapt and if you are smart enough to understand that computers 
are a tool for people, not the other way round, you will sometimes respond.
> Having the data in more or less usable state is important makes it
> easier to build new amazing tools and projects upon them. And these
> projects are vital for OSM - just ask yourself, what was the initial
> reason for starting to contribute to OSM?
> Was it something like "Hey, we're crunching a bunch of geo data into
> this big database called OSM, wanna join us?"
> Or was it something like "Hey, look at this map/navigation SW/..., isn't
> it great? What? Your house's not there? But look, you can add it simply software writer
> like this."
> Data consumers and their projects are crucial in attracting new
> contributors, that's why we shouldn't make it unnecessarily complicated
> for them and say that they are "totally unimportant".
Data consumers are important, but never at the expense of OSM's most 
precious resource: mappers. Complex tagging schemes, restrictions on 
what to tag and bots that change people's work to homogenise nuanced 
data are sure to drive mappers away. Without them data consumers will be 
whistling in the wind.

Cheers, Chris
user: chillly

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