[Tagging] Tag approval process or its absence (was: Voting for Relation type=waterway)

Peter Wendorff wendorff at uni-paderborn.de
Mon Feb 20 22:15:20 GMT 2012

Partly that's true: non-standard tags are kind of the hell for coders, 
who have to implement lots of variants sometimes for similar information 
But I vote for doing that
1) only manually in the database, step by step.
2) only to add redundant tags automatically, not to remove the 
"deprecated" tags. Even that has to be done carefully and after a 
discussion, where the majority of the discussing people agree to the new 

There are very very very few tags, that have the same meaning. Often tag 
meanings intersect, and two variants can express similar or even the 
same issues, but on the other hand most often different meanings can 
occur in combination with third tags.
If it is possible to create a bot that "fixes" this, why not provide the 
part of a osmosis command chain to fix it in the preprocessing for 

Yes: we have to get rid of "old" or "deprecated" tags, but OSM does not 
know about "deprecation" - deprecated is, what's not in use anymore.
But as often: Use is the amount of work and the number of people knowing 
and using a tag, not the first bot using or deleting a special tag.

1) try to use the tags as they are, even with software
2) where it get's too cluttered, add your preferred tags redundant to 
the objects, keeping the other tags - and discuss this with the 
community before
3) speak with users, who add the "old" variant to convince them to use 
the new variant instead
4) speak to other software developers to support the new (and for editor 
software "deprecate" the old) variant.
5) Document it in the wiki: especially mention it in pages referring to 
the old scheme.

Overall: be careful at forcing a new tagging scheme, where a different 
one is in favour of the majority, and don't change documentation, as 
long as that's the case.


Am 20.02.2012 22:59, schrieb LM_1:
> 2012/2/20 Chris Hill<osm at raggedred.net>:
>> Flattening the tag structure by homogenising tags is destroying the fine
>> detail, sometimes carefully crafted by mappers and I will continue to speak
>> out against mass edits that attempt to do just that.
> I have to disagree. If the tag structure is not homogenised, it makes
> the data useless. Non-standard and/or undocumented tags are impossible
> to process in any reasonable way, even if they look perfectly complete
> and informative to human.
> The possibility of free tags is great, but once some tagging style
> proves as usable (and better than any other), it should become a
> standard and used exclusively (or be challenged by a better one
> later).
> Lukáš Matějka (LM_1)
> 2012/2/20 Chris Hill<osm at raggedred.net>:
>> On 19/02/12 23:38, Steve Bennett wrote:
>>> On Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 2:53 AM, Chris Hill<osm at raggedred.net>    wrote:
>>>> I do not agree with the whole basis of this thread.
>>>> There are no such things as approved tags, tagging is open and people are
>>>> free to use *any* tags they like.
>>> ...
>>>> Advertise your ideas and encourage acceptance. Show how well it works any
>>> How would you know whether a tag had "acceptance"? Wouldn't
>>> documenting it somewhere make sense? Maybe...in a wiki?
>> I did say document and discuss the OP.
>>> What would you
>>> call "acceptance"? Would "approved" be a reasonable synonym for that?
>> No. It implies some official status that leads people to remove other tags,
>> sometimes with mass edits.
>>> The wiki and (currently broken) approval mechanism is not some
>>> horrible bureaucracy that exists to ruin your life. It's there so we,
>>> as a community, can document the tags we use, and agree on how we use
>>> them. While it's ok to spontaneously invent a new tag and use it to
>>> solve your current problem, you can surely see the benefits of
>>> everyone eventually converging on the same tag?
>>> And if so, what would you do with all the old tags that people used
>>> before you converged? Wouldn't you "deprecate" them?
>> No, some tags will wither away, fine. Some seemingly similar tags will exist
>> side-by-side and that is fine too. Most importantly, distinctive differences
>> can emerge too.
>> Just think this through. Approval implies some sort of enforcement, without
>> enforcement what is the point of approval? Just who would make this
>> enforcement happen and how? What would that do to an open project? If only
>> approved tags are used then how would mappers map what they actually see?
>> Wait weeks for some committee to discuss, argue and approve or reject the
>> tag? If you are free to use any tag, what is an approval process for?
>> If approval or 'acceptance' means a tag is rendered or used in a router or
>> whatever then which tool do you mean? There are hundreds run by OSM and
>> other organisations, companies and individuals.
>> Flattening the tag structure by homogenising tags is destroying the fine
>> detail, sometimes carefully crafted by mappers and I will continue to speak
>> out against mass edits that attempt to do just that.
>> --
>> Cheers, Chris
>> user: chillly
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