[Tagging] The value of the list (was Observations of the use of the diet: tag)

Serge Wroclawski emacsen at gmail.com
Wed Jul 3 11:56:46 UTC 2013

On Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 6:25 AM, Pieren <pieren3 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 5:14 AM, Serge Wroclawski <emacsen at gmail.com> wrote:
>> My experience with mapping has been that after talking on the tagging
>> list, and being voted down, when I just went ahead and used my tags,
>> they were adopted by the community, on more than one occassion.
> Yeah, you can just ignore the feedbacks. Then we end up with the mess
> of tags like power=substation or shop=bakery or designation=* which
> are completely misinterpreted in different countries. Then it takes
> years until we can clarify the situation (if it will happen ever),
> thanks for the guys ignoring the talks or "votes" (which are more
> opinion polls)...

OSM data is a key/value store. What people decide to put in those
key/value pairs is up to them.

What I've found, over years of participating, is that:

1. This list is a small subset of OSMers. It doesn't represent many of
the supermappers, and it doesn't include editor authors or renderer
people either.

In other words, it's a small, self-selected group of people who are
spending a lot of time talking, or arguing, in an echo chamber.

2. This list's idea of "good tags" differs from the OSM community at large.

Most OSMers dislike complex schemes, and will avoid relations when
they can. But relations are quite common here. The same goes for colon
tags, which are heavily proposed (such as in the "diet" proposal) but
not often used by the public except in very limited circumstances

3. This list often ignores usage

If two proposals are up for discussion, there seems to be little or no
weight placed on existing usage vs this list's idea of "correctness".

There is value in having a place to discuss issues of a tagging
question, or problem, but I fear that this list isn't it.

If people on this list wanted to do more community work that wasn't
mapping, there would be tremendous value in going in to the wiki,
finding the tags that are in use but not documented well, and
expanding, or translating those pages.

That would be a useful exercise, and I would participate. But right
now, my view, and my advice to others, is generally to go out and

- Serge

[1] This is my advice to individuals doing individual mapping via
manual survey. As it relates to imports or automated edits, I have
very different views.

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