[Tagging] How to overcome lack of consensus

Paul Churchley paul at churchley.org
Wed Sep 18 16:18:05 UTC 2013

Yes, I can see what you mean and I can see why having a standard set of
tags would help in mapping etc.

However, isn't it accepted within OSM that tags are open. In fact, I
attended the State of the Map conference a couple of weeks ago and I raised
this very point. I asked, as a newcomer, what should I do if I have doubts
about the tag I should be using. I was advised on several occasions by
different experienced mappers that if I can't find anything suitable then
just invent a sensible one myself.

So, unless creating new tags is banned this situation will always be a bit
of a free-for-all no matter how much we don't like it. It is the very
nature of the beast in my opinion.

The only real solution that would prevent this free-for-all situation
occuring is to only allow approved tags and to have a process of approval
prior to use and I get the feeling that would also be very much against the
open nature of the project.

As a newcomer I always search, search and search again, both on the wiki
and on ItoWorld, for tags to use and so far I have not had to invent any
myself but I can imagine other newcomers, less determined to only use
existing tags whenever possible, doing a cursory search, not finding
anything suitable, and then just investing new tags when existing tags do
exists if only they had found them.

Not sure what the answer is... if there is one.


The problem is that it is almost impossible to write, and more importantly,
> keep up-to-date a data consumer (like a specialized map of shops, in the
> examples people have been talking about) in an anarchic free-for-all where
> tags come and go and people invent their own.
> In effect the only data consumer that can reasonably makes sense of it all
> is a human reader (and even then, if is open to misinterpretation, as you
> are all saying, then them may also be unable to consume the data).
> David
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