[Tagging] How to overcome lack of consensus

Paul Churchley paul at churchley.org
Wed Sep 18 17:54:10 UTC 2013

ItoWorld provide a simple way to interogate the OSM database for tag use.

That is really my point I think. Anyone can add any tags they wish and all
the time that is permitted, or even encouraged as I have found, then there
will be no concensus in the way that I think this thread is discussing.

I believe that rather than trying to find concensus in an environment where
consensus is never going to be possible, perhaps we should be looking
towards finding a way to look for the true meaning behind the various tags
so that maps and other interpretations can truly understand what the mapper
was intending. That is never going to be a 100% accurate task but it stands
more of a chance of succeeding than looking for concensus in a worldwide
project that allows completely open tagging?

One way might be to have a set of "approved" tags and a translation table
to translate any non-approved tags to the closest approved one. Then there
could be a process of approval to bring more unapproved tags to being
approved. Obviously then, the OSM advice would be to use one of the
approved tags where possible but if people do not do so then at least when
they are discovered a translation could be added to the translation table.
This way mapping projects could use the translation table to make sure that
a map is rendered using the approved tags only.

Just me thinking aloud!


On 18 September 2013 18:39, Pieren <pieren3 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 6:18 PM, Paul Churchley <paul at churchley.org>
> wrote:
> > 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.
> I'm not sure what ItoWorld is doing here but the wiki is the right
> place to document tags. It's open to create new tags. But if someone
> creates a duplicate tag because he's not looking the documentation,
> then he fails and his tag will never be "used" (the OSM database is
> full of undocumented and "never used" tags). If the documentation is
> unclear or incomplete, then we all fail.
> Pieren
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