[Tagging] Tagging Voting system- time for reform?

Christopher Hoess cahoess at gmail.com
Thu Feb 12 19:21:27 UTC 2015

That's somewhat overstates the case. Adoption vs. non-adoption is the acid
test of whether a proposal is acceptable or not, but the laissez-faire
approach does let the tagging get stuck in "local minima". For instance,
the initial development of "railway" mashed together several distinct and
independent attributes under one key: gauge between rails
(railway=narrow_gauge, railway=miniature), type of service
(railway=preserved), lifecycle (railway=disused, railway=abandoned,
railway=construction). This works OK about 98% of the time, but sometimes
these values come into conflict (a preserved narrow gauge railway that's
disused due to washouts)?

In retrospect, a little forethought would quickly have identified these
problems and allowed us to draft a more expressive tagging scheme that
would have avoided this. And one has, sort of, grown up around this (the
"gauge" key, and OpenRailwayMap has started using "railway:preserved=yes").
But since we've also decided that, socially, mass retagging of old data is
on a par with public defecation, we're more or less permanently stuck with
the deficiencies of the original scheme that "just grew".

Don't get me wrong--I see a lot of the proposals that float across this
list and it's clear that many proposed tagging schemes have a precision or
level of detail that vastly exceeds what anyone will ever map. You could
also, reasonably, argue that if we'd had a more complex railway tagging
scheme initially, it would have hindered mapping, or that we only
retrospectively know that the attributes I've listed are important to map
because they became common under the initial scheme. The idea that the
current process is the best possible way to develop tagging smacks of Dr.

On Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 9:57 AM, Paul Johnson <baloo at ursamundi.org> wrote:

> You're missing the point.  OSM is already a meritocracy and tagging
> schemes either float or they don't, in the wild, under their own merit.
> There's no reforms that could be made to change this short of locking out
> the ability to use key and value combinations that aren't anointed.  Good
> luck with that.
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