[Tagging] Revisiting proposal/voting scheme

Kotya Karapetyan kotya.lists at gmail.com
Wed Mar 18 20:40:27 UTC 2015

On Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 3:06 PM, Martin Vonwald <imagic.osm at gmail.com>

> Very good ideas and it would bring the original intention of OSM back into
> the play: the numbers count and not the two-and-a-half people putting a
> line starting with "yes" somewhere in the wiki.
I think some opposition to a proper voting mechanism is concentrating too
much on the numbers. Indeed, we can have just 1 person proposing a tag, 20
people voting about it, and thousands actually using (or miusing) it.

1) As mentioned elsewhere, the discussion process accompanying the voting
is valuable for the tagging improvement. There would be less interest in
the discussion *and improvement* if we remove the competition and the
question "will my proposal get approved by the community?"

2) When a potential user sees the positive and negative votes (which,
ideally, summarize the discussion), he may decide for himself whether or
not to use a tag. If there is no voting, there is no such digest of the
in-depth consideration by those who took care to get involved.

I see however a problem in the fact that the proposal page, with its voting
section, is not present in the final feature page. There is just an
approved status, and most people wouldn't care to take a look at *how* the
thing was approved. An 8:2 vote thus results in exactly the same perception
of a tag as a 50:0 one.

The current system of a clear separation of the proposal and feature pages
actually makes the closed voting necessary*. That *is why we need to agree
on the numbers.

Taking into account everything said in the (now multiple) threads on the
topic here, would it make sense to *change the current proposal/voting
mechanism like follows*?

- Author proposes a feature as now.
- RFC period with simultaneous page revision follows
- Opinions "for" and "against" are expressed in the discussions and
summarized at the top of the page (e.g. "advantages" and "disadvantages" of
a tag) together with the current usage
- When the discussion calms down (which can even be defined mathematically
if needed), this very page is converted into a feature page. It is never
"approved" or "rejected", but the opinions are made clear.
- People can add their concerns later just by editing the page. Thus there
is no closing of the proposal phase. A feature can even get deprecated with
time if the usage is low and too many issues became apparent. This would
make discussions a bit more relaxed and positive.

The advantage of such approach would be:
- Adherence to the wiki idea, when the community develops a good page by
working on it more than by discussing it;
- Matching the OSM logic where "numbers matter"
- The majority of concerns regarding the discussion, voting, and
approval/rejection mechanism are addressed
- The system is even i18n-friendly, because such a top-of-the-page summary
can be easily translated, unlike a discussion in a mailing list
(potentially several of them).

Please comment.

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