[Tagging] Revisiting proposal/voting scheme

moltonel 3x Combo moltonel at gmail.com
Wed Mar 18 22:00:18 UTC 2015

On 18/03/2015, Kotya Karapetyan <kotya.lists at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.
> However:
> 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.

Yes, I started my "get rid of the approval process" suggestion by a
"votes are usefull" statement. We can/should keep votes because :
 * They trigger more discussion on the proposal
 * They are rewarding for the proposal author (even negative votes
show that people took an interest)
 * They help gauge wether the proposal is generaly thought by the
community to be a good one

However we should get rid of the approval process because :
 * It gives a false sense of authority to the "decision"
 * It'll only ever sample a tiny, self-selected minority of contributors
 * We still can't agree on good approval thresholds
 * It freezes the proposition on the vote date, preventing later
evolution and discouraging earlyer use

> 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.

That's why I suggested never "closing" the proposal page, and never
removing the crosslinks between the proposal pages and the feature
pages. There's no good reason to hide the proposal page afterwards, it
contains information that is just as usefull as the "actual current
use" of the feature page.

> 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

So far so good.

> - 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.

Why should the page be "converted to a feature page" ? A good proposal
should already be nicely usable as documentation of the desired
tagging schema. So that "converting" it would basically mean removing
the votes/pros/cons sections and changing the name... Not really
usefull by itself.

By contrast, if the feature page documents actual use, that's a
different look at the same problem, interesting in itself.

Note also that the feature <-> proposal relation is not one to one but
many to many. Any nontrivial proposal will link to multiple tags, and
a particular tag may link back to multiple competing proposals (for
example addr:housenumber which can be used either in a addr:street
scheme or an associatedStreet one).

Feature pages and proposals should be writen in parallel, not one
after the other. A proposal without some proof-of-concept data
somewhere is suspicious, and so should a brand new tag without a
backing proposal.

> - 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).


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