[Tagging] Notary Office

Ilya Zverev ilya at zverev.info
Tue Feb 7 16:19:54 UTC 2017

Hi everyone,

Recently I found that JOSM uses different tags for notary offices than I'm used to. Turns out, there are two competing tagging schemas:

* office=lawyer + lawyer=notary: introduced in wiki in 2010, number of uses gradually rises to ~1000.
* office=notary: introduced by accident in 2014, was scarcely used until it has found its way into JOSM presets in late 2015. After that it has risen to ~900 uses.

See this graph for reference: http://shtosm.ru/pictures/taghistory-notary.png

I submitted an issue to the JOSM tracker to revert to the established tags: https://josm.openstreetmap.de/ticket/14221

But surprisingly, it was met with negative responses. Code maintainers started to defend the tag, stating that since the usage of "office=notary" is high (!), it has been accepted by the community. But I'd argue that nobody has accepted (or even known about) it, and the number of uses is high because it is in the presets.

Also there was an argument that a notary is not always a lawyer. While it might be true for some countries, that doesn't concern the issue in my opinion: there are a lot of linguistic inconsistencies in our tagging, especially when English is not your first language. What matters is consistency. "lawyer=notary" has been in use for seven years, and that was okay with everyone.

Most of us know that tagging usage is driven not by proposals and not by documentation, but by editor presets. Right now the correct tag is determined not by tagging history, not by wiki and not by a public vote, but by a single person's opinion. "This tag is in my opinion not good" is what leads to a new and undiscussed alternative tag to gain popularity.

I don't like two ways to tag the same office and I'd want to get the long established tagging schema into JOSM presets. Are you good with that?


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