[Tagging] Is there a way to make tags better?

Yuri Astrakhan yuriastrakhan at gmail.com
Thu Mar 16 00:57:34 UTC 2017

TLDR: Proposing several technologies to organize tags and help new users.

With the rapid community growth, the same concepts tend to be described in
more and more ways (tags/values), making the data maintenance and
consumption increasingly difficult. taginfo site is an amazing effort to
bring order to this space, and I would like to discuss what we can do to
systematically improve it even further.

== Suggestions ==
In addition to presets, I think there should be an suggester service. JOSM,
iD and other programs can use it to offer a list of suggested tags/values
when editing, and to highlight those tags/values that appear significantly
out of place.
The suggested list should be the result of a complex search based on the
position, size, type, and all other tags and their values present on the
given object.  We may even want to use machine learning techniques to make
suggestions.  I am exploring if ElasticSearch can help (disclaimer: I work
@ Elastic).

== Precise Meaning ==
Whenever someone enters a tag=value pair, they have a very specific meaning
in mind. If that meaning is misunderstood by other mappers or data
consumers, that tag causes more damage than no tag - it's misleading. At
the same time, we do not want to limit new meanings from being added to
OSM.  I think there should be a minor hinderance when adding a new tag or
value (for enum-style tags). Whenever user tries to add a new tag, they
should be shown a popup to provide a brief description of the new tag, and
explain how it differs from the existing tags. The popup may also suggest
existing tags based on the description (similar to how stackoverflow shows
existing questions when user is typing a new one).
This system should be enabled for tags and for "enum-like" values (tags
like "name" clearly should not cause a popup, whereas unusual value for
"boundary" tag should show a popup).

== Cleanup suggestions ==
There should be a way for community to suggest tag replacements. For
example, while browsing taginfo, I saw religion=catholic and religion=
católico, and I can suggest that it should be replaced with
religion=christian & denomination=catholic.  Afterwards, a site
like MapRoulette could allow users to quickly check that replacements
actually makes sense for each object, and accept or reject it.

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