[Tagging] Tools and mass-retagging (was: Re: The endless debate about "landcover" as a top-level tag)

Leo Gaspard osm-ml at leo.gaspard.io
Fri Jun 8 00:10:31 UTC 2018

On 06/08/2018 01:29 AM, EthnicFood IsGreat wrote:
> I wouldn't mind if all the existing tags were replaced tomorrow with a
> brand new set of "intelligently-designed" keys.  And I wouldn't mind if
> these keys were enforced from now on.  And I wouldn't mind that I would
> have to relearn all the tagging I now know.  Yes, it would be a "brave
> new world," and not the OSM we know now.  Someone some time ago on one
> of the OSM mailing lists summed up the current situation by stating, "It
> seems OSM is incapable of moving forward."  Unless we ever have more
> structure, I agree.

As a new user (~1 week of editing OSM), I can only agree. Some tags just
make no sense, and the only way to figure them out is to use the presets
offered by iD / Vespucci (the two editors I use for now).

Tools are a huge part of how newcomers (speaking for what I know) tag
stuff. Changing tools is a way forward, but then tool change must not be
stuck in the loop of “we will set presets only for the most used tags”,
as the most used tags will likely be the ones set by presets.

If making things logical means mass-retagging landuse=forest to
landcover=trees (because it is always true, while the opposite isn't),
it'll lose no information, and things can become intuitive again.

Then, I heard there were strong opinions in OSM against mass-retaggings.
I honestly don't get why. It's like the tag (I unfortunately can't
remember which) where both `no` and `none` were proposed as valid values
by one of the editors I use.

In my outside-of-any-OSM-politics point of view, sometimes a choice
should be made and enforced by the tools, potentially using
mass-retagging. Keeping things logical is going to happen only if
everyone is given tools that do the right thing. And the right thing is
not necessarily what the majority did until the tool came in.

And if not everyone agrees with what the right thing is, at least pick
one that makes sense: standards are a matter of compromise. Not
landuse=forest for something that's neither land use nor a forest. Or
natural=wood for something that's neither natural nor a wood. (example
in mind: a park near where I live where bunches of a few trees have been
tagged natural=wood)

Now I can get back to discovering the world of OSM tagging, thank you
for reading this little rant of a newcomer who's discovering way too
many tags at once and feeling a bit lost when things aren't logical. :)

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