[Tagging] religious bias - Re: Feature Proposal - Voting - (Chapel of rest)

Tom Pfeifer t.pfeifer at computer.org
Wed Nov 4 20:46:52 UTC 2020

I was surprised that this tag is rushed into voting despite the arguments against it even here in 
the tagging list discussions.

Let's summarize the criticism first, and look into the alternative "mourning room"

* Vollis (the proposer) 18 Sep: ""chapel" will be opposed by some for being religiously connotated"

* Peter Elderson 21 Sep: "I have heard mourning chapel, mourning room, funeral chapel, funeral room.
Chapel of rest does not seem right to me"

* Janko 23 Sep: images of chapel of rest and mourning room are most concentrated and on the target

* Clifford Snow 24 Sep: "Chapel of Rest" sounds to me more like a marketing term not something we 
should be using in OSM.

* Michael Patrick 24 Sep: 'Chapel of Rest' seems to be a dated UK specific term. ... The euphemistic 
'Chapel of Rest' is more generically known as 'Viewing /Visitation Service',
* 27 Sep: 'Chapel of Rest' seems to be one of those terms like 'Take the goat to the butcher...
* 28 Sep: since OSM is an international project, my practice is to make it as easy as possible for 
non-native English users.

Indeed, the proposed value contains 'chapel' which is biased to christian religion. It might be used 
in British English, however that is biased itself for having Christianity as a cultural background.

"Chapel of rest" is an euphemism that avoids death-related terminology, but might be mistaken for a 
chapel where somebody could rest along a hiking or pilgrim route. This is a general problem with 
euphemisms that they intentionally don't hit the nail on the head.

OSM so far is successful in choosing tags agnostic of particular religions, such as 
amenity=funeral_hall recently and amenity=place_of_worship long ago. Thus for this feature I'd 
prefer a value that is applicable to any religion as well as secular ones.

Looking deeper in the example of Place of Worship vs. Church:

The British Ordnance Survey did chose "PoW - Place of Worship" in their maps, and OSM apparently 
inherited that term, although probably nobody says in colloquial English that they "go to the Place 
of Worship tonight", if they go to the church or the mosque or whatever holy place.

However both the OS and the OSM maps remain politically correct when using PoW as the technical 
term, preserving neutrality.

OSM is a map for the whole world, and it does not improve acceptance when a bunch of old white males 
(such as myself) chose a biased term for a feature that naturally exists in other cultural/religious 
contexts as well. Thus that part of the world would need a different tag, leading to tag fragmentation.

To close with an alternative, "mourning room" would be a neutral alternative from my perspective,
reflecting the process of mourning which I suppose exists in all cultures.

Please go and vote.

On 04.11.2020 11:17, wolle68 at posteo.de wrote:
> Dear all,
> As there have been no more comments for some time on this proposal, I've set it to voting. Please 
> have a look and vote:
> Chapel of rest: a room or building where families and friends can come and view someone who has died 
> before their funeral
> Proposal page: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Chapel_of_rest
> Discussion page: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Talk:Proposed_features/Chapel_of_rest

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