[Tagging] Tagging becoming more mature

stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Thu Nov 12 12:11:58 UTC 2020

On Nov 12, 2020, at 3:18 AM, bkil <bkil.hu+Aq at gmail.com> wrote:
> Although, I understand that there could exist some special meanings of
> the word "park":
> https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/park

Jó napot, bikl!

There is quite a bit of history here, both past (early in OSM, as leisure=park developed and was both correctly and incorrectly deployed around the world), recently (as in a year ago / summer 2019 during the “leisure=park wiki incidents”) and presently (as in a developing draft proposal for Park boundary noted below).  I was and am personally involved in the latter two.

Differing definitions of “park” aren’t “special,” but differences in dialect.  The wiktionary definitions are limited, as they don’t offer clear dialectical differences between British English and US English, where the distinctions are both real and quite sharp (the use of a certain idiolect of “park” often used in the US state of Colorado, as in the Middle Park basin, is noted in the wiktionary page as “US").  Better (for the present purpose we discuss now) is the very widely encompassing definition found at Wikipedia you quote, also repeatedly quoted in OSM’s wiki media (e.g. for both leisure=park as well as a proposal I co-author at https://wiki.osm.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Park_boundary ).  Coincidentally (and fulll disclosure), I believe I substantially wrote that introductory paragraph in the Wikipedia article’s definition, which if memory serves me, came from a talk-page contribution I made here in OSM (2011?  2012?).

> And anyway, terms must be understood in their GB sense within
> OpenStreetMap as declared by the project.

I disagree, with very narrow scope, in the instant (present) case.  Insisting on simplistic understandings of “GB English only” can cause outrageous misunderstandings, to which I can personally attest by being banned from wiki writing for two weeks last year as I struggled to untangle exactly this issue (though was plagued by a notorious OSM troll).  Much, much better (smarter for OSM, with much less rancor and long-term misunderstanding) is to more comprehensively understand that these linguistic differences are quite real, and to better accommodate them during OSM’s syntactic design phases (while “coining new tags” or attempting to better design tags, as we do here).

So, while leisure=park DOES remain (and should, for historical and “already established” reasons) in OSM, you can see how US English speakers, who have a MUCH broader definition of “park” than that in British (GB) English, are frustrated by the “limited” definition of leisure=park:  how do OSM Contributors in the USA, who speak US English and have thousands of what we call “parks” (but are NOT well-tagged with leisure=park), tag our “parks”?

We better develop that in our proposal, though are only in early stages now; it will take some time to complete the multiple proposal introductions that are planned to systematically roll out to gently do that (we hope).  But this process is now underway, thank you (all of OSM) for your patience.

Bottom line:  while it is good to know some of what appear to be “hard and fast rules of OSM,” (like “always GB English”), sometimes a greater / wider understanding of linguistics (dialects, how differences among them can be — even sometimes MUST be — accommodated in careful syntax / tagging in OSM) is deeply helpful to the project continuing to work (without misunderstanding and even rancor) internationally.  After all (and I don’t wish to be English-centric in our worldwide project, even as we use it here), there are dozens — perhaps in the low hundreds — of dialects of English around the world.  Avoiding misunderstandings based on these differences is something OSM wants to continue to do well into the future.  I know I certainly count myself among those wish this harmony to continue.  This can be difficult, and even (like here) sometimes must be explicitly spelled out, but with clarity, we can understand how to solve the difficulties of such dialectical ambiguities.


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