[Tagging] Changing proposal process rules - RFC

Stefan Tauner stefan.tauner at gmx.at
Wed Jan 6 06:00:19 UTC 2021

On Wed, 6 Jan 2021 01:36:24 +0100
Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, 6 Jan 2021 01:18:46 +0100
> Lukas Richert <lrichert at posteo.de> wrote:
> > The tagging list here seems to be dominated by ca. 10-20 ppl that
> > weigh in on every topic, while the thousands of regular mappers
> > aren't represented at all.  
> from interacting with people in osm over many years I believe that
> most mappers are not interested in discussing the development of
> tagging, they rather want to know the “right” tag for what they want
> to map, wherever it comes from ;-) (probably mostly editor presets
> anyway, i.e. the tags are typically determined by a single word in
> some language that was translated from another single word in
> English).

And our answer often has to be: oh well, there is no approved tagging
scheme for that but people have been using this and that and maybe you
could come up with something better... due to the lack of people
participating in the proposal process.

I came here a week ago after 10 years of (not too intensive but
continuous and often research-consuming) mapping because I think this
work is really important. I think the proposals need way more and
broader participation. We currently have >5000 daily mappers and up to
20k monthly mappers. If we very conservatively estimate the number of
voters on proposal to be less about 50 then that's <1% of what one could
consider the most active mappers (though this metric could vastly be
improved). While the decisions made by the votes are not binding for
anybody they almost always have a sustained impact on the future of OSM.

I am not always a proponent for opening up processes and increase
participation (e.g., I think editing the OSM data is too easy and needs
more QA) but I am very much in favor of increasing the quorums of the
votes by making the (voting on) proposals more visible. More people in
the drafting process itself might not be necessary (I cannot tell for
sure yet, I think it is quite a lot of work and there are not enough ppl
doing it though) but we should definitely strive to have way more
people voting IMHO.
This has multiple benefits:
 - increases awareness of previous problems and adoption of new tags
 - improves the quality and legitimization of the approved tags
 - indirectly acts as an incentive to write proposals (appreciation for
   writing drafts does not seem to be very high currently ;)

There are various ways to increasing voting participation. Promoting a
list of current and upcoming proposals regularly or every opening vote
specifically in some form (e.g., a dedicated tagging-announce
ML/newsletter) would be one way to increase awareness.

It would also make sense to advertise approved new schemes more widely
(e.g., in the editors). I found the list posted by Brian of past
successful votes[1] quite eye-opening because I had no idea about most
of them - I think I am quite representative for ordinary mappers in
this regard! How are mappers supposed to get aware of them anyway?

Another idea would be to change the interface for voting. Editing the
wiki is inconvenient for many (every worthy mapper reads it but very
many do not edit it and do not even have an account) and does not scale
too well (not a problem yet, but if 1000 ppl would vote on something…).
Having a (possible supplemental) web interface where you just need your
osm.org credentials and click on a button would certainly make it as
easy as possible (if that's beneficial in the end is another question -
but limiting this feature to active mappers should be quite easy if we
can decide on what an active mapper is ;)

[1] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/User:ZeLonewolf/Analysis/Proposals
Kind regards/Mit freundlichen Grüßen, Stefan Tauner

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