[Tagging] Feature Proposal - RFC - Discouraging the use of deprecated schemes

Christoph Hormann osm at imagico.de
Sun Mar 21 14:10:32 UTC 2021

On Sunday 21 March 2021, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> This tagging list and the whole wiki voting system are good enough to
> make (weak) recommendations, but they are not good enough to "highly
> discourage" anything or make binding decisions.

I would go a step further even - the whole tagging proposal process is 
primarily useful to gather feedback on the merits and the issues of 
certain tagging ideas.  The main gain of going through a proposal 
process is to gather such feedback.  And the 'voting' as part of the 
proposal process is meant to gauge if there is consensus among those 
engaging in the process that the feedback received has been adequately 
taken into account.   It has never been intended to lead to a decision 
that is in any way binding to anyone.

What this proposal tries to do is essentially to abolish the way we 
develop tagging in OSM from within, meaning that using the current 
processes we have (with all the flaws they evidently have as partly 
pointed out by Frederik) it tries to gather support for putting an axe 
to the very core of these processes (and without as you might notice 
any vision for a new, more centralized and authoritarian system of 
tagging being presented).

The principal issues this raises aside - as Mateusz points out on the 
wiki there is not even a rationale presented as to why the author 
thinks this is a good idea beneficial for OpenStreetMap as a whole 
(where the majority of people don't speak English and will not 
participate in any proposal processes).

Practically of course a success of this proposal (as unlikely and 
formally questionable it might be) would probably have the opposite 
effect of what is intended.  It would make the wiki less meaningful as 
a source of information on the actual meaning of tags in the OSM 
database (i.e. how tags are actually used as opposed to how some people 
think tags should be used) and would turn it even more into a echo 
chamber platform for a small subset of the OSM community largely 
detatched from the mapping practice of the larger international 

Deprecation in our current open tagging system works as simple as this:  
If there is consensus in the mapper community that a certain tag is not 
to be used any more it will - without the need for any further 
enforcement or discouragement - go out of use over time.  And that can 
then correctly be documented on the wiki.  We have plently of cases 
where this can be seen to work quite well (landuse=farm, highway=ford, 
natural=moor just to name a few).

Christoph Hormann

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