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

mail at marcos-martinez.net mail at marcos-martinez.net
Wed Mar 24 00:01:02 UTC 2021

Hi Frederik, 

	* But consensus cannot be established by calling for a vote on the
list and assuming that whatever those 30 people say is then the
established consensus.

In fact, consensus in OSM is usually observed rather than polled. Lots
of people do something the same way for a long time, a consensus
evolves. As in your highway example; this is a tag that has never been
voted on.

But not: A couple people on the tagging list say that diaper changing
should now be tagged in some particular way, and suddenly this is a
project-wide consensus.. 

For me consensus means that people actively agree on something. Waiting
for people to tag consistently by coincidence is not consensus but
people in the same boat rowing towards different directions and
eventually find out who is the strongest. People tagging according to
the wiki because they believe it is the law is not consensus, it is
applying a rule. People using presets in an editor without knowing about
other options is not consensus because they weren't given a choice.
Consensus requires somebody to speak his/her mind and right now, as
inefficient as it is, the mailing list and proposal pages are the only
place to "officially" do so. We should  aim at being more than a couple
of people but thousands instead and aim at having the adequate tools to
manage all those voices, establishing a consensus. Until then, why don't
we accept what we have, a reduced number of people and a proposal
process to vote on, and regard this as community consensus? Everybody is
free to join and we should promote it. Hopefully many more will do so
because the main reason for me to join was the impression I could
actually make a change. You are actually stating that proposals and
votes are irrelevant (an orientative, kind suggestion = irrelevant). But
who wants to join a discussion that sometimes can be exhausting but in
the end is irrelevant? 

	* It is not just a question of how many. If I can get 100 people from
city of Karlsruhe to decide on a community consensus for Karlsruhe then
that's a solid decision. Asking these 100 people from Karlsruhe to
decide on a community consensus for all of Germany would be a stretch.
Asking them to decide how things should be mapped in Ghana would be

The voting method we use for tagging issues is extremely simple. It has
virtually no protection against fraud, it has no conflict of interest
rules, it doesn't ensure that the questions are asked in an unbiased
way, and so on and so on. This is all fine for a somewhat informal
process to come up with recommendations. It is not an iron-clad process
that can be used to make solid decisions about "strongly discouraging"

I agree, our voting method is not sophisticated. But is this true
because the outcome is irrelevant or vice versa? I believe we should
make the vote relevant, create a robust process and then make it the
place where consensus happens. I am sure this will trigger an enormous
response and many more people will want to get involved. Getting back to
your example: What do you mean with "...if I get 100 people..". On which
channel would those 100 decide anything? Twitter? Telegram? In a bar
meeting? The mailing list? Wherever they do decide, was the decision
taken in an unbiased way, secure against fraud and without conflict of
interest? Has anybody checked if they really are from Karlsruhe and
maybe not some from Berlin? Does this make the decision void and null
then? In any case it is out of the question that a predetermined limited
number of people can decide anything in OSM. 

Maybe we are actually not so far way from each other: If, as in your
example, there is a way you consider people coming together and agree as
a "solid decision" why should that not be applicable to the rest of the
world, provided anybody can freely participate? 

	* A good editor will nudge you towards making useful contributions that
both you and the project at large are happy with; though it is the
editor writer's decision how exactly they do it. 

Are you suggesting that there are some ways of tagging that are more
useful than others and find it ok for an editor to take that decision?
Looks like a no-brainer to me. Do we want "useful contributions" or not?
If the answer is yes lets formally establish consensus and not make sure
we prevent those that are not useful. 

	* In a way. The rule was there long before most people joined, so they
joined a project that had this rule out of their own free decision. They
could have joined another project instead ;) 

Looks like we finally have one unbreakable rule. I assume the reference
should be the wiki:

Following your own criteria: I have checked the number of editors,
please feel free to correct me, but I can see exactly 36 to date. Where
does it say that this principle is carved into stone? Has there been a
vote? Has the whole worldwide community been consulted about this in an
unbiased way and with low risk of fraud? Are you stating that these 36
individuals have had the power to determine the course of the project to
such enormous extend and at the same time say it is impossible to at
least try to work for more tagging and data consistency? Then, there is
the content itself - the first sentences state: 

"Feel free to invent new tags! Though it is not "feel free to ignore
existing tagging schemes..." 

"Note: Many general interest features are already on Map Features [1]
and it is recommended to use the tagging [2] given there. Otherwise
other users might eventually convert your contributions to fit that

Which is exactly what I am pleading for: A new tagging
scheme/modification of tagging scheme is discussed, voted for and
approved. After that the corresponding wiki entry is created or the old
existing wiki modified. The wiki is where the link above leads to, which
means in the end: "Please use the tagging of the wiki (based on
processes in which 30 people have discussed and voted for) or other
people might retag. Nothing else has Sören requested: Reienforce the
message that elements that already have a wiki differently from the wiki
is to be HIGHLY discouraged and is prone to be corrected. 

	* There will not be one consistent tagging system that works for the
planet. I think people will agree on some things and chose to go their
own paths in others, and that's ok. 

I disgree and I think many people misunderstand the point. I'd never
impose ONE single tagging scheme as such for the whole world. The world
is indeed too complex. But we can agree to apply different tagging
schemes in different contexts. Which means we need more complex rules -
not the absence of rules. If the Italian community decides they handle
address tagging very different from other countries (for those who don't
know: "Housenumbers are usually assigned to the access points of a
property (e.g. a gate on the perimeter", even if it is hundreds of
meters away from the actual building) that is fine. But this needs to be
documented then and regarded as standard. It doesn't make sense to have
Italians applying this rule in Germany and Germans tagging in Italy as
they are used at home! 

So, yes, I vote for giving more "power" to the outcome of votes. During
mailing lists debates and the voting process is where consensus should
happen. Visible, countable, open to everybody. BTW, we really should
consider a proper community communication tool such as e.g. Loomio for
the whole community. These mailing lists are a real dread and probably
one of the reason why there are so few who participate. 

Bye as well, 



[1] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Map_Features
[2] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tags
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