[Talk-GB] Voting mechanical edit: UK shop names

Matthijs Melissen info at matthijsmelissen.nl
Sun Nov 2 14:06:09 UTC 2014

On 1 November 2014 12:50, Richard Fairhurst <richard at systemed.net> wrote:
> Mechanical edits stand or fall by their own merits. They cannot be ok-ed by
> a vote.
> From the Automated Edits Code of Conduct: "We do not require or recommend a
> formal vote, but if there is significant objection to your plan - and even
> minorities may be significant! - then change it or drop it altogether."
> We historically have a low tolerance of mechanical edits and imports in the
> UK; we prefer to make large-scale changes by hand. That is one of the
> reasons why the OSM map of the UK is so good. A "come one, come all" vote on
> the wiki can be trivially gerrymandered into supporting your proposals
> without any proof of approval by the people who are affected by such a bulk
> change, i.e. UK mappers.
> I am not sure where you got the idea of a "vote" for mechanical edits
> (Wikipedia? wiki.osm.org tag pages?), but there is no precedent for it in
> OSM and I would ask you to withdraw it.

Thank you for your comments, I understand your worries. I agree that
voting is not the ultimate means of deciding whether a mechanical edit
can go ahead or not - I'm sorry if my phrasing made you believe

The ultimate authority to decide whether an automatic edit is
acceptable or not is the OSMF, who delegate this responsibility to the
DWG.  We (unfortunately) don't know exactly what criteria the DWG use.
However, the DWG has repeatedly indicated that they strongly rely on
the position of the community. To avoid a long trail of 'me too'
reactions, as well as to avoid giving too much weight to the loudest
voices, I think voting is the best way to determine the position of
the community.

The DWG has in the past never made decisions that go against the
preference of the community. So I think it is likely that a decision
taken with (significant) community support will also pass the scrutiny
of the DWG. I agree however this is by no means a guarantee -
especially in cases, like you point out, where there is strong
evidence that the voting results do not reflect the opinions of the

It is by the way not true that there is no precedent to use votes for
mechanical edits - the retagging of musical instrument shops has been
discussed in a similar way, see
and the corresponding discussion on the tagging list.

I hope this clarifies this procedure, and I also hope it at least
takes part of your worries away.

Kind regards,
Matthijs Melissen

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