[Talk-GB] Edits in Wales

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Fri Aug 11 08:37:43 UTC 2017

Brian Prangle wrote:
> You have raised a subject which needs attention but we don't
> have an active community in Wales, just individual mappers 

I don't find that a helpful distinction. Aside from a few places (London,
Birmingham, Edinburgh, the North-East Midlands), OSM in the UK doesn't have
localised "communities" in the sense of people meeting up as per German
stammtisch, and never has done. We have historically been an agglomeration
of lone rangers.

Self-evidently there's nothing wrong with that (we've built a brilliant
map), and it doesn't mean that those individual mappers haven't together
evolved precedent. On many issues, we have. I, and other local mappers,
would be a bit miffed if someone came along and said "I'm going to change
how you map Oxfordshire" and someone from a different part of Britain chimed
in with "feel free, they don't go to the pub together like we do so that's
absolutely fine".

> We need to find a solution to this problem.

It's not necessarily proven that we do. Welsh OSM users created the first
non-English language OSM map back in 2008 (Chris Jones's cyosm rendering).

In my (extensive) travels in Wales, it seems increasingly frequent that the
Welsh-language street name is either the sole name or the top name of street
signs in Welsh-speaking areas such as Aber and the Llyn, and not written at
all in predominantly English areas such as most of the South. Aber is
historically a hotbed of Welsh activism and rightly so, but showing a "Welsh
/ English" split in (say) Newport, Gwent, would seem ridiculous to locals
and visitors alike.

Because British signage and naming is erratic - we don't have a canonical,
open, officially mandated list of place and street names like some other
countries do - it's not uncommon to find a situation where one end of the
street might be signposted "Heol y Mor [linebreak] Sea Road" and the other
simply "Heol y Mor". Or where a sign might be in one language, but the road
known universally by locals in another. Applying an arbitrary rule in these
situations will not result in the map that makes most sense to most people
or that best reflects local culture.

I would rather follow a locally evolved consensus than unthinkingly apply an
international wiki-mandated hack everywhere (and let's be clear, putting two
values in one field with an arbitrary ASCII character as a separator is a
hack). Newport is no more "Newport / Casnewydd" than Dolgellau is "Dolgellau
/ Dolgelley", even though both have Welsh and English names and both are in
a country where the Welsh Language Act applies. Miguel, I'm sure you have
good intentions and it's great to see your work, but using an Overpass query
to enforce a wiki guideline then uploading it with Level0 is pretty much the
canonical opposite of how we build the map in the UK. ;)

The wiki documents but does not dictate, and it does not trump precedent.
There is a lot of inconsistent nonsense on the wiki: it's not the gospel
truth for OSM.


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