[Talk-us] Differences with USA admin_level tagging

OSM Volunteer stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Mon Jul 10 20:34:43 UTC 2017

I'll "pop the stack," answering the most recent first.

Minh, genuinely, you are welcome for a wider dialog.  I am cheered to see a good deal of reply to this.

As you say my edits "may well be the right edits to make" (I agree) it only may be true that "mappers who focus on these regions deserve a heads-up and an opportunity to agree or disagree."  If that were true, any (not simple) attempt I might make to identify such mappers would be unsatisfactory to at least someone (or would seem cursory or be incomplete, or would "take too long..."), and could easily be pointed to as flawed.  That feels like I am being boxed into a can't-win situation.  That doesn't seem in the spirit of OSM, which I find disappointing.

My edits that you carefully curated were no more "systematic" than changing a few maxspeed=* values from 35 to 30 when fresh eyeballs demonstrate Speed Limit signs read "30" along the ways.  (A Speed Limit sign is "regulatory" in our Vehicle Code, meaning it is an established truth for the maxspeed tag's semantics).  In the case of my edits to American Samoa and Guam, these are US Territories, so I have (as does any OSM volunteer) permission to set those values correctly (as they are defined in US law), with just as much authority as a Speed Limit sign does for a maxspeed=* tag.  Speaking with maximum politeness, I resent the characterization of "drive-by."  That means "casual, superficial, offhand" and these edits were no such thing:  no more so than driving past a Speed Limit 30 sign, finding the tag on the corresponding way wrongly set to 35 and setting it to "30" to correct our map data.  I can certainly conclude that maxspeed or admin_level values are something I can identify as wrong, then edit into correctness.  Right?  I hope we agree that I (and you, and all OSM volunteers) can do something as simple as conclude "hm, the data are wrong" in our map, then correct them.  If not, OSM is in big trouble!

If Nominatim is or gets confused (because it makes assumptions?), then fix Nominatim.  I (and many others) do good work by entering correct data into the map.  We are admonished, um, reminded frequently "don't code for the [renderer, geocoder, reverse-geocoder...]," so, we don't.  Right?  Entering correct data is a "most important" task!

I was and am surprised by the glib presumption of "After all, the wiki works best when its pages closely reflect the state of the map...".  Huh?  That is fresh!  (Or "backwards?"  It is a presumption that seems upside down.)  I've been reading wiki in OSM for most of this project's lifetime and MY go-to reason for doing so is when I get befuddled about our correct methods:  "How do I do or tag something that is not in OSM...?" then the wiki guides me:  "this is how you should tag."  I think many, even most OSMers would agree with that experience ringing true again and again.  We don't read the wiki to see what is in the map, we can look at the map or underlying data to see what is in the map.

Perhaps the "blue-sky-ing" going on is your (exclusive?) wish, given your clearly identified activism that you'd like to change this:  you say let's move the wiki away from "tag like this" (prescriptive) to "the map tags as we document here" (descriptive).  Rather than be judgmental and against this (as I might appear to be now), I have swallowed my distinct surprise at this approach of yours since you presented it to me (for the first time, I might add, in my 8+ years of reading OSM wiki) and done my best to co-exist with it:  diligently working dozens of hours in the last week to achieve personal and project-wide consensus with you and OSM.  Personally in email, in the map, tuning up wiki and now in the wider forum of talk-us.  Yet while I don't think I'm the only one who finds your wiki-as-what-we-do, not what-we-should-do as odd, I believe it is the root of the friction on this topic.  Creating a "side project" wiki with an unusual approach to how our wiki is often used (as you yourself say you are doing) feels like a slight towards my more traditional approach of improving the United_States_admin_level wiki so it "always approaches more correct of how we should tag."  Please help me understand how I might be wrong or misled here, if indeed I am.

Hope that our community engagement here will "result in a more accurate wiki," well, yes, of course.  Obviously I wish that and a more accurate map, too.  Especially as the wiki informs and guides us to help make a better map.  But, both.  Not one at the expense of the other.

Long enough, already.


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