[OSM-talk] Naming disputes in Ukraine

Eugene Sandulenko sev.mail+osm at gmail.com
Fri Aug 3 01:19:53 BST 2012

On Thu Aug 2 20:22:16 BST 2012 Frederik Ramm wrote:
> Yes, because as soon as you "invent" this status part, you will offend
> someone, no matter whether you choose the Ukrainian or the Russian
> version of the status part.
This is the main misunderstanding here. We tried to explain it several
times, but were always ignored by the guys who started to change
everything "back to Russian" and unfortunately by DWG.

Our initial changes of streets in Crimea to Ukrainian was driven by a
simple technical decision, which is to have 'name' in Ukrainian, so
the map will work as is in navigation software, name:en tags could be
generated, and validators could be written. No politics, no
'pro-Ukrainian' or 'anti-Russian', although we are constantly being
painted as such.

Suddenly a newcomer approaches, and silently mass-renames many streets
into Russian, loosing original Ukrainian renderings along the way,
e.g. without copying them to name:uk. As we always do in such cases,
he was contacted in private, and in parallel his actions were
discussed in "users: Ukraine" forum. In three days he gave his 'go
ahead' to revert his changes. I was the one who made the reverts. We
thought it's over.

Then couple weeks ago we occasionally found out that he silently
reverted the reverts, and then after my following revert contacted

After the first case we were openly encouraging him and anyone else
from Crimea to step in and propose to change the rule, which they
never even tried, only expressed heavy abuses in return. The main
reasoning for our offer was that we cannot silently alter the
guidelines on the Wiki without prior discussion. Many fellow users,
including those closely involved in the discussions, were all OK with
having Crimea all in Russian, and still are. We just did not want to
create a precedence when a total newcomer (with 10 new objects on the
map) can jump in and twist the whole thing as he wants (and the main
arguments of the guy was that 'I want it to be in Russian since I
speak Russian').

What made the whole thing bitter is that after all we found out that
the initial user who started all of this and who wrote to DWG,
actually is a permanent resident of Moscow, Russia, and as such is not
local only to Crimea, but even to whole Ukraine. Nevertheless, we are
willing to ignore this fact and address the problem.

So, to make it straight.

o We are fine with clear and simple rule to have 'name' tag in Crimea
for street ways (to give proper definition, within a polygon defined
by relation 72639), such as 'have Russian in name tag', or 'have 2
renderings in name tag'. This will make possible to continue the
current pace of using software in processing and exporting territory
of Ukraine.
o The rule above cannot be applied to city and village names, since
all of those are in Ukrainian everywhere. All place nodes already have
4 name tags.
o The rule to have name in Ukrainian never stretched on usual objects
such as POIs. E.g. we always wrote in 'name' whatever is actually on
the advertisement for this amenity. There are names in Ukrainian,
Russian and English in the country. So there is no need to enforce
anything in this regard.
o Our initial decision to have Ukrainian in name tag had nothing to do
with politics or oppression of any human being. It is a purely
technical decision, in the light that OSM is a Database, and not just
a map.
o Current DWG decision does not address the problem at all, since
historically same object may (and does) have inconsistent naming on
the ground.
o Moreover, having unpredictable mix in 'name' will degrade quality of
any navigational maps or geocoding.
o Substantial part of Crimea was mapped in Ukrainian from the
beginning, simply because people followed the established rule. We
have several locals from Crimea in the forums who were surprised by
the dispute, and who did the initial mapping. Nevertheless, it is OK
to rename those to whatever be decided.

Thus, I would like to request DWG to revisit their decision and whole
"dispute", and come up with something which is more transparent and
easy to follow.


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