[OSM-talk] Review of name and boundary tagging - revised and amended guidelines to address and resolve disputes

Christoph Hormann osm at imagico.de
Tue Jul 13 16:50:48 UTC 2021

On Tuesday 13 July 2021, Bert -Araali- Van Opstal wrote:
> I disagree:
> Most principles have constraints, even those in OSM. Like for example
> "the freedom of speech" has a constraint when it comes to the
> targetted use or expression of racism, incitement of violence,
> sexual, religious exclusion etc....

You are conflating social rules and the rights and obligations of people 
in and specific to your culture/subculture with the overall values and 
principles of the OpenStreetMap project.  As said OSM is a 
decentralized global project and we have no shared social rules and 
standards like freedom of speech or its limitations.  All we have in 
common universally and that we can universally rely on is the common 
database and the principles under which we add and edit information in 
that database.  And the most fundamental of these principles is - "by 
virtue of common sense" and not through an English language attempt at 
explaining it on the wiki - the principle of verifiability.

> With the principle of verifiability we have a guideline that says
> local knowledge may prevail [...]

No, the principle of verifiability has nothing directly to do with local 
knowledge.  Since OSM is about the collection of local knowledge we 
apply it to local knowledge - but the principle in itself is not in any 
way tied and limited to local knowledge.

It seems to me you are contradicting yourself in what you write - you 
call for limiting and relativizing the principle of verifiability just 
to a few paragraphs later call for stricter and clearer rules and their 
enforcement.  That does not fit together.

What your ideas would in the end lead to is a complex conglomerate of 
(presumably universally English language) rule documents and a 
bureaucratic apparatus for the maintainance, exegesis and enforcement 
of these rules and for dealing with the inevitable inner contradictions 
such a complex set of rules would contain.  That would - if actually 
implemented and imposed - lead to the opposite of what you claim it is 
meant to do, namely to more subjective and biased decisions.

The conflict this thread started with can - as shown early in the 
discussion - be solved through adherence to the verifiability 
principle.  If local mappers in the region come to a consensus about 
mapping and tagging this that does not follow the verifiability 
principle that is perfectly fine as well (since as said there are no 
firm rules in OSM).  In that way this conflict - as understandably 
significant as it is for the locals in the area - is just one like many 
others that come up over time in OSM and that can be solved using the 
well established mechanisms we have.

So please don't use this conflict as the basis to claim we need to 
completely overthrow and redesign the fundamental values and principles 
of the project.  If you want to critique these values and principles 
that is welcome and valuable but please do so independent of a specific 
case of conflict and in a way that acknowledges the fundamental role 
these play in OpenStreetMap.

Christoph Hormann

More information about the talk mailing list