[OSM-talk] Mechanical Edit?

Casper Kersten casperkersten1 at gmail.com
Tue Jul 27 01:07:58 UTC 2021

Dear Frederik Ramm and all other readers,

> If one person sees a horse and tags it "kow" and then another person
comes along and says "we all agree that if something is tagged kow and not
cow it is almost certainly wrong" and changes the tagging, without noticing
that the thing is a horse and not a cow, then nothing has been gained.

I strongly disagree with your argument here. Many of the objects I changed
were still on version one or two and had been for several years until I
came along. Taginfo usage and chaos theory suggest that as long as we don’t
take action, the numbers of color=*, building:roof:shape=* and other
duplicate tags only grow. With my changesets I am effectively undoing the
chaos that has been formed, which I think is a valuable contribution to our
ever-growing database.

Adding to this, now the roof shapes, colours and other attributes are more
likely to be rendered, and if people who look at rendering software (such
as OSMbuildings) see that the attributes of objects in their area are
wrong, they are more likely to correct them. Thus, to use your example, a
rendered “cow” will attract more mapper and user attention than an
unrendered “kow” and is therefore more likely to be updated to the correct

Using ctrl+F to unify tags is something that we should all embrace with the
huge database that we are maintaining. Your proposal to wait for local
mappers to come along and fix all of the millions of outdated tags there
are is not only horribly inefficient, but is also not a solution at all,
because most objects are only looked at once or twice by local mappers, who
are in many cases also unaware of or uninterested in OSM-wide tagging

> If you think that a simple search-and-replace is a good idea – then leave
your hands off it and let someone fix it who has the time and energy to do
it properly.

DWG member or not, what counts as “proper fixing” is not for you, but for
the community to determine. If it were up to you, then ctrl+F would be
removed from JOSM and the community would lose a powerful mapping tool.
That mindset is harmful to the development and long-term sustainability of
OSM and I strongly disapprove of it.

As I stated previously, we cannot keep looking at the mess in our project,
ignore it and then blissfully continue to micromap the local playground. We
need to start showing some agency for the larger issues.

Best regards

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