Tagging Governance

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Tagging Governance

Roland Olbricht
Hi all,

I have got into the duty to talk about tagging governance on the SotM
and I would like to develop that opportunity towards something that is
rather helpful in the long term.
To ensure that I am on the right track and not unintentionally after a
personal agenda I would like to ask you to comment on the findings so
far listed below.

To encourage a widespread discussion, I have spread this message on
German and French lists as well (these two because I understand the
languages) and will do so in addition on the tagging list. Feel free to
spread this message further as long as you remember to channel back all
feedback.


Imperfect Flow of Information

Although many parts of the OpenStreetMap project are well translated,
the tagging documentation has substantial deficiencies. Over a random
sample of 10 tags the number of declared languages varies between 2 and
18, but only few are complete and up to date (sample: 2 of 10 for
German, 3 of 10 for French).

Another kind of imperfect information flow is that tag definitions can
be changed on the wiki page long after the tag is in widespread use.

The converse case that a tag is introduced without any documentation is
also happening. While this happens by ordinary users usually slow enough
to make sense of the added data, an import or organized edit might be
able to substantially skew the de facto meaning of a tag, regardless
whether it is in widespread use, documented, both, or none.


More Structure needed

The translation issues have been conflated with a different problem:
Different features may look very different between regions. E.g.
highway=primary and highway=unclassfied versus highway=track
need different sets of examples in Germany and the urban US on the one
hand and Iceland or rural Africa on the other. It is easy to mix this
with the translation into the predominant language in the area,
but the tagging challenges in Belgium, Canada, and Niger are
substantially different, although all three countries happen to have
French as official language. Conversely, there is no sane reason to
change tagging rules every block of houses in Brussels.

Additionally, people often have different search terms than the British
English tag names or their translations, and the wiki search engine is
infamous for its bad performance. Having explicit keywords to direct the
attention of a mapper to the list of possibly fitting tags might help.

A substantial problem source of the concept of proposals is
that it interacts with lots of tags in a nontrivial way and is
practically never properly applied to all affected tag definitions.
A proposal currently is an extra page although it should have much more
an impact like a Git commit, grouping changes across various tag
definition pages in a single changeset.


Legitimacy and Governance

What legitimation has a process if only a handful of people have that
have the time to write mails on a mailing list and to write wiki pages
are involved? In particular, if the proposals end up as being full of
contradictions or vague terms and leave necessary answers undefined.
Yet these still are the people that have shown the necessary long-term
endurance to assure maintenance and that do the work. Thus every change
to replace processes with better processes must be geared towards
broadening not narrowing the base of long-term maintainers.

Conversely, I fully understand mappers that are wary of sudden changes
in the rendering or the access to tags in edting software. A lot of
people whould probably appreciate to better understand what happens on
the way from a tag discussion to a final change in the renderer or
editing software. These processes are not secret, but often
under-documented.

Again, the various discussion channels and the lacking information flow
between them contribute to the bad mood. Even worse, the ratio between
people and channels means that evil or just plainly incompetent people
could easily take over some channels and contribute substantially to the
confusion. Good ideas how to redirect people and close down some of the
channels (e.g. wiki discussion pages) might be worth pursuing. On top of
that the wiki history is so much less helpful than what developers are
nowadays used to from version control systems that borrowing methaphors
and paradigms from there to the tag documentation is worth consideration.

This hopefully helps to foster that the authors of the documentation and
the mappers using a tag actually agree on its meaning.


Best regards,

Roland

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Re: Tagging Governance

stevea
My zwei Pfennige (two cents) worth.  I am somewhat multilingual (in my context of a largely-monolingual USA):  I grew up hearing familial Polish and Hungarian, studied seven years of foreign language (Spanish and French) in middle and high schools and at university double majored in linguistics and computer science.  In the '90s I was an employee at Apple and Adobe in multilingual environments, helping to either translate or "localize" software, data or documentation in many, many contexts.  When I signed up for OSM over a decade ago, I did so with a passion knowing I was joining a worldwide community of many languages:  a truly global project.  I have written many wiki pages and done much mapping, mostly local (California, USA), though I travel and map around the world, too.

I am aware of some of the history of OSM's origin story in the UK, and its almost unbelievably enthusiastic adoption in Western Europe, especially Germany, BeNeLux countries (do people still say that?!) and around the world.  (I am especially heartened to see similar enthusiasm in Africa and Asia:  OSM is truly global).

Yes, as I read (and write) wiki, wanting to conscientiously bridge the "how do we? / how should we?" gaps in the map compared to how we actually DO map by contributing to wiki, I have noticed a distinct English-centrism in the wiki.  At first I attributed this to OSM's UK origins (and British English still prevails in tagging, it is helpful to know the reasons why) yet I also noticed there was a "chase" or "lag" in both wiki-as-documenting how we DO tag and wiki-as-documenting how we SHOULD tag (the so-called "descriptive vs. prescriptive" argument about what a wiki page is actually "documenting").  At the same time, German-speaking influences have come on strong, showing the deep passion for OSM in this part of the world.

Roland mentions an "Imperfect Flow of Information."  What I notice in this regard is that people often map without checking wiki, people sometimes write wiki without checking the map, and people who either read or write wiki seem to be in a distinct minority.  I have no "basis in fact" for saying the latter, but I have had much experience in OSM of people who want to map well, they have all the required enthusiasm to be excellent mappers, but they seem to abhor reading documentation (our wiki, to a large extent it IS our project-wide documentation of "how we do things").  A lot of "wheels have been invented" (as in the phrase "don't re-invent the wheel (as you don't have to)" and yet people see fit to invent their own (wheels) tagging standards, when all that would have been required is a five-minutes tour through some fairly-well-written wiki pages.  While a certain amount of this is "Goldilocks, 'just right'" (and we have votes and talk-discussions and questions-and-answers on our forum and local MeetUp groups where beers are drunk and several people all agree "that's a pretty good way to tag that!") we sometimes see our "plastic" (free-form) tagging taken too far.  Or, people are quick to put their own interpretation on things, when the community has already reached consensus, and this is documented in our wiki pages.

But coining new tags and spilling them all over the map isn't the major "abuse" that I see, it is merely a symptom.  The real "sickness" that seems to continue to plague OSM is the very great difficulty it seems to take to reach wide, often world-wide agreement.  We have MANY different forums / technologies / websites /  chat rooms to discuss, we have MANY different views, we have many agendas (whether hidden or open), we have (and use!) MANY methods for "playing nice" vs. "being rough" for advancing these ideas "into the map."  Now, most of us realize that what we're talking about here, achieving consensus (especially on the specifics of tagging) in a worldwide map, in a worldwide community, is and is going to be difficult.  I see no way around that.  Yet I am encouraged that Roland brings up these topics and at least initiates a wider discussion that there MUST be "ways forward" through what feels like a morass of poor communication, what is known as "stovepiped" information (very compartmentalized, or paid attention to by people who make it their business to watch certain highly-specialized aspects of the project) and many other problems plaguing OSM.  It isn't simply many languages, esoterica, data vs. code, the cacophony of all the various communication methods (including proprietary ones like Twitter, Slack and other "secret sauce walkie talkies" that require signing a contract to use them, which deserve no good place in an "open" project like OSM, in my opinion).  No, it is as Roland says, "More Structure needed."  I don't know where the sweet spot between "free form" and "More Structured" is, but we're on a path where we are devolving into "too little structure" and it seems to be hurting us.  How do we BUILD that structure?  That's a good question!

I don't know what to do about all this.  I simply agree that a wider discussion of "how" (do we better communicate, bring together many disparate channels of communication, do we get people to either read our wiki, write into the wiki when it's a good idea to do so, or both) is long overdue.  Roland seems to be leaning towards using "more modern" methods like how Git uses "better-evolved" software development (documentation development, data-entry / data-improvement-over-time development...) methodologies to "get things done better."  Yes, I wish it were as "hand wavy easy" as that, like we could simply wish that things were better, or adopt some ready-made technological solution that some company perfected and then tossed into the public domain.  However, if we don't talk about "how," first identifying problems, then proposing solutions and perhaps even achieving some of them, we'll never, ever get there.  I wish I had done a better job of articulating the feelings I have had for many years of mapping in OSM about this (there are many problems), but hopefully talking about it will continue dialog that might move things forward.  Unfortunately, I have experienced more of the "bad mood" that Roland mentions far more frequently in this great project in the last year or three.  I'd love for us to figure out how we reverse that trend.  Perhaps we "home grow" this by starting at the "grass roots" level of specifying how we might better do this and grow it up ourselves, developing it similar to how commercial companies do so.  There's a lot of experience in OSM of "open projects," including open data projects, let's leverage that knowledge.  But ours should be "all OSM, built right here in OSM."  We already do that to a large degree, but because of that (recent, it's true) "bad mood,"  it seems we must do more.  Please, let us do more.

We can start with "tagging governance," the subject of this, and while it feels like a lot to bite off and chew, it also doesn't feel like too much.

SteveA
California


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Re : Tagging Governance

General Discussion mailing list
In reply to this post by Roland Olbricht
Hi Roland

It would help To better see the structure of

1.main tags
2.attributes adding detailed infos To these tags

Also cases like polygons that should not be overlapped when related   To landcover
ie. Amenity=university vs landuse=retail

Pierre


Le mar., sept. 10 2019 à 6:54 AM, Roland Olbricht
<[hidden email]> a écrit :
Hi all,

I have got into the duty to talk about tagging governance on the SotM
and I would like to develop that opportunity towards something that is
rather helpful in the long term.
To ensure that I am on the right track and not unintentionally after a
personal agenda I would like to ask you to comment on the findings so
far listed below.

To encourage a widespread discussion, I have spread this message on
German and French lists as well (these two because I understand the
languages) and will do so in addition on the tagging list. Feel free to
spread this message further as long as you remember to channel back all
feedback.


Imperfect Flow of Information

Although many parts of the OpenStreetMap project are well translated,
the tagging documentation has substantial deficiencies. Over a random
sample of 10 tags the number of declared languages varies between 2 and
18, but only few are complete and up to date (sample: 2 of 10 for
German, 3 of 10 for French).

Another kind of imperfect information flow is that tag definitions can
be changed on the wiki page long after the tag is in widespread use.

The converse case that a tag is introduced without any documentation is
also happening. While this happens by ordinary users usually slow enough
to make sense of the added data, an import or organized edit might be
able to substantially skew the de facto meaning of a tag, regardless
whether it is in widespread use, documented, both, or none.


More Structure needed

The translation issues have been conflated with a different problem:
Different features may look very different between regions. E.g.
highway=primary and highway=unclassfied versus highway=track
need different sets of examples in Germany and the urban US on the one
hand and Iceland or rural Africa on the other. It is easy to mix this
with the translation into the predominant language in the area,
but the tagging challenges in Belgium, Canada, and Niger are
substantially different, although all three countries happen to have
French as official language. Conversely, there is no sane reason to
change tagging rules every block of houses in Brussels.

Additionally, people often have different search terms than the British
English tag names or their translations, and the wiki search engine is
infamous for its bad performance. Having explicit keywords to direct the
attention of a mapper to the list of possibly fitting tags might help.

A substantial problem source of the concept of proposals is
that it interacts with lots of tags in a nontrivial way and is
practically never properly applied to all affected tag definitions.
A proposal currently is an extra page although it should have much more
an impact like a Git commit, grouping changes across various tag
definition pages in a single changeset.


Legitimacy and Governance

What legitimation has a process if only a handful of people have that
have the time to write mails on a mailing list and to write wiki pages
are involved? In particular, if the proposals end up as being full of
contradictions or vague terms and leave necessary answers undefined.
Yet these still are the people that have shown the necessary long-term
endurance to assure maintenance and that do the work. Thus every change
to replace processes with better processes must be geared towards
broadening not narrowing the base of long-term maintainers.

Conversely, I fully understand mappers that are wary of sudden changes
in the rendering or the access to tags in edting software. A lot of
people whould probably appreciate to better understand what happens on
the way from a tag discussion to a final change in the renderer or
editing software. These processes are not secret, but often
under-documented.

Again, the various discussion channels and the lacking information flow
between them contribute to the bad mood. Even worse, the ratio between
people and channels means that evil or just plainly incompetent people
could easily take over some channels and contribute substantially to the
confusion. Good ideas how to redirect people and close down some of the
channels (e.g. wiki discussion pages) might be worth pursuing. On top of
that the wiki history is so much less helpful than what developers are
nowadays used to from version control systems that borrowing methaphors
and paradigms from there to the tag documentation is worth consideration.

This hopefully helps to foster that the authors of the documentation and
the mappers using a tag actually agree on its meaning.


Best regards,

Roland

_______________________________________________
talk mailing list

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Re: Tagging Governance

Christoph Hormann-2
In reply to this post by Roland Olbricht

Hello Roland,

not sure if you have seen - i already gave my initial thoughts on this
on

https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/imagico/diary/390599

--
Christoph Hormann
http://www.imagico.de/

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Re: Tagging Governance

Valor Naram
Hello Roland and other "talkers",

I also thought about creating a new better channel for tagging discussions where all sites (mappers (newbies, experienced), developers, researchers etc.) come into play. E.g. we could create IRC rooms for discussions for each tag and have one main IRC room where one can "advertise" for a tag discussion in an IRC room. Votes can still take place in the wiki. But this would just solve one of many OSM issues.


I also mentioned in "tagging" the problem of "multiple tags for one purpose" but the emerging discussion there was not kind of discussion I hoped for. I also think that Mailing list isn't the right format for discussions. I think a chat is better suited for discussions. Telegram groups like @osm_de show that it can work throw chatting.

Cheers

Sören Reinecke alias Valor Naram


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [OSM-talk] Tagging Governance
From: Christoph Hormann
To: [hidden email]
CC:



Hello Roland,

not sure if you have seen - i already gave my initial thoughts on this
on

https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/imagico/diary/390599

--
Christoph Hormann
http://www.imagico.de/

_______________________________________________
talk mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk

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Re: Tagging Governance

john whelan-2
If the discussion takes place in a mailing list there is a record of it.

Slack is restricted and I'm not certain if a record is available.  Same for chat or mumble discussions.  Both are valuable but not for formally recording why a decision was made and the reasons behind it.

Cheerio John

On Tue, Sep 10, 2019, 6:54 AM Valor Naram, <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello Roland and other "talkers",

I also thought about creating a new better channel for tagging discussions where all sites (mappers (newbies, experienced), developers, researchers etc.) come into play. E.g. we could create IRC rooms for discussions for each tag and have one main IRC room where one can "advertise" for a tag discussion in an IRC room. Votes can still take place in the wiki. But this would just solve one of many OSM issues.


I also mentioned in "tagging" the problem of "multiple tags for one purpose" but the emerging discussion there was not kind of discussion I hoped for. I also think that Mailing list isn't the right format for discussions. I think a chat is better suited for discussions. Telegram groups like @osm_de show that it can work throw chatting.

Cheers

Sören Reinecke alias Valor Naram


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [OSM-talk] Tagging Governance
From: Christoph Hormann
To: [hidden email]
CC:



Hello Roland,

not sure if you have seen - i already gave my initial thoughts on this
on

https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/imagico/diary/390599

--
Christoph Hormann
http://www.imagico.de/

_______________________________________________
talk mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk
_______________________________________________
talk mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk

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Re: Tagging Governance

SimonPoole
In reply to this post by Roland Olbricht
Roland

I can't help noticing that you are tiptoeing a bit around the actual
issue which started the whole discussion: unilateral changes by the iD
maintainers (everybody else doesn't have enough leverage to enforce
their position, so it is not me specifically picking on them, it is
simply a consequence of the power they can wield). And these changes are
not just questions of which tags to use, but far more fundamental
questions, for example implicit vs. explicit tagging (which seems to be
something the US-corporate bubble whispered to them, likely that unknown
organisations holding the purse strings).

If you don't address that I'm not quite sure what the point of the whole
discussion is.

Simon

Am 10.09.2019 um 06:50 schrieb Roland Olbricht:

> Hi all,
>
> I have got into the duty to talk about tagging governance on the SotM
> and I would like to develop that opportunity towards something that is
> rather helpful in the long term.
> To ensure that I am on the right track and not unintentionally after a
> personal agenda I would like to ask you to comment on the findings so
> far listed below.
>
> To encourage a widespread discussion, I have spread this message on
> German and French lists as well (these two because I understand the
> languages) and will do so in addition on the tagging list. Feel free to
> spread this message further as long as you remember to channel back all
> feedback.
>
>
> Imperfect Flow of Information
>
> Although many parts of the OpenStreetMap project are well translated,
> the tagging documentation has substantial deficiencies. Over a random
> sample of 10 tags the number of declared languages varies between 2 and
> 18, but only few are complete and up to date (sample: 2 of 10 for
> German, 3 of 10 for French).
>
> Another kind of imperfect information flow is that tag definitions can
> be changed on the wiki page long after the tag is in widespread use.
>
> The converse case that a tag is introduced without any documentation is
> also happening. While this happens by ordinary users usually slow enough
> to make sense of the added data, an import or organized edit might be
> able to substantially skew the de facto meaning of a tag, regardless
> whether it is in widespread use, documented, both, or none.
>
>
> More Structure needed
>
> The translation issues have been conflated with a different problem:
> Different features may look very different between regions. E.g.
> highway=primary and highway=unclassfied versus highway=track
> need different sets of examples in Germany and the urban US on the one
> hand and Iceland or rural Africa on the other. It is easy to mix this
> with the translation into the predominant language in the area,
> but the tagging challenges in Belgium, Canada, and Niger are
> substantially different, although all three countries happen to have
> French as official language. Conversely, there is no sane reason to
> change tagging rules every block of houses in Brussels.
>
> Additionally, people often have different search terms than the British
> English tag names or their translations, and the wiki search engine is
> infamous for its bad performance. Having explicit keywords to direct the
> attention of a mapper to the list of possibly fitting tags might help.
>
> A substantial problem source of the concept of proposals is
> that it interacts with lots of tags in a nontrivial way and is
> practically never properly applied to all affected tag definitions.
> A proposal currently is an extra page although it should have much more
> an impact like a Git commit, grouping changes across various tag
> definition pages in a single changeset.
>
>
> Legitimacy and Governance
>
> What legitimation has a process if only a handful of people have that
> have the time to write mails on a mailing list and to write wiki pages
> are involved? In particular, if the proposals end up as being full of
> contradictions or vague terms and leave necessary answers undefined.
> Yet these still are the people that have shown the necessary long-term
> endurance to assure maintenance and that do the work. Thus every change
> to replace processes with better processes must be geared towards
> broadening not narrowing the base of long-term maintainers.
>
> Conversely, I fully understand mappers that are wary of sudden changes
> in the rendering or the access to tags in edting software. A lot of
> people whould probably appreciate to better understand what happens on
> the way from a tag discussion to a final change in the renderer or
> editing software. These processes are not secret, but often
> under-documented.
>
> Again, the various discussion channels and the lacking information flow
> between them contribute to the bad mood. Even worse, the ratio between
> people and channels means that evil or just plainly incompetent people
> could easily take over some channels and contribute substantially to the
> confusion. Good ideas how to redirect people and close down some of the
> channels (e.g. wiki discussion pages) might be worth pursuing. On top of
> that the wiki history is so much less helpful than what developers are
> nowadays used to from version control systems that borrowing methaphors
> and paradigms from there to the tag documentation is worth consideration.
>
> This hopefully helps to foster that the authors of the documentation and
> the mappers using a tag actually agree on its meaning.
>
>
> Best regards,
>
> Roland
>
> _______________________________________________
> talk mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk

_______________________________________________
talk mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk

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Re: Tagging Governance

Bryan Housel-2
Simon you’re completely wrong about this, but I doubt there is anything that I can say that would change your mind.  The "US-corporate bubble" does not care about the tags used by the iD presets as much as you think they do.  

The decisions we make in iD with the tags are mostly because 1. someone asked us to in a ticket or pull request, and we try to give people what they want..  or 2. we are trying to solve an actual problem - for example, the explicit tagging of piers and platforms came from us trying to detect routing islands (we rolled this back when people complained).  

Anyway, good luck with tagging.  When you frame the discussion this way, don’t be surprised when we are reluctant to participate.

Bryan



> On Sep 10, 2019, at 9:55 AM, Simon Poole <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Roland
>
> I can't help noticing that you are tiptoeing a bit around the actual
> issue which started the whole discussion: unilateral changes by the iD
> maintainers (everybody else doesn't have enough leverage to enforce
> their position, so it is not me specifically picking on them, it is
> simply a consequence of the power they can wield). And these changes are
> not just questions of which tags to use, but far more fundamental
> questions, for example implicit vs. explicit tagging (which seems to be
> something the US-corporate bubble whispered to them, likely that unknown
> organisations holding the purse strings).
>
> If you don't address that I'm not quite sure what the point of the whole
> discussion is.
>
> Simon
>
> Am 10.09.2019 um 06:50 schrieb Roland Olbricht:
>> Hi all,
>>
>> I have got into the duty to talk about tagging governance on the SotM
>> and I would like to develop that opportunity towards something that is
>> rather helpful in the long term.
>> To ensure that I am on the right track and not unintentionally after a
>> personal agenda I would like to ask you to comment on the findings so
>> far listed below.
>>
>> To encourage a widespread discussion, I have spread this message on
>> German and French lists as well (these two because I understand the
>> languages) and will do so in addition on the tagging list. Feel free to
>> spread this message further as long as you remember to channel back all
>> feedback.
>>
>>
>> Imperfect Flow of Information
>>
>> Although many parts of the OpenStreetMap project are well translated,
>> the tagging documentation has substantial deficiencies. Over a random
>> sample of 10 tags the number of declared languages varies between 2 and
>> 18, but only few are complete and up to date (sample: 2 of 10 for
>> German, 3 of 10 for French).
>>
>> Another kind of imperfect information flow is that tag definitions can
>> be changed on the wiki page long after the tag is in widespread use.
>>
>> The converse case that a tag is introduced without any documentation is
>> also happening. While this happens by ordinary users usually slow enough
>> to make sense of the added data, an import or organized edit might be
>> able to substantially skew the de facto meaning of a tag, regardless
>> whether it is in widespread use, documented, both, or none.
>>
>>
>> More Structure needed
>>
>> The translation issues have been conflated with a different problem:
>> Different features may look very different between regions. E.g.
>> highway=primary and highway=unclassfied versus highway=track
>> need different sets of examples in Germany and the urban US on the one
>> hand and Iceland or rural Africa on the other. It is easy to mix this
>> with the translation into the predominant language in the area,
>> but the tagging challenges in Belgium, Canada, and Niger are
>> substantially different, although all three countries happen to have
>> French as official language. Conversely, there is no sane reason to
>> change tagging rules every block of houses in Brussels.
>>
>> Additionally, people often have different search terms than the British
>> English tag names or their translations, and the wiki search engine is
>> infamous for its bad performance. Having explicit keywords to direct the
>> attention of a mapper to the list of possibly fitting tags might help.
>>
>> A substantial problem source of the concept of proposals is
>> that it interacts with lots of tags in a nontrivial way and is
>> practically never properly applied to all affected tag definitions.
>> A proposal currently is an extra page although it should have much more
>> an impact like a Git commit, grouping changes across various tag
>> definition pages in a single changeset.
>>
>>
>> Legitimacy and Governance
>>
>> What legitimation has a process if only a handful of people have that
>> have the time to write mails on a mailing list and to write wiki pages
>> are involved? In particular, if the proposals end up as being full of
>> contradictions or vague terms and leave necessary answers undefined.
>> Yet these still are the people that have shown the necessary long-term
>> endurance to assure maintenance and that do the work. Thus every change
>> to replace processes with better processes must be geared towards
>> broadening not narrowing the base of long-term maintainers.
>>
>> Conversely, I fully understand mappers that are wary of sudden changes
>> in the rendering or the access to tags in edting software. A lot of
>> people whould probably appreciate to better understand what happens on
>> the way from a tag discussion to a final change in the renderer or
>> editing software. These processes are not secret, but often
>> under-documented.
>>
>> Again, the various discussion channels and the lacking information flow
>> between them contribute to the bad mood. Even worse, the ratio between
>> people and channels means that evil or just plainly incompetent people
>> could easily take over some channels and contribute substantially to the
>> confusion. Good ideas how to redirect people and close down some of the
>> channels (e.g. wiki discussion pages) might be worth pursuing. On top of
>> that the wiki history is so much less helpful than what developers are
>> nowadays used to from version control systems that borrowing methaphors
>> and paradigms from there to the tag documentation is worth consideration.
>>
>> This hopefully helps to foster that the authors of the documentation and
>> the mappers using a tag actually agree on its meaning.
>>
>>
>> Best regards,
>>
>> Roland
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> talk mailing list
>> [hidden email]
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>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: Tagging Governance

SimonPoole

Am 10.09.2019 um 16:08 schrieb Bryan Housel:
> Simon you’re completely wrong about this, but I doubt there is anything that I can say that would change your mind.  The "US-corporate bubble" does not care about the tags used by the iD presets as much as you think they do.  

I don't think I remotely implied that the actual tags were at question
in this case.

>
> The decisions we make in iD with the tags are mostly because 1. someone asked us to in a ticket or pull request, and we try to give people what they want..  or 2. we are trying to solve an actual problem - for example, the explicit tagging of piers and platforms came from us trying to detect routing islands (we rolled this back when people complained).  
Well that is a -slight- simplification of what happened. We can
partially follow it here
https://github.com/openstreetmap/iD/issues/6409#issuecomment-494888256
Except that we don't even know why in the end the changes were reverted,
insight? External pressure? Or what? Obviously it wasn't just people
complaining or else it would have been far earlier.
>
> Anyway, good luck with tagging.  When you frame the discussion this way, don’t be surprised when we are reluctant to participate.

If there was more upfront transparency and discussion then likely the
whole thing likely wouldn't be needed. I'm not saying there wouldn't be
any disagreement, but it would be centred around the actual changes and
not around your behaviour which is what in the end is causing the high
tension.

Simon

>
> Bryan
>
>
>
>> On Sep 10, 2019, at 9:55 AM, Simon Poole <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Roland
>>
>> I can't help noticing that you are tiptoeing a bit around the actual
>> issue which started the whole discussion: unilateral changes by the iD
>> maintainers (everybody else doesn't have enough leverage to enforce
>> their position, so it is not me specifically picking on them, it is
>> simply a consequence of the power they can wield). And these changes are
>> not just questions of which tags to use, but far more fundamental
>> questions, for example implicit vs. explicit tagging (which seems to be
>> something the US-corporate bubble whispered to them, likely that unknown
>> organisations holding the purse strings).
>>
>> If you don't address that I'm not quite sure what the point of the whole
>> discussion is.
>>
>> Simon
>>
>> Am 10.09.2019 um 06:50 schrieb Roland Olbricht:
>>> Hi all,
>>>
>>> I have got into the duty to talk about tagging governance on the SotM
>>> and I would like to develop that opportunity towards something that is
>>> rather helpful in the long term.
>>> To ensure that I am on the right track and not unintentionally after a
>>> personal agenda I would like to ask you to comment on the findings so
>>> far listed below.
>>>
>>> To encourage a widespread discussion, I have spread this message on
>>> German and French lists as well (these two because I understand the
>>> languages) and will do so in addition on the tagging list. Feel free to
>>> spread this message further as long as you remember to channel back all
>>> feedback.
>>>
>>>
>>> Imperfect Flow of Information
>>>
>>> Although many parts of the OpenStreetMap project are well translated,
>>> the tagging documentation has substantial deficiencies. Over a random
>>> sample of 10 tags the number of declared languages varies between 2 and
>>> 18, but only few are complete and up to date (sample: 2 of 10 for
>>> German, 3 of 10 for French).
>>>
>>> Another kind of imperfect information flow is that tag definitions can
>>> be changed on the wiki page long after the tag is in widespread use.
>>>
>>> The converse case that a tag is introduced without any documentation is
>>> also happening. While this happens by ordinary users usually slow enough
>>> to make sense of the added data, an import or organized edit might be
>>> able to substantially skew the de facto meaning of a tag, regardless
>>> whether it is in widespread use, documented, both, or none.
>>>
>>>
>>> More Structure needed
>>>
>>> The translation issues have been conflated with a different problem:
>>> Different features may look very different between regions. E.g.
>>> highway=primary and highway=unclassfied versus highway=track
>>> need different sets of examples in Germany and the urban US on the one
>>> hand and Iceland or rural Africa on the other. It is easy to mix this
>>> with the translation into the predominant language in the area,
>>> but the tagging challenges in Belgium, Canada, and Niger are
>>> substantially different, although all three countries happen to have
>>> French as official language. Conversely, there is no sane reason to
>>> change tagging rules every block of houses in Brussels.
>>>
>>> Additionally, people often have different search terms than the British
>>> English tag names or their translations, and the wiki search engine is
>>> infamous for its bad performance. Having explicit keywords to direct the
>>> attention of a mapper to the list of possibly fitting tags might help.
>>>
>>> A substantial problem source of the concept of proposals is
>>> that it interacts with lots of tags in a nontrivial way and is
>>> practically never properly applied to all affected tag definitions.
>>> A proposal currently is an extra page although it should have much more
>>> an impact like a Git commit, grouping changes across various tag
>>> definition pages in a single changeset.
>>>
>>>
>>> Legitimacy and Governance
>>>
>>> What legitimation has a process if only a handful of people have that
>>> have the time to write mails on a mailing list and to write wiki pages
>>> are involved? In particular, if the proposals end up as being full of
>>> contradictions or vague terms and leave necessary answers undefined.
>>> Yet these still are the people that have shown the necessary long-term
>>> endurance to assure maintenance and that do the work. Thus every change
>>> to replace processes with better processes must be geared towards
>>> broadening not narrowing the base of long-term maintainers.
>>>
>>> Conversely, I fully understand mappers that are wary of sudden changes
>>> in the rendering or the access to tags in edting software. A lot of
>>> people whould probably appreciate to better understand what happens on
>>> the way from a tag discussion to a final change in the renderer or
>>> editing software. These processes are not secret, but often
>>> under-documented.
>>>
>>> Again, the various discussion channels and the lacking information flow
>>> between them contribute to the bad mood. Even worse, the ratio between
>>> people and channels means that evil or just plainly incompetent people
>>> could easily take over some channels and contribute substantially to the
>>> confusion. Good ideas how to redirect people and close down some of the
>>> channels (e.g. wiki discussion pages) might be worth pursuing. On top of
>>> that the wiki history is so much less helpful than what developers are
>>> nowadays used to from version control systems that borrowing methaphors
>>> and paradigms from there to the tag documentation is worth consideration.
>>>
>>> This hopefully helps to foster that the authors of the documentation and
>>> the mappers using a tag actually agree on its meaning.
>>>
>>>
>>> Best regards,
>>>
>>> Roland
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> talk mailing list
>>> [hidden email]
>>> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk
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Re: Tagging Governance

Bryan Housel-2

The decisions we make in iD with the tags are mostly because 1. someone asked us to in a ticket or pull request, and we try to give people what they want..  or 2. we are trying to solve an actual problem - for example, the explicit tagging of piers and platforms came from us trying to detect routing islands (we rolled this back when people complained).  
Well that is a -slight- simplification of what happened. We can
partially follow it here
https://github.com/openstreetmap/iD/issues/6409#issuecomment-494888256
Except that we don't even know why in the end the changes were reverted,
insight? External pressure? Or what? Obviously it wasn't just people
complaining or else it would have been far earlier.

I said why here:



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Re: Tagging Governance

SimonPoole
Thanks.

BTW I'm not saying that it is always clear when a "good idea" is
actually controversial or that you and Quincy are not subject to
multiple forces pulling or pushing in opposite directions, but the only
solution can be to escalate such issues to a wider audience before
implementation, when that is or becomes clear. Widely harmless current
example: 
https://github.com/openstreetmap/iD/issues/6836#issuecomment-529988108

Am 10.09.2019 um 17:12 schrieb Bryan Housel:

>>>
>>> The decisions we make in iD with the tags are mostly because 1.
>>> someone asked us to in a ticket or pull request, and we try to give
>>> people what they want..  or 2. we are trying to solve an actual
>>> problem - for example, the explicit tagging of piers and platforms
>>> came from us trying to detect routing islands (we rolled this back
>>> when people complained).  
>> Well that is a -slight- simplification of what happened. We can
>> partially follow it here
>> https://github.com/openstreetmap/iD/issues/6409#issuecomment-494888256
>> Except that we don't even know why in the end the changes were reverted,
>> insight? External pressure? Or what? Obviously it wasn't just people
>> complaining or else it would have been far earlier.
>
> I said why here:
> https://github.com/openstreetmap/openstreetmap-website/pull/2267
>
>

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Re: Tagging Governance

Richard Fairhurst
In reply to this post by Roland Olbricht
Roland Olbricht wrote:
> Imperfect Flow of Information
>
> Although many parts of the OpenStreetMap project are well
> translated, the tagging documentation has substantial deficiencies.

Yep. Documentation is the biggest problem with tagging.

I don't actually think it's the wiki per se that's the issue. The wiki is...
wiki-like. It's an untidy encyclopaedia of people's preoccupations at the
time they were moved to edit it. Yes, it does have problems: as you say,
"tag definitions being changed after the tag is in widespread use" (remember
the infamous edit that added access=no as a default for all barrier=
values?). But the challenge is bigger than that.

The main thing we're missing is curated, simple information on the main tags
that are _used_. Just as switch2osm took the infinite pages of install docs
on the wiki and boiled them down to one how-to, we need a simple guide to
the common tags in OSM: if you are a data consumer, these are the tags you
need to understand. Wikis don't work for this. It needs an
editor/curator/whatever, to have clear editorial guidelines, and probably to
run on the pull request model rather than open editing.

We're also missing a single-page explanation of OSM tagging principles. One
of the frustrations of watching this list is that there are quite a lot of
plain bad proposals that betray a misunderstanding of basic principles
(verifiability, rich meaningful tags, optimise for the mapper, no-one is
obliged to parse your new tag, etc. etc.). Life is too short to explain this
to everyone and, to be honest, the uber-keen tag proposer doesn't want to
hear their proposal rubbished in the first five minutes so won't listen
anyway. Writing down "this is how OSM tags work" would solve a lot of this
heartache.

Richard



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Re: Tagging Governance

Christoph Hormann-2
On Wednesday 11 September 2019, Richard Fairhurst wrote:
>
> The main thing we're missing is curated, simple information on the
> main tags that are _used_.

Indeed.  And i would go even further:  Any documentation of the de facto
use of tags written by humans (i.e. that goes beyond automatic analysis
like taginfo), written and maintained in a way that ensures it actually
does document the de facto situation, would be immensely useful and
important.

> It needs an
> editor/curator/whatever, to have clear editorial guidelines, and
> probably to run on the pull request model rather than open editing.

Is there any mature and writer centric software that implements this
kind of model?  I mean that from the perspective of a documentation
author offers a wiki like functionality with decent preview and
formatting but at the same time comes with a kind of version management
and functions to facilitate editorial review and discussion.

--
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http://www.imagico.de/

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Re: Tagging Governance

Joseph Eisenberg
"curated, simple information on themain tags that are _used_"

Originally this was maintained at Map Features
(http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Map_Features), and this page is
still somewhat "curated"; not just any tag can be added, most of the
very common tags are included, and many people are watching the page
for changes

But this is a wiki page, so sometimes rare or proposed tags are added
without discussion. I've removed a few of these over the past few
months. In theory new tags should be added either because they are
already "de facto" accepted, as shown by frequent use in many places
mappers, and support by database users, but tags can also be added to
Map Features through the Proposal Process with discussion on the
mailing list and wiki.

Changing to a github-like system of version management would require
some people to serve as "maintainers" or "moderators" of the new,
curated list of Map Features / Tags, wouldn't it? While this could be
an improvement in the quality and consistency of how decisions are
made, it would also limit participation and centralize
decision-making.

I've recently tried to start discussions about how new tags should be
added to Map Features and have asked specifically about adding some
"in use" / "de facto" tags. Perhaps the current wiki-based system is
fine, as long as enough people are invested in maintaining it.

It might be helpful to agree that Tag: and Key: pages on the
Openstreetmap wiki should document "de facto", actual mapping practice
rather than what a particular person thinks should be done - this
being reserved for Proposal pages.

- Joseph

On 9/11/19, Christoph Hormann <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wednesday 11 September 2019, Richard Fairhurst wrote:
>>
>> The main thing we're missing is curated, simple information on the
>> main tags that are _used_.
>
> Indeed.  And i would go even further:  Any documentation of the de facto
> use of tags written by humans (i.e. that goes beyond automatic analysis
> like taginfo), written and maintained in a way that ensures it actually
> does document the de facto situation, would be immensely useful and
> important.
>
>> It needs an
>> editor/curator/whatever, to have clear editorial guidelines, and
>> probably to run on the pull request model rather than open editing.
>
> Is there any mature and writer centric software that implements this
> kind of model?  I mean that from the perspective of a documentation
> author offers a wiki like functionality with decent preview and
> formatting but at the same time comes with a kind of version management
> and functions to facilitate editorial review and discussion.
>
> --
> Christoph Hormann
> http://www.imagico.de/
>
> _______________________________________________
> talk mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk
>

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Re: Tagging Governance

dieterdreist
Am Mi., 11. Sept. 2019 um 14:30 Uhr schrieb Joseph Eisenberg <[hidden email]>:
 Perhaps the current wiki-based system is
fine, as long as enough people are invested in maintaining it.



+1
Btw, sometimes tiny details can make huge differences. Some years ago, the default action to automatically watch a wiki page when you modified it, was activated, and since then I'm monitoring changes to the pages I care about. Since this setting was introduced/changed, more eyes are on the pages (but it isn't helping for problematic new pages, naturally, I guess there are similar streams for new pages, and I hope some people are having an eye on these, but I'm not sure).

 
It might be helpful to agree that Tag: and Key: pages on the
Openstreetmap wiki should document "de facto", actual mapping practice
rather than what a particular person thinks should be done - this
being reserved for Proposal pages.


yes, although it is hard to tell, often, because when you go checking some instances, ideally you need to know the "thing" that is represented, so everybody will have a very limited view of very few examples she personally knows.
And it is also clear that there will always be some outliers. When you discover them, you can either change the docs to include them, or you can remap them to more appropriate tags ;-) If we go always with the first solution, we will end up in the long run with all tags meaning everything (or nothing) ;-).

Cheers,
Martin

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Re: Tagging Governance

Christoph Hormann-2
In reply to this post by Joseph Eisenberg
On Wednesday 11 September 2019, Joseph Eisenberg wrote:
>
> Changing to a github-like system of version management would require
> some people to serve as "maintainers" or "moderators" of the new,
> curated list of Map Features / Tags, wouldn't it? While this could be
> an improvement in the quality and consistency of how decisions are
> made, it would also limit participation and centralize
> decision-making.

I think we all realize that and i am not in any way a fan of formalized
power structures and hierarchies.  But we also can see that the wiki
does not work as a means to document the de facto meaning of tags.

OpenStreetMap is a broad community of people with very different
abilities and skills.  Not everyone is equally capable for every task
within the project and hardly anyone is able to accurately assess their
level of capability on everything and selflessly act accordingly.  In
the field of mapping the do-ocratic approach has been relatively
successful in dealing with that (as long as we were talking about
independent and unpaid local mappers only of course) because it is the
base level of the project and is naturally grounded in the locally
observable reality.  But as i pointed out in my diary entry the same
approach will not work on the meta-level of tag documentation where -
if the documentation serves its purpose - what is written or modified
by a single contributor is multiplied in effect and read and considered
by many who use the documentation.  This distorts the incentives and
put bluntly leads to the wrong people dominating the wiki.  And this is
not solved by getting more prople involved in editing it.  The
community as a whole tries to compensate for that by giving less weight
to the wiki as a source of information on tags but as Richard mentioned
this leaves a big gap in terms of accurate, clear and precise
documentation.

Note curated documentation based on agreed on editorial principles does
not necessarily mean a top-down imposed framework.  Such documentation
would naturally be under an open license and therefore could be forked
so if someone at some point is dissatisfied with how this works they
could always initiate a competing project with a different curating
team and/or principles.  My concern is less that of centralized
decision making and control over an important resource but that it will
be difficult to find, motivate, select and retain qualified people to
work on this.

And documentation of the de facto meaning of tags, potentially focused
on the most important ones, is of course - though evidently important -
only one aspect of what Roland wants to discuss here.

--
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Re: Tagging Governance

Richard Fairhurst
In reply to this post by Joseph Eisenberg
Joseph Eisenberg wrote:
> Changing to a github-like system of version management would
> require some people to serve as "maintainers" or "moderators"
> of the new, curated list of Map Features / Tags, wouldn't it? While
> this could be an improvement in the quality and consistency of
> how decisions are made, it would also limit participation and
> centralize decision-making.

You misunderstand. I'm not proposing "changing to" anything, but rather,
providing an _additional_ source of edited/curated documentation. The wiki
would continue doing what the wiki does. Same principle as switch2osm.

Richard




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Re: Tagging Governance

Frederik Ramm
In reply to this post by Christoph Hormann-2
Hi,

On 11.09.19 17:27, Christoph Hormann wrote:
> My concern is less that of centralized
> decision making and control over an important resource but that it will
> be difficult to find, motivate, select and retain qualified people to
> work on this.

Jochen and I, authors of the 2010 printed OpenStreetMap book, have
unsuccessfully tried to morph that book into some kind of open source
project; we were contacted by different people over time who wanted to
have a go at and we played along it but it never came to a point where
there was any hope of it becoming a sustainable project.

Of course that book went far beyond just tagging, attempting to also
document how various editors work and how to make maps. I've kind of
lost hope that anything could ever become of that - it's a lot of work
and it is very ahrd to do collectively in a "everyone just edits one
tiny little bit and somehow a coherent whole will emerge" kind of way.

Bye
Frederik

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Re: Tagging Governance

Mateusz Konieczny-3
In reply to this post by Christoph Hormann-2



11 Sep 2019, 13:43 by [hidden email]:
On Wednesday 11 September 2019, Richard Fairhurst wrote:

The main thing we're missing is curated, simple information on the
main tags that are _used_.

Indeed. And i would go even further: Any documentation of the de facto
use of tags written by humans (i.e. that goes beyond automatic analysis
like taginfo), written and maintained in a way that ensures it actually
does document the de facto situation, would be immensely useful and
important
Nearly 100% of my activity on wiki
is attempting to do this (documenting
tags and removal of what is in contrary to
reality).
It needs an
editor/curator/whatever, to have clear editorial guidelines, and
probably to run on the pull request model rather than open editing.

Is there any mature and writer centric software that implements this
kind of model? I mean that from the perspective of a documentation
author offers a wiki like functionality with decent preview and
formatting but at the same time comes with a kind of version management
and functions to facilitate editorial review and discussion.
wiki has version management and
talk pages.

editorial review equivalent is done via watchlists

MediaWiki software and OSM Wiki
community has plenty of warts
but I am unaware about real alternatives,
and I am not planning to make one.

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Re: Tagging Governance

Mateusz Konieczny-3
In reply to this post by Frederik Ramm

11 Sep 2019, 18:56 by [hidden email]:
and it is very ahrd to do collectively in a "everyone just edits one
tiny little bit and somehow a coherent whole will emerge" kind of way.
Very hard, but given that there is no
better alternative...

Is there somewhere git repository accepting
pull requests - or equivalent of something like
that with contents of this book?

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