OpenStreetMap

Native English speakers: Please take action when a Tag name is wrong!

Posted by AndiG88 on 16 July 2014 in English (English)

A comment on the disussion page is often not enough.

After spending a lot of time in the Wiki recently it was really surprising to see how many errors there are when it comes to spelling and to using British English even on well established tags. And some of then are just REALLY obvious like vending=news_papers, which comes from this proposal 8 years ago and just one person pointed it out.

The reason I post this is because I just saw the other diary entry about sport=beachvolleyball...Those errors are more common than people think and become more difficult to fix for every day that goes by.

British English

Even more important if you notice that AE was used, because a lot less people will realize that. For example shop=jewelry is AE and while pointed out on the page itself as well as the talk page nothing happened. What makes it even better is that craft=jeweller is mentioned twice on the same page.

See Also

In some way this is also a follow up to my last diary entry: Please create Wiki entries for Tags!, because for example as pointed out translation errors can become a lot more obvious if you put a image next to them or just looking for an image you might notice the spelling is wrong.

PS: Obviously everybody should act when realizing a tag is wrong, but many errors will probably not be noticed on the spot by non-native speakers, especially AE vs. BE.

Comment from RobJN on 16 July 2014 at 19:50

Us Brits don't really see the English language as a fixed language and as such we have a strong element of creeping Americanisms. I expect most people will not spot them - just a small proportion of people will. This is evident in the fact that the official English in the European Union is British English and even they get it wrong all too often.

My other concern is that OSM has traditionally been against automated edits of tags. As such, I feel that I should not change tags even when they only occur a few times in our data.

Finally it is often easier to accept these tags without challenging them at the risk of making OSM appear to be a "British only project".

Good luck though :-D

Comment from AndiG88 on 17 July 2014 at 01:03

My other concern is that OSM has traditionally been against automated edits of tags.

While I share that sentiment (also don't like imports at all), I think sometimes that stance is completely pointles: amenity=emergency_phone is still 7000 in the database, even though emergency=phone was accepted and is used 4x as often. I can't think of a single argument against just converting those tags.

I agree that there are tags, where it is not clear and then I rather set a note in the Wiki and encourage people to fix it in their area. But for me this is not a black&white issue.

As such, I feel that I should not change tags even when they only occur a few times in our data.

For me the main thing is where do we draw the line then, because if we stick to how you and many other people see it then we are stuck with vending=news_papers forever and in 10 years will still "correct" all the people who spell it right. And if we change it, what is different from changing any other tag for a different reason?

Finally it is often easier to accept these tags without challenging them at the risk of making OSM appear to be a "British only project".

Well, we learn BE English here in Germany and when I was in school writing "color" was just flat out wrong.

Comment from NZGraham on 17 July 2014 at 07:56

AndiG88 - So presumably you would agree with me doing the sort of correcting mentioned in my question on the help forum? https://help.openstreetmap.org/questions/30197/how-can-i-find-mis-spelled-tags-on-the-map The subsequent comments about 'bulk editing' really frightened me off doing anything further about checking and amending fairly obvious mis-spellings. I wouldn't even know where to begin with 'bulk' or 'automated' editing!

Comment from Vincent de Phily on 17 July 2014 at 09:03

Sometimes, after much arguing, the AE term ends up as the consensus winner. See the shop=fishmonger -> shop=fish -> shop=seafood debate.

Comment from AndiG88 on 17 July 2014 at 19:45

So presumably you would agree with me doing the sort of correcting mentioned in my question on the help forum?

Yes, if it is done carefully (be sure there is no other similar tag, check a few POIs, check the tag combinations etc.)

The main advantage I see it that it clears up the value lists on taginfo and it becomes easier to see which undocumented values are used and you can creat Wiki pages from them or maybe start a proposal which allows you to combine some. For example I did that with vending= and it really reduced the amount of different values and allows me to find more common tags that were worth to be documented, which hopefully encourages others to map it.

Login to leave a comment