Vote ‘Restructure wiki page key:name’ (cancelled)

Dear OSM wiki readers,

The current article key:name is very extensive with 18k characters and yet the talk page contains the request ‘Clarification is required - There are constant debates in my neighbourhood about what is a name.

Despite or because of the large amount of text, the current article is unclear in its core points. The proposed text for restructuring aims to improve

  • readability
  • clarity

of the text.

I would like to know your opinion on the restructuring of the wiki page key:name.

Text proposal: User:RobHubi/Key:name
Current text: wiki/Key:name
Issues current text: my blog post
Discussion in the forum: Restructure wiki page key:name?

The voting will remain open until 24th June 2024, 00:00 UTC (for 2 weeks), and the results will be remain hidden until that time.

Voting is anonymous and offers a single choice to choose from. Please select the option that best describes your opinion.

(Poll deleted on 12 June 2024)

I want to note that feedback was quite clear in that discussion that proposed changes are having some quite clear problems that need to be fixed.

Current proposal is a good idea in some general ideas but also pushes some simply wrong claims.

Vote would not override this.


These have been fixed.

Right or wrong is not a suitable category here. We have discussed different points of view in order to achieve the clearest, most consensual definition of meaning. It is not wrong to have a different opinion on this.

The text proposal fixes some specific issues and attempts to summarise the overlong main article names in a way that is easy to understand.

I think it is legitimate to vote on the extent to which this has been successful.
For me, any result is good because it meets the expressed needs of the mappers.

Please list the “specific issues” fixed, and clarify what material has been left out in order to make a shorter summary. Without those details, it’s not responsible to make the change.



is still pushing a fringe view without general support.

Tesco supermarkets should get name=Tesco (unless they have some actual individual names, codes used only on listing of Tesco supermarkets on chain website does not count)

Tagging them solely with brand without name tag at all is just wrong. And is trying to push prescriptive vision of OSM Wiki where tagging schema would be redefined by editing wiki. Which is just incorrect.

At least it got better since initial version that tried to push claim that it is never OK to use name tags in such case but it is still simply incorrect.

(I have not reviewed text carefully, there may be other issues beyond this one)


I’m always reluctant to criticize someone’s command of language, but the proposal is full of vague, unclear or poorly worded statements. And I’m not criticizing your English grammar as such, but rather sloppy writing, which is :

As a rule, it is very simple: the name is signposted and is also used as such by the locals. If several names exist for a feature, the tag name is set to the primary respectively the most common name. There is a rich selection of name variants for the other names:

“Name” is used in at least three senses in the above paragraph, including vague “as such”, but inconsistently. The first name is italicized (as if it is a word-as-word), but then it is used in the normal sense of “name”. You might have used a specialized term such as “primary name” to denote the meaning we usually understand as the contents of name=* key. Contrast this with the current, rather clear, wording in Key:name:

As a rule of thumb, the primary name would be the most obvious name of the feature, the one that end users expect data consumers to expose in a label or other interface element. Here are the usual sources of primary names:…

Further on:

Descriptive names such as “Tesco Car Park” or “Brandon Town Map” are not usually names.

What’s the distinction between a “descriptive name” and a “name”? I can’t decipher what “Brandon Town Map” was meant to denote – why not use something more common instead?

When to use

This whole section is meandering, again with sloppy terminology:

Only use it for the primary name. Do not use it for
Common names: “Football Pitch”, “Toilet” …

Yeah, I get the intent, but you now poison the term “common name” – “McDonald’s” is the common name for the fast food restaurant around your corner; however, “toilet” is rather a description or definition of the otherwise unnamed object, and so on…

So, sorry, but I think that the proposal is far from being an acceptable replacement for the current Key:name page. Instead, I think we’d be better off by cleaning up the page from junk accrued during years of uncontrolled editing – I’d start with pruning useless section "All documented suffixed subkeys: ", and continuing with “Road names”, “Additional data” and “Editors”, of very low redeeming value.


I practice what I preach. :nerd_face:

One of the text sections somewhere took me by surprise saying that IF there is only local name i.e. loc_name (so is my reading), then that goes to the name key. So happens few weeks ago a longer country road that HAD a name has no other name but that local name and the mapper moved it to the loc_name field, deleting the name tag, adding a tag noofficial_name=yes which appears in taginfo only on that road.


Nominated finds it by the loc_name tag, but the map serves up blank. Surprisingly, no QA has been balking at this absent a noname=yes, but StreetComplete e.g. is now wanting an quest answer.

The ‘somewhere’ source Names - OpenStreetMap Wiki

loc_name=* is for the name of a feature as it is known locally, but only where this is deemed to be too much of a slang name or otherwise unofficial-sounding. Ordinarily though, the name which local people use is the name we set in the name=* tag! Examples where we have used loc_name=*:

Has that part of the ‘name’ policy been binned too? To me it makes common sense to put the loc_name on the map, there always being the option to put a note/description on the objects how and what.

I also added the following paragraph, which may be controversial and/or better worded, so I’m bringing it forward here:

Chain stores (such as supermarkets, apparel stores, fast-food restaurants, or gas stations) are often known locally under the brand name, rather than an individual, shop-specific name. In those cases, it is acceptable to use the same value for name=* and brand=*, and describe the shop’s assigned, less-known name under official_name=* or its code under ref=*. However, the naming convention may be chain- or country-specific.


Chronological order of resolved issues

  1. Issue multiple names
  2. Issue brand names
  3. Issue Primitive Methodist Chapel
  4. Issue proper name
  5. Issue section editors

What has been left out

  1. the fundamental rejection of the idea
  2. issues that were contradicted by other discussion participants
  3. insignificant issues
  4. issues in polemical or destructive form
1 Like

Nobody has claimed that it was solved in the sense of Mateusz_Konieczny. The topic ‘brand=name’ was discussed controversially (see discussion from post #16). The issue was resolved by describing both points of view neutrally.

Voting is anonymous, no justification is required for your decision.

If you want to contribute constructively to the text proposal, the discussion page Restructure wiki page key:name? would be the right place.

Please stop this immediately. This is an incredible disrespect to the community!

On the one hand, there is a text proposal that has been discussed and shaped in the community for many weeks. On the other hand, you change the text freely without any further legitimation. And this immediately before the vote.

I quote Dieterdreist:

Undo revision 2667024 by RobHubi please understand that this is a central document and cannot be completely changed without having explicit backing by other people (i.e. first there is a draft, then the discussion, then it can eventually be merged)

Undo your changes and discuss your changes in advance!

I looked again through the edit and still believe it was right to revert it because too much was lost, in particular how to deal with multiple names. I also believe it is good to show there is a whole zoo of different name keys.

With my wiki administrator’s hat on:

Most edits to most tagging pages on the wiki happen unilaterally without discussion. This is only acceptable to the extent that the edit is small and insignificant, or assumed to be uncontroversial, or intended as a first iteration, welcoming further revisions by other community members. In short, the expectations are the same as in OSM itself. If a page were really so important that no one could edit it without prior discussion, I would’ve enabled full protection on the page, locking it from edits by non-administrators. But that has only ever happened to a handful of tagging pages in all of OSM’s history.

I would’ve said a long time ago that you don’t need to go through all this trouble of writing a diary post, engaging in a spirited debate on the forum, and holding a poll just to change a wiki page. However, I have appreciated your cautious approach because of the critical importance of name, the wide-ranging edits you want to make (to the point of rewriting the page), and some lingering confusion over terminology. You have exercised good judgment in consulting the community.

Meanwhile, @Duja has taken the more usual approach of being bold. This may seem unfair, but the main consideration is whether the edits were right or not. Any unilateral edits to the page are not set in stone, so if they turn out to be specious, then a proper course of action would be to revert and start a discussion either on the talk page or here on this forum. Even so, these edits have also contributed to this discussion, as a sort of counterproposal that might get us closer to a consensus.


(1) this edit brings it anyway closer to version you proposed (this content is gone also in your version if I see it correctly)

(2) it is fine to edit wiki - tag was not redefined here and other critical changes were not made. If someone feels this change make article worse then they should revert while stating reason and then it can be discussed (note that this what happened with your edit: you edited page, other people disputed it and reverted)

This is not valid solution in this case as one point of view describes widely shared de facto view and documents current tagging, another is a fringe prescriptive view.

1 Like

I’ve now reviewed @Duja 's set of edits to the page, and while I disagree (and have brought up on the talk page) one part of one removal, I like the rest, and I’m delighted to see such gradual changes moving forward. I’d strongly encourage Robhubi to split up their suggested changes into multiple separate edits (to their copy of the page) so we can discuss them individually.

This is not quite apt description of either my edits or your proposal.

Wiki pages are not holy scriptures, and are in general freely editable, particularly for uncontroversial or inconsequential edits. Since the main complaint about the Key:name page was that is excessively long, most my edits were just removals of irrelevant or duplicate text, rendering the page much shorter. I barely touched the remaining, long-standing text.

The only remotely controversial change was the brand vs. name consideration, which I felt was a fair summary of the discussion in Restructure wiki page key:name? Yet I immediately brought it here for everyone’s attention, and would not mind if it’s rephrased or removed entirely.

On the other hand, your proposal is a complete rewrite of the documentation, from ground zero. While I commend your careful approach in composing it and proposing it for voting, I doubt that it is mature enough that it will be voted in by the community. In any case, life goes on, and the existing documentation is open for gradual improvements.

1 Like

Come on, folks!

Of course you shouldn’t alter a proposal text that’s being voted on.

And of course you shouldn’t poll yes/no on a long text that you know is controversial, on an issue that’s not decided by voting.

This is leading nowhere.

Duja edited wiki page about name key, not the proposal page.

Part of the discussion. Can’t you people find a way to settle the issues first, then apply the changes? Or agree to disagree, and then return to the regular chaotic everybody-edits-and-reverts-state?