This is an excellent brief summary. The difference between this and some more prescriptive approaches is refreshing and welcome.
So I am reluctant to clutter it up, but there are a couple of areas where I think it might be useful to add some material.
In the UK the retail sector / high street has high visibility at the moment. It seems timely to pay it some attention. Similar considerations might be relevant elsewhere.
1) For contributors, there could be a bit more guidance on best practice (but in my view, only a bit more). This might use examples of common approaches to tagging (rather than rules) to help steer contributors who need help. Examples include: how and when to use "operator", "name", and "brand"; handling of vacant retail property; and helping contributors to categorise the more difficult types of shop. Retail seems prone to overlapping categories in the real world. Examples include varying scale (when is a supermarket a convenience store and v.v.); the crossover between cafes, fast food outlets, and food shops. There are also examples where the language trips up even native English speakers (chemist vs pharmacy, coffee shop vs cafe) as well as examples where the fit to OSM tagging isn't obvious (charity bookshops).
2) Guidance for users on how best to interpret the data. At this stage this probably just needs a heading and a couple of paragraphs, that shows the different perspectives of the retail sector within the OSM database: shops for current function, amenity as a way of directing users, building types, and retail landuse.
I'm pretty sure that the first of these suggestions does belong in an introductory page, as long as it is kept short. i.e. covers only a limited number of cases where existing data indicates that there are inconsistencies in the way shops are tagged, and that these are worth addressing.
The second would be addressing a different type of user, so it mustn't be allowed to confuse the main audience for the page. I think something short might be of use, but if it proves interesting and grows beyond a brief section then it should probably migrate elsewhere.
As I said earlier, I really don't want to clutter up and spoil the concept of a basic introduction, so before changing anything - what do others think?
--User:Peter Reed 15:32, 10 January 2012
I have updated the note on use of grocery. This had earlier bee removed on the basis that it was discouraged.
It is documented as an option on the shops page, with a subsidiary page explaining that shop=grocery should not be used, as grocers are really greengrocers or convenience stores. This is not the case.
Firstly, a grocer is completely different to a greengrocer.
The differences between a grocer and convenience store are more subtle. Traditional grocers are not common in the UK, but they do exist, and it is not unreasonable to provide guidance on how they should be tagged. In any case there are several dozen in the database, and the note clearly documents data usage not tagging guidance.