Proposal talk:Artificial

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See comments on mailing list: Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 11:45, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

Transition plan

A change of this magnitude requires a carefully-considered transition plan to ensure that downstream data consumers and renderers remain functional before, during, and after the change. It will not be acceptable to simply introduce breaking changes to the database. This proposal must answer:

  • How you propose that the change will be made. Will it be done in phases, gradually, or all at once?
  • Will there be a transition schedule that data consumers must abide by in order to implement the change and remain supported? If so, what is it?
  • Will features need to be double-tagged with both styles for a period of time? If so, for how long?

Without a description of "how we get there from here", this proposal is incomplete. I would suggest dedicating significant thought and words to the practical aspects of how you propose to transition these 3.8 million tags. ZeLonewolf (talk) 02:51, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

Thanks for your input ZeLonewolf I have placed the expected transition schedule but happy to receive further feedback on this. --Rtbk (talk) 03:07, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

The following phrases are unclear:

  • "the existing validation and correction methods" - what do you mean by this? There is no "validation and correction method" other than perhaps the validators that various map editing tool authors have written.
  • "marked as invalid tags" - unclear what this means. OSM doesn't have a concept of "invalid tags". Are you referring to the various validators or are you referring to a documentation update on the wiki? Please be specific.
  • "prompt users to update" - where will this prompt appear and who will cause that change? Are you referring to a specific tool?

Unfortunately these issues are more complex than meets the eye because OSM is not a monolithic entity but rather an ecosystem of tools and data consumers that need to be considered. ZeLonewolf (talk) 03:22, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

It seems that voting ends before it starts Elgaard (talk) 10:19, 21 October 2020 (UTC) -Good pickup. Have fixed the date :) Rtbk (talk)

Artificial is a poor choice of name for key

Although "artificial" can be understood to have a meaning equivalent to "man_made" it has numerous other related meanings and use of this term does not improve clarity. Other alternatives suggested either suffer similar issues, or are just "clunky". The only suggestion I can come up with which may be neutral and reflects current usage is **stucture**, issofar that the current use of man_made=* generally implies some kind of structure.

I agree with this. To solve the gender-bias problem, maybe "human_made" would be an easy solution that does not change the meaning of the tag like "artificial" does, hereby avoiding a lot of problems. osm-sputnik, 3pm, 1 November 2020 (UTC)

Personally, I'm unconvinced that changing man_made is a good use of OSM contributors & consumers time compared with other actions which may be more effective in creating greater diversity and equality in OSM, but am engaging with this dicussion "as is". There are other tags and keys which create greater problems in terms of actual comprehension in various parts of the world, for instance highway=unclassified and shop=boutique have caused numerous problems over the years, and the latter tag has been extensively used in West Aftica as loitier has pointed out. SK53 (talk) 13:04, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

I 100% agree --Meme (talk) 03:20, 4 November 2020 (UTC)


It's rather interesting you compare this against natural=*. Many natural=* features are in fact "man-made" or signficiantly managed by humans. natural=* itself tends more towards "natural resources" or environment in practice. A more truly "objective" and fitting term would be something like "structure" (structure=* currently more of a property for a lot of features) for most of the man_made=* features, similar to landcover=* and landform=*. (On a trivial note, this leaves the possibility of non-human created structures open, viz beaver dams.) Functional, industrial, or utility, etc, man_made=* features (case in point: man_made=works) would be more difficult to summarize. ---- Kovposch (talk) 16:45, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

Taginfo usage stats

They look more of a property indicating the origin of a feature, ironically what "man-made" or "human-made", and "natural" may suggest. ---- Kovposch (talk) 16:51, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

Perpetuating a hodgepodge

The current man_made=* is currently a hodgepodge of various features that are not particularly related. Simply renaming it to artifical=* or any other name would perpetuate this poor organization. Rather than seeking a renaming, perhaps it would be better to find more a appropriate way to organize for the various values of man_made=*, whether it be in existing keys or new ones. For example, man_made=clearcut might be proposed to move to landuse=clearcut. man_made=obelisk might change to monument=obelisk or merge with memorial=obelisk. A more careful recategorization of these values would achieve the goal of using more gender-neutral language while actually improving the way tags are organized. I believe this would need to be done with a series of proposals; one to get the community to agree to this strategy and document man_made=* in a way that discourages mappers from inventing new usage, and then a series of follow-on proposals for each value so that the community can achieve consensus on the disposition of each remaining value. ZeLonewolf (talk) 02:17, 22 October 2020 (UTC)

I completely support this idea. Currently lots and lots of tags in the man_made=* key could be better reorganised into other existing keys or grouped into new keys. This will actually be a huge improvement while just renaming the key will require tons of extra work for the task which will not bring any benefits outside of gender policies. --VileGecko (talk) 12:32, 25 October 2020 (UTC)

man made is correct

There's nothing wrong with the word "man made". "man made" is a fixed phrase in English. While "man" has more than one definition:

  1. an adult male human
  2. humans as a group, both male and female
  3. a person, either male or female

"man made" has only one definition and "man" in it has nothing to do with "man" from the first definition.

  • made by people; not natural ([1]).

If you want to change the tags, you should first change the English language... maro21 16:08, 2 November 2020 (UTC)

I totally agree. man-made in the context of OSM means made by humans as in the whole human race, male, female and undecided. There is no need to deliberately misunderstand and replace the term. On the other hand, replacing a major tag is extremely harmful due to confusion and efforts for changing or breaking each and every tool. --Nop (talk) 05:45, 8 November 2020 (UTC)
“you should first change the English language” This how you do it! English has no formal governing body, it is defined by what people use, by the meaning people assign to words. Thus, if everyone starts using different meaning, that means the English language has changed. The OSM community is one part of “everyone”, so if we change, then that's one part of the English language changing. Rorym (talk) 08:14, 8 November 2020 (UTC)
OpenStreetMap is a free wiki worldmap, not a tool to change English language. See also my response to your comment in the tagging mailing list --Westnordost (talk) 12:54, 8 November 2020 (UTC)

Gender-Inclusive Language

I never thought inclusive language would come to OSM. In my native language; Spanish, many activists have tried to change the language to a neutral language. Fortunately, the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language has said clearly and forcefully 'no' to this proposal.

There are several reasons why my vote would be against this proposal:

1. The key:artificial is a poorly selected substitute word. It has a connotation of 'fake', the sense that the feature described was made with the hands and intelligence of men and women would be lost.

2. It would involve a change that is difficult to imagine. It's not only about replacing the word from the database overnight, but about changing EVERYTHING that includes it: manuals, conferences, papers, applications, etc.

3. As a foreigner and a man when I read "man-made" I never imagine that what is described was exclusively done by a man and not by a woman. There are women much more talented than many men.

If we follow this trend, what will be next, how we would name a "woman" a "wo-person"? Why no instead of changing this key, we accept the following definition:

MAN-MADE: made by a human being of either sex; a person.

--Meme (talk) 03:07, 4 November 2020 (UTC)

The motivation for change is clear but not sufficient

The effort needed to include this feature is not outweighed by the expected results. The motivation could possibly be the "misc" character of the "man_made" tag leading to more effective categorization of values of the "man_made" key. Simply renaming the key brings no value to community. Zaijo (talk) 10:15, 10 November 2020 (UTC)