Proposal talk:Internet cafe

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Is an Internet Café without internet still an Internet Café?

The tagging seems to allow internet_access=no. This doesn't feel right somehow - the primary business has to be internet access, with phone/fax optional and subsidiary to the internet. --Csmale (talk) 20:26, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

I don't disagree but then you're limiting yourself if a place offers just phones and faxes. I suppose in that case you could just make it an amenity=phone ... though that seems to be for just a phone booth. I'm open either way. I think there would be very few such exceptional cases. FYI, I looked at options like amenity=communications or even amenity=communication_service but I think that would only cause confusion. (In any case, an internet café without internet is more precise than a cafe with no food or drink!)
The real question is, what makes the most sense for a tagger (simplest) and for a user (most recognizable search term)? See also the next section on LAN gaming centers. Johnparis (talk) 20:51, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Note that I have changed my thinking on this and modified the proposal. Johnparis (talk) 10:47, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

LAN gaming centers

Since these are closely related in style and substance, I have included service:gaming as an option. (These sometimes do not have internet access as their primary business; however it seems to me that the generic "internet café" term used by English speakers is still the best choice, and there would probably be relatively few cases.)

LAN gaming center on Wikipedia

Johnparis (talk) 20:59, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Note that I have changed my thinking on this and modified the proposal. Johnparis (talk) 10:47, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

internet_access key

The wiki page for internet_access=* currently directs people to use the amenity=cafe tag rather than this one for internet cafés. That will need to be corrected, and I've updated the proposal to note that.

Johnparis (talk) 21:51, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Let's finally solve the ambiguity

I really like the idea of "atomic" tags for services. However, the root tag itself does not have a definition, strict enough to clearly distinguish this type of amenity from others. Now it says "... focused mainly on selling internet access service", while this "mainly" doesn't sound clear enough.

I'd say, that there are only two cases, where we can clearly classify particular amenity as "internet cafe":

  • When this amenity has certain hardware, dedicated to internet access service. I mean, they either have user terminals (computers for customers) or advanced network access infrastructure (something better than a single cheap router, connected to low bandwidth line) suitable for gaming or other bandwidth-hungry activities. Additional copy shop services do count too.
  • When this amenity doesn't offer anything except internet access service (copy shop services as an addition, maybe).

In other cases, it is almost impossible to say, if particular amenity is a "cafe with internet access" or "internet cafe with kitchen". This distinction seems to be imaginary in this case and serves only as direct projection of natural language, which is not a good practice for tagging. So, yes, we need something to tag "pure" internet cafe fitting the description I gave above (at least, because it is not a "cafe for eating", so we can't tag it as amenity=cafe), but we don't need another way to tag same thing as one we currently tag with amenity=cafe internet_access=*. --BushmanK (talk) 05:22, 24 February 2016 (UTC)

I don't think ambiguity on OSM is ever going to be solved ... however, I hear the comments and will modify the proposal to limit it to places focused mainly on internet access, with other activities as a sideline. It's always the tagger's judgment as to what the main activity of a place is, and there are often (VERY often) multiple uses for any given place. I'd say if a place has a kitchen, it's almost certainly a cafe. But not always.
The term of art in English is "internet cafe." If you have a better suggestion, I'm open, though I don't think "crappy little shop" (as suggested by one commenter at Talk:Key:internet_access) qualifies, even if it might be accurate. :) Johnparis (talk) 16:05, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
One of several key principles of OSM is an ability to verify any tagged feature (other person should be able to assign similar tags to the same object, using similar information). It is okay to have certain grade of uncertainty when making a judgement, but ambiguity (when mapper has to make a choice close to random) is definitely unacceptable. That's why I'm talking about importance of distinctive properties. And I have to make it clear: I'm not against the term used for this tag, my concern is about the definition. Other problem is, if certain type of service is likely to be mixed with others, it, probably, should not be a "root tag", like amenity=*, it might be useful to reflect it with something like service:*=*. --BushmanK (talk) 20:59, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
OK, thanks, that's helpful, but now I don't see the ambiguity. Perhaps I've already cleared it up. Nowhere does the word "mainly" appear in the proposal. It states that an internet cafe is a "place whose principal role is providing internet services." This is not at all another way of tagging something that is a cafe that provides internet services as a sideline (Starbucks, for example). I for one have been to many places whose main line of business is selling food, and many whose main line of business is selling internet access, and there has never been a shred of doubt in my mind as to which is which. So please read the proposal as currently written and let me know if you still find it ambiguous. Johnparis (talk) 23:16, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
On rereading your original comment once more, are you trying to say that if an internet cafe has a refrigerator where they store beer for sale as a customer convenience, it doesn't qualify as an internet cafe? I'd strongly disagree. While a lot of the internet cafes I visit don't offer any sort of food or drink at all, many of them do have some sort of snack available, perhaps in a vending machine, if only to keep customers in the store. But again it's really unambiguous as to what the principal line of business is. Johnparis (talk) 23:24, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
No, I didn't mean that presence of fridge disqualifies a business from being "an internet cafe". I was talking about presence of infrastructure, dedicated to providing reliable internet access service. Ambiguity does exist, if certain place serves food and provides paid internet access (so, you have to pay per hour and for meals too). Here, it's quite unclear, which service is more profitable and which role is principal. Developing countries have a kind of different standard for that sometimes. Imagine a town with 3000 people, one bar and one cafe, where owner is progressive enough to buy a couple of computers to provide this kind of service. We have to think in global scale - OSM is an international project. --BushmanK (talk) 23:48, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
I completely agree with you there. I have been to many places that have just the sort of business you describe, and the earliest internet cafes were just like that. If a place is really 50-50 or impossible to classify, I suppose someone could use two nodes, one with each tag. But in fact it's nearly always quite clear what the current principal role of the business is. (I do note, however, that Starbucks advertises itself as a spare living room, so even they seem to be unsure what their business model is.)
In the case you describe, it would probably still be a bar or cafe that offers internet service on the side. But if, after a while, 90% of the customers go there to use the computers, well, it's an internet cafe. Again, it's up to the tagger do decide. But every business has one and only one principal line, however you describe it, so there isn't really any ambiguity. The "crappy little shop" is everywhere in places like North London, parts of Paris, and in small and large towns in Morocco, for instance.
The proposal notes that the defaults are internet_access=yes (although the internet_access tag itself says this should be internet_access=terminal), internet_access:fee=yes, and service:computer=yes. To my way of thinking, that answers your infrastructure question.
I am also interested in the concept of the "service:*=*" key. This is taken almost verbatim from the shop=copyshop} tag. Do you think that's the best model? Or should they be separate subtags of internet_cafe? (In the latter case you'd have things like internet_cafe:fax=yes, which I think on balance is worse.) Johnparis (talk) 00:09, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

(Resetting the indent.) I have expanded the example section along the lines you suggest. Please let me know if this meets your concerns. Johnparis (talk) 17:29, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

modifications of proposal

Rather than describing an Internet cafe as a generic place focused on selling communication services, I have modified the proposal to more narrowly focus on selling Internet connectivity services. I have updated the wiki page for amenity=internet_cafe as well. Johnparis (talk) 16:07, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

I am persuaded that the service:food=yes/no combination tag is irrelevant and is of a fundamentally different nature than the other service=* tags, so I've removed it from the proposal. Users will, of course, be free to note that food is available as a sideline if they wish. Johnparis (talk) 23:41, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

In an effort to clarify tagging of multipurpose shops, which I think are pretty common in many parts of the world, I have modified the "Examples" section of the proposal. Johnparis (talk) 10:47, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

While I am not persuaded that LAN gaming centres are common, I am persuaded that they are sufficiently distinct from internet cafés to warrant their own tag. Johnparis (talk) 17:15, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

Expanded the examples section as noted under the "ambiguity" section above. Johnparis (talk) 17:29, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

Mateusz Konieczny noted in the tagging list that putting two tags in one proposal is a poor idea. As a result, I have removed references to a tag for amenity=lan_gaming_centre, since I never got around to it. Johnparis (talk) 20:43, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

It was suggested on the tagging list that capacity=* would be useful, and I have added it. Johnparis (talk) 20:43, 15 March 2016 (UTC)