Trails: Use ‘Name’ and/or ‘Hiking Route?’

This is a continuation of a topic on Slack. We are moving here so that the conversation will be more permanent.

Slack discussion link: Slack
Also, this discussion is essentially a continuation of a discussion from 2021: Slack

Based on my sampling, trails in Connecticut had names without controversy until 2020-22 (mostly 2020) when a large-scale project was undertaken to remove nearly all trail names and instead add hiking route relations if they weren’t present before. And the project continues today with extensive maintenance, continually reverting people’s contributions anytime anyone feels the trail name might be an important thing to have and tries to add it (with the hiking route being retained). It seems like this project has been done based on ‘unwritten rules,’ contrary to certain norms in English-speaking regions of the map and guidance on the OSM Wiki. If I am missing something and these aren’t actually ‘unwritten,’ it would be great if this guidance could be shared. But I looked around Canada, Ireland, the UK, the US, Australia, and New Zealand and it was not hard to find named trails anywhere, except a slight idiosyncrasy in New Zealand where ‘track’ seems to be the standard term for a trail. When I did encounter no-name paths with hiking routes, it was typically reserved for more informal routes. Examples: “Tararua - northern crossing” (a ridge route in New Zealand) and “Mourne Wall Challenge” in Ireland. As an aside, the later route seems to have only been added after extensive discussion: https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/60716708/history

To me, the name field is the most important text tag. It’s the one text tag that is almost universally displayed, including on OSM. Not displayed on every feature, but almost always on some features. I am genuinely interested in finding out if there are any other features besides Connecticut trails where there is a rule against adding the common name as the name. Unlike the name, hiking route relations seem niche specific, and mostly seem helpful where there are gaps in the trail. And if there are gaps in the trail, then the hiking route relation will inherently not duplicate the name the entire way.

Many have stated that there shouldn’t be a problem having the same name and hiking route text. Concern has been voiced that having the same trail name and hiking route relation may cause some renderers to display the same text twice. To me, this seems to be a problem with the renderers and it’s not really that big of a problem. There are technical solutions to this such as: displaying only one or the other; having a check against displaying the same text twice; having a label that clearly indicates which is the name and which is the hiking route. I feel sad for the Connecticut mappers in the past few years who may have become frustrated that their contributions were being removed when they were only following the OSM guidelines. Even if the text is the same, are they really duplicates if the tags / relations are different?

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Ce sujet de discussion accompagne la publication sur https://community.openstreetmap.org/t/trails-use-name-and-or-hiking-route/110106