Forum:Global and regional issues/Reuse and duplication of placenames

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ForumsGlobal and regional issues → Global and regional issues/Reuse and duplication of placenames

Hello, everyone.

I want to open the discussion about the reuse of placenames and other toponyms on OGF. Many places in the world that were colonized by European powers often had people that reused the names of cities, rivers, mountains, or other cultural elements in the "new world." For example, London, Ontario is on the Thames River, and there are nearly dozens of places in Missouri that reuse placenames. This is a common feature throughout especially North America but elsewhere, too.

So, what I would like to know is who would be willing to allow placenames and toponyms to be shared to help with the naming of features in the FSA and potentially other places. The proposed guidelines are suggested below to help protect your creative work. Please let me know in the discussion area below what you'd be willing to share with the community. — Alessa (talk) 16:04, 27 March 2023 (UTC)

Proposed guidelines for reusing toponyms

Here are the proposed guidelines for reusing toponyms elsewhere on OGF:

  • Mappers should add name:etymology=* to the node, way, or relation that marks the reused name. In that way, the original creator is credited. Streets and highways would be exempt, but settlements and geographic features would not be. For example, a node in New Carnaby labeled place=town and name=Lynchester would also add name:etymology=Lynchester, Ingerland. By doing this, we could potentially use Overpass to create a running list on the wiki of these placenames.
  • Names from any open purple or blue territory are free to use, as they are community territories. Mappers should still credit the etymology.
  • Unoriginal toponyms that are generic terms (e.g. Springfield or Riverside in English) do not require the etymology, as they are largely generic and easily reusable in a variety of situations.
  • If a territory is abandoned, its contents may be reused as above until a new owner takes over and makes a determination of its status.


Please let me know your thoughts and if you'd be willing to let me and others reuse some of the names from your territory! — Alessa (talk) 16:04, 27 March 2023 (UTC)

I like this idea a lot. I would only say that I would be pleased to see this proposed name:etymology tag's use broadened to include linguistic information. I currently have been using my own, self-invented tag "ldata:etymology" quite extensively in my mapping to show the "meanings" of most of the native names I use. I had set up "ldata:" (= "luciano's data") as a kind of parent tag for anything that was non-standard (i.e. not in OSM). So for example, Ohunkagan's relation includes ldata:etymology=Rakhoda "myth or legend"I would happily convert those to something that the community agreed on as standard. I have also made use of "old world" names extensively in Makaska. Just as a single example, here is the village of New Orlent, named after Orlent in Kalm: If understand the proposal correctly, I'd want to add a tag name:etymology=Orlent, Kalm.--Luciano (talk) 18:11, 27 March 2023 (UTC)
Just to add to the above. I'd rather not go in the direction of requiring permission from owners to be able to re-use names. Certainly Rome, New York, didn't get Roman permission before naming, and I think the idea of "borrowing" names without concern for origin is both realistic and within the "fair use" principle that I'd hope applies in OGF. Anyway I have used other mappers' names quite extensively in Makaska, without ever concerning myself about permission. Personally, if I see that another mapper has borrowed any of my names, I feel rather flattered than anything else.--Luciano (talk) 18:18, 27 March 2023 (UTC)
You are correct for New Orlent. I will also note that since name:etymology=* is official OSM syntax, we could just expand it as needed for our own liking with additional sub-subkeys. Example could be something like name:etymology:language=*. This, of course, doesn't preclude your own "ldata" tag that you have been using. The proposal above is an attempt to standardize things for Overpass and wiki integration and to make it easy for people to use.
As for the "asking permission," I personally think it's just a good bit of etiquette and thoroughness to attribute the creation when it came from or was inspired by something someone else did. I'm not trying to suggest outright that it would be required, but it is best practice. Hence, why I've just opened it up and asked if people would be willing to let me use their content in this way. I think if people wanted to grant blanket permission, that'd be welcome. I want to reserve the right, however, for people to say 'no' as a courtesy. I understand what you mean about being honored and flattered, but I also don't want to assume that everyone would think that way. — Alessa (talk) 18:22, 27 March 2023 (UTC)
Also, to clarify @Luciano, I'm not suggesting you've done anything wrong by borrowing names. I just wanted to know where people stood just in case. — Alessa (talk) 18:26, 27 March 2023 (UTC)
I think this is a brilliant idea and I've used the etymology= tag a lot in my mapping, as I find that sort of stuff interesting and gives character to a place/area. I fully support this idea. Arlo (talk) 23:35, 27 March 2023 (UTC)
I sincerely hope that anyone from whose territories I've taken names to use for places in my own doesn't take offense-- and agree with Luciano's point above, that I'd find it nothing but flattering to see names originally from my territory used elsewhere. In fact, I'd hope it's more of an "opt out" than an "opt in". There's two things I want to touch on though:
  • As mentioned above, the name:etymology=* tag is already in use on OSM - though it seems that it's not usually used in this way. It seems to be more focused on the naming of streets than places: there's only ~40 nodes in OSM Europe that have this tag and place=*. Additionally, I worry that (especially looking at Luciano's comment, and my own interpretation, too), people might be inclined to "dilute" this tag with various other, non toponym reuse etymologies. Perhaps for that purpose a tag that directly mentions a node id, such as name:etymology:node=5302030 could be used alongside it to unambiguously link to a specific location, and allow more generic etymologies to be entered under name:etymology=*.
  • Secondly, for many mappers, I imagine the reuse of toponyms won't be very relevant at all - such as myself, whose territory is a colony itself, and a Franquese one to boot, which would mean there is basically no toponyms to use as of right now. However, that did get me to wonder about the inverse: to have named places within my territory be retro-actively referring to yet-to-be mapped places in "the homeland". I reckon that would be especially interesting for Castellán and (in the future) Franqueterre, since they are the emptiest among the "old world homelands". Given how many Spanish and French colonies there are around the map, it might be a good idea to retroactively name places in these "older" territories after places in the new world.
Taka (talk) 14:07, 28 March 2023 (UTC)
Thank you for the feedback, Taka. I personally do not view this proposal as either 'opt in' or 'opt out' but rather a chance for people to state where they stand for those like myself that are more hesitant to reuse or reference work. I do hope it was clear that this isn't an obligatory thing (regarding a statement of opinion about reuse or about how exactly the tag should be used. I'm perfectly content with those that wish to do a more detailed use of subkeys like you propose or just use the baseline tag that OSM has and really doesn't use in the same way. I'm perfectly fine myself with people mixing the use of etymologies in some type of a worldbuilding sense as you noted. I don't necessarily see that as a dilution other than making it less likely we will use overpass or the like to create larger lists as the usage of the tag evolves. — Alessa (talk) 16:22, 28 March 2023 (UTC)
I think it would be good to consider what global connections the reuse of names implies in the context of OGF history. For example, in the real world, immigrants or nativists would name their states, cities, and streets from the places the immigrants came from (e.g., Chinatown, Little Italy, New England, New Orleans, etc.). Sometimes, these reused place names represent economic connections of their founders (e.g., Canton, Ohio) or religious connections (Jerusalem, New York). Other examples suggest connections to explorers (Vancouver, USA and Vancouver, Canada), border towns (Sault Sainte Marie, USA and Sault Sainte Marie, Canada), or war (Trafalgar Square, UK). Chazeltine (talk) 16:27, 9 April 2023 (UTC)

Permission granted

Sign your name here (with the four tildes) if you're willing to let other users name places after things in your mapping. If there are to be any restrictions, please note them. Thank you!

  1. Full permission - names in Arion and Teotiyolcan would probably have had a variety of different romanizations/anglicazations in the past, as is common in the real world as well, so that might be something to keep in mind - or not, it doesn't matter to me (I'll just be flattered if you use them at all!) --Lithium-Ion (talk) 19:27, 27 March 2023 (UTC)
  2. Full permission - anything I've mapped.--Luciano (talk) 23:15, 27 March 2023 (UTC)
  3. Full permission. We create the world so we should allow the same behaviour as in the real world. Rustem Pasha (talk) 23:33, 27 March 2023 (UTC)
  4. Full permission - anything I've mapped too. Arlo (talk) 23:34, 27 March 2023 (UTC)Arlo
  5. Full permission - anything I've mapped too. Sweetykid (talk) 09:06, 28 March 2023 (UTC)
  6. Full permission, anything I've mapped. Per the conversation above I'm with several of the others- I support having required attribution standards, but really do not support requiring permission for naming in this regard *unless* it comes with really big assumptions about intertwined histories or something that needs to be discussed with the original mapper. --Ernestpkirby (talk) 11:42, 28 March 2023 (UTC)
  7. Full permission, please contact if it involves significant historical connections but otherwise it's fine -- Anonymous21 (talk) 20:07, 28 March 2023 (UTC)
  8. Full permission - anything I've mapped too. BMSOUZA (talk) 14:52, 30 March 2023 (UTC)
  9. Full permission - Izaland & Plevia. --Izaland Terramorphing Committee (talk) 01:15, 31 March 2023 (UTC)
  10. Full permission - anything I've mapped too. Antoon (talk) 09:23, 1 April 2023 (UTC)
  11. Partial permission - I grant full permission for the three major Bai cities (Xiongjing, Dunghoi and Riqing) but I prefer if you consult me on Bai names to use in your country.--Zhenkang (talk) 01:07, 10 April 2023 (UTC)
  12. Full permission - only if it makes sense, use your judgement – xioma_sg she/they · OGF 12:59, 18 April 2023 (UTC)