Ok, so it's been a few days since I've been able to check this thread, and upon reviewing it, it seems pretty clear that the following holds for city naming:
- Strict adherence to incorporated (municipal) names is not sufficient, particularly in the northeastern states where townships often have non-self-incorporated towns (or hamlets) within them with completely different names that those areas are far-better known by.
- Postal Names seem to be out, because any given "block" of any road could (and very often does) interchangeably support multiple city names and/or multiple spelling variations of them. Waze simply does not have the facility to correctly handle this - nor do we have the ability to quantify an obvious most-likely-to-be-used name/variant, so we have to assume all such searches would just end up being forwarded to Google anyway.
- CDPs apparently can be (though not always) assigned for factors other than colloquial names of areas, and as a result appear to not be an eligible end-all-be-all. However, because they frequently do reflect colloquial names of areas, they should be considered for the areas they represent, and then evaluated for whether a particular CDP name adequately reflects what the area is known by.
I still don't feel comfortable leaving city naming at the subjective levels it is now, lest we end up having endless "pork roll/taylor ham" debates on what to name half the rural and semi-rural areas of many states. But since the topic sounds like it actually might be subjective (shivers), maybe we can outline how to go about making a decision about it?
For starters, maybe we could point out some ways to tell an existing city name may be incorrect:
- The No City box is checked in a state that is comprehensively incorporated with townships
- The primary city name is a Greater ... Area name.
- A UR claims that an unexpected city name appeared on the map overlay, or an expected city name was omitted, despite plenty of space to render it.
- An editor brings to appropriate community attention that an area has the wrong city name.
- State or local GIS maps suggest a different name for an area than is currently used in primary city name.
Naturally, to go along with that list, maybe we can point out some ways to go about finding out what an area is actually called:
- When there's no city name or a Greater ... Area name, have a look around the larger region of the map. Chances are that area shares the same name as another nearby area. In NJ, for example, this happens a lot when a township has the same name as a neighboring boro (e.g. Chatham (boro) vs. Chatham (township)). In such cases, do the 2 municipalities border each other? If so, do people commonly distinguish the boro from the township or vice versa? If so, we may need to disambiguate the township with like a Twp suffix. If not, we may just be able to call both areas the same name.
- What do state or local GIS maps say the name of the area is? Many non-self-incorporated towns and hamlets do appear on GIS maps and can (but, again, not always) be an indicator of what an area goes by.
- If still in doubt or under contest, ask a local AM; after all, no one knows colloquialisms better than a local. WME provides a complete layer to show all AMs in any area. Send out a PM with a permalink and ask what the area in question is known as. After all, isn't this part of what AMs are for? If you can't tell which of the AMs in an area are actually local, you can always reach out to the state's SMs and ask if they know, or if they at least know which AM would have the best chance of knowing. Failing that, ask a CM, or Champ, or the state's RC -- but do not guess!
Any thoughts? Revisions? Additions?