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Proposal status: Rejected (inactive)
Proposed by: Cartographer10, JeroenHoek
Tagging: natural=shrubbery
Applies to: area
Definition: Cultivated, maintained, or otherwise managed land covered with shrubs, bushes, or shrubbery, often for decorative or space-filling purposes

Draft started: 2021-02-21
RFC start: 2021-02-21
Vote start: 2021-03-07
Vote end: 2021-03-22

This tag was proposed in two iterations, and was rejected both times. The full results of both voting rounds can be accessed here:

While not formally approved, the tag remains in use with the goal to build up support gradually through use under the any tags you like principle. See natural=shrubbery for the current documentation, which has reverted to using natural=shrubbery instead of natural=scrub, but includes some of the improvements from the second iteration as well.

Full statement from the proposal authors after the two voting rounds

The following was sent to the Tagging mailing list on August 17th, 2021 after the second voting round, and explains the conundrum of tagging this type of natural feature:

The second iteration of the shrubbery proposal was rejected (25 approved, 18 opposed), falling well short of the 75% mark (58%).

Because it is now rejected a second time and there is no consensus about a solution, we decided to start documenting an using natural=shrubbery. Please let us explain this decision below.

The biggest point of contention was that natural=scrub should be used exclusively for natural, wild scrubland, and that any attempt to introduce tags that have any bearing upon the tag’s ‘naturalness’ (i.e., to which degree they are managed/maintained/cultivated by man) is unacceptable. Of the mappers who raised this point, a large group strongly preferred the natural=shrubbery tag proposed (and rejected) in the first iteration.

Conversely, the first iteration was rejected by many of the voters for attempting to introduce a division within natural=scrub between man-managed shrubs and wild natural scrubland. The opinion held there was that this was all natural=scrub, and that adding a new tag was unwanted.

The majority of voters in both voting rounds seem to agree that the status quo is unsatisfactory. The status quo being that man-managed shrubs (whether we call them shrubberies, shrubs, bushes, and regardless of whether we include hedges) are in fact mapped, every day, by mappers who feel that these improve various properties of the map, and that they use natural=scrub for this purpose — without any additional tags that would allow filtering out such ‘unnatural natural features’.

In our opinion, this results of this second voting round again show that many mappers support mapping of man-managed scrubs, and wish for some tagging solution better than the status quo. (We also readily acknowledge that a minority of voters wish that no such mapping of man-managed shrubs would occur at all, but find this standpoint untenable given the actual mapping practices adopted by many mappers.)

So here we come to the dilemma of this issue.

The current proposal voting system seems insufficient to resolve this issue. For a change with as large an impact as this a more conclusive voting result would be preferable to proceed, but, unlike a proposal for a new tag for some novel feature, this issue has two major standpoints and two extra positions, namely:

  • It’s really all some form of natural=scrub, introduce sub-tags for that
  • The tag natural=scrub is exclusively for wild scrubland, make up a new tag
  • Mapping man-managed shrubs is completely undesirable
  • Just use natural=scrub, no sub-tags (status quo)

Bear in mind that this last position is rarely explicitly stated, but is, de facto, the current way of doing things.

We briefly considered if some form or ranked voting between these four positions might be fruitful, but we feel judging from the wording of some of the responses on the voting pages that such an approach will not be well received and may not be worth the effort.

Because we want to work towards an eventual solution rather than accept the status quo of ‘just map it all with natural=scrub’, we as proposal authors decided to start documenting and using natural=shrubbery under the any tags you like-principle. The tag has already been used over 1300 times and the first proposal showed a good amount of support for natural=shrubbery.

During this second round too, several voters (for and against) explicitly preferred natural=shrubbery. We have also taken all the feedback provided into account while writing the documentation for natural=shrubbery, hopefully fixing some of the more glaring omissions of the first draft. The documentation, when finished, will be found here: natural=shrubbery.

Our goal is to give mappers who support this solution a way to grow grassroots support for tagging man-managed shrubs by having a documented tagging scheme to use.

We realize that this initiative too will be rejected by some, but we kindly ask mappers to consider that with an issue as complex and polarized as this it will be impossible to place everyone (not in the least because some suggestions are diametrically opposed to others).

We hope that despite any initial misgivings mappers may have had regarding natural=shrubbery you will be willing to consider using it and working towards broader support.