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Earlier in the summer I compiled a list of tags in the hopes to clean things up, and recently RhysW has done some good work going through tags as well. In that thread (as well as in mine) there was a suggestion which Monica Cello stated as follows:

Suggestion: if the question were just "which tags should we clean up?" and then separate answers covered individual tags or groups of related tags, then voting would indicate community support. Otherwise you're going to have to tease it out from comments or possibly competing mega-answers

So as a first shot, I would like to tackle Location Flags.

In my tag post above, bethlakshmi said the following about location tags:

I think the most sensible idea is to take our best crack at segmenting tags into regions with overlapping workplace cultures. Some of this might be population dependant, but the overriding goal should be that if a given culturally-specific answer would apply to multiple areas in the same part of the world, it have a generalized tag. Under that principle, I'd currently propose:

  • US - there's just so darn many of us, and we do get into US specific norms and law.
  • Canada - maybe - just because there ARE some issues out there that are separate
  • European Union - I'm willing to believe that there are different norms between countries, but I think the population is better served with a tag that accomodates more questions
  • Britain
  • Australia
  • Asia
  • Southeast Asia
  • South America
  • Middle East

Over time, I'd be up for separating the regions that are not countries into more country specific tags - but at the moment, I've noticed a collection of questions around countries who are recipients of the shift in tech work to SE Asia who have a set of common problems that could be leveraged across countries - the language/culture barriers in these trends are more similar than they are different.

Currently we have the following location tags (as best as I can figure), along with their post counts:

There was a discussion in 2012 that said we should limit country specific tags to questions where the country is integral to the question. Just because the person asking is in Mauritius doesn't mean the question should have the tag .

Action Suggestions

Remove country-specific tags for non-country-specific questions

I recommend we go through all these questions, tag by tag, and remove it from any question that is not unique to that country, and then see how many questions we are left with containing those tags.

Create obvious synonyms

At the very least, we should consolidate and and/or make them synonyms (I would do it, but you need at least 5 reputation in a tag to suggest a synonym -- silliness).

Consolidate tags where possible

If we are going to use tags for specific countries/regions in the future, I think it may be helpful to create a logical framework for which countries/regions we will support (and how we should support them). For instance, we could use UN region codes and ISO-3166 country codes. Google has a handy table showing which countries are in which subregion/region which we could use to set it up.

For countries which have a hefty following (, ) we can keep them as-is. For regions with a bit less visibility, we can use the region names from the UN (such as Caribbean, Central America, etc.). The major issue is that we, as a community, would have to retag questions manually, since someone will likely look for their country name, not for an arbitrary region name they may not associate with.

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I really like bethlakshmi's idea for changing the location tags. The main reason that these location tags seem to be used is to differentiate between different culture types. Some countries have the same / similar cultures so it would make sense to merge them under one tag.

Though the use age of these tags will need to be changed. They are no longer location tags, they are now culture tags. Making that obvious to people might take a bit of work on our behalf but I think it is something that will be worth it in the long run.

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