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Some questions are inherently quite localised. For instance How important is a grade point average on a resume? makes little sense to those of us outside of the united-states.

I don't think questions like this should be closed as too localised, since they could be of interest to a large number of stack-exchange users, but I think that the rest of us being able to filter out such questions would be of use too.

Personal Finance and Money has country specific tags, which work very well, yet there are still plenty of questions which are not country specific.

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    I'm in Canada and I have a GPA. I think a tag like gpa would be much more representative than usa, canada, india, etc. – n0pe Apr 11 '12 at 12:32
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    I think that a gpa tag would itself be a little too localised. The fact is, if we had country tags, we could still tag as both usa and canada, plus people from other countries which use an American style education system could add their own countries tags, even if the original poster didn't realise that madeupistan used a similar grading system. – Mark Booth Apr 11 '12 at 13:35
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    @MarkBooth adding tags is the problem; we only get 5 and they should actually relate to the problem. We can't tag every possible location where a question might apply, at best one or two country tags would work. – Rarity Apr 11 '12 at 22:31
  • @Rarity - Good point, but I suspect that if you have enough country tags that you run out of tag slots, you can probably justify the question being general enough to not need a country tag at all. – Mark Booth Apr 12 '12 at 9:46
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    @MarkBooth exactly, which is why I'm against country tags unless the problem explicitly requires a specific locale or excludes all overs – Rarity Apr 12 '12 at 13:29
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I think it's helpful to have country tags, but not in the GPA example provided. Tags should be used to mark what the question is about, not as a meta tag, used solely as a filtering mechanism.

The question of GPA has no inherent connection to geography (other than coincidentally that some country's schooling systems have a GPA, and others don't), and therefore it doesn't seem appropriate in this case.

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  • I agree, a question about the job market in Canada would warrant a canada tag. – n0pe Apr 11 '12 at 17:05
  • The main use case for tags is to allow you to highlight things which might be of interest and de-prioritise things which are not of interest, so filtering is it's primary function. A question which is about GPA is inherently confined to the geographical locality where that grading mechanism is used, i.e. the USA and Canada. The question Should I put my O-level results on my CV? would be just as irrelevant to people in North America as one about GPA is to someone in the UK. – Mark Booth Apr 11 '12 at 17:41
  • No, the primary function of tags are to label the content of questions, so as to more efficiently direct them to relevant experts. The fact that you can filter on tags is a useful outcome of that, but it's not the main reason tags exist. Filtering out GPA questions (say, with a gpa tag) would be much more effective than any geographic tag anyway - again tagging the concept, not the geographic location where that concept occurs. Just because a particular concept only exists in certain places today doesn't mean that the concept itself is somehow tied to geography. – jefflunt Apr 11 '12 at 18:14
  • I'm sorry, but directing questions to appropriate experts is implemented by allowing experts to filter by things they are expert in, so what you are saying is that the primary function of tags isn't to allow content to be filtered, but to allow content to be filtered! – Mark Booth Apr 12 '12 at 9:37
  • The directing happens whether or not you use filters, automatically, by the system's ability to learn what questions you tend to read/respond to. Adding filters helps the system know how to direct questions more efficiently, but are not required by any means. My main point here is really about how I feel the country tag, in the GPA case, would be considered a meta tag. Beside that point, do you really want to filter out every question from a particular country? Also, if you feel a given tag needs to be added, you can always edit the question, with enough rep, so that part of it is a non-issue. – jefflunt Apr 12 '12 at 16:36
  • Or, I should say, it will happen automatically when an "interesting" view is added, similar to the one that exists on StackOverflow. – jefflunt Apr 12 '12 at 16:37
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I think we will need country tags. Questions about hiring, layoffs, and firing depend on national and local laws.

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  • Yes, ditto with any quasi-legal questions. – Mark Booth Apr 11 '12 at 13:36
  • I generally support this idea, though I think it may be tough in some cases to prove that a question is actually geographically limited, except in a few very cut/dry cases such as laws in specific countries/states/cultures. – jefflunt Apr 11 '12 at 18:20
  • There is a discussion on whether or not legal questions should be closed as being too localized. – jmort253 Apr 13 '12 at 6:54
  • The country or locale should be included in the details of your question and not in tags. Great questions have lots of detail. Tags are used to identify the topic, not to facilitate localization. – jmort253 Apr 13 '12 at 6:56
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I disagree with the use of country tags. Many other sites have made the decision not to use them because it localizes the questions and makes it less applicable to the broader Internet.

Most importantly, how do you tell when to use a country tag and when not to? I could see these being overused.

For instance, if I ask a question that could apply to the entire world, and I tag it United States, could this send the incorrect message to UK visitors that the question doesn't apply to them even though it does?

Also, how does the op know that the answers to his or her question may only apply to their locale? This may mean that country tagging cannot happen until after the question is answered. Would that be a problem?

In contrast, we do have the option to retag questions, so that may shoot all kinds of holes in my argument. But if we as a community do decide to allow country tags, I believe we need to make it very clear what type of questions require a country tag and what type of questions should omit the country tag.

Country tags just feel too close to being meta tags to me.

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    The alternative to not tagging a localised question as country specific is to close the question as too localised, which could result in perfectly acceptable, though geographically limited, questions being closed. – Mark Booth Apr 12 '12 at 9:41
  • I'm inclined to agree. In many cases, the OP may not even be aware that their question is too localised. – Benjol Apr 12 '12 at 9:50
  • @MarkBooth - Not every question needs to apply to everyone. Closing as too localized is reserved for those special cases where the audience is specifically too limited. Talking about a specific country doesn't always mean too localized. Questions about my little one horse town in the middle of nowhere or on the Moon would be too localized. In summary, tagging isn't going to make a poor Q&A question a great one. The questions need to stand on their own without tags. Tags are meant for grouping, not an excuse to not close a bad question. – jmort253 Apr 12 '12 at 14:27
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Yes, the need for country specific tags is going to come up as there are some country specific items that are going to occur (e.g. compensation laws, hiring laws, and layoffs can be country specific) and there are also going to be other concerns that are going get answer that are too generic otherwise. To cases that come to mind that would advocate for country specific tags would be questions that apply to working as an ex-pat as well as etiquette concerns that would come up for people that are going to be hosting an international client.

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  • The problem is that country tags are too general. If every question could be tagged with a country tag, then that tag is a meta tag. It tells me nothing about the actual content of the question. Instead, when asking a question, the op should include their country in the actual details of the question. Writing good questions is about including lots of specific details about your specific problem, and that has nothing to do with tags. – jmort253 Apr 13 '12 at 6:45
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    @jmort253 - True, but country tags also allow people to selectively filter legal questions a tag such as legal without a country context doesn't provide much use as a tag. In that case, legal-united-states maybe an acceptable middle ground but you are going to have a tag explosion. Thus, legal and united-states as tags cleans things up quite a bit. – anonymous Apr 13 '12 at 13:04
  • There is a discussion currently on whether or not legal questions should be off topic. – jmort253 Apr 13 '12 at 14:41
  • @jmort253 - Yes, I just noticed that and I'm responding over on that thread; however, another example would be cultural differences in terms of how a workplace is run. What you do in a country like Japan is much different than India or the United States. – anonymous Apr 13 '12 at 14:54
  • You could also make that same argument about individual companies in the United States, even in the same cities. The culture where I work might be vastly different than the culture somewhere else in my city in the same industry. Where do we draw the line, and how do we know we're not ruling out any overlapping concepts that would apply globally? – jmort253 Apr 13 '12 at 19:31
  • @jmort253 - In some cases we may not until we see the question and the context it appears in. Likewise, I could see some questions that would be relevant to major metropolitan areas (e.g. New York, London, Tokyo, etc). – anonymous Apr 13 '12 at 20:01
  • I'm not sure exclusionary questions limited to a particular geographic area are within the goals of what StackExchange stands for. I can see your point and believe it is a thin line, but I don't think tags are going to help improve the quality of the questions. – jmort253 Apr 13 '12 at 20:25
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Filtering out questions on a country-by-country basis just doesn't smell right to me. I'm afraid I'm inclined to agree with nomalocity on that.

Having country tags is just going to encourage localised questions, whereas I would hope that we should be able to keep them to a minimum: encouraging posters to reformulate their questions in broader, less localised terms.

In the case of this specific question, I think it could be made more widely relevant, even though the OP might not know how to do so. (At the least, a preamble explaining what a gpa is). Otherwise, yes, I'd say that if your question absolutely can't be generalised, then by definition it is localised, and either you close it, or you get the developers to remove the 'localised' close reason

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  • This reiterates the same point I was making. Well said. "Having country tags is just going to encourage localised questions." +1 – jmort253 Apr 13 '12 at 6:39
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I'm going to bring this back up to the top to try and get a resolution to this. I think Country tags are needed.

A recent question will be answered extremely differently depending on its location. Already it seems that we've gotten a UK answer, as well as a US answer. But looking into the OP's profile, it appears that India would be the correct country.

Generalizing questions is all well and good, but when the individual answer would depend upon the location of the OP, requiring a generalization will not give them the answer they need.

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  • I strongly disagree with country tags by default. The user really should bring up country/culture where it's important, it really has to be on the asker to do that. – Rarity Aug 1 '12 at 16:25
  • maybe not applied default, but i think that some should be included in the available tags for when they're needed. even if they're there for high-level users to retag into questions when approptiate, it would still help to alleviate confusions and streamline answers. – acolyte Aug 1 '12 at 16:37
  • @Rarity if what i typed implied putting country tags on by default, my apologies. I did not intend that. – acolyte Aug 1 '12 at 17:19
  • Hi acolyte, this is simply information that belongs in the question body itself. "My best friend is working in a small firm (approx 20-30 people) in India, which has recently..." <<< This would be a more appropriate way to ask the question, as providing enough detail to be answerable is one of the guidelines in How to Ask. In short, this isn't a tagging problem. It's a "lack of detail" problem. – jmort253 Aug 7 '12 at 8:08

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