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The Europe tag has been used on some occasions, and there have been some edits trying to remove them in favour of specific country tags. Europe is indeed diverse, but their are some points that do seem to be trans-European. Issues involving things such as holiday (vacation) locations, or areas with large ex-pat populations come to mind.

Should be using a general Europe tag for these? Or should we broaden the tags beyond the Europe vs. France/UK/Germany divide, to include "Mediterranean Europe," "Central Europe," or "Scandinavian Europe" type tags?

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    Just a point of clarification, this works in the other direction as well. When I lived in the USA their were distinguishable differences between the social expectations in Tennessee and those of the northeast. Yet we use a single United States Tag. – r m Aug 7 '17 at 7:05
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    It's not so much the tags that I'm worried about, but whether that information is in the question. A broader tag could be okay, but as long as you get more specific in the question, then I think our goal is achieved. e.g. If I ask a question about a situation in Toronto, then I should say that in the question, and it should be fine if I only place [canada] or [ontario] as a tag. – Zizouz212 Aug 7 '17 at 19:31
  • @Zizouz212 The problem is that people see the Europe tag and think that's the only level of detail they need to provide. See e.g. interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/16/… – user288 Aug 7 '17 at 19:51
  • @Hamlet That's an issue. But I'm not sure that narrowing down tags will help with that - they are a classification system, and technically, they are not part of the question itself. Those details still need to be specified in the question. In your example, the OP just refused to make the question more specific, so it's warranted a close vote from me. – Zizouz212 Aug 7 '17 at 19:58
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    @Zizouz212 I think 90% of questions here should have a minimum level of specificity, which is country tags. Yes, there are questions that might be applicable to all of Europe, but you don't know which ones until you see the answers. – user288 Aug 7 '17 at 20:00
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    @Hamlet Oh I didn't get that part of my thoughts across :P What I meant, was that for specificity, we shouldn't be overly worrying about the tags - first, focus on the question, then the tags. I think the "geographic common area" framework in rm's post (e.g. Scandinavian Europe) works well. I'm wondering though as well, if our current system is flawed. Countries may not work well for classifying culture - Canada has inuit and aboriginal cultures, subcultures, geographic cultures... Perhaps we should be tagging on those individual cultures as opposed to the country? Or include one of each? – Zizouz212 Aug 7 '17 at 20:03
  • There's a lot of people with location "US" who have Opinions (with a capital O) about this. Why not let the askers decide themselves to what level they want and need to disclose their location? – AllTheKingsHorses Aug 9 '17 at 15:20
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Yes

For some issues, the answer will differ from country to country. For some, from continent to continent, for others even from city to city.

Since we have no tag hierarchy, we can't simply tag a question and have , , , and inferred or implied.
Neither can we tag a question with all those tags, because we only have five tag "slots" available.

There will be questions where is the right level of locational precision. And so we will need .


Tags will be used incorrectly or mistakenly, but that is no reason to delete an entire tag.

And sometimes, the location isn't so much the deciding factor as for instance religion, type of work environment (blue collar vs. white collar), profession, and so on.

Questions can be retagged, based on the comments from users or even based on the answers it is getting.

Sometimes will be the right tag: when the location is relevant and it is the right granularity.
And sometimes it won't be, either because it's the wrong level of precision, or because location is not as relevant as five other tags.


Examples

What is the best way to deal with "reserved" seats at place like a hotel pool?
Currently no locational tag; may even be not broad enough here.

How can I notice if someone is speaking with sarcasm or irony?
Specifically stated by the OP as being asked "from a European country"; we have no finer level of locational detail available.

How to deal with a dangerous, developmentally disabled person I can not avoid?
Currently tagged . However, or perhaps would have worked as well. While the legal measures the OP may take against the individual can differ from country to country, the interpersonal skills needed to deal with him differ less.

How do I indicate interest in going somewhere without inviting myself along?
Not , but which can be overly broad as well, since etiquette for this issue may very well differ from one state or region to another.

How to say "I'm an adult now" to my parents?
This has , but Indonesia can stretch from Ireland to Moscow, with a number of different islands; several large ones and so many small ones that even Indonesia itself doesn't know how many exactly. While predominantly Islamic, the Indonesian part of New Guinea is largely protestant, and there are some Hinduistic "enclaves".
Map of Indonesia overlaid on USA and on Europe
As with the USA, country may be too coarse a level of location.

How can I recover from a bad first impression on the internet?
Location is irrelevant here. The cultural tag used is .

How do I indicate sarcasm/irony online?
No location given nor needed; tagged .

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    The point were trying to make here isn't that location data is always necessary. All were trying to say is you can't know if location data is necessary until you ask the question and get some answers. So you should always include the info; sometimes it will be helpful, sometimes it won't be. – user288 Aug 7 '17 at 18:12
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    The point I'm trying to make is that, with a maximum of five tags, sometimes [europe] will be the right tag: when the location is relevant and it is the right level of granularity. And sometimes it won't be, either because it's the wrong level of precision, or because location is not as relevant as five other tags. – SQB Aug 7 '17 at 19:15
  • I really like this answer - I think it might be good to include in the help center a section about tagging and the process a user can use to determine what culture/location tag would be suitable - perhaps using a hierarchical view. – user57 Aug 11 '17 at 21:47
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We need to take into account culture, more so than countries. Sometimes a question may be specific to the culture of a specific country, continent or a conglomeration of places globally.

For instance, as question about shopping and bartering and Chinese culture may be applicable to China Town in Sydney Australia. As China Town is a mini culture within the city and it predominately mimics the authentic Chinese culture in many ways.

I think the country tag can be too narrow at times and we risk micro managing the site.

For example: How do I react when a girl I like has a new haircut that I don't like very much?

which has been discussed at length here:

Why can a question be closed with only 2 votes?

If the OP is happy with the tag - then that should be fine, although it seems applicable to a broader community to me (although there's distinct cultures within Europe). It would probably apply to an Australian culture also. A (please feel free to make a better suggestion) tag may be more appropriate.

There's many questions, I've written in the , that I would prefer to have a broader cultural tag.

Then there would be other questions where the country tag is relevant.

For example:

How to deal with a running nose in Japan?

This is a question that is specific to this type of culture, as the attitudes towards hygiene vary greatly across Asia. An example being spitting in public.

Perhaps we can combine a specific country tag with a cultural tag (where appropriate) - the only problem with this - is we become cultural/location heavy with the tags.

  • maybe this answer is too general for this question - let me know - I can delete it and post it somewhere else - possibly write a new question – user57 Aug 11 '17 at 21:39
  • If you're going to downvote within a minute of me posting this (I doubt there was time to read it) - perhaps you can leave a comment - after all this is meta and we're trying to discuss it - so say why you don't like this answer – user57 Aug 11 '17 at 21:42
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    Not my downvote, but like I always say, "some people just want to watch the world burn". I wish the downvoters explained it. – NVZ Aug 11 '17 at 21:48
  • Downvoted because the OP's desire to make a question too broad shouldn't be indulged. For the site to work specific and identifiable cultures need to be identified. The West isn't a culture, so much as a political and technological set of norms. There's far too much cultural diversity for the West to be a useful scope on this site. Interpersonal and conversational conventions just do not spread that wide. – curiousdannii Aug 12 '17 at 3:56
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    @curiousdannii thanks for the feedback - I beg to disagree - there's plenty of situations that may fit Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the US and many European countries. But it's not worth a lengthy debate, as I'm not sure if we can come up with an elegant solution. – user57 Aug 12 '17 at 4:06
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Some thoughts to consider...

Do we want a tag for every U.S. state/Canadian province/Indian state/whatever? Do we want tags for regions of U.S.? (Midwest, eastern seaboard, pacific northwest, southwest, south, etc.) Do we want a tag for continents - europe, asia, africa, antarctica (it would be awesome if we got a question from antarctica but it's also rather unlikely), north america, south america?

To decide this, we have to figure out how useful these tags are. Having a tag for each individual state/province of most countries is a bit much, but regions can be appropriate - for example, regions of the U.S. can be rather different from each other in terms of culture, but I'm not sure that's true (I might be wrong, of course) for the provinces of Canada.

Some tags concerning continents are a little more useful than others. The key is to consider whether there are countries within that continent with such drastically different cultures that there is very few useful things to ask questions about in common. I personally don't know enough about Europe to know whether that's true, this is merely what we should be considering. And perhaps a more narrow tag, like (though who knows if that's actually useful), is better.

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    Meh. The European-Union is a political union, not necessarily relevant culturally. It's not about finding regions, but finding distinct regions. Getting a distinct region is challenging - so (and I should probably put my comments as an answer), but I'd propose that we have a general region tag (such as the examples in the question, e.g. [scandinavian-europe]), and then a much more specific cultural tag (such as [chilean-culture]). At the end of the day, tags don't have to be overly-specific, they classify questions, but are not part of the question. This info should be in the body itself. – Zizouz212 Aug 8 '17 at 1:06
  • I actually think you make a valid point - of where we create boundaries between the tags and to what point we are inclusive within a cultural tag and to what extent we can dissect a culture. – user57 Aug 11 '17 at 21:41
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Many different cultures will have big similarities to each other, but they remain different cultures. And although there are some things which would be broadly the same across Europe, the fact is that Europe is a continent of many cultures. Although many societies are multi-lingual, it is reasonable to think of a country-language combination as the base unit of culture, especially for this site where most of the interpersonal skills we cover are impacted by communication conventions which makes them language dependent. The dozens of languages of Europe therefore mean dozens of cultures, which makes a "europe" tag too broad for most questions.

One exception could be a combination of "europe" and "tourist". Expectations of tourists in Europe would be much more united than they would be between a European country and a South Asian country for example.

If country-language combinations are the basis of our culture scoping, then most of the time a "usa" tag will be sufficient. State level tags are probably unhelpfully specific. But a "hispanic-usa" tag (or "hispanic-american"? I'm not sure what the conventional labels would be) could be appropriate and useful.

  • The use of the language tag - as a cultural link is insightful. Wonder how we could word that – user57 Aug 11 '17 at 21:52
  • @YvetteColomb I'm not sure how much I like about the language distinction. Think Arabic - spoken in Africa + Middle East. Urdu would be across South Asia. Russian would go from Eastern Europe to Central Asia. I personally like the suggestions made in the third paragraph (which I repeated in my comment above on the question). All that said, tags are always general, and will never replace describing the situation - it's important that you get right to the nitty gritty details in the question itself :) – Zizouz212 Aug 12 '17 at 3:24
  • @Zizouz212 the language distinction given with a location - hard to decide what to call them though german-speaking-european-countries lol – user57 Aug 12 '17 at 4:03
  • @YvetteColomb I feel like those are poor distinctions for tag classifications. There is a correlation that different languages have different cultures, but I don't see any reason to believe that those cultural differences are strongly correlated or caused by language differences (e.g. What about India? Or Canada? Where some areas, hundreds of languages are spoken) – Zizouz212 Aug 12 '17 at 13:21
  • @Zizouz212 Perhaps for non-language cultural issues, but we should expect that conversational norms are usually language specific. Culture is a fractal, and what the best scope to use for some questions will be hard to determine, but I'm suggesting that the tuple of (country, language) is going to be a good place to start for most questions. – curiousdannii Aug 12 '17 at 13:52
  • Frankly, if I suspected my IPS question were language specific for a non-English language, I wouldn't post it here. I'd look for somewhere where I can post in the relevant language. Here, the finer points will likely get lost in translation. – AllTheKingsHorses Aug 17 '17 at 10:43
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We should use country tags. Country tags are simple to define, and in most cases they offer enough level of detail to serve as a tool to help people find questions to answer. Continent tags are too broad to be useful.

Yes, there are differences between regions of countries. But tags are supposed to help people find questions, not communicate every little detail of a question. Use the question body to add more information and elaborate. Or, if there's a consensus that for certain countries state or region tags are more useful, eg you think it's worth creating a tennessee tag or an american south tag, then go for it! Just please don't create continent tags, which are too broad to be useful.

For the rare question where the answer is the same across Europe, there is nothing stopping you from voting to close a Spain question as a duplicate of a France question. But if you keep the Europe tag around I guarantee it will get misused.

  • I agree in the differentiation - there's variation within the culture throughout Europe - I'm thinking that some questions may even belong to a broader cultural context e.g. western-culture – user57 Aug 11 '17 at 21:44
  • @Yvette "there is nothing stopping you from voting to close a Spain question as a duplicate of a France question". The point that I'm trying to make here is that it's hard to tell what questions are broadly applicable until you see the answers. O provide as much info as you can in questions; some of it may be useful, some of it may not. – user288 Aug 11 '17 at 22:07

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