16

Some interpersonal skills are universal, but others are very much cultural dependent.

Therefore, there may be a case to tag questions by region. Where that is not enough, by anything else that forms a specific culture, such as by class or by subculture. I've tagged my question but that may not be specific enough in the long term, as Europe is large and diverse. It's intended as a start.

Should we tag our questions by (cultural) region?

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  • 1
    It might be better to phrase this as a question, rather than as a statement. – apaul Jun 27 '17 at 18:00
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    Possible duplicate of How do we deal with cultural differences? (your question came first, but mine is broader as it deals with more than just tagging). – Rand al'Thor Jun 27 '17 at 18:01
12

Oh my goodness yes!

Social skills and norms, traditions, values... etc vary so much depending on where you are and the culture of that region. Pakistani social norms will be different from Canadian norms, which themselves will be different from those of South Africa.

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10

At the very least, we should push people asking questions to provide regional or cultural context in the body of the question. I don't see a problem with tagging it, too. If the community feels the answer doesn't actually depend on that, we still have the option to remove a tag if it was applied, but it's much harder to get the information if it wasn't provided from the start. So let's cultivate a culture of "tell us where you are".

And anyway, how can we expect anybody, OP or otherwise, to know up front if a situation is culture/location-specific or universal? I suspect that very few things are universal -- I think all of the "don't tag" examples in this answer could be region-dependent in some regions. Workplace petty theft, putting feet up on things (particularly if the it makes the soles visible), and interactions with low-level service people do vary.

More information is better than less. If the answers are different for Pakistan, Louisiana, and New Zealand, then we have three questions that are similar on the surface but fundamentally different, each of which can get targeted answers. That sounds like a win to me.

Besides, aren't we all sick of the US-centrism on most of the Internet? If somebody answers a question about Italy from a US-specific perspective, that's not an answer, but if everybody's guessing then it might be. Let's try to make context more obvious. Relatedly, we should try to be careful to declare our context when answering location-agnostic questions, to help future readers evaluate answers with respect to their own situations.

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5

Tagging too many questions will discourage people from posting who are from outside a region/culture. We should tag questions by culture if it seems like the culture is especially relevant, but not as a default recommendation.

Examples of where we should tag:

  • Someone said "Bless your heart" to my face and I think it had a loaded meaning. How can I tell? [southern-us]
  • I have a Western friend who has a lot of tattoos and is always left out of our swimming pool trips. How can I make sure he's okay? [japan]
  • In my queer women's group there's a few people who keep talking about "gold stars" and it makes me uncomfortable as a bisexual person. What do I do? [queer-culture]

Examples of where we should not tag:

  • Someone keeps stealing my lunch from the fridge at work. How do I deal with it without being passive-aggressive? [europe]
  • My friend always puts his feet up on the dashboard of my car and it bugs me. What should I do? [subsaharan-africa]
  • When a movie theatre employee says "enjoy your show!" I reflexively say "you too!" How can I retrain my reflexes? [india]
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  • TIL: what "gold star" means in the lesbian community. – SQB Jul 31 '17 at 20:27
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    The answer to a question such as "Someone keeps stealing my lunch from the fridge at work. How do I deal with it without being passive-aggressive?" actually depends pretty heavily on your cultural context. Depending on the culture, being passive-aggressive might work, in other context being passive aggressive might fly over people's head. – user288 Aug 4 '17 at 4:05
1

This great question was regional based, and the OP placed the tag, which I had removed and then replaced with after realizing that, yes, there are questions that are indeed regional-based.

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0

Perhaps we should wait and see.

Whereas it appears that tagging by cultural region makes immediate sense (it did for me), I thought about it and concluded that it would be almost impossible to make it work.

You could say USA. But then how many cultural standards are there within the USA. One may effectively answer many. So where does it stop. We could conceivable get down to Little Italy in New York City.

You could say "the South" in the USA. But does that apply to Hispanic people in Miami, or the residents of the Bible Belt.

Additionally, I would rather like to hear the response from a native of India (just as an example) as they answer a question where the asker has the USA in mind. I may have plans to travel there, and may get great value from their input. But putting a tag on question will definitely discourage that. (Also, the same type of issue may exist in India, and others from India may find it beneficial.)

In short, this would be very challenging to make it work. Perhaps we should wait and see.

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-3

We're in 2017. We live in a globalized world where everyone wears the same jeans and t-shirts, and there are "Indian" and "Chinese" restaurants all around here in Europe.

Sure cultural differences still exist but they're subtle and slimmer as they've never been in human history and getting even slimmer by the minute. People are much more different to each other by their personality than by their nationality. Adding each 190 U.N. country as a tag and forcing users using one of them on every question is, in my opinion, stupid.

Even worse is the fact that some U.N. countries, including both large countries such as India and small countries such as Switzerland, have major cultural gaps within them.

The biggest cultural difference in my opinion is between urban people (more globalized and open to new ideas) and rural people (more connected to traditional ways of living). It's hard to explain exactly in english, but based on my own personal experience, the cultural gap between Geneva, Switzerland and London, UK or Berlin, Germany will be very minor as all those places are globalized, highly connected dynamic cities - on the other hand the cultural gap between the lower half of Montreux - Switzerland which is a city and its upper half which are rural mountains is huge despite being in the same municipality.

As such, providing a country in which a certain situation happens does not necessarly help to give answers. People's culture vary not only from which U.N. state they're in but also depending on their religion, and rural/urban context, and in the end people are different to each other anyway.

In cases of small countries, such as Switzerland, potential answerers from other parts of the world might come with valid answers but be reluctant to give them because they have no idea what the so called "culture" is like here - but who cares, ideas from other parts of the world can still be valuable here.

However having some tags about wide cultural areas such as "western world", "muslim world", "india" and have them being recommended, instead of obligatory for every question, would make much more sense.

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  • This answer is completely nonsense. I've thoroughly debunked your arguments elsewhere on meta, so feel free to find these posts and read them: "Related Answers: Why your Pakistani answer won't always work for India", "Globalisation and Intersubjective Communication", and "Interpersonal Issues with solutions that are culturally or regionally different". Feel free to come to chat if you still disagree, but I think those posts prove that your underlying idea is fundamentally flawed. – Zizouz212 Aug 12 '17 at 1:52
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    @Zizouz212 I still disagree. Basiclally you're denying that globalization is a thing. – Bregalad Aug 17 '17 at 6:36
  • I never said that. And I never implied that either. Globalization just means that the world is becoming increasingly interconnected. Not that the world's peoples are becoming homogenous. – Zizouz212 Aug 17 '17 at 18:40
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    Bregalad - I'll support Zizou on this. I work with teams across 18 or so countries, and while English is the common language, the cultures are incredibly different - so much so that we have to define objectives in very different terms, provide different support environments for each country, and plan for entirely different management focus. Globalisation is not Homogenisation. – Rory Alsop Aug 18 '17 at 8:03
  • @RoryAlsop Well, you obviously didn't read my post and just down-voted by principle but I don't care I'm still convinced you guys are wrong. I did not say cultures were all the same - I just say that country/state is a poort indication of one's culture. – Bregalad Aug 18 '17 at 8:20
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    I did read it fully. I just disagree. On meta downvotes are for disagreement. I've been doing this for 20-something years and what I see is very different to what you describe. I deal with Londoners very differently to Berliners or Singaporeans for example. And I see less difference between urban and rural cultures than between countries. I agree US Midwest and US California and US east coast have differences, but not as big as the difference I see working with the US compared to France. – Rory Alsop Aug 18 '17 at 8:29

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