The answers to many questions on this site will depend on the specific culture in which the OP lives. The norms of interpersonal contact vary a lot from one culture to another. (I realised this when I read this question; in Britain, if someone bumps into you in the street, you'd probably apologise even if it wasn't your fault, but that might be considered strange or excessively polite in other countries.)

How should we clarify and clearly distinguish between different cultures in questions on this site? Should we always leave comments asking the OP where they come from? Should we create tags like to add to every question? Should we vote to close as "unclear" if a question doesn't include this information?

  • See: interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4/16
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 17:47
  • @Zizouz212 Damn these ninjas! Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 17:48
  • Haha, but the question should still stay. This is focusing on actions :)
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 17:48
  • Voting to close as a duplicate. I hope this answers your thoughts well, OP.
    – user20
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 17:59
  • @tuskiomi Nah, that question is about tags, this is about what to do with questions. Different things entirely.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 18:00
  • @Zizouz212 the answer to this question is the question that it duplicated, no?
    – user20
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 18:01
  • @tuskiomi I voted to close the other way, since this question is newer but also broader. Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 18:02
  • is broader good?
    – user20
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 18:02
  • @tuskiomi I mean, if anything, that would be a dupe of this question. But it's not that big of a deal. It's meta.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 18:02
  • @tuskiomi When it comes to dupe-closing, yes. If we close this as a dupe of the older question, then some of the questions raised here won't be answered. If we close the older question as a dupe of this, then the tagging issue will be considered, as well as other issues raised here. Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 18:03

2 Answers 2


Like I said here:

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.

So, what does that mean?

Questions that ask the same thing are still different if they ask about a different cultural framework. The answers to those questions would be starkly different. The key here is being culturally relative - recognizing that cultures are different, and that the answer from one culture should not apply to another culture. Such behaviour would be severely damaging to users and this site.

Therefore, cultural differences are extremely important. They change everywhere. We can't ignore them. So what does it all entail?

Questions must distinguish culture.

Questions should ideally indicate where they are, and what culture they are trying to work with. This can be done through tags, but it must also be done through the question as well. You can be asking about Canada, but as a pluralistic, multicultural country, there will be subcultures, countercultures... you get the point. Details need to be specified in the question. Indian-Canadian culture is quite different from what you might expect.

Questions that can't do this should be closed. Not doing this could drive an culturally imperialist tone to this site, where people might also mistakenly take answers and apply them everywhere.

This answer is evolving; we have to actually see what happens to the site too!

  • Totally love it! evolving answers! And yes this is a chance for us to explore these cultural differences to assist in interpersonal skills.
    – user57
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 18:10

You can specify in the answer which locale/culture you're referring to, provided the OP hasn't specified.

Alternatively, or perhaps additionally, we could make tags such as , to specify wthe locale.

  • 1
    I don't agree with your first paragraph. Then any question could attract potentially dozens of different answers most of which would be useless to the OP. Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 17:54
  • 1
    It's the questions that need to be limited, not the answers.
    – Catija
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 18:33
  • @Catija I wasn't suggesting limiting the answers, just clarifying the locale
    – user52
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 18:41
  • 2
    You're missing the first half of the sentence. If the questions are limited, there's no reason to limit the answer. We are a site where answers are rated by users and the best answers float to the top. Answers relevant to the US will likely be more highly voted than answers related to South Africa simply because there are more users from the US on this site... If the OP wants to know how to interact with someone in Japan, an answer about England won't help them at all... so that isn't actually an answer.
    – Catija
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 18:47

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .