2

Owing to the very nature of this site, locations are going to be needed and from my experiences on Travel@StackE, this is just the way things end up being.

What I propose instead is finding a system to harness this meta information. If successful, this could also find it's way into other sites that face this issue.

I understand that tags are just supplementary to the question, but lets have a subset of specially recognised location tags. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the SE engine automatically highlights certain tags in the title. I suggest that if a question is tagged with any special location tag, then the question is prefixed with with this tag, thereby making it a great categorisation, and something with very little overhead.

Thoughts? Are any other systems being trialed/imagined?

||||||
  • You shouldn't add tags to the title – user19 May 31 '13 at 10:29
6

We use location tagging a lot over at the Money SE. With personal finance, there are often questions that are specific to jurisdiction. The idea is that if you are asking, say, a tax or legal question, or about specific kinds of retirement plans, then a country tag ought to be specified because those kinds of things vary according to jurisdiction. For many other kinds of questions (e.g. investment strategies, budgeting), the country doesn't matter and can be left unspecified.

This works well for us at Money, and I suggest a similar approach would work here at Freelancing, because some of the questions that are going to come up about freelancing will invariably be about establishing a business, realizing income, intellectual property or contract law, etc.

In other words: Certain kinds of questions here should have a country tag, and others would not necessarily need it. Where the location matters, experts on the site ought to, using a comment, request the OP to disclose their location, so answers can be placed in the proper context. It will be up to the resident experts to determine if location is relevant to a question, or not, and request & tag appropriately – and in some cases to remove a location tag if it is truly orthogonal to the question.

What we want to avoid by using location tags judiciously is a situation that, early on, happened frequently at Money: Somebody asks a good question, but doesn't specify a location, experts jump on it and answer it assuming (say) for a U.S. asker, and then the OP comments "but I'm in (Canada / Australia / United Kingdom / India)". etc. Wastes folks' time, leads to downvoting of answers otherwise valid but for location, etc.

||||||
3

Tags are really meant to categorize questions, not supplement information that is better highlighted in the actual body of the question.

If a question requires specific knowledge of a certain locale, then ideally the asker should make this clear in the question, as tagging something as "India" for instance, just because the person happens to live in India, may actually discourage people from answering the question who could answer it. Location doesn't always matter, so many of these tags may become irrelevant noise.

With that said, tags do not appear in the question; however, users can filter out certain tags they don't want to see in the question list. Similarly, users can choose to only view questions with certain tags.

However, a majority of the traffic on a Stack Exchange site doesn't come from the users, it comes from visitors coming from Google searches; these users likely won't have the same knowledge of the tagging system that we do, and may not understand the context of the question or answers if missing information is merely supplemented with tags.

I won't say I disagree with the idea of location tags. Some sites do use them, but this is something that should be considered very carefully to ensure that any perceived benefits outweigh the negatives and that folks understand that tags aren't a crutch for supplementing missing information from the post.

||||||
  • I would tend to agree a lot, but still disagree a bit with you here... But I suppose what drives it home is your argument of the traffic source. Having said that, if someone tags a question with a locale, which as you say may discourage someone from answering it, is this not for the better? If the person responding is not sure of the locale it applies to, then they are better off either spending time to verify if it does, or provide a disclaimer of its uncertainty, or worst case not answer at all. – bPratik May 27 '13 at 10:06
  • Good question. If I tag a question as 'usa', but location has absolutely no bearing on the answers whatsoever, you may very well have an amazing answer for me that you don't post simply because all questions tagged 'usa' are either filtered out for you or ignored by you. This is why the content of the question is so important. Let location be relevant in situations where it's actually relevant. Hope this helps. – jmort253 May 27 '13 at 16:33
  • I agree the tags as permanent filters are bad as someone might miss out, but if they are prevented from being used as filters (not the search filters!). My whole point being that this site will have a sizeable chunk of it's questions that make no sense in another part of the world. Just like Travel@SE. Tagging a question as a locale, shouldn't as far as I can see, prevent someone from answering, as usually the one answering is knowledgeable enough to know the geographic limitations of their answer. – bPratik May 27 '13 at 16:42
  • Also, given a good community following, these accidently tagged questions would be edited/reviewed and the locale removed. – bPratik May 27 '13 at 16:44
  • 1
    You still would have the problem that most of the users who visit the site searching for answers to problems they have, those coming from Google, aren't everyday contributors like you and I. They won't instinctively know that a question tagged 'uk' applies only to the UK. This is why the content is so important. Sure, our community can manage tags, but they shouldn't replace information that should be in the content of the post. In short, the post body should still be crystal clear that the question applies only to the UK. Tags shouldn't be used to replace content in the post body. – jmort253 May 27 '13 at 16:59
  • ;) ok.......... – bPratik May 27 '13 at 17:04

You must log in to answer this question.

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