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UPDATE: in light of the voting on the answers below (+12 for "Nuke 'em" vs +3 for "Leave 'em"), these tags have been eliminated. was already gone before I got to it, and I've just finished the few edits and merges needed to get rid of and .


  • The tag is used on 13 questions: some story-ID questions seeking a Japanese book or film, some questions about Japanese culture or folklore, and some questions about manga or Godzilla which are only tangentially related to Japan. The tag wiki and tag wiki excerpt are both merely descriptions of the country Japan, with no usage guidance for the tag.

  • The tag is used on 12 questions: some story-ID questions (again), some questions about the Russian language used in particular SFF works, and some genre-history questions. The tag wiki and tag wiki excerpt say:

    Media created in Russia, using the Russian language or about Russian characters or historical people.

  • The tag is used on 2 questions, both story-ID; there is no tag wiki or tag wiki excerpt.

I've checked various other countries and regions, but couldn't find any more tags like these.


What should be done with these tags?

Clearly, we don't want to stick, for instance, the tag on every question about every SFF work made in Russia or featuring Russian characters. That would involve hundreds and hundreds of largely pointless tag edits. So at the very least, tag wikis will have to be rewritten and more clear usage guidance laid out. But note also that if the tag exists, people will surely be tempted to use it for various different purposes, since the tag name alone doesn't make clear how it should be used. Because of this unclearness, I'm tempted to suggest deleting it altogether.

Plus there's inconsistency in the tag names - some use the country name, some the adjective - and also in which countries are represented. If Japan, Russia, and France merit their own tags, why don't other countries too? If not every country does, why have tags for just those three?

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  • This seems to be a problem with the tag wikis rather than the tags per se. Propagate the russian tag wiki to the others? – Chenmunka Jul 28 '16 at 12:36
  • @Chenmunka And use the tag for every question about media created in Russia or about Russia characters? That doesn't sound great. The tag wikis are definitely an issue; what I'm asking about here is whether keeping the tags at all is worth the bother of trying to work out some kind of reasonable and consistent usage guidance for them. – Rand al'Thor Jul 28 '16 at 18:57
  • @Randal'Thor: I take your point. Also, separate "Russian Language" and "Russian Characters" tags would be somewhat excessive. – Chenmunka Jul 28 '16 at 20:24
  • I can easily see someone who's an expert in French or Russian SciFi subscribing to such tags, so they don't miss any of the rare scattered questions on the area. Given the fairly narrow field of experts on such topics on SFF, any thing that makes said experts' job easier is a good thing for the site. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Aug 8 '16 at 17:52
  • Do what you want with "French", but please don't touch the "Klingon-language" tag! – Andrew Grimm Sep 25 '16 at 5:12
  • @AndrewGrimm Of course! The whole concept of Klingon language is one that's entirely on-topic for this site, and (at least since the fixup due to your meta question) the usage of the tag is sensible and consistent. – Rand al'Thor Sep 25 '16 at 13:37
12

Nuke 'em

Let's consider main meta's guide on when to burninate tags, and see how it applies to one of these country tags:

  • Does it describe the contents of the questions to which it is applied? and is it unambiguous?

    No. Whether it describes the contents is arguable, especially in questions like this one which actually is asking about the Russian language. But it's certainly ambiguous: as I mentioned in the question, these tags are being applied in many different contexts, each of which could be reasonably apt given the name of the tag.

  • Is the concept described even on-topic for the site?

    Kinda? Although the site is about science fiction and fantasy, not countries or languages, it's been established that translation requests can be on-topic here.

  • Does the tag add any meaningful information to the post?

    Sometimes. E.g. in story-ID questions, it tells us that the book/film being sought was made in a particular country or in a particular language.

  • Does it mean the same thing in all common contexts?

    No. As discussed above. In fact, there's even ambiguity as to whether it refers to the language or the country's culture; both can be distinct.

It's not a very clear "no" from these questions, but I think the tags are sufficiently unclear and inconsistently used to be worth getting rid of. The alternative is to risk being inundated with dozens of country tags which would probably keep on being used badly and having to be fixed.

(I would be open to the possibility of keeping them with the proviso that they're only to be used for story-ID questions, but I'll wait for the story-ID experts to chime in on whether they feel these tags would be useful for such questions.)

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    is there a deep overriding reason that people searching for Russian Language would be strongly deterred if Russian culture was included in the search? Ideally, there should be russian-language and russian-sff separate tags, but that just seems like a nuclear overkill not worth the effort. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Aug 8 '16 at 17:56
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    If they cause more confusion than organization, and it sounds like they do, I'm all for burning. They would be useful if we could organize the usage, but it seems too generic to really do that, although @DVK 's comment is close to the mark, defining as Russian language and/or Russian culture/created . – Radhil Sep 15 '16 at 19:55
  • If you allow country tags just for story identification questions, why not allow decade tags also? It can help a lot to identify a story to know what decade it's from. (That's tongue-in-cheek; I think country tags aren't that useful for story identification, because that info should be in the body of the question, not the tags. But I can see it could have some use....) – Wildcard Sep 28 '16 at 21:05
  • @Wildcard Some of our story-ID experts do feel that decade tags are useful, but those tags were burninated last year after the suggestion to do so got a whopping +30/-0 votes on meta. – Rand al'Thor Sep 28 '16 at 21:27
2

Leave 'em.

Per my stock objection to tag removal.

  • As things stand, these tags are pretty harmless and possibly of minor use to anyone with a passing interest in Russian, French or Japanese scifi.

  • Removing these tags will result in the front page being disfigured with worthless edits for a minimum of one to two days.

  • I see no justification why removing the tags is of more benefit to the site than simply leaving them in situ.

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    In order to remove these tags, a grand total of 11 questions would need to be bump-edited. After removing it from all the non-story-ID questions, a mod can merge the tags into story-identification (without synonymising) in order to remove the tags completely without bumping. So your comment about "the front page being disfigured with worthless edits" is a mite overdramatic. – Rand al'Thor Jul 27 '16 at 9:47
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    If the consensus goes in favour of keeping them, will you volunteer to create some actual usage guidance and tag wikis for these tags? Because currently I've no bloody idea when they should be used, and since you want to keep them, presumably you do know :-) – Rand al'Thor Jul 28 '16 at 13:48
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    You mean copying the existing russian tag wiki for the other two? Well, yes, that would be an issue: if we're going to use that tag for all "media created in Russia" or questions "about Russian characters", there'll be a hell of a lot of retagging to do (far more than 11 questions for russian alone - plus Japanese, French, German, Chinese, etc. etc.) – Rand al'Thor Jul 28 '16 at 18:44
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    See, this is where your argument falls down: in order to have any kind of clear and consistent usage for these tags, it'd be a hell of a lot more upheaval to keep them than just to nuke them :-) – Rand al'Thor Jul 28 '16 at 18:49
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    @Randal'Thor - You seem to be interpreting my answer as "we should use them properly" whereas I'm advocating ignoring them entirely. – Valorum Jul 28 '16 at 18:50
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    Well, if you don't care about using them properly, then yes, removing them will be of more benefit than letting them stay around and confuse the hell out of people. There's the "benefit to the site" you're looking for! – Rand al'Thor Jul 28 '16 at 18:53
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    @Randal'Thor - I challenge you to demonstrate even one person whose user-experience has been confounded by these tags not being applied correctly. – Valorum Jul 28 '16 at 19:04
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    That might depend on what you mean by user-experience. I myself, as well as being intensely irritated by the inconsistent and unclear usage of these tags, have also got into at least one argument and edit-war over the russian tag. Nobody would have such problems if the tags either a) had clear and consistent usage guidance or b) didn't exist. If you can propose a good plan for a), I'm all ears. Instead, you seem to just want people to shut up and ignore the issue. – Rand al'Thor Jul 28 '16 at 19:57
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    @DVK What is the "correct" tag scope? If you (or Valorum, or anybody) can find one that works, I'm all ears! :-) – Rand al'Thor Aug 14 '16 at 15:19
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    Do you still feel that editing 11 questions is too large a sacrifice to make for the sake of getting rid of these inconsistently and unclearly used tags, reducing confusion and increasing tidiness? – Rand al'Thor Sep 15 '16 at 18:33
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    @Randal'Thor - "The tag wars raged on for many generations, long past the point that anyone could remember what started the conflict. Brother was pit against brother and son against father. And for what? For nothing" – Valorum Sep 15 '16 at 18:37
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    The very clear consensus from the community is that they don't care. Less than 2% of those who've viewed the page have bothered to vote for one post or the other, and the number of views is paltry. – Valorum Sep 15 '16 at 18:41
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    @Randal'Thor - Low views and low view/votes ratio are usually a good indicator of community apathy. – Valorum Sep 15 '16 at 18:44
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    -1, ignoring them seems liek a bad idea – Victor Salazar Sep 19 '16 at 8:47
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    @Valorum And I was waiting for a justified reason to keep them rather then ignore it or who care etc – Victor Salazar Sep 19 '16 at 9:41

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