I asked a question about camping on beaches, and I am interested specifically in the US's east coast from Main to Maryland, more or less. I tagged the question with and rather than the individual states or the broader "US East Coast" since I'm not interested in anything more than a 5 or 6-hour drive from me.

How specific do we want to be in our geography? Should questions about a particular location always have a country tag? Should they have a regional tag? Province/state? City?


7 Answers 7


As a non-US resident, mid-atlantic makes me think of somewhere near the Azores rather than the eastern seaboard of the US.

Maybe or ? Things could get a bit overtagged if you have a sequence of - there isn't much space left for other tags.

I also think that tagging cities is going a bit too localised - but its hard to come up with a hard and fast rule, I guess. is probably too local, but covers a huge region along the coast and into the hills.

  • An alternative is to use two tags. us and mid-atlantic should prevent any confusion.
    – ppl
    Jul 30, 2013 at 1:43

I think that tagging at least at the regional level is appropriate and necessary. The differences between hiking in, say, Arizona, the Appalachians, and Colorado are vast. Just how narrow should we go? Robert Cartaino, an SE employee, posted about this on another localization thread.

I think we should tag at the widest scope where:

  1. The answer would still be relevant; and
  2. An expert is fairly likely to be able to be able to give an answer covering the entire scope.

Regarding your particular question, I'm on the fence about how it should be tagged. I think we certainly shouldn't tag it more broadly than . You might only care about sites north of VA (or wherever), but someone coming to this question later may want to know about more southern beaches. On the other hand, I think experienced users are likely to have experience in just one of the north or south Atlantic, perhaps mid-atlantic too, if we include it separately. For that reason, I'm leaning towards tagging it (or ?) and .


Is there an risk of constructing a classification system that is internally consistent, but wouldn't make any sense to outside users?

In the US outdoors community, people often use either the name of the state or the name of a specific national park to describe their destination (Wyoming, Texas, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite, the High Sierras). We should try and respect those terms for US questions. At least, if we want our classification system to be intuitive to outsiders. And these distinctions matter. People think of, say, the Front Range of Colorado and the Wind River Range of Wyoming differently, even though they're both "us-rocky-mountains"

  • Tag alias may be of some help for this. Tag names should preferably come from of an organic process imho.
    – ppl
    Jul 30, 2013 at 1:39

The questions can have various level of localization. For example take that one: Do I need to worry about feral dogs or even wolves if I camp in random areas while hitchhiking in Georgia (the country)?. It is about camping in Georgia, but it could be formulated to target the whole Kaukasus, Middle Asia, or it could be something specify for trekking in Svanetia.

In my opinion, the tags should be used to organize questions. So the locality level of tags should be dependent on how much questions they are adequate for.

In the case of question linked by me, the most adequate tag would be [georgia], but there are too less questions about that region, so [kaukasus] would be enough. [asia], on the other way, would make no sense, because there are no specific outdoor issues related to the whole Asia. In case of this site, it is rational to assume, that geographic tags should not be broader that some climatic zone, because it's the factor that makes most difference when being outdoor.

I would create more specific, subregional tags, when the regional tag has at least a few dozen questions.


I think tagging questions with specific states is too localized, as it limits the question too much.

Rather, I propose we have tags for general regions (like continents or general locales of a country, such as Northwest US) or countries, so if the question is specific to Australia, we'll have an tag, whereas Europe is a smaller area, so we might tag a question . If it is in the US, we can use or , I think tags like are more limiting than a more general geographic reference like .

  • however eastern Europe is in many ways very different to central or western Europe, so I think these should be different tags
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Apr 19, 2013 at 13:33

A consideration here is that posters may choose their geographic area assuming it is relevant and if someone is specifically ignoring that tag then will miss it. This problem is caused by users adding too many tags.

For instance, a discussion on "sailing+waterproofs" may be just as relevant to someone who is a "motor-boat" enthusiast. The "sailing" is obviously superfluous.

A more regional example would be a user tagging with a specific region when their question is simply mountain related.

Maybe it should be up to mods to more generally thin out tags which are not relevant in context.


Personally I think tagging as countries is fine, but it's too localised beyond that. The problem I see with the "general region" tagging system is that the line is very messy and unclear - should Russia get a tag on its own for instance? Is it included in the Europe tag? Or just half of it?

Of course, there are ridiculous cases that don't deserve their own tag. But as a general rule I'd say a country isn't too localised.

Perhaps worth pointing out I don't see a problem with tagging continents as well if it's applicable in a wider context.

  • This may work for small countries in Europe, but doesn't work at all for large areas like the US. For example, hiking in New England is a very different experience than hiking in the desert of Arizona, and the Brooks Range in Alaska very different from those two. Nov 1, 2013 at 14:12

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