Higher ed systems differ quite substantially between countries, and we have country tags like or , which serve to indicate questions that are specific to certain countries.

Workplace.SE is in a similar position. It has recently been suggested there to make country tags visually distinct, essentially so answerers actually see that the question is specific and don't jump in with answers that may not apply to the specific country asked about. The current top-voted answer suggests adding a stylized globe to Workplace country tags.

Question: should we also (try to) make country tags visually distinct? If so, which design would be useful?


Edit: At Workplace, StrongBad notes that this would also apply to other SE sites, and anyway, it would require SE development work. So I have asked the general question about visually enhancing country tags at Meta, linking here. We could still use this thread to discuss whether we would want to actually use such a feature if it is implemented.

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    Yes, I think it's a good idea. It might also have the positive side-effect of drawing attention to the fact that in many cases specifying the country is essential... and that US should not be taken as default ;-) – Massimo Ortolano May 11 '16 at 18:19
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    Note that the infrastructure already exists: on StackOverflow, companies can pay to have a tiny icon included in the tag for their product. See stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/google-app-engine for instance. So it likely wouldn't require a lot of development work. One possibility might be to include a tiny icon of the country's flag. – Nate Eldredge May 14 '16 at 16:54
  • Do upvotes and downvotes to the original question mean "I want this feature, let's ask the SE staff" and "I don't want this feature", respectively? We should probably count heads on this one. – Federico Poloni May 22 '16 at 11:38

This is something that has to be taken up with Stack Exchange paid staff—this is not something that we as moderators or individual community members can change. So if there is a consensus to request that they do so, we can bring it up with them.

I m not sure this is a big issue for us. Further, you can only make so many tag stand out. I think more often people ignore the "field" tag (e.g., math or history) than the country tag. If we were only going to highlight one type of tag, field might be more important. I am not sure how I feel about highlighting multiple types of tags.

  • +1. Don't make it a painting, teach people through community modetaion. I don't believe that painting the tags in colours is substantially helpful. – yo' May 22 '16 at 20:01

If the question is specific to one country or field, that should be included in the question title, or at least in the body. This will be more noticeable than the appearance of a tag, and would make modification of the tags unnecessary.

In my opinion, I don't think this would be such a useful feature. For two reasons.

  1. If the target location is not the US, UK or some other country that is well-known for its institutions, it might lead to too many specialised requests and not enough people to answer them. In other words, potential answer-writers might not consider a question because they can see it does not apply to the country that they have experience with.
  2. I think the separation is unnecessary and that many answers to questions that DO mention the country and field, still refer to another country, such as "I know you ask about country X, but in country Y it is usually the case that..." which can be relevant, informative and even help the OP simply by widening the horizon.

I feel I have benefited from reading about the different fields and situations that have differing norms. Introducing country tags would try to tackle the problem of people asking unclear questions- I am not convinced that these users would then go and use country tags.

  • Regarding #1, isn't that the point? Imagine someone has a question about some aspect of academia specifically in Moldova. Now imagine all the answers deal with other countries "better-known for their institutions". Not only is this useless for OP, but now they can't even ask the question again because it will get closed as a duplicate. If no answers pop up, at least the question stays in the "unanswered" section. – user9646 May 30 '16 at 13:58

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