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I noticed this question which made me wonder what the policy here is regarding localized questions. There seems to have been a discussion of "too localized" questions based on research area specific questions, but only meta question regarding country specific questions is about whether or not US-specific questions are on-topic?

Does the current state of the "rules" approve of country specific question, if so to what extend?

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As I said in a comment to Are US-specific questions OK? I am not sure questions are really ever country specific. I believe your example question What is a "TV-L 13" position? is pretty localized, but not so much because of the German nature of it. I think the question is potentially useful for anyone in Germany, anyone applying for a German job, or anyone considering hiring someone currently working in Germany. It also has limited use for people trying to understand the employment status of graduate students across different countries.

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Few hours ago this question was deleted. Even though not the best question ever, I think it offers some good perspective. It's localized to country? Yes. Are the answers specific to a particular discipline? No. Now how about this question? Or this, this, this and this?

I think, we should be very careful not to make out of this site a US-centric place with otherwise some valuable discussion about general academic topic. In my opinion questions about admissions to universities around the world are appropriate here.

  • It has nothing to do with US versus Germany. I would have voted to close even if it was about the US. The country part didn't play a role in my decision. – StrongBad Mar 27 '13 at 8:00
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    @DanielE.Shub: that is a fair decision of course. However, it seems to me that too often we get US-specific questions upvoted quickly, while similarly localised questions specific to other countries get closed/deleted as too localised. – walkmanyi Mar 27 '13 at 8:06
  • @walkmanyi I agree with your answer and comment.. It's important to make sure we do not limit our target group. – posdef Oct 8 '13 at 11:56
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I believe some questions are very much country-specific. For example, there are quite some differences between the usual PhD programmes in the US and the UK and I have spent some time trying to think of an answer before somehow inferring that the question refers to something I wouldn't know about.

I don't see this as a problem as such (after all, academia is very international and people move between continents all the time), but I would like to have a way of pointing out to the reader whether the question is (potentially) country-specific or not. Otherwise there will/might be answers that don't apply to the question at all, and readers can happily skip the ones that they won't be able to answer.

I think there should be a tag/tags or at least a convention for questions to point out the country in the same way as people generally point out their particular discipline.

Any opinions on that?

  • having tags for each country would be an overkill, I think. Otherwise I agree with your points that it would be good to point-out whether or not what's asked is country/culture/language-specific. – posdef Mar 21 '13 at 11:56
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    Yes I suppose you're right about the tags. Maybe it would be helpful to add a line to the FAQ "please indicate your country and specific discipline" (since some people might not know that they're question is country-specific). It would definitely help readers identify whether they can answer the question adequately. – spbail Mar 23 '13 at 15:31
  • I second this proposal. Introduce country tags! – userJT Mar 27 '13 at 13:22
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    What about a general tag: "country-specific" – mkennedy Mar 28 '13 at 18:32
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I want to support the comment by spbail about adding country and discipline. At the same time I think such restrictions should not prevent answers from being more generally applicable if they provide new insights or provide a different perspective. I have experienced answering a question that seemed general but later turned out to be changed to country specific. The answer then seemed a bit out of place but I still would maintain that a wider spectrum of answrers is a positive.

I think many who pose questions do not realize they are in an international arena, hence the many "too localized" and other forms of narrow questions. So finding a way to be constructive both in the specific and in the general would be a beneficial as I see it.

So should then answers also be "labelled"? and will the site members support wider ranges of answers to narrow questions for the benefit of everyone? those are some of the question which I keep thinking about.

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    I would suggest editing the question to make it clearer that it is relevant for a wider range of neat altitudes. – StrongBad Mar 27 '13 at 8:01

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