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There's a few specific sites (Workplace, Academia, Law, IPS, Money, etc.) that commonly appear the Hot Network Questions list. On these sites, questions often greatly benefit from location tags yet very rarely include such tags from the outset. Even after it's suggested by comments, it's uncommon for OPs to edit the tags in later.

Should we have some small popup or other attention-grabbing device to suggest to question askers on specific sites that they should tag their question with their location?

Thoughts?


I'm asking this because I noticed that the one comment I see very often repeated across many sites is "Please tag with your location as answers will vary by location". It suggests to me that perhaps we have an issue that can be solved. Perhaps it's only relevant to the types of questions that end up in the HNQ box, I'm not sure.

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Should certain sites specifically encourage askers to tag with location?

YES! We should. But I'm going to answer the rest of this from a (purely) IPS point of view, as that is the other site I moderate.

We've got comments for encouraging location tags, and IPS encourages use of those tags by including a few lines about the importance of cultural background in our 'How to write a good question' FAQ post on meta.

If IPS gets questions that depend too much on a cultural background, for example, questions about etiquette or customs, they are generally commented on and may end up closed for lack of details about cultural background. That's another way of 'encouraging' people to include their cultural background (or location).

Note that I said 'cultural background': IPS does like location tags, but we like cultural background even more. There's so much people that live in The Netherlands but that have a different cultural background than me, that a location tag might not be as helpful, it might give less information about this than a line or two in the question. And that's only The Netherlands, bigger countries might have even bigger differences.

Should we have some small popup or other attention-grabbing device to suggest to question askers on specific sites that they should tag their question with their location?

I don't think it'll help. A pop up is too much, too invasive, it might scare people that value their anonimity away. And it might confuse users that ask questions about stuff that's not location related.

People ask on sites like TWP or IPS with very personal questions, and would often like to maintain some anonimity while doing so. So they sometimes don't want to include their location, out of fear that people might trace their question back to them.

Besides, not every question needs a location tag. We've had questions on Social Penetration Theory and the Interpersonal Theory of Depression for example, that don't need one. Having a standard pop-up/attention-grabber suggesting the use of a location tag where none is needed is only going to be even more confusing.

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For Academia SE, only a certain very limited subset of questions benefits from the "location" tags. The majority of the questions are usually completely country-independent or at least allow for a good general answer in addition to some optionally requested specifics.

I think that similar logic can be applied to the majority of other SE communities.

The fact that when a location-tag is actually required to improve the answers' quality but OP does not include such (mildly sensitive) information - is not a good justification to inquire users about their location through some popups.

  • I don't typically use the sites I listed, so I'm not sure about the ratio of questions that should have a location tag to those that shouldn't. I almost didn't include Academia. // I don't consider country of residence to be even mildly sensitive, but I guess some people probably do. That's totally fine, they're not required to add it, it would just be a suggestion (that can give them more accurate, applicable answers, so it's of benefit to them). – Clonkex Jun 14 at 6:16
  • @Clonkex So, if you don't use the sites you listed – where do you see the benefit from this initiative? – Anton Menshov Jun 14 at 6:18
  • Are you suggesting I have to be a frequent user of these sites to see a potential problem? Nonsense. My suggestion not benefit me and I never claimed it would. The goal would be to reduce the necessity for the people who do frequently use those sites to ask for a location every time, and to create better answers. – Clonkex Jun 14 at 6:24
  • @Clonkex you do not. However, it's unlikely to be based on a good sample of data (only for this particular type of suggestion!). Since to see "a particular comment very often" – you, kind of, have to "look at questions very often", thus, one naturally is and categorizes himself as a frequent user of those communities. – Anton Menshov Jun 14 at 6:27
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    Obviously my sample group only includes HNQ questions, but I think it's unlikely that only HNQ questions would benefit from a location tag. Also, I saw an interesting-looking Workplace question in HNQ not 5 minutes ago, and guess what, it would benefit from a location tag. workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/138309/… – Clonkex Jun 14 at 6:32
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    The claim of the first paragraph is wrong: I suggest you to read this meta discussion. Having had to ask countless times for the country on Academia SE, I'd welcome a feature that encourages to put the country tag. – Massimo Ortolano Jun 14 at 7:18
  • @MassimoOrtolano I've seen this discussion. Varying with the country is just one of the many parameters. Would you also add an encouragement to add the field-of-study/research? In my experience, this is even more often requested and influences the answer. Moreover, it is less "privacy sensitive". – Anton Menshov Jun 14 at 7:26
  • @MassimoOrtolano I would attack it (maybe) from a more careful text in the "How to Ask" - yellow box, rather than an active, attention-grabbing design element. – Anton Menshov Jun 14 at 7:29
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    Yes, I'd also encourage, and I usually do, to add the field. And about the "How to ask", I suspect that very few read it ;-) – Massimo Ortolano Jun 14 at 8:40

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