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Every country tag has a tagwiki excerpt with a very short description. I've noticed however, that the description in these tags is not consistent.

Compare, e.g.

  • A Buddhist country in Southeast Asia known among travellers for its beaches, cuisine, and affordability

  • a Nordic country of 5.4 million inhabitants, situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe.

  • Travel related to the South Asian country of India. Also known as Hindustan. The country is known for its diverse geography, languages, cuisines, climate and culture.

  • An island country and continent in the Southern Hemisphere, located in the south-west Pacific Ocean. A Commonwealth state with a population of ~23 million. Colonization began in 1788 by the British.

I don't think it is necessary to include information about the history, that can be found on the wiki (see also: Do we need to define tag wikis?)

Do we need a consistent tag-wiki style for country tags, and what should it be?

  • I highly encourage everyone to post alternatives as answer! – Bernhard Mar 17 '13 at 20:46
  • Posts on the Stack Exchange blog from the last couple of years: • Tag Folksonomy and Tag SynonymsImproved Tagging – hippietrail Mar 18 '13 at 4:39
  • @hippietrail You convinced me with the second link. Let's try to formulate some different answers here. (if the community feels the need of course) – Bernhard Mar 18 '13 at 6:40
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Yes, a consistent definition of tag-wikis for countries will be benificial for the structure of Travel Answers.

The tag wiki should contain

  • a general indication of the location on the world map: e.g. North/East/South/West of Continent

The tag wiki should not contain

  • Wikipedia information, as number of inhabitants, capital, et cetera
  • Debatable issues, such as specialties or what it is known for.
  • I agree that consistency is good. I disagree re:additional information, though we may need some discussion to decide what we may want to include that is relevant for a travel site. – Jonas Mar 17 '13 at 14:46
  • I agree that consistency is good. I disagree that including the capital city is bad. Since tag wikis are specifically not for defining commonly-known terms and are specifically for declaring when the tag is relevant for the site I have to also disagree that specialities of a place and what a place are know for are debatable. – hippietrail Mar 18 '13 at 4:36
  • I think it would be useful to have some of the wikipedia information. Having the capital, and possibly the main speciality of the country would be interesting when quickly looking at the tag. – Rory Alsop Mar 18 '13 at 10:16
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I think we should follow the guidelines.

In particular, the following rules are interesting:

  • Avoid generically defining the concept behind a tag, unless it is highly specialized. Some tags are common knowledge.
  • Concentrate on what a tag means to your community.
  • Provide basic guidance on when to use the tag.

I think, as you suggest, that we could add the consistency to these rules. In the case of countries, I think that it means:

  • stating it's a country (while for your examples, it's common knowledge, I'm not sure everyone knows Eritrea or Liechtenstein)

  • some basic description : approximative location (as you suggest), but also its demographic weight or any information if it is relevant in terms of travel, without replicating Wikipedia.

  • when to use the tag : I suppose stating it's a country is enough to satisfy this rule.

To take your examples, I would say Thailand could be characterize by being a Southeastern Asian country, known for cuisine and affordability; India is a Southern Asian country, particularly large and populated, member of Commonwealth (useful for visa information), Finland is a Scandinavian country, in Northern Europe, part of Eurozone and Schengen area, ...

  • My doubt is how to choose what is relevant for travel? Is populated important? Is Schengen area really important? Would you want to name the lakes for Finland? Why (not)? – Bernhard Mar 18 '13 at 22:42
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    I think Schengen is important for visa purposes, for the population I am actually thinking the density matters more, like it will be a very different experience to visit Canada, Russia or, on the other hand, densely populated countries. And I don't really get the lake thing, I mean it does not concern the whole country, there should be a tag for each referenced lake. For Finland, mentioning the language does not resemble most others may also be relevant. – Vince Mar 18 '13 at 23:07
  • I would say Thailand is known also for being tropical, for its beaches and for being affordable. India is known for cuisine probably even more than Thailand. India is very diverse even for its size and has a seemingly unending number of ancient/cultural/historical monuments - far too many for more than a few to be famous. – hippietrail Mar 19 '13 at 2:52
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    Country or not country is a delicate issue in some cases. In the case of Liechtenstein and Eritrea it is obvious, but what about Kosovo, Palestine or Taiwan, to name a few ? And the Basque country? It has the word country in its name. Moreover, is there a country called Macedonia? or should we call it the former yougoslav republic of Macedonia? And so on. – user3470 Mar 19 '13 at 7:04
  • @MarcelC. Good question! In such cases we have terms such as "de facto", "de jure", "disputed", etc. We should avoid avoid the term "country" in most places but in tag wiki excerpts we have to be both specific and careful! – hippietrail Mar 20 '13 at 2:25
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Tag wikis about a geographical location (be it a country or otherwise) should mention the most important facts for travelers. They should start by giving an idea of where the place is located, especially if the place is not well-known.

The tag wiki should mention important related locations, linking to the corresponding tag. For example, in the tag, mention that the capital is , and in the tag, mention that it's the capital of .

The tag wiki should mention some very important information for travelers. It's a sort of FAQ about the place. For example, if a country is in the Schengen area, mention that, because it's important to get a visa. Mention the country's currency and the main local language. Mention the main attractions for travelers. Add a few links to government sites for visa information, to tourist information, to transportation (airports, railway company).

What does not belong is encyclopedic content. Travelers by and large don't care when Australia was first colonized. That doesn't belong in the tag wiki, let alone the excerpt.

In the excerpt, stick to what defines the tag. Say that it's a country (or a province, or a city, or whatever), say roughly where it's located, say what it's known for.

For a style model, I propose the tag wikis that I wrote or contributed to. I tried to follow a consistent pattern. Here are a few examples:

What I wrote isn't intended to be the last word on the question: don't hesitate to add other useful information.

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