Growing like we are sometimes gaps and inconsistencies reveal themselves in our tags. Sometimes it's better to expand a tag for various reasons and sometimes it's better to split a tag for various reasons. Let's have a think about this group.

Right now we only have two of these terms as tags:

Some of the others are actual tag synonyms of one of these and some have historically been treated as though they are synonyms of these.

is older and pretty broad in name and even broader in use.

I've long thought about renaming it to .

is relatively new and very specific. I think it may be unnecessarily specific. Even though I've been splitting other tags like into more and more specific tags recently.

One problem with tag names and coverage is how people use some of the terms involved. There can be ambiguous, between, and slippery terms.

For instance I originally chose "paperwork" because it would cover "papers" and "forms". People use "papers" to mean all the paperwork you need to carry when you travel, including documentation. Then "documentation" and "documents" are almost the same but "documents" also tends to have a specific use for "identify documents" and especially "passports" and the less common things used in special circumstances in lieu of passports. We have and definitely need a separate "passports" tag, which is fine.

Going back up the path, "forms" also covers "applications" and of course many applications and other forms are now digital and/or online.

But when talking about documents and documentation in the plural, covering all such things, it's good to have a broader tag which includes but is not limited to just passports.

Then there is "identity cards". Many countries have an actual ID card. Others including my country Australia does not have them and does not wish to have them. Yet we still have the concept of "ID" and many questions about ID work the same no matter if you're using an identify card, a driving license, a passport, or some other card.

I personally feel questions about the actual cards that do not apply to other forms of ID are not a strong enough topic on their own to need such a specific tag. And it leaves a gap where people want to ask about ID where they would use a driver's license or passport or ID but don't know which tag or tags to use. So a tag such as "identification" or "identity-documents" would be better.

But then as you see we are going to overlap with the former group.

I can think of two ways to improve this situation. One is simple and we can do it quickly and develop it from there. The other would require debate and agreement and general interest and participation.

  1. Merge most of these tags into a new "paperwork and documents" tag. Then split off new specialized tags from that over time as the concepts gel and we see which really need to be split.

  2. Come up with a new larger set of tags to cover these groups of concepts in the best way with the fewest possible gaps and overlaps and ambiguities.

Mull it over and post some comments and answers ...

  • we could have identification and id-cards?
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 6:26
  • 2
    Wouldn't that just be like having "air travel" and "jet air travel" or "bicycles" and "mountain bikes"? If tags could have upper and lower case "IDs" would be a nice solution but "ids" looks like an airport code and probably is ... Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 6:32
  • It would, but we have airports and then yvr which is a subset and that makes sense. Maybe we can come up with a new word for identification, but separating out id-cards seems ok? Also IDS isn't an airport code ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 6:41
  • Look at the "identity cards" tagged posts, the first few are not specifically about cards but "this is the closest tag I can find". One was the one I did that inspired this question but the others. airport codes and country citizens are special cases of tag sets, there is meaningful enumerable set of types of ID that would make things better here. Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 6:46
  • yeah, we can re-tag them though.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 6:51
  • 2
    I think I just heard you volunteer for drudge work (-: And what about the other overlaps with "identification" into the "paperwork" zone? I know it's a bit of a wall of text but the tags are a plate of spaghetti ... Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 6:54
  • We? Oh no we have a team of newbies who want rep for that ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 7:05
  • They're being very quiet right now (-: Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 7:10
  • See also Evidence...
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 10:54
  • @GayotFow: that seems like a hole other kettle of fish. Is that an umbrella tag for the various "proof of X" tags? Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 17:28
  • @hippietrail, those things that a person would adduce in a face-to-face situation
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 20:10
  • How about paperwork-and-bureaucracy rather than documentation?
    – JoErNanO Mod
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 15:17
  • @JoErNanO: Bureaucracy is a bit emotive and general. Overlaps with embassies, consulates, officials. I've been thinking about keeping "paperwork" and adding "forms" and "applications" as synonyms to it and creating "identification" and adding "papers" as a synonym to that, to reduce the amount of wrong guesses about papers/paperwork. "Identify cards" should also be a synonym of the latter unless cards are strongly felt to be a distinct travel category from identification using all other means. Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 10:31
  • 1
    @hippietrail I like the synonym-tree idea. It predicts user behavior and limits misuse.
    – JoErNanO Mod
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 11:35
  • 1
    "Identification documents" would imply any documents used to identify a person, while "identity cards" has a more "big brother is watching you" connotation, at least to me.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 4:23

2 Answers 2


I think should be used when discussing the documents and forms which are related to bureaucratic procedures. In my mind this is clearly distinct from the documents that one uses as forms of ID (passports, driving licences, id cards, etc.) and thus the tag should not be used in this context. Moreover I don't usually use documentation in the sense of paperwork, rather for me the term carries the meaning user-guide/white paper/et. Hence I'm not too keen on renaming to . How about a to clarify the tag scope and provide a clear disambiguation with respect to papers being used as a synonym for ID documents? Another reason I think you might like this tag is that both paperwork and bureaucracy are uncountable in this context, and thus must not be pluralised to fit our tag schemes, thus avoiding oddities like .

I also think that we should keep a distinction between passports and other form of identification documents. Some questions - typically visa ones, damaged passports, general trivia - are more related to passports than to generic ID documents. I would therefore maintain as a separate entity. I do agree though that is somewhat too specific (30 questions in total), and limited in scope. We could rename it to something more general like or (mouthful IMHO) or using the canonical wikipedia definition (although IMHO not that common but arguably the best).

  • Passports are very clearly notable enough a travel topic to have their own tag separate from a general documentation tag, as that's only one and not the main function of a passport. We already have many cases of a general tag and one or many specialized tags, where that makes sense. I think identify-documents is good too but I don't think it offers anything over documentation. Thanks for the well thought out feedback. Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 10:36
  • Fixed the typo. The thing is that for me documentation carries a meaning related to software engineering and not to id papers, because that's my background I guess.
    – JoErNanO Mod
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 11:36
  • 1
    Actually I think I got confused with the -ation endings. The better tag would be identification. Covers also non-nounish things like having to identify yourself without mentioning specifically how. Sorry about that. Documentation isn't a good tat - you're right. Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 11:38
  • @hippietrail Also consider that we have a lost-documents tag which should be renamed according to what we decide in this Meta discussion.
    – JoErNanO Mod
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 12:54
  • @JoeErNanO: I don't think that necessarily follows. I wasn't aware of that tag but it seems to have its optimal name as far as I can see. Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 2:05

So here's a proposal to address one of the issues. Let's keep each issue as separate as possible to make voting and discussing clear as we can.

Remove the synonym from the main tag .

Make a new tag .

If it's possible to just "unsynonymize" these, that works too. I don't have any clue about the dev tools, sorry.

Make the existing tag a synonym of it. (We can always split it off again if that would add value to the site.)

The new tag wiki should say it's about identify yourself and the documents required to do so, including ID cards, passports, driving licenses, etc.

The existing and tags should not be made synonyms of the new tag.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .