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Culture

Is a useful tag? I see it, at best, as not adding any value, and at worst, a problematic tag that will not have a satisfactory definition. There are huge academic debates about what the proper definition of "culture" is, and it's also just so broad a term that I don't think it's really helpful to include.

I bring up this issue because I was going to start going through and proposing tag wiki excerpts for some of the blank tags, and as I started to write out a description for I realized that I don't think it's a necessary tag.

The current questions for that tag benefit much more from their other tags than the culture one. My tag wiki excerpt started off with "The customs, behavior, language, attitudes, art and social institutions of a group" - but we already have as well as tags for specific cultures like etc.

It seems to me that most questions that have been asked and possibly will be asked are covered by other tags, especially and .

Does anyone else have thoughts on removing this tag?

[Originally posted in "Tag issues (please add yours!)" but reposted here so more people would see and weigh in on it.]

  • 2
    Voting up the question, which is good to ask. This is not a vote for removing the tag! – hippietrail Nov 27 '11 at 8:41
5

Since you've mentioned it in a comment, I'd like to include it in an answer:

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags/

However, I'll use the same link to argue FOR :) We just need to be more careful with how it's used to prevent it becoming superfluous.

From the link:

"If the tag can’t work as the only tag on a question, it’s probably a meta-tag."

which to me, would describe questions like "Are there any travel experiences in New Zealand that offer a Maori “cultural immersion”?" just fine. It's specifically about Maori Culture.

However,

"If the tag commonly means different things to different people, it’s probably a meta-tag."

causes problems, because as @Laura points out, meaning differs. But in this case I think we could probably just tighten up on it.

4

I will answer by going through the questions using this tag but rather than just talking about "most", I'll look at which if any are "characterized" by "culture" and/or not characterized by their other tags.

  • Which countries are “Muslim countries”?
    The culture tag definitely characterizes this question. It has what seems like a much worse tag, "countries" and another good tag that characterises the question, "terminology". Other tags such as "local customs" wouldn't be right. We could have a "muslim" tag I suppose.

The culture tag does seem superfluous in these:

Here's a tricky one:

  • How to avoid drinking vodka?
    "Local customs" wouldn't be right because it's not about how Russians drink but about how a traveller can say no without offense. The questions other tags are "health", which is really just a sideline, "tips and tricks", which has also been criticized as being a meta tag though I disagree on that, "Russia" and "alcohol" are both clearly good tags.

Some more...

Woah that's pretty much it. There's only 12 questions tagged "culture", I don't think we have a real problem. We have worse tags and tags that are more "meta". I do think "meta tags" are a real problem, but in some debates about them it has seemed to me that some people were going to rigid black and white on the issue. If we need to stamp out some bad tags let's take a look at , , etc.

2

I suggest be kept, along with all the other specific tags mentioned. If a visitor wants to drill down, they could do it coarsely with all questions tagged 'culture' and finely with specific tags.

  • 4
    I disagree. I think "culture" doesn't hold on its own because there will never be an authoritative and exhaustive definition for it as it relates to this site. Also, blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags – Laura Oct 27 '11 at 14:34
  • 2
    While I agree with Ankur that the culture tag should be kept, I don't think the drill-down reason is the right reason to keep it. I do disagree with Laura that "there will never be an authoritative and exhaustive definition for it". This seems to be going too far compared to what I usually hear form Jeff/Joel that a tag must "characterise" a question and be be strong enough to do this on its own. I think "culture" does this, just not on all the questions it's been stuck on. – hippietrail Nov 28 '11 at 12:27

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