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The West Bank, despite its complex political and social situations, is an active tourist destination with such popular destinations as Bethlehem and Hebron.

How should questions about West Bank travel be tagged? We have a tag, but a lot of questions that have it are also tagged and . Is that really necessary in terms of best practices in question tagging?

Some people may search for travel information using or , so it makes some sense to use them, however, having three different base tags for a single travel destination seems a bit of an overkill, especially considering that a single question can only have five tags maximum.

Note that this question is not a debate thread about the political situation itself, only a question about sensitivity and rationality - how do we maintain ourselves as a neutral high-quality site while avoiding offending those with strong feelings regarding the sovereignty issue?

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  • inadvisable, unwise, etc – Valorum May 14 '18 at 18:26
  • @Valorum that's not necessary. Many areas of the West Bank are pretty safe, even safer than LA or some other major "Western" cities. The Gaza Strip is an entirely different kettle of fish - subject to a long-term blockade, run by an organization widely considered terrorist, very few tourist facilities, etc. This question is just about the West Bank. – Robert Columbia May 14 '18 at 21:03
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Since all but one West Bank questions were also tagged with Palestine, I've merged the West Bank tag into the Palestine one. This isn't a political statement, just a matter of easier tagging. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • The only downside to this is that 'Palestine' is used as a slightly broader term, which also encompasses Gaza. Still, I think merging them is fine as a practical matter for this site, as the West Bank area will probably account for the vast majority of our Palestine questions (given the safety and border crossing issues with Gaza.) – reirab May 8 '18 at 8:43
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    The problem with merging them is that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while both Palestine, can be two very different places and so will have different answers for the same question. For starters, Gaza is currently governed by Hamas, while the West Bank is governed ostensibly by the PA with significant Israeli involvement and kept in place by the US regardless of local feeling. Any entry is still going to be via Israel, if they let you, but local conditions can significantly vary. – Christopher May 8 '18 at 16:39
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    @Christopher if someone wants to visit Gaza they'll tag their question as such. Currently 99.9% of all tourists mean the West Bank when talking about visiting Palestine. – JonathanReez May 8 '18 at 16:52
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Solvable by more flexible tags. Being able to tag at a high level and then a lower level in the same tag, think state>province>city allows for a more nuanced approach to answers and better tagging as Israel>Palestine>West Bank would show different answers than Israel>Palestine>Gaza Strip, allowing a tag search to be as specific or as broad as the searcher desired. And is something SE is singularly unsuited to.

Nothing to do with sensitivity or “the sovereignty issue” and everything to do with how SE, ridiculously for a Q&A site which wants people to search for an answer before asking a question, makes it stunningly hard to drill down to actually easily find an answer, at least in my experience. I have better luck with Google than SE tags. I should note that this answer isn’t based purely on Palestine and is more reflective of my experience with the site in general. “Hard” tags, so to speak, and a limited amount of them make tags useful for starting a search but require enough work after that to make them a lot less useful.

And while you don’t want a political discussion, the whole reason to be able to tag Palestine differently is that Israel generally controls Jerusalem, the PA is ostensibly in charge of the West Bank, and Hamas governs the Gaza Strip. Three governments in the same country (broadly speaking) make a single tag unworkable unless we assume that no one is ever going to want to go anywhere but the West Bank and therefore Palestine==West Bank which is the only reason to merge the tags.

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