The tag georgia-country is strangely named and mildly confusing: what's so special about Georgia that the associated tag can't be georgia? And no, the argument that plain georgia could mean the US state doesn't hold much water. This is intrinsically not a US-centric site, the country is the obvious meaning. We have a georgia-usa tag, and it gets on average 1 questions/year, compared to georgia-country with 19 questions/year. To the typical asker on this site, “Georgia” means the country.
I agree. As per the justifications you give, the country should take precedence on a site like this.
Yes, a small risk exists that as the site becomes more popular, questions are mistagged from time to time. But this is mitigated by the fact that when user starts typing
geor... they will see both options and the descriptions, and are quite likely to choose georgia-usa if they mean the US state.
And even if they choose the wrong tag, someone will have fixed it in a matter of minutes. (Questions are suboptimally tagged all the time, so it certainly isn't a big deal.)
Using good tag names is important for many reasons, one of them being search engine optimisation. The current clumsy georgia-country often ends up e.g. in the start of the page title. So if I search Google for
tbilisi batumi train, I get this somewhat odd-looking result:
Tags are not some sort of award or honor signifying "importance" or "respect"; they are for searching and categorizing. They must be as common as possible and as clear as possible to serve that purpose. We can't control the terminology people use all around the world, we can only reflect it.
One Georgia is a sovereign country, home to a civilization dating back to medieval times, and a growing tourist destination. But the other is one of the most economically important states in the U.S., home to numerous global corporations and with an economy between 12 and 16 times larger than the country's depending on how it is measured. Georgia the state is also home to the world's busiest airport both by passengers and movements, and represents a swath of land more than twice the size and with more than twice the population of the country that sits directly on the well-traveled tourist highways from the Northeastern U.S. to Florida. So no, it is not obvious at all that based on "importance" or usefulness to travelers that one or the other "deserves" a bare tag.
It would be like arguing that Perth, Scotland (counncil pop ~150,000) should get tagged as "Perth" because it is the original, whereas Perth, Western Australia (metro pop. ~1,700,000) needs to be tagged as "Perth-Australia." Or that the city known as "Kiev" must be tagged with the far less familiar "Kyiv" because that is the Ukrainian name, rather than the Russian name.
Georgia clearly has two "primary" meanings in English. For that, blame history. The rest is just politics, and not something that is going to be constructive.
This was a massive debate on Wikipedia (I read some of it), but it should be a much smaller debate here. We're talking about travel. For globetrotters, the country of Georgia takes precedence over the state of the USA. For travellers, questions about individual US states (with the possible exception of New York) will be rare. Compare georgia-usa with three questions (one closed) and georgia-country with four pages of questions.
Wikipedia went through a similar discussion: should the wiki page "Georgia" refer to the country, the US state or a disambiguation page?
Personally, I believe a country should take precedence over an internal administrative unit.
Tags are meant to provide the most unambiguous ways for a user to categorise a question. In this case, it was felt that there was a reasonable chance of confusion between Georgia the country and Georgia the US state. Ultimately, tags exist not as a library-style rigid system of classifying things. Many people don't go on to read tag description, but go on the tag name itself. Without picking on the OP here, this meta question was originally tagged
feature-request rather than the correct
discussion. Similarly, when the site graduates and, say, gets dozens of new questions a day it's very possible an ambiguous
georgia tag will result in mistagged questions.
The second consideration, and this was discussed in the chat room (not sure whether on meta) is "Which of the the two Georgia's is more important to claim a standalone
georgia tag?" We couldn't come up with an answer to this. Search result rankings depend on your own search history plus geographic location, so these can be hard to count upon as an indicator of popularity.
I don't believe in countries blindly being given precedence over regions. And even if I support "precedence" that is not tied to how I would tag a country. I am in favour of pragmatically taking everything into account, from the point of view of a travel website.
For a useful comparison, think about Macedonia, which is a country, a region of Greece, and a region which encompasses both.
Pragmatically, we sometimes have to disambiguate. When talking about my travels in Georgia I often have to say "the country", and the person I met in Georgia (the country) from Georgia (the US state) often had to say both "the state" and "the country" depending on who she was talking to and what she was talking about.
I'm for unified solutions that work for more than one place / tag. I'm against "blindly" following some other authority, including the U.N., Wikipedia, Wikitravel, Lonely Planet. They don't just blindly copy each other. Each one weighs up the pros and cons from their perspective and comes up with a practical compromise that makes sense for their mission.
We should accept that we have to make compromises, and make them in ways that make sense for a travel-oriented website that wants to embrace the whole world, upsetting as few people as possible, supporting as little repression as possible, but realizing we can't make everybody 100% happy 100% of the time.
Therefore I am in favour of using the
-country disambiguation suffix when it makes sense for us.
- georgia-country makes sense and doesn't upset Georgians.
- macedonia-country makes sense probably only upsets some Macedonians and some Greeks, but all travellers will understand them without being confused.
They can be contrasted with:
Using a country's name as a suffix can be another principle we use over whenever it makes sense, as a kind of standard.
We do not need either as main tag, or as synonym:
Having the latter would surely upset some people. Doing the same for the former allows us to have a standard we apply to all similar situations without anyone credibly complaining that we take sides.