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Amateur radio invites users worldwide, but the rules and usage differ region to region, sometimes significantly.

On most Stack Exchange websites, regional tags are avoided in preference to generic questions and answers that are universal.

I don't think this is going to be the case here, though, and regional tags will be necessary if we are to allow questions with significant regional differences, such as band plans, licensing, etc.

Things which are generic don't need to be tagged, for instance radio design and development often will be universal.

I've create the USA tag, for instance, as the entire US is governed by one radio emissions standards body. I presume we're going to be tagging country by country, but are there other aspect of this we should discuss and prepare for as we start tagging questions regionally?

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Looking how it's done on other Stack Exchange sites (for example money) they use country tags with dashes. For example: use United-States for USA.

We should use it only when necessary.

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  • $\begingroup$ And we've already seen Necessary. "East Coast" on one guy's propagation question. Someone's popped in with a question from the UK. There was also the highly-ambiguous question about having a license in country A then asking if they could go to country B and operate - without specifying either country. $\endgroup$ – Andrew Beals Oct 22 '13 at 20:51
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On sites where the accuracy of an answer changes based purely on where you happen to be, this is sort of inevitable. Think about gardening or farming for a minute, it's not so much location that matters, but climate - a much smaller set of tags. It's good to stop and ask what about changes in location could make answers different.

Here, it's very often going to be purely location that can change how a question is answered, so I suggest using location tags only to the degree that they're necessary. If an answer changes from state to state, but not city to city, then there's no need to get any more granular than the state level.

I would not, however, use more than one location tag for a question. State or province implies country, city or town implies state or province which implies country. Where this gets sort of icky is where names collide, and we're going to need to keep an eye on that.

If we apply this as sparingly as possible, it should work for questions that simply can't be asked very well in a more general sense. Let's just do our best to restrict it only to those types of questions.

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Although regional tags are necessary for some questions, IMHO they shouldn't be used too much.

Take as an example this question about band plans: HF Digital Mode Band Plan for the USA. Wouldn't it be disappointing for a non-US visitor searching for "band plan digital" and ending up with the situation for the USA?

I see three possibilities -- there might be more ;)

  • The analogous questions are opened sooner or later: HF Digital Mode Band Plan for Australia, Austria, Belgium, etc.
  • We stick to IARU regions for localization instead of countries and generate the corresponding tags.
  • We don't localize such questions at all with the drawback that not a single answer can be the "accepted" one. But bit by bit the list gets more and more complete and finally becoming a community wiki -- which is IMHO a good idea for such questions whose answers can get outdated easily; perhaps starting already from the beginning as a wiki.
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We should probably decide how far we want to go with regional tagging. E.g. should we limit tags to country-level, or should we allow smaller slices within that (e.g. east coast & west coast for the US)?

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