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I've been looking at tags recently as part of a post graduation clean up effort of sorts. The way tags are used on identification questions results in a lot of mess and I would like to propose a new method of dealing with identification questions.

Firstly, I would like to say that while I am against identification questions being on topic, that is not the purpose or the agenda of this meta post. Furthermore, I can appreciate that they bring a lot of traffic and new users to our site, and that's always a good thing.

Secondly, I believe tags should detail what the question is about, rather than what the question contains - information regarding what the question contains should be detailed in the question body and summarized in the title, and the tagging system should be used as a form of categorization.

Currently, that isn't what is happening.

Let's take a just for a starter. You will see, after a quick browse through this tag, that is accompanied inconsistently by the following tags:

These tags all describe the content that the person is looking for. Each of these tags should be words that appear in the body of the question itself (ie: "I'm looking for an action movie from the 80s... There was a group of guys that spoke French... etc)

(Continuing from this, there is a small amount of irony in expecting somebody who has arrived here asking a question about a movie they don't remember to clearly conclude that it was a French movie in which the dialogue was in English and not a British or American movie...)

These tags nearly always only appear on identification questions, and in the instances where they appear on other, non-identification questions, they're misused and would probably be better served by more specific tags.

While looking through the questions that would remain after removing language tags, it became apparent that just tagging them gives us a group of questions that could result in multiple conflicting questions based on the country of origin of the film industry being discussed.

For these instances, I'm proposing we reach a consensus on the inconsistent country tagging that has been outstanding for some time now. Once we conclude that language tags are out coming to a conclusion for this issue is pretty straight forward - simply implementing country specific industry tags following the format of (for example , , etc) would give these questions a meaningful tag that people can specialize in.

If we were to go down this route, current tags like would be removed from identification questions and would become a synonym of .

My proposal

The retirement of language and year tags, these all describe content that belongs in the question body rather than describing the type of question being asked.

The creation of country specific industry tags for questions about the cinematic industries of various countries. The renaming of tags or creation of synonyms for the existing country specific tags as required.

  • Can you please change the title to something more meaningful like "Policy on tagging region-specific identification questions"? I was searching meta for these exact guidelines on how to tag an ID question for a movie from a particular regional branch of cinema, and this question didn't come up. I didn't find this question until after I'd guessed at what the policy might be, got it wrong, and was given a link – user568458 Jun 6 '15 at 0:06
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While I was quite skeptical of that idea at first, on closer thinking I like it pretty much, I admit. You are right in that all the information present in those tags should definitely be part of the question body anyway. I also agree that decade tags are largely useless anyway and your approach for a more consistent use of language (or rather local film industry) tags is also quite interesting.

A big problem might be the proper usage guidelines for those tags. Once they are prohibited from ID questions but still exist (as would be the case for the new country tags and genre tags per my proposal), people will inadvertently use them on their ID questions. However I also think that problem might not be as large as it seems, because even nowadays they're not always used properly (an inconsistency easily mitigated by your proposal) and it's not that we don't usually have to edit and retag questions from newcomers anyway (especially ID questions). Afterall the tagging system is and will always be one of the most difficult things to understand as a beginner and your proposal might be a way for simplifying it a bit more.

  • I've removed genre tags from the list, I will revisit them at some point, I've only been through the years and the languages so far, genres just seemed the next logical step. Personally I suspect that if these were all removed from the identification questions that the handful that were left could probably be retagged with something better... I just haven't worked out what that "better" is... – user5603 Mar 18 '15 at 16:49
  • Is there something that can be done at the programming level to at least throw up a warning if someone tries to use "identify" with one of the other tags? It wouldn't prevent it but it would pop up a warning box that says something like "this tag is only for use about ___ and is not generally appropriate for identify questions. Please make sure you're using this tag correctly." – Catija Mar 18 '15 at 18:53
  • @Catija Maybe, afterall the current "please add this and that" popup also triggers when using the identify-this-movie tag. But I don't think we should construct so many different special system enhancements just to accomodate our "arbitrary" tagging rules. – Napoleon Wilson Mar 18 '15 at 19:07
  • True. Either way, I like this idea, and I agree that the genre tags are worth keeping. – Catija Mar 18 '15 at 19:09

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