Chris W Rea was retagging some questions with united-states that were about 401ks. 401k is definitely a us tag. There was some discussion of this over on the chat page and it was brought up that 401k is a distinctly US thing. There will never be a question about 401ks that is not also about the united-states.

Do 401k questions all need the United-states tag?

More generically: Do country specific questions need country tags if the subject is by definition, country-specific?

  • 2
    "by definition" isn't always obvious to users, especially financial neophytes. Commented Aug 18, 2010 at 22:48

3 Answers 3


Yes, because this will allow us to include the tag on our interesting tags, and easily view all the united-states questions.

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    I completely agree. Commented Aug 18, 2010 at 21:13

I think that the best way to do this would be to enforce that at least one regional tag is given for each question. These could be countries, regions (e.g., North America, Europe), or something like global. This will at least make the questioner think about where the question applies. The problem I see with this is how do new regional tags get added? We either have to add all of the countries (at the minimum), even if there are currently no questions with that tag, or supply an other region tag, which the moderators (or users with sufficiently high rep) could use to add new regional tags.

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    Well, I think the lack of any specific region tag should mean the question is (likely) region-neutral, or at least not very region-specific. In such cases I wouldn't want to use something like "global", and I wouldn't want to enforce tags either. Perhaps better help text on the "ask question" page, combined with tag edits by moderators and high-rep users could suffice. Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 15:15
  • I'd say the lack of a region tag means that the question lacks a region tag. Nothing more, nothing less. I'd certainly not assume it's "global", I'd rather assume (and you will very likely find I'm right) that the asker just wasn't aware that it was a regional thing. How many people realize, nay, even think about that the laws and regulations in other countries are different from the laws and regs in theirs? (Phrased neutrality because the USians are not the only people with that problem) Commented Jan 27, 2011 at 18:17

While C. Ross makes a good point about interesting tags, I do have some concerns.

Namely, it reduces the number of tag slots for any 401k question. It also introduces a requirement that the uninitiated may not find intuitive. Finally, it seems like a meta-tag type of an issue to me. That said, one can make the argument that even if it is a meta-tag, it is necessary for this site, and hence not a meta-tag.


I asked and was told that there is no way to tie tags together so that one tag requires another. We also discussed the idea for a bit and discovered some issues. Namely, what happens if/when that relationship changes.

  • Let's lobby for more tag slots. :) Commented Aug 18, 2010 at 21:13
  • @chris A good point, technical limitations aren't necessarily an issue. Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 0:50
  • I don't think it is a meta-tag, any more that a language tag (C++, Java) is a meta-tag on SO. It gives you information about the scope of the question. Unlike, say beginner, that gives no information about what the question is about.
    – KeithB
    Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 14:41
  • @KeithB There is a bit of a difference between language tags on SO and region tags here. Based on Jeff's reasoning, the region tags are meta-tags: "if that is the only tag on the question, can I know what the question is about?" That said, I don't agree that meta-tags are necessarily bad. Sure, it sucks when something like "beginner" is high on the list of tags, but it does give me useful information in many cases. Even if it isn't about the question itself. Regardless of how they are classified, I agree that region tags are very useful here since laws vary across the globe. Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 17:12

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