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In an effort to clean-up our tags several groups of tags have been identified as needing review to bring consistency to their use. At the top of that list is the time frame related tags.

Previously a Q&A discussion took place on how we tag century time frames but what has also become common is tagging by decades as well as we have other date related tags out there like , , that have also had discussions around like Double-Date and Events.

Right now our time frame tags exist for Centuries , some specific Decades , as some well as some specific events like , , and that occurred during specific well-known time periods. This has made some tags redundant and added to the problem of tags becoming inconsistent.

Such as Records for US Civil War having , but not a tag for 1860s, and most records have no date tag at all on them. Comparing to some questions for those are both tagged as well as in addition to WWII.

The question we are trying to resolve is how should time frames be tagged, as we have already agreed upon that we want to tag them similar to History.SE using as well as ; we just are not doing it consistently.

To Note: By looking at History.SE's tags, they do not appear to associate date tags to specific events with defined timeframes like WWII. They do seem to however tag decade AND century fairly consistently if the decade and century are known. They do have a general calendar tag, but have it defined as only between switching between Chinese, Julian, Arabic, Gregorian calendars and is not that heavily used in a site significantly larger than ours.

We need to answer the following on date / time frame tags:

  1. If it is a defined period / event like and , do we tag it with a date tag as well and if so which ones (decade(s), century, or both)?

  2. If the asker specifically knows the decade in which it occurred, should they tag it with both decade and or just one?

  3. If tagging it with decade tags, what should be our community guideline before the decade tags are removed and just the century tag used? (i.e. Max 2)

  4. How many is a reasonable number of date related tags per question,for example there are questions that are tags with 4 tags that all imply the date, as well there are events that spanned more than two decades or centuries?

  5. Should we continue to use generic , , when almost all of these are questions related to specific time periods, usually around the Julian the Gregorian calendar switch in Europe and to specific groups that had their own know time periods for transitioning between the two?

  • I shortened the title after seeing how the original looked when tweeted by @StackGenealogy. – Jan Murphy Jun 16 '15 at 22:26
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I think date tags should be used to the degree they are relevant to the question.

Not all questions require a date tag.

Most questions are general questions involving a certain period of an individual's lifetime, therefore a century tag such as is appropriate. In those cases, the answer may be similar whether the individual in question was born in the 1730s or 1760s.

Other questions may be specific to a particular decade or year (i.e. centred around specific event), but these questions are few and far between. I think decade tags should only be used when the question and answer is only relevant to that decade.

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Stepping back for a moment to look at the big picture --

I think any discussion of tagging should keep in mind what the tags are used for. We only have the space to put five tags on a question. Which things are most important to tag for?

The Stack Exchange Tour says:

Tags make it easy to find interesting questions

All questions are tagged with their subject areas. Each can have up to 5 tags, since a question might be related to several subjects.

Click any tag to see a list of questions with that tag, or go to the tag list to browse for topics that interest you.

I think it is reasonable to assume that many questions about a specific place will have two tags taken up by the country and the next smallest jurisdiction. If we insist on tagging by century and decade, that leaves us with only one tag left over.

How often will we need to subscribe to a tag for a particular decade? Do we need decade tags at all, or will a simple search suffice?

It's useful to look at what History.SE does, but we have to keep in mind that they aren't looking at primary sources like we are, so SE's limit of five tags is less limiting on them. The namespace needed there is different from what we need.


Should we continue to use generic date, calendar, double-date when almost all of these are questions related to specific time periods, usually around the Julian the Gregorian calendar switch in Europe and to specific groups that had their own know time periods for transitioning between the two?

I think should be retained. In my opinion, despite the fact that the tag has the word 'date' in it, it is not intended to refer to a particular set of dates, in the same way that a century tag might be. It is for tagging questions on how to interpret and record information from those periods in history, because of the problems caused by the transition in the calendar.

A tag like would also be an example of a tag about calendars and other systems for recording dates, rather than a reference to what time period an event took place.

After writing the paragraphs above, I reviewed the questions which are currently tagged with . I disagree with the statement "almost all of these are questions related to specific time periods" because any record with a date in it could be said to be "related to [a] specific time period".

These questions are about how to interpret the dates in the records, sometimes because of the transition between the calendars, but often because there is a question about the dating system in use in that particular record (e.g. Quaker methods of recording dates).

As I write this, there are nine questions:

Also: is currently remapped to . Should it be? One of the questions currently tagged is about whether the year in the record is a leap year or not, which I suspect may have been re-assigned the tag from .

  • At the moment I have to be honest and say that I cannot recall using a century (or decade) tag to try and find a question to answer but that is because it is easy to keep on top of them as they come in. However, if I was someone expert in say 19th century photography in South Australia and discovered that there had been tens or hundreds of candidate questions asked here then I could imagine that century tag would be handy. – PolyGeo Jun 13 '15 at 6:20
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My thoughts on the 5 questions are the following:

  1. Defined, well known events that have their own tags should not be date tagged similar to History.SE. That said we need to be careful to ensure we do not up with tons of micro-events (i.e. 1980-Olympics) and keep the use of event tags to broad population impacting events.

  2. If the asker knows both century and decade, they should mark it as both as long as it is not also tagged with a major event.

  3. If the asker knows a general timeframe like the late 1800s they should not tag it , , ; they should limit it to two decades at most otherwise just use the century tag like

  4. I believe it should be limited to three, even if it is two decades spanning like the 1890s and 1900s. It should only be a maximum of three with a century tag maybe being applied, not both centuries.

  5. I think we should get retag most of the questions tagged with the tag and then merge the tag into another tag. questions I think should be re-tagged with the appropriate time period for the question and it merged into another tag. also seem redundant being it is for specific timeframes for particular groups, but if we were to not merge one of the three I would keep this one.

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I think your last question may be better handled later in a separate Q&A but I'll try and cover off on the first four here.

  • I think the event tags like , , etc work well and if I was running out of tags on a question I would have no qualms about including no other date tags
  • I used to be a proponent of century tags like being used to the exclusion of decade tags like but I have come to thinking that decade tags can be very useful. Personally, I would now be in favour of questions having:
    • one or two decade tags and no century tag
    • one century tag only when the question concerns three or more decades

As an example of using a tagging scheme like the above where I might be looking for something that happened between the two world wars I would:

  • not search on the world war tags
  • search using [1920s] or [1930s] in the search bar
  • search using (knowing that I might get many questions that are outside the two decades of interest but to be sure that I see some that might not have decade tags on them).

One useful search to be aware of is that if you type [19*0s] into the search bar it will expand to [1940s] or [1930s] or [1920s] or [1910s] or [1970s] or [1960s]

I would not like to see more than two tags on a question devoted to its date information, preferably only one (and none sometimes), so that there are enough tags left for one or two to summarize its geographic location and a number of other keywords.

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