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I noticed that we have tags for: , , and .

There was an earlier request to make a synonym of which never went anywhere due to concerns that there were non-war armed conflicts:

The Troubles in Northern Ireland could be classifies as an "armed conflict", but not really as a "war". A number of questions seem to be about non-war armed conflicts like that – user11249

While this makes sense, people don't seem to be using in that way, and questions seem to be a mix of , , and .


I think should be made a synonym of and questions about non-war armed conflicts should be retagged to , , or as needed.

We might want to also make a new tag for non-war armed-conflicts, perhaps something like or to describe things like The Troubles.

should be eliminated, since it's much too vague to be useful.


To JamesK's point, I don't like tags that are supersets of another tag. By this definition, every question tagged with "war" should also be tagged with "armed-conflict" and finding questions about "non-war armed conflicts" would involve doing a search for but NOT , which I'm not sure you can even do here.

Thoughts?

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To JamesK's point, I don't like tags that are supersets of another tag. By this definition, every question tagged with "war" should also be tagged with "armed-conflict" and finding questions about "non-war armed conflicts" would involve doing a search for but NOT ,

I think this touches on an important point. On the one hand, in the normal world (so not considering the tag system here) war is almost always a subset of armed conflict. On the other hand, having both tags for concepts with so much overlap and the tendency to misuse (tagging it with one when the other might be more appropriate) goes against the purpose of tags (which is to make it easier to find questions). Removing both tags in favor of finer-grain tags isn't ideal either, because that also creates a distinction you may not be aware of when searching for questions.

For that reason, I propose to make a synonym of . Then, I see different options for narrowing down categories of questions that we often see on this site:

  • Conflicts that are confined to a specific region. In this case the easiest option would be to use and a tag for the relevant countries or regions. For example. the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be tagged: .

  • Conflicts that are not geographically confined and yield many questions on this site could get their own tag. For example: or . Depending on the question, such tags could be used with or without the tag and appropriate geography tags depending on the question.

  • Conflicts with a shared subject. For example, questions relating to the war on terror could be tagged and questions about a civil war could be tagged .

The main reasons for making the main tag would be to avoid discussion of whether a certain conflict is a war or not and to make it easy to tag (and find) questions about conflicts that are not wars. While it would be a broad category, there should be a clear common theme.


finding questions about "non-war armed conflicts" would involve doing a search for but NOT , which I'm not sure you can even do here.

Slightly off-topic, but it's certainly possible, you would search for [armed-conflict] -[war].

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  • I like this plan: make the superset tag the main tag and then modify it with other tags as needed. Do you think there's any reason we'd need to create new tags specifically for things now tagged as [war]? – divibisan Oct 11 '20 at 21:59
  • @divibisan I haven't gone through all of the questions to make sure, but I don't expect many problems. It's probably good to keep this an open issue for a (few) week(s) to see if people come up with other options and to get more of a consensus. – JJJ Oct 12 '20 at 6:53
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"conflict" should be got rid of for the reasons you give.

"Armed conflict" seems to be a superset of "war". I'd keep these separate. The reasons given in the earlier discussion still apply

"terrorism" as a tag has its own problems (the old "your terrorist is my freedom fighter")

So I'd get rid of "conflict" and re-tag to "armed conflict", "war", or otherwise if necessary. But I'd keep armed-conflict and war.

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  • The issue I have with this is that people use these tags inconsistently. There are lots of questions tagged with armed-conflict that should be tagged with war, but aren't, and technically, every question tagged with war should also be tagged with armed-conflict. – divibisan Oct 10 '20 at 19:43
  • That's an issue with the people, not the tags. – James K Oct 10 '20 at 19:45
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    I'd argue tags need to be designed around the people – if people don't use them in reasonable way, they aren't useful. I don't like the idea of superset tags – couldn't we come up with a separate tag for non-war armed-conflicts? Perhaps: "irregular-war" or "violent-unrest"? – divibisan Oct 10 '20 at 19:49
  • @divibisan the trouble is that it's hard to classify many conflicts. The Geneva Conventions distinguish between international and non-international armed conflicts, but even that line is blurry (how much international involvement makes it an international conflict?), see also this review the Red Cross. – JJJ Oct 11 '20 at 14:21

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