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Recently, a question was asked that added a tag. I changed the tag because I felt that the addition of such a tag should be discussed here, on Meta, due to the number of questions that would need to be re-tagged to group them.

Narrowly, military spending would be associated with the tag, since such spending would be part of the budget process. Yet, that is not always the case on this site. Questions tend toward asking about "spending for" or "cost of" and a government's budget is conceptually one step removed from direct spending on the military or weapons.

Concept map

A concept map for how the tag fits into the overall scheme. Other agencies may include intelligence services, civilian agencies, etc.

If adopted, the usage excerpt for could be:

Questions about spending on the military, or its weapons or weapons systems. Use with the [weapons] and a country tag, when appropriate. Do not use with the [military] tag as that would be redundant.


Research

Currently, there are 396 questions using the tag.

Note: In the following, [*weapons] includes: , , , , and . Also, cost, in the questions, does not always mean spending money.

There are 29 questions referring to military spending or the cost of the military, exclusive of the mention of weapons.

  • 17 questions from the search is:q [military] -[*weapons] spend -weapon

  • 9 questions from the search is:q [military] -[*weapons] cost -spend -weapon

  • Six of the above questions also use the tag.

  • Overall 9 questions use the combination [military] [budget] -[*weapons] -weapon.

However, the cost of weapons is part of military spending.

Furthermore, not all questions mentioning spending on the military or weapons use the or tags.

While I have found 58 questions for review, not all would be re-tagged. Other questions, not counted above, missing tags, and mentioning specific weapons or weapons systems, may also be re-tagged.

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  • Isn't there also a (big) redundancy already between [weapons] and [military]? I had expected [weapons] to be more about laws governing what weapons civilians may have, though the questions I've seen and the tag description indicates it's almost synonymous with weapons in a military context. I do think it makes sense to separate between the use / strategy of using military weapons on the one hand and the budgetary aspect on the other.
    – JJJ Mod
    Mar 31, 2023 at 9:22
  • @JJJ - Redundancy? Yes, but not so much for political questions. The politics of [weapons] can be questioned independently of their use by the [military]; but, as I have determined from my research, spending on weapons is not so independent of spending on the military. The normal distinction between weapons for civilians and the military is [guns] vs [weapons], it being the case that chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons are not normally available to civilians.
    – Rick Smith
    Mar 31, 2023 at 13:25
  • Right, but then all those other types of weapons already have their own tag. My question about the redundancy is more about the tag guidance on when to use [military] vs [weapons] (or even both?). Or is it the case that [military] is for all military questions except for those related to weapons (which has its own tag, i.e. a more descriptive name for [weapons] would be [military-weapons])?
    – JJJ Mod
    Mar 31, 2023 at 14:03
  • @JJJ - There are 15 questions with [military] [weapons]. In those cases, I find the use of [military] to be unnecessary. There are 21 questions with is:q [military] [*weapons] -[weapons] (the is:q is required due to a bug). I also find that [military] is unnecessary for those questions. As to the tag guidance for [military] and [weapons], I read them as distinct; that is, one may ask about one, or the other, but there is never a need to use both in the same question.
    – Rick Smith
    Apr 2, 2023 at 2:16
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    As for renaming the [weapons] tag to [military-weapons], not a fan. I think the emphasis for guidance should be on the "government procurement or use" aspect; perhaps, by replacing "military" in the guidance, with a more general term -- maybe, national defense and law enforcement. For example, in the US, the FBI, ATF, SWAT, etc., use some of the same weapons as the military. All CBRN weapons tags are about "government procurement or use" even though not stated.
    – Rick Smith
    Apr 2, 2023 at 2:16

1 Answer 1

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I don't see the point.

I kinda skimmed through the usage statistics, but what would [military-spending] achieve that [military] [budget] see search doesn't? (12 questions is not a huge results list to sort through) The problem with many of these specialized tags is that they require searching first in order to know which one to use.

Combining tags, at least to me, but I admit I am biased because of IT, seems much more powerful.

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  • 1) The [military-spending] tag would appear next to the specialized [military-law] tag. In this case, it wouldn't be much of a search when one types military. 2) Using [budget] as a synonym of spending may not be clear to those interested in spending or costs since spending is only one part of budget; thus, there are many questions asking about spending, not tagged [budget].
    – Rick Smith
    Apr 11, 2023 at 14:42
  • 3) Graphically, [military-spending] fits between [national-security] and [military]. That is to say, there is a national security (or defense/defence) budgeted amount for which military spending is the most visible part, but "military budget" is a misnomer due to it being all spending. A [military-spending] tag removes any ambiguity.
    – Rick Smith
    Apr 11, 2023 at 14:42

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