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One of my edits adding jurisdiction information to a question's text was rejected. The reason given (by a moderator) was:

Jurisdiction is indicated by tags, not by an explicit comment in the text of the question.

However, I could find no such policy in the help center. There are some questions discussing this problem (How do we handle localization of questions/answers? , Should the jurisdictional state be part of the title? ) but the answers do not indicate any clear consensus to me.

Personally, I always found that tags are for classifying questions, and that all relevant information should be in the question text (even if there is a tag on the question), because it makes questions easier to read and answer. But I'm ready to follow community consensus - if I can find what it is :-).

So:

Is there a general consensus how country/jurisdiction should be indicated?

  • In the question body?
  • With a tag?
  • Or both?

If there is such a policy/consensus, could it be incorporated into the FAQ? This is probably relevant for almost every question, so it would be good to provide the information where it's easy to find.

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I don't think we have a policy or consensus yet, so this is a good and open question.

The custom so far has been to always encode jurisdiction (when applicable) using tags.

That's not to say that it can't be mentioned in the title or text, but when it isn't part of the natural flow of the question, or critical to the question, we have tended to remove it to the tags. When the question didn't list it, but a jurisdiction was provided subsequently in comments, we tend to just amend the tags unless the question is confusing without the jurisdiction.

E.g., In California, if a baseball lands in my yard, is it legally mine? is fine, but it would also be fine to omit the "In California" preamble and just tag it . It would even be fine to not specify a jurisdiction at all. Sometimes the asker will clarify that they're most interested in jurisdiction X but would be interested in answers for any jurisdiction. And sometimes they explicitly say they want answers for any jurisdiction.

(In the example you tried to clarify the question could have been such an "any jurisdiction" question. When asked in comments the questioner gave a specific jurisdiction, but the subsequent answers showed useful information covering state, national, and international jurisdictions, so especially in this case it would have been a bad practice to edit the question text after the fact to strongly assert the specific jurisdiction since that would make the existing answers and comments look somewhat off-topic.)

  • Thank you for the feedback, also about the edit. It's interesting to see how tags are used differently on different sites. – sleske Sep 9 '15 at 14:57
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Let's start with where we seem to agree: I see a lot of value in including this information in tags. One of the jobs of tags is to let people easily filter broad categories of things they are/aren't interested in, and being able to mark, say, as a favorite tag and as an ignored tag could be helpful for that.

I don't think that's necessarily a reason to strip the information out of post bodies, though. Even a layman like me knows that laws differ from place to place, and I would find it awkward to try to mentally process a question I was reading without the context of the appropriate legal system, just as I would have difficulty reading a question about coding without knowing which programming language it was using.

We do care about efficiency, but we're not so short on digital ink that we can't afford to print relevant information like names of locations. Better to be explicit about what the goal of the question is, so people don't spend their time answering the wrong question in good faith.

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