A previous question came up on meta about "cookies" vs. "biscuits" - one which I answered but was ultimately unsatisfied even with my own answer.
It occurred to me today (and I'm actually surprised that no one else has suggested it) that there may be a better way to resolve the ambiguity, which is to make more frequent use of the
Whenever there's a tag that might be ambiguous due to different regions using the same name, make sure it's paired with a cuisine tag. That's all there is to it.
For example, since "biscuits" are not actually quite the same thing as "cookies", the recommendation under the policy would be to use either biscuits+english-cuisine or biscuits+american-cuisine. Any new question that only contained the biscuits tag would be followed up with a request for clarification (unless that information is implied elsewhere, i.e. in the question text or perhaps in the member's profile).
Just to be clear, I'm not recommending this as a reason not to standardize tags; if two possible tags mean exactly the same thing then we should still always use the more common one, i.e. we don't need both a french-fries and a
[frites] tag each paired with cuisine tags, because they are the same thing - but there might still be a chips tag because that means something subtly different - and the regional cuisine-tagging rules would apply to that as well, because "chips" refers to something else (potato chips) in the U.S.
Hope this isn't too confusing. Just to recap:
- Multiple tags for the exact same food = bad, don't do that, use tag synonyms instead.
- Multiple foods with the same tag = inevitable, distinguish with an additional cuisine tag.
Any thoughts on this? Is there anything I might be overlooking, any reason why this convention wouldn't work on a long-term basis? Any general comments or questions?