Lately, a particular user, acting in absolute good faith, has been not only adding the "ancient-iran" tag (fine with me) but removing the "persia" tag (which I think damages the usability of the site). My instinct is to reverse the latter kind of change whenever I see it, but perhaps it's best if we could discuss this in here in meta and formulate a consensus.

So - do you think we should use both or only one of them (and which one, if only one)?


6 Answers 6


I haven't gone through and looked at all the tags that were changed, but we need to be very careful about how we address this. First of all, in spite of user37324's protests to the contrary, Persia was a very real place and was a name that applied to a very large geographical region which happened to include the country currently known as Iran.

If a question pertains to that geographical region during the time in which it was known to the world as Persia, then the relevant tag should be Persia. If the question pertains to a geographical region that is exclusively relevant to the area that is currently known as Iran, but deals with a point in time that is more than a couple of hundred years ago, then it should be tagged as ancient-Iran.

It is important to note that Persia as it was originally known did NOT refer to ONLY the region that is now Iran. It encompassed a much larger geogrphical area, and in spite of anyone's desire to be politically correct or sympathetic, we need to make sure that the tags we use are appropriate for the question, and not used as a tool to promote a political agenda or social consciousness.

  • I am doing the same! I am correcting wrong information as a tag which by a google you can find how much they are unbelievable. Mar 7, 2013 at 8:02
  • I actually did go and look at all the questions that you added "ancient-Iran" to, and I don't think I agreed with any of them. However, since they also had the "Persia" tag, I was okay with that. Mar 7, 2013 at 12:49

As I proposed on the comment to that user's original meta question about the tag, I think that should simply be made a synonym of .

For those not familiar with how tag synonyms work on SE:

To address @Felix's comment, the first link sayeth:

Similarly, when users search for questions tagged with a synonym, a list of questions tagged with the master will be displayed.

  • Sorry for being ignorant, but does it mean that someone searching for "persia" will see questions tagged with "ancient-iran" in their search results? Mar 5, 2013 at 16:18
  • @FelixGoldberg - see the edit
    – DVK
    Mar 5, 2013 at 16:54
  • Good idea. The proposal is up. Anyone with the requisite 1250/5 rep please go vote on it.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Mar 5, 2013 at 17:11
  • @T.E.D. - "anyone with the requisite" is a pretty empty set at the moment :( history.stackexchange.com/tags/ancient-iran/topusers
    – DVK
    Mar 5, 2013 at 17:26
  • Then, I'm in support of this idea. Mar 5, 2013 at 17:37
  • Well...if it gets enough support (perhaps via upvotes on this answer) there are tricks we mods can do too...
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Mar 5, 2013 at 19:31
  • Voted. I'm swimming in ancient Iran points apparently. Just to clarify, which would be the "main" synonym? Also how does Persia mesh with the an "Iran" tag, given how it's a common factor between "ancient Iran" and "Iran" (ie are we worried about transitivity of our synonyms)? (questions about the solution that T.E.D, Felix and DVK are supporting)
    – Nathan
    Apr 20, 2013 at 22:46
  • @T.E.D.: I was unable to upvote this suggestion, as I do not have sufficient vote-rep on the tag. If I can't vote on this suggestion (with 8,980 rep and as 4th highest all-time site-rep holder on 2014-04-29), just who can? Apr 29, 2014 at 22:44
  • @PieterGeerkens - It looks like these days you have to have +4 rep on that tag to vote. No overall rep restrictions. The 1250/5 is only for proposing a synonym.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Apr 30, 2014 at 1:54

People from Iran are very prickly about usages of the words "Iran" and "Persia". They tend to view it as a political decision which one is used, which of course means some folk insist it is "Iran" and others (typically exiles) insist it is "Persia". This can make things quite difficult for the rest of us, who are just trying to classify things sensibly.

I'm not entirely sure what the answer to that is, but I do know that we really need to be using the terms that are commonplace in the English-speaking world. For the country before the 1979 revolution, that is Persia.

When and if they manage to get the rest of the English-speaking world to refer to earlier political entities there as "Ancient Iran", then of course we will follow suit.

So I think you are doing the right thing.

It would seem reasonable to set up as a synonym. Perhaps that's what they are taught the proper term is in their English classes in Iran, so that's what they would expect to be able to search on. We have multiple Iranian contributors, so it only makes sense to be as accommodating as we reasonably can be.

  • So I take it agree with my proposal to use both? Mar 5, 2013 at 13:42
  • 2
    Hmmmm. I guess that's OK, as long as persia is left on. There's a limit of 5 tags though, so that might not always be possible.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Mar 5, 2013 at 14:05
  • @T.E.D. - see my proposal in a competing answer
    – DVK
    Mar 5, 2013 at 16:54

I vote for persia remaining, and being a synonym for ancient-iran. As others have pointed out the history of what is known as "Persia" encompasses more than just Iran. Persian Empire produces 169,000 results on Google Scholar. I just don't see how we can change the wya the tag has been used. If someone knows of sources that offer a compelling reason as to why we should scrap persia as a tag I would love to read it.


Persian Cat is right actually. "Ancient Iran" would best denote the time period before Cyrus the Great to keep it simple. Iranian peoples has a specific set of shared characteristics, as do Persians, though. There is great overlap, but they are the not same. The differences are not just "political." They are of serious historical interest, but this might be unimportant to the average visitor here. I'm not sure. IMO I'm never able to put enough detail in short answers for this type of thing to matter. For example, sayeth Wiki:

The Iranians comprise the present day Persians, Lurs, Ossetians, Kurds, Tajiks, Balochs and their sub-groups of the Medes, Massagetaes, Persians, Sarmatians, Scythians, Parthians, Alans, Bactrians, Soghdians and other people of Central Asia and Iranian plateau. Another possible group are the Cimmerians who are mostly supposed to have been related to either Iranian or Thracian speaking groups, or at least to have been ruled by an Iranian elite.

Were these tags merged? I think it should be fine either way.

My real question though, is why are we getting prompted by "Community" for old resolved questions. Should this be fixed?

  • No, the Community user was going through and automatically changing all the old MSO links to the new MSE links.
    – Luke_0
    Apr 30, 2014 at 19:04
  • @AmericanLuke I'm not sure what that means. Can you explain? I wasn't sure if the questions are going to keep cycling until an answer is accepted. Because then maybe we should delete them or something or the users should accept.
    – Razie Mah
    May 4, 2014 at 4:39
  • Recently, Meta Stack Exchange (MSE) was launched to replace the old Meta StackOverflow (MSO). To keep all the links to MSO from breaking, the Stack Exchange bot changed them all to MSE links. Unfortunately, this bumped them all and put them on our meta front page.
    – Luke_0
    May 4, 2014 at 13:04

I added ancient-Iran instead of Persia because it refers to ancient ages of a country where the world and Iranians know it as Iran! Persia is a name and doesn't refer to whole ancient history of this country. So I do not understand your sensitiveness and agitation about this very rational decision by me. It doesn't refer to some trivial matters which some are trying to discuss about as a reason here that I think it is completely off topic. We are here to correct our own mistakes nothing less nothing more and there is not a need to prejudice when there is a reality to see and understand.

We have to talk according to the facts,examples,sources and realities not imaginations, Hollywood or Persian scenarios and political directions. I found many bold mistakes in some of questions and in the answers as well. There are many wrong awkward answers. I feel responsible about it surely when I have enough information to correct it because I do not like to find this forum like a completely out of line train which is going to the hell.

I suggest the Persia as a synonym of Iran. It is not a synonym of ancient-Iran because of above reasoning.

I hope it helps. Thanks! ;)

  • "People from Iran are very prickly about usages of the words "Iran" and "Persia""... :) Anyway - as I made it clear here, I don't mind the addition of the Iran tag, as long as Persia is accessible to searches. DVK's solution assures that - do you accede to it? Mar 6, 2013 at 1:00
  • I completely disagree with it as It is a ridiculous historical mistake to change the name of a country to some which you like because you seem prickly about it. If Iranians are prickly about bold distorts about their 5000 years old civilizations it can be rational but the same feeling in the opposite side seem weird. Sorry! ;) Mar 6, 2013 at 1:12
  • The English name of the ancient empire in/around Iran is "Persia". What the people there called it (either then or now) is not relevant to what the English name is. (Just like "Tibet" and "India" aren't anything like the local names for those places. They are the English names for those places.)
    – Joe
    Mar 17, 2013 at 6:01

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