# Forgetting our [prehistory]

We have several tags about history:

, , , (?? - that should be a synonym...), and .

Most of those are fairly obvious - but is not. Is it about prehistoric events? When is "prehistoric"? No: the tag wiki says this.

This tag should be used for questions about societies that don't have invented a writing system yet.

Not only is that grammer bad, but it appears to me to have nothing to do with history.

It's used on 1 (closed) question.

Can we either:

• Clarify the meaning of this tag; or
• Burn it. This just requires removal of the tag from the 1 question.
• I would have thought that "prehistory" meant pre-human; differentiating on writing seems...odd. – Monica Cellio Mar 18 '15 at 20:10
• pre-history is in my view related to times before agriculture, i.e. hunter-gatherer bands – Serban Tanasa Mar 18 '15 at 22:30
• From wikipedia (which agrees with my personal experience): "Prehistory is the span of time before recorded history or the invention of writing systems". However when it begins is not really well defined and can be the apparition of mankind, the apparition of life, or the beginning of the universe. – Maxime Lucas Mar 19 '15 at 12:46

My opinion

• We have and for medieval time
• We have for Romans and before. We might in the future consider making a Roman tag later on if that time is popular.
• We have for different events happening in the past (which can be combined with the above)
• Delete history - Its is a broad tag
• is already burned, but should have probably been , since that is it actually is, and it makes the tag more useful.

should just go away. It doesn't need to be a synonym; when you start typing "history" you'll see options. Synonyms should be used in cases where the vocabulary really is different.

I understand the concepts of "prehistory" and "ancient history" to be different; "ancient" is things like ancient Mesopotamia, while "prehistory" is things like dinosaurs. But these are distinctions that only make sense on Earth, while world-building is broader.

If we need a tag for the general concept of "early in a planet's development before humans did/could have developed", I might go with . Do we have questions like that?

• If we do need pre-human I expect someone will create it; I can't see any questions that need it now. – ArtOfCode Mar 18 '15 at 20:33
• I can easily see how the distinction between prehistory and ancient history could be meaningful for other worlds. An example of a prehistory question would be "How can my people find evidence of prehistoric creatures without bones?" An example of an ancient-history question would be "What conditions would be necessary for an entire planet to use the same language prior to electronic communications?" – aebabis Mar 18 '15 at 22:57

The definition of "pre-history" as before writing systems is the common use of the term. For example, that is the definition used by dictionary sites and wikipedia. While we can obviously choose to use a different definition from that commonly used, we should only do so if we have a good reason to avoid confusion.

I would also argue that the definition makes sense. The reason why writing is relevant to history is because that is how we know what happened. While old documents rarely attempt to be a (relatively) unbiased statement of facts like more modern history, they do at least provide evidence as to what happened. That is how we know the names of kings, when they went to war and with who and their stated reasons for going to war. For civilizations without writings, we have to rely on archaeological evidence. That can tell us more or less what happened, but it leaves huge questions as to why. While documents can be misleading (either accidentally or intentionally), they still give us huge amounts of information. The Illiad is a terrible history book, but it provides huge amounts of information about the people who wrote it; what they believed and what they thought was important. That sort of insight is entirely missing from our knowledge of pre-historic societies.

I would make a synonym of .

My thought is that both are pre-recorded history. Which means story and myth, none of which you can gauge the truth of because nothing was documented. Would probably be best to re-write the tag descriptions too...

On another note I think and could be synonyms or consolidated as well.

• Note that tag suggestion will autosuggest all of these (if they exist) when you type just history. – user Mar 18 '15 at 20:16