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Ask Slashdot: Tags and Tagging, What Is the Best Way Forward?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the spray-and-pray dept.

Software 142

siliconbits writes "The debate about tagging has been going for nearly a decade. Slashdot has covered it a number of times. But it seems that nobody has yet to come up with a foolproof solution to tagging. Even luminaries like Engadget, The Verge, Gizmodo and Slashdot all have different tagging schemes. Commontag, a venture launched in 2009 to tackle tagging, has proved to be all but a failure despite the backing of heavyweights like Freebase, Yahoo and Zemanta. Even Google gave up and purchased Freebase in July 2010. Somehow I remain convinced that a unified, semantically-based solution, using a mix of folksonomy and taxonomy, is the Graal of tagging. I'd like to hear from fellow Slashdotters as to how they tackle the issue of creating and maintaining a tagging solution, regardless of the platform and the technologies being used in the backend." A good time to note: there may be no pretty way to get at them, but finding stories with a particular tag on Slashdot is simple, at least one at a time: Just fill in a tag you'd like to explore after "slashdot.org/tag/", as in "slashdot.org/tag/bizarro."

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fuck tags (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44425871)

that is all

Re:fuck tags (2)

rullywowr (1831632) | about a year ago | (#44426055)

Well usually before tagging, I will arrange all the items on long folding leg tables. I try my best to group them with like categories of items. I pick a day when the weather will cooperate and post some ads online and in local newspapers. Once I am ready to tag, I simply write down the requested price on a self-adhesive tag with a pen, Sharpie or similar instrument. Larger items require larger tags. Once the tagging is done, I sit back and prepare for profit!

Re:fuck tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426727)

so,
1. Unfold tables
2. Post some ads
3. Tag items
4. Profit!

Re:fuck tags (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#44426147)

What exactly is "tagging"?

*sigh*

I guess I'll have to click the links and read and see if a definition of tagging is in the linked article...but I couldn't surmise from the synopsis what tagging referred to.

Re:fuck tags (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44426325)

Really??? Tagging is a mystery to you? Tags are an extremely common kind of metadata. This is a tech website that uses tags.

Re:fuck tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426387)

Hrmph. Typical self-centered neo-geek trapped in an insulated nerd bubble. Refuses to accept the hint that some people actually DON'T care or know about tagging and instead blames everyone else for not using this shiny toy everyone else in the tiny echo chamber uses.

Re:fuck tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426581)

Then why bother to read the article or even come to this site.

FFS.

Its news for nerds.

Fuck you

Re:fuck tags (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44426667)

If you are:
A. In a technical field
B. At all competent at your job
Understanding basic kinds of metadata like tags, links, and keys is an incredibly basic part of your job.

Re:fuck tags (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44426861)

Nonsense.

There are only small localized subsections of "technicla fields" where tagging is of any importance at all, and metadata is
simply the latest over-hyped buzzword of this small segment.

The vast majority of "technical fields" have no need of this. Its not even widely used in computerized systems.
It mostly sprung up from people who's only knowledge of computer systems came from the area of database administration.

We've been through these hype-wars before. In five to seven years you won't even remember why this was so important to you.

Re:fuck tags (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44426919)

Metadata isn't a buzzword. It's a basic feature of schema design.

Re:fuck tags (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44427119)

Thanks for proving my point.
Bye now, son. Gotta run, bigger fish to fry than your toy database exercises.

Re:fuck tags (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44427221)

Yep, you got me, I'm a DBA, totally not some other kind of tech-professional. You totally zeroed in there and guessed it.

Re:fuck tags (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44428549)

+1 on the peckerhead scale...

Re:fuck tags (1)

dimeglio (456244) | about a year ago | (#44427945)

Agreed. I think some Information Management folks got brained washed into thinking tags/metadata is important. Why have information about information when you can get directly to the information itself using search tools? Tags might be fun but they're not that useful. Thanks for helping me make up my mind about them.

Re:fuck tags (2, Informative)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year ago | (#44427997)

What are these supposed technical fields that don't use tagging or metadata?

So, you've never used images? Never used a camera phone? Never used gmail? Never used bookmarks in firefox? You're in a business and never used Outlook? Never listened to a MP3 file? Never used windows and clicked on the file explorer to add columns? Never written a web page, or XML? Never used a TIFF file? Where exactly is this mythological technical person and what do they do?

Re:fuck tags (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44428497)

Agreed. Metadata and tagging are completely useless. That's why, for example, the NIST Big Data Working Group has a sub-group focused on taxonomy, categorization and metadata. It's just a BIG waste of time! (Haha - get it?). Derp!

Re:fuck tags (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#44426979)

Come on already, explain what tags are please instead of insulting people. What's the big secret? I thought I knew, but all the ideas I can come up with for "tag" and "tagging" have nothing whatsoever to do with business or why companies form to specialize in tagging.

The article is just rubbish altogether. "Folksonomy"? "Graal"? This is far too much pretentiousness for slashdot.

Re:fuck tags (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year ago | (#44427533)

If you're one of these people wondering what tags are, ignore whatever /. says they are (I've never even really noticed that /. uses tags) and have a visit to Stack Overflow (SO) [slashdot.org] , or one of the many other Stack Exchange sites (if you're not into coding, then try the one that deals with grammar you silly pedant!)

Take a few minutes looking around and using the site. It should be quite obvious within a few minutes not only what a tag is, but why they are useful, but in a nutshell, they are essentially a saved search result. When I want to look at new SO questions about Magento, I click the appropriate tag I have starred and magically, the list of questions now only contains those with the Magento tag applied. One question can have multiple tags as well, so a Magento question will probably also have a PHP tag, maybe a MySQL tag, maybe a jQuery tag, and so on (depending on the specificity of the question).

Now, for those of you who thought you didn't know what a tag was, it's now been explained and I'm guessing that you probably already had a pretty good idea.

As for TFA, why does there need to be a "Best Way Forward" with tags? I think we pretty much have it down, though, I will say that it's likely /. still has a long way to go since tags here are hardly useful (at least for myself). Does anyone actually filter /. content based on some tag other than the shills and fanbois?

Re:fuck tags (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year ago | (#44427547)

Sorry for the malformed link...

Link [stackoverflow.com]

Re:fuck tags (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year ago | (#44428195)

Now, for those of you who thought you didn't know what a tag was, it's now been explained and I'm guessing that you probably already had a pretty good idea.

Actually, you didn't explain at all.

"tag" == "keyword"

Now it's explained.

Re:fuck tags (1)

styrotech (136124) | about a year ago | (#44428705)

Actually, you didn't explain at all.

"tag" == "keyword"

Now it's explained.

You didn't explain it at all!

What's a "keyword"? And what does "==" mean?

Re:fuck tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426669)

To paraphrase the parent: "Get off my lawn, whippersnappers!"

Re:fuck tags (3, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44426821)

Ahem! [xkcd.com]

Re:fuck tags (3, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#44426997)

Really??? Tagging is a mystery to you? Tags are an extremely common kind of metadata. This is a tech website that uses tags.

I've seen the tag thing here on slashdot, but I'd not seen it anywhere else on other sites I use..so, I figured it wasn't something so limited as that, to my perception.

And frankly, I've never really see the use for the 'tags' they have here on /., I can't find what they are really used for even here.

I'd heard about people tagging or identifying people in pictures on FB, but it didn't seem to be about that....and I'm not on FB, so not sure if it is used there.

So, I was just asking, the synopsis of the article seemed to assume everyone knows what they meant by 'tags'....as if they were so ubiquitous as to be common knowledge by everyone.

Re:fuck tags (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about a year ago | (#44428257)

They are fairly common. It's a way of attaching information about some form of post, identifying a category for the post, a list of related terms, etc. It makes it easier for someone else to find that information when they do a search for it later.
Tagging someone on Facebook is an example. It makes it possible to add that picture to a list of "Pictures that Bob is in". One of the tags on this article is "tagging". That means that I can search Slashdot for "tagging", and this article will be one of the results.
The idea of a tag is tied into the "semantic web". This is the idea that you ought to be able to read a blog post and click a tag at the bottom to find other blog posts that have been tagged with the same word, so you can continue reading things related to the tag that you clicked.
One of the challenges is that there isn't a standard way to specify a tag. Should I call something "#LongMultiWordTag", "#long-multi-word-tag", "long_multi-word_tag", or some other variation? I just went to the Comic-Con convention in San Diego. Should I tag my posts #CCISD, #ComicCon, SDCC2013, or what?
Some of the other posts have been harsh. Honestly though, if you've spent much time online in the last decade or so, it's been increasingly difficult *not* to be in constant contact with tags. You may as well have been asking what a "link" is, circa 10 years ago.

Re:fuck tags (1)

pjt33 (739471) | about a year ago | (#44427389)

The term is heavily overloaded. It could just as well be about RFID tags on inventory or GPS + radio tags to enforce parole conditions on convicts.

Re:fuck tags (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#44426355)

It's nothing more than associating an identifier or keyword with something. The asker is bemoaning the lack of standards in those identifiers, how to apply them, how to search on them.

The question really misses the point, though. If you index the entire contents, then anyone searching will find it based on what they know, not what you think of in advance. Google seems to do pretty well at locating pages, despite many fine pages lacking meta tags (and despite many poor spam articles trying to abuse meta tags.) If the keywords aren't present in the article, it's probably not a very useful article anyway, as it obviously is lacking a common description.

Re:fuck tags (4, Interesting)

mcmonkey (96054) | about a year ago | (#44426881)

The question really misses the point, though. If you index the entire contents, then anyone searching will find it based on what they know, not what you think of in advance. Google seems to do pretty well at locating pages, despite many fine pages lacking meta tags (and despite many poor spam articles trying to abuse meta tags.) If the keywords aren't present in the article, it's probably not a very useful article anyway, as it obviously is lacking a common description.

Nail, head. Having people provide tags or keywords is asking people to adapt to the way computers work. While not perfect, Google shows us we can have computers adapt to the way people work.

Re:fuck tags (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#44427083)

Why would someone form a business, and others invest in that business, when it's merely about keywords. If it's so simple then why is the article so obtuse and full of flowery language? It definitely sounds like some sort of hipster insider club.

I sometimes think tagging is about figuring out who someone is in a picture and then making it searchable without that person's permission, in which case this article should be marked with the "privacy" and "your rights online" keywords.

Then maybe I think they're like hashtags, but I'm uncertain what hashtags are except that they're on twitter and made fun of on Psych.

And if slashdot does have a tagging scheme, what is it, and where can I see these tags, and how to I engage in slashdot tagging? Do I need a can of spraypaint? I want to be cool like all the other kids here.

Re:fuck tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44428717)

It's far more nuanced than this. I work in data management, and my company has piles of business documentation. Assume we have a business contract with IBM for the year 2013. Sure, we can keyword search for "IBM, 2013, Contract" and find a bunch of documents which have these keywords in them. The problem lies in all the related documents that don't have all those keywords in them. Standard definitions. Workflows. Images. Or all the documents which reference this contract but aren't part of this subset of documentation.

The solution to this is tagging. You tag every single piece of documentation related to this contract with these terms. Then you set up a search macro that pulls them all in and organizes them. This is better than hard-coding the links, because as documents get created, merged, split, and destroyed, you don't have to re-code this entire structure.

The peril with tagging is what the OP notes. For this to be of use you have to very consistently tag things. Failure to do this and you end up missing documents.

That you think this misses the point means you don't understand what the point is. Metadata isn't the same as being able to deep search contents. It's often NOT about being able to get every last piece of something with a keyword in it - it's about being able to get the subset you want quickly and efficiently. It's about being able to parse document with similar phrases into the metacategories that people are interested in.

Deep searching definitely has its place, but it also definitely doesn't take the place of tagging.

Re:fuck tags (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426457)

"Tagging" is what morons call it when they deface public / private property with paint / markers. Generally, they do so with misspelled words, pejoratives, and other malarkey. Sometimes just "(some person) is a (some epithet)". I don't know why we want to talk about it here - perhaps due to the costs involved in removing said tagging.

What are tags (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426535)

Simply put, tags are a way of reducing the complexity of a piece of information so that people of similar mindset can identify it as data supporting their personal opinions. Note that tagging is not exclusive, so multiple tags can be assigned to the same information, summarizing it in diametrically opposite ways.

Re:fuck tags (0)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44426801)

What exactly is "tagging"?

*sigh*

I guess I'll have to click the links and read and see if a definition of tagging is in the linked article...but I couldn't surmise from the synopsis what tagging referred to.

Tagging is a name for Gang Inspired Graffiti spray painted on walls and trains etc. Its used to mark territory, and generally piss property owners off. A similar function is often used for computer data, for roughly the same purposes.

Re:fuck tags (0)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#44426849)

Slashdot editors are now 13 year old kids and don't feel that they have to explain their social website slang to anyone else.

Re:fuck tags (2)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year ago | (#44426315)

#fuck #tags #, #that #is #all #.

Re:fuck tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44427015)

This is archetypal first-world problem.

Made up problem (2, Insightful)

mugnyte (203225) | about a year ago | (#44425897)

Tagging isn't anything. It's a construct within a semantic web design; a common-language-everywhere issue. Essentially, you want everyone to agree to a tagging vocabulary, or morph things into it using automation. Why not just ask everyone to speak Esperanto?

My questions for OP...
why use words of any language?
why isn't everything online (include video, images, sound) simply act like a tag with "search the web with this input"?
isn't the best database of tags the web itself? in that case, isn't our best query a search engine?

Re:Made up problem (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44425929)

The problem that some have here with the term "cloud" I have with "tag". I'm not sure how it differs from a "keyword".

Re:Made up problem (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44426715)

They're identical concepts, except tag is easier to spell and say. Oh, and sometimes tags have a hash (#) in them.

Re:Made up problem (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#44427111)

How do you make money from tags? The article seem to strongly imply that major and minor businesses are seriously concerned about tags, so there must be some money involved here.

Re:Made up problem (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#44428459)

Well, depending on how strictly you define keyword I'd say it mostly answers "what?", as in what is the topic of the document. Tagging I just consider way more free form answering what, who, where, when, metatags and whatnot in a highly unstructured fashion, with keywords acting more like entries in an index while tags are more like hyperlinks linking the oddest pages together. They're both a form of applying labels, but I feel they're not entirely for the same purpose.

Re:Made up problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44425963)

Tagging isn't anything. It's a construct within a semantic web design; a common-language-everywhere issue.

It grows from the user base, or community. Tags only work as a work-in-progress, and only with a stable community. Tags are NEVER finished.

Re:Made up problem (1)

micromegas (536234) | about a year ago | (#44426027)

To be organic and programmatic, shouldn't tags evolve from content with frequency of use?

Re:Made up problem (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44426053)

why isn't everything online (include video, images, sound) simply act like a tag with "search the web with this input"?

You'd have to use fuzzy matching in order to use pictures or audio as a tag. Fuzzy matching problems whose solutions aren't already patented [wikipedia.org] or trade secrets are unsolved.

Re:Made up problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44428011)

"Find this picture" isn't the same as "find any variation of this picture". A PNG is a different file from a JPG, and by using (say) its MD5 as a tag makes sure you find exactly what you're looking for.

Re:Made up problem (2)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44426095)

I especially don't see how it makes sense to have a common tagging system across completely different use-cases. Why would Slashdot stories and Flickr photos use the same approach to tags? For those of us who research AI, it might be nice: if humans would just cleanly place everything they do into one consistent global semantic structure, it'd sure solve some of our difficult problems, by defining them as someone else's responsibility to sort out. But that doesn't seem like a great justification, or a realistic proposal.

Re:Made up problem (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44426299)

Why not just ask everyone to speak Esperanto?

Because it's Latin with the grammar tooked out.

Re:Made up problem (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44426753)

Tooked out? Is that some sort of hobbit speak for making something more adventurous?

Re:Made up problem (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year ago | (#44427013)

Tooked out? Is that some sort of hobbit speak for making something more adventurous?

Yo, we was like all "There and Back Again" all the way to Rivendell and then she was all Tooked out.

It could happen....

Re:Made up problem (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year ago | (#44427023)

Tooked out? Is that some sort of hobbit speak for making something more adventurous?

Yo, we was like all "There and Back Again" all the way to Rivendell and then she was all Tooked out.

It could happen....

HOBBITS IN THE HOUSE!

I'll stop now.

Re:Made up problem (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#44427125)

Chill out and hae another Took on your pipe.

Re:Made up problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44427181)

As a native Dutch speaker who was once forced to learn German and French. I think the world might be much improved if every language had the grammar 'tooked out.'

Re:Made Up Problem (see semantic web) (1)

ZahrGnosis (66741) | about a year ago | (#44426411)

Yeah, I agree with mugnyte: there is no problem here. Move along.

Can you (siliconbits, or anyone) define the problem space better? What's wrong with the way they work now? Twitter Hashtags annoy some but work great for twitter. Everyone you listed has a different solution in place for tagging so... what's the issue? Why does there have to be only one solution?

Do you want a common HTML/RSS/W3C/whatever standard to define tags? Do you want centralized curated lists of tags that people must choose from? Do you want to make it somehow easier (than just typing "#", or typing a word in a box) to tag?

If you really look at good semantic web implementations -- such as Semantic wiki [wikipedia.org] , you'll see some good ideas around a more "complete" semantic mechanism than tagging, but the two are basically mutually exclusive. What basic tags allow that a full semantic implementation does not is hyper-fast user-entered semantic content. This is not a shortcoming of tags, but their primary feature. It's one of the things that makes twitter so valuable (although one could argue it would still work without tagging)... people actually create and use tags all over the place.

So yeah... what, exactly, is the problem again?

Re:Made Up Problem (see semantic web) (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#44427031)

The "problem" is that someone is likely needing help to hype some useless new tagging system so they can be bought out by Google.

Ways to solve tagging (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year ago | (#44425899)

* Put CCTV cameras up near common targets
* Restrict sales of spraypaint to adults
* Beat patrols

See? Tagging isn't so hard to solve.

Re:Ways to solve tagging (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426289)

Also
* Paint over tagging asap to reduce incentive

* Put CCTV cameras up near common targets
* Restrict sales of spraypaint to adults
* Beat patrols

See? Tagging isn't so hard to solve.

Re:Ways to solve tagging (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426449)

Shame, too. That sort of tagging is frequently more creative and more aesthetically pleasing than the dumping ground of mashed-together words, catchphrases, and failed attempts at forced memes that the article's talking about.

Whoops, hold on, I feel like I'm about to vomit... #tag #slashdot #salsadot #tagging #joke #notserious #hashtag #hashhash #hurl!!!!

Re:Ways to solve tagging (2)

hondo77 (324058) | about a year ago | (#44427349)

You forgot snipers.

Re:Ways to solve tagging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44427657)

The spray paint here is usually locked behind steel gates attached to the shelving, and we STILL have tagging. All the restrictions do is inconvenience adults who want spray paint, and the clerks who have to unlock the shelf.

CCTV fails because they wear hoodies, caps, etc and aren't usually looking at the cameras. Cops can't be everywhere. They paint stuff on bridges over freeways where one slip would kill you. These are some determined motherfuckers out there, and if we could harness that power for some constructive purpose... wheew! I have no idea how to do that though.

it's possible that it's just not that important (1)

kcmastrpc (2818817) | about a year ago | (#44425937)

surely if "tagging" things on the internet was popular they would of figured out something...

wait...

Hyperlinks [wikipedia.org]

Re:it's possible that it's just not that important (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#44427039)

Hyperlinks are many to one. HyperTags (I just coined that term) are many to many.

Tagging? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44425995)

Are we talking about labeling, tagging in the version control sense, egocentric graffiti? Can't figure it out from the summary.

firetheeditors (3)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about a year ago | (#44426015)

My tag "firetheeditors", to catalogue the poor editing jobs and dupes of Slashdot, has yet to catch on...

Re:firetheeditors (3, Insightful)

TempeTerra (83076) | about a year ago | (#44428005)

A tag should meaningfully distinguish a subset of the content.

Freebase and Zemanta were luminaries? (4, Informative)

Nutria (679911) | about a year ago | (#44426045)

I do not think "luminaries" means what you think it means.

Also, WTF is Graal?

Re:Freebase and Zemanta were luminaries? (2)

Vetala (1543063) | about a year ago | (#44426151)

Also, WTF is Graal?

Archaic (very archaic) spelling of grail, or the French word for grail (apparently).

Re:Freebase and Zemanta were luminaries? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44426165)

Also, WTF is Graal?

An old form of "Grail" (as in holy).

And I think they overestimate just how much anybody else cares about this. #wasteoftime

Re:Freebase and Zemanta were luminaries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426259)

Also, WTF is Graal?

It's "grail" in some languages (i.e. portuguese, french)... looks like someone forgot to translate it.

No sanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44427753)

Ees already got wun you see?

Re:Freebase and Zemanta were luminaries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426829)

Here:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Graal

The solution: Esperanto! (5, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#44426089)

... or some other language where every word has one and only one meaning.

"Somehow I remain convinced that a unified, semantically-based solution, using a mix of folksonomy and taxonomy, is the Graal of tagging."

So basically you want everyone to agree on what to call everything. HA! Will never happen. Words mean different things in different contexts. A word that's overly-general in one context will be overly-specific in another. Also, fun fact: not everyone on the planet speaks the same language. Hell, even time changes words. 10 seconds ago, I learned that "Graal" was a word: "Holy Grail, or "Graal" in older forms" [wikipedia.org] If you want a good tagging solution, start by not trying to be so cute and showing off how smart you are and use words that are used today -- call it "the grail" like everyone else in this century. People like you are what breaks tagging systems. :-)

We'll probably solve the problem of how to identify people [kalzumeus.com] before we come up with a unified way to name things.

Re:The solution: Esperanto! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44426487)

10 seconds ago, I learned that "Graal" was a word

I knew it but I didn't know why.

Probably something to do with this [beeradvocate.com]

Enjoyed the names article, by the way.

Re:The solution: Esperanto! (2)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#44426819)

There's a lot of things that'll never be properly described by tagging, a few examples I can think of:

1. "cats", what if I want just real cats? Usually you end up with something like "cats -cartoon -cgi -anime -drawing" etc.
2. Things that usually have one meaning but in a few contexts don't, like cats the musical and cats the animals. In the domain nature photography just tagging it "cats" is as natural as doing the same in the domain of musicals, but globally it's a mess.
3. Does "nude" imply "topless" or does "topless" imply not nude? People disagree.
4. Mixed tags, for example find pictures with one person nude and one person non-nude, tagging it with both is a big no-no.

Besides, people aren't generally interested in the tedium of tagging and tagging rules, most people just type up some keywords they think fit in a mingle of personal opinion and adjectives together with fact-based tagging.

Re:The solution: Esperanto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44427421)

I speak French.

Re:The solution: Esperanto! (1)

Chuckstar (799005) | about a year ago | (#44427451)

Isn't the whole point of tags, also, that there isn't a unified solution? I thought the whole point was that a unified set of descriptors would be too limiting.

Missing the point ... (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44426109)

Somehow I remain convinced that a unified, semantically-based solution, using a mix of folksonomy and taxonomy, is the Graal of tagging

Tags are random stuff about what people are thinking of at any given time.

So if I tag something as #anyhoo #whatever and #squork -- that's what I felt like tagging it as, and in the process I might want to make tags which aren't there or make up new ones.

If tags are meant to be a measure of the zeitgeist and what people are thinking, they're not going to do is according to some taxonomy.

Besides, some bastard will just want to come along and monetize tags and be the canonical source -- #screwem #taxonomyneednotapply

Having a "unified, semantically-based solution, using a mix of folksonomy and taxonomy" is someone trying to impose structure on something which is inherently not structured, and people will never conform to it.

I can see why in corporate contexts you'd want a taxonomy, but for the rest of the world this sounds like a solution in search of a problem. The world isn't something for librarians and archivists to tell us how we should categorize things.

slashdot shows how not to do it (4, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#44426143)

Every article on slashdot gets the default tag "story".

Fucking useless.

Automated taxonomies to the rescue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426235)

(Full disclosure: I work for Primal) Have you considered a technology like what primal.com offers? We build taxonomies on the fly based on sparse inputs, and output JSON as a result, so it's easy to work with.

Could replace a tagging system by automatically "understanding" the posted content and using the terms that are synthesized from our process to act as the human-curated tags.

If you have time to think about tagging... (1, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year ago | (#44426327)

...you have too much time on your hands. Get a dog, a girlfriend, or anything else with demands on your attention and your worries about tagging will happily drift away.

if it hasn't been posted allready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426445)

http://xkcd.com/927/

Separated by design (1)

voidstin (51561) | about a year ago | (#44426473)

In what I like to call "the real world" -ie, the place where no one has heard of commontag, Freebase, or Zemanta, and maybe not even gizmodo - the #tag is the closest you're ever going to get. People use it on twitter and instagram, and advertisers have embraced it. Do any of these giant companies want their users going to other sites? Hell no. Facebook brought back the walled garden, and open systems are going to suffer.

Now that we've realized it's unlikely to happen, would you even want it if it did? If you add an ubuntu link on pinboard, would you want to instantly see all the old ubuntu stories on slashdot? Tag a flickr picture with "hotdog" and see all the tweets about hot dogs? Or take a picture with some app that adds its own tag (#vsco or some such) and see all the other pictures taken with that app? Some of these things actually work, but why? I could see doing something like subscribing to only slashdot/bizarro or gizmodo/tv in your RSS reader, but take a look at the RSS market and no one really gives a shit about that either.

I think wide-area tagging is quasi-useless. Even in closed silos (twitter, instagram), it's a messy sea of miscategorization and gamification. If it helps out the sites search engine, great. If it helps your own organization in whatever tool, great. It may even be good in workgroups - i'm interested to see how it pans out in OS X Mavericks.

hierarchy (3, Interesting)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about a year ago | (#44426547)

One thing file system directory trees have shown me is that hierarchy is lousy for categorizing. Convenient for file systems, bad for people. The example I like to use is 2 applications organized into binary and data files. Should the files be put in these directories: /app1/bin, /app1/data, /app2/bin, /app2/data ? Or in these directories: /bin/app1, /bin/app2, /data/app1, /data/app2 ? Or should we use some kind of directory linking, so we can sort of have it both ways? This leads to a question about OOP. If hierarchical organizations are bad for files, maybe they're also bad for classes?

Whatever else tags do, they dispense with hierarchy. A file system that truly did away with the hierarchical directory structure and used tags would be interesting. The problem in the above example would vanish, with the files in question merely being tagged as app1 or app2, and as bin or data. Ask for a directory listing of all files tagged as bin, and get all the files tagged as app1 and bin, and app2 and bin. Strips the ordering out of the problem, leaving categorization, which is still a tough problem.

I ran into this tagging problem when thinking about an app to sort images. The idea was to compare 2 images, and come up with a percentage value of how similar they were to each other, with 100% being identical, and 0% being totally different. But, on what criteria should images be compared? I saw that it was much too simplistic to boil down a comparison of such intricate data to just one number.

Re:hierarchy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426885)

> This leads to a question about OOP. If hierarchical organizations are bad for files, maybe they're also bad for classes?

Interfaces...
Multiple Inheritance

polyheirarchy & faceting. (4, Interesting)

oneiros27 (46144) | about a year ago | (#44426983)

You're assuming that each item only has one natural parent -- which may be true in most taxonomies, but more complex systems (thesaurii*, ontologies), allow for more complex parent-type relationships.

What you're dealing with is even simpler -- facets. You have a bunch of items with two attributes (application, type of file), and each attribute has a limited set of mutually exclusive options. Some file systems can store extended attributes, but they're not always that efficient (as it's not something in high demand). BFS was the only file system that I know of that really pushed it as a main feature.

* Roget's Thesaurus is a synonym ring, not a thesaurus.

Re:hierarchy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44427369)

How do you intent to solve name conflicts with something other than the hierarchical systems we use now? When a game asks for xyz.dll how should the system know it needs this xyz.dll and not that other xyz.dll supplied by a different game five years ago and which is hopelessly outdated but still needed for that one game? You would have to do some sort of dependency chain or other linking and before you realize it you've re-invented hierarchical filesystems.

Replacing what we have now is fine... IF somebody develops a suitable alternative with benefit outweighing the cost of switching.

Re:hierarchy (2)

DidgetMaster (2739009) | about a year ago | (#44428193)

This is exactly the problem that lead me to develop a whole new data management system. It turns files into objects called 'Didgets' (short for Data Widgets) and lets you tag them any way you want. Unlike extended attributes on files, these tags let you find your data fast and easy without something like Spotlight or Windows Search indexing all your metadata into its own database (taking a few hours to do each time). I can import my whole boot volume (about 500,000 files) and can then find anything in a second or less. "Find all JPEG photos with tags Vacation=Hawaii and Year=2011" will give me all my photos with those two tags in less than a second. It can do that if there are 5 photos that match or 50,000. Check out DidgetMaster.blogspot.com for info and video demonstrations.

No results (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426613)

Slashdot Items Tagged "futanari"
No objects tagged "futanari"

And we're all thankful for that.

Problems with tagging (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44426691)

I would say the biggest problem is when someone tagged claims that they were not actually tagged because the person who is 'it' "didn't get me". Although this can sometimes be an honest mistake, especially in cold climates where heavy clothing may prevent the tagged person from detecting the tag, more frequently it is just some asshole who doesn't want to admit they were tagged.

all but a failure (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year ago | (#44426803)

Commontag, a venture launched in 2009 to tackle tagging, has proved to be all but a failure ...

Apparently, your best bet is with this company.

You mean like this? (1)

phizi0n (1237812) | about a year ago | (#44426839)

http://slashdot.org/tag/gps [slashdot.org]

Now if only timothy would train the other monkeys.

Until AI can determine meaning... (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year ago | (#44426969)

There will be no tagging system that matters. After AI can determine meaning, you won't need a tagging system.

relation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44427053)

xanadu.com

Forget tagging, relations is where it's at

Let the Net Tag Itself (1)

zbobet2012 (1025836) | about a year ago | (#44427101)

#tagging No really, people will self organize on tags all on there own. The simples, and best way to "tag" the internet is to agree on a standard format ala twitter ("the #") and just let it run from there. Parse out the results.

Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things (2)

jamiefaye (44093) | about a year ago | (#44427427)

A classic book on the ontology of categories by George Lakoff. The tagging problem, in a nutshell, is that different cultures (and different individuals) create different category systems. The Tower of Babel on the semantic level.

Fludinfo and OS X Mavericks (1)

q0 (1040214) | about a year ago | (#44427537)

One interesting cross-domain tagging system, which I use extensively, is Fluidinfo [fluidinfo.com] . It allows users to attach tags, which can have typed values, to arbitrary objects identified by any unicode string (or by a UUID). There's a query language that lets you find things based on your own tags and, subject to permissions, other people's tags. It was discussed previously on /. [slashdot.org] , but now has more interesting public data in it, such as most of the books from the British Library's catalogue, e.g. Animal Farm [appspot.com] and that old /. favourite Pride & Prejudice [appspot.com] .

Another recent development that could be significant for tagging is the announcement by Apple that OS X Mavericks will have more extensive support for tags [apple.com] on files both in the OS and in iCloud. Since tags look like being the only way Apple will offer to organize files in iCloud, it is possible these will catch on in a big way, and this could lead to a broader interest in tagging as a general alternative/addition to hierarchical organization.

Who cares? (0)

AndyKron (937105) | about a year ago | (#44427639)

Who cares about tagging? I don't care about it, and that should be enough for you too.

what is exactly tagging means..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44427681)

Can someone please explain...

I had one killer app for tags (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#44427783)

When I was using Flickr, I had one killer app for tags and now I don't use Flickr so I don't use tags. Tags on Flickr were a nice lazy way to organize photos and show people "all the pictures related to #blah" without going through the hassle of creating a set.

I see the tags on Slashdot articles and I'm like... "that's nice"; but I don't use them for anything. If they're useful to you for some reason, fantastic. Come up with your own taxonomy and have a ball. Quit trying to come up with the Ultimate Living Room Organization Scheme (TM), because it's not gonna happen. We all want to put the TV someplace different. Deal with it.

Tags need practical semantics (1)

dkf (304284) | about a year ago | (#44427953)

The real problem of tags is that there's usually fuck all useful semantics associated with them. There's only a benefit to using tags in the first place if many people use the same tagging system and consistently assign the same meaning to the tag as each other. Having just a tag is a bit like just having a scent marker on the information: not much use for saying more than "big primate was here, urinating on this data". There have been clear phases when slashdot tags were exactly on this level. (Does anyone remember when every last post was being tagged with "itsatrap"? It amused me to watch it unfurl, but it was less use than a chocolate bath plug.)

But where there's something more that, a way to get and debate the shared definition of the tag, to see what's been tagged, to be notified when something new receives the tag... that's when the tag acquires real value. There's an advantage to the tagger in using the tag "correctly" and so a fair chance that they will do that. The various stackexchange sites do quite a good job here.

Of course, there's a whole level of tagging above and beyond, with formal semantic tagging via RDF to build a Semantic Web. It would be ever so powerful, except it's really a PITA to work with and needs far more curation to be really useful than web content actually normally has. The very richness enabled by the advanced model they have with formal descriptions of the tags and so on renders it all far less useful precisely because it is so much less commonly used; I suspect a less formal system that has lots of actual data wins out as the semantics are more readily derived from network analysis rather than direct declaration. (I suspect not all my colleagues would agree...)

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