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Folksonomies In and Flickr

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the power-to-the-personages dept.

The Internet 183 writes "Lots of discussion going on about 'folksonomies' -- bottom-up taxonomies that people create on their own -- as used in and Flickr: Adam Mathes has a thesis on Folksonomies; IFTF's Future Now makes a point about problems with folksonomies: no synonym control ( "mac" and "macintosh" on; no hierarchy and content types; and only simple one-word tags. Joho the Blog notices a discussion about what to call it in Mob indexing? Folk categorization? Social tagging?, and John Battelle links into Taggle and "federated tagging". I wonder if a Google Suggest like system might reduce 'lazy tagging' ,and maybe synonym control when the federation appears. Tag, you're it!"

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'lazy tagging' (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252676)

I hate this term, there is no lazy tagging, only different tagging. Tagging using too precise a description, thus too many words is as useless as tagging with too few.

Re:'lazy tagging' (1)

jest3r (458429) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252843)


Re:'lazy tagging' (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253156)

Wow. A collection of bookmarks. This is new! Let's make up some words!

Re:'lazy tagging' (1)

Jetifi (188285) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253350)

The term "lazy" here doesn't refer to the qualities of the tagger, but to the way in which it is done.

In coding, you have "lazy initialisation", which is to declare a variable (reserve space for it) and then only fill it with the proper data at the very last minute, just before you use it.

Here, it means that tags are created on an ad hoc basis as you use them to classify something.

What the??? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252677)

That was the single most incoherent paragraph I have read in awhile. I'm afraid to RTFA because it'll probably result in me contracting brain cancer somehow.

Re:What the??? (1)

draxredd (661953) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252699)

ditto early 2005 award for the most pedantic sociologico-communication logorrhea.

Re:What the??? (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252715)

I'm glad I was not the only one struggling with that. Sounds, and reads like a bunch of self aggrandizing bullshit to me.

Re:What the??? (3, Funny)

alex_ware (783764) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252787)

Don't worry just another one of Theese []

Re:What the??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252837)

Like the man said.

Re:What the??? (0)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253017)

Sounds, and reads like a bunch of self aggrandizing bullshit to me.
You must be new here...

Re:What the??? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252799)

Just reading the headline alone made my brain ache, but after reading the "informative" text it seems my suspicions were correct; Slashdot has been hacked and the l33t skr1pt k1dd13s are posting stories in their badly spelt, barely grammatical "English" full of made up words!

It's either that, or those fucking "blog" wankers whining about something that no one in their right mind (E.g. anyone outside the "blog community") could give two wet shits and an aspirin about. Seriously; who the fuck cares? Just fuck off and stop polluting Google with your inane life story and "opinion". All of you.

Re:What the??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252873)

"wet shits", huh? As someone who's had the flu for the past few days, I've been considering going to the doctor and listing my symptoms. One of which is loose bowel movements. Not diarrhea, per se. But certainly not as solid as they should be. I may give the term "wet shits" a try. Thanks for that.

Re:What the??? (1)

Barto (467793) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252808)

I guess it's a bad thing I understood every word of it then.

I really should spend less time wasting time on the net, heh.

Learn to read (4, Informative)

samael (12612) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252887)

It's not that complicated a concept - systems have arised which allow you to categorise your own information (bookmarks and photos in the two examples given). Because everyone can use whatever categories they find useful for themselves this means that I can tag my Mac stuff "mac", you can use "Macintosh" and someone else can use "Apple", leading to miscommunication.

Re:Learn to read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11253058)

Useful clarification, so I modded you up. But I was hesitant. You could've said the same thing without being an asshole about it.

Re:Learn to read (4, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253068)

If the concept is so simple to explain (and it is, because you just did it), why was that explanation not included in the article? Instead, they introduce this "folksonomies" term, give an eight-word definition that includes two terms (bottom-up and taxonomies) which need further explanation to put them in the proper context, and expect everybody to understand what's being talked about.

Re:Learn to read (-1, Flamebait)

samael (12612) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253173)

Aaah - I grasped "bottom-up taxonomies" instantly. I do realise that studying 'knowledge' at university may have given me a bit of a hand there tho :->

Re:Learn to read (1)

dont_think_twice (731805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253492)

There is no possible way anyone who was not familiar with this concept could have understood the article summary. It was a big collection of invented words and technical mumbo-jumbo. The submitter should learn to write.

FotoFlix's approach to organization/categorization (1)

senzafine (630873) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253834)

This is an interesting problem. FotoFlix [] uses a different model than "keywords" ... they use labels. So "Mac" and "Macintosh" are completely different. They also use icons associated with each label. So with that system you can aggregate the properties placed on a given photo based off the name or the icon.

They're working on a way to synchronize labels between users in groups as well. That way you share not only photos but organization as well. Definitely check it out...a very cool approach.

FotoFlix []

Re:Learn to read (1)

patonw (747304) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253932)

I have to agree with the grandparent. It's not that the concept is difficult to explain but that the poster was incoherent and used too much technobabble interspersed with a dash of English.

Learn to spell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11253936)

... systems have arisen which allow you to categorize your own information ...

I'm not usually a grammar nazi, but really... how can we trust the categorization skills of the public, when the vast majority of the users don't even bother to check if their statements make sense! Are you going to be "categorising your gamez"? What, if any, value is there to your opinions on a subject (especially keywords for an object), when I have to fight to understand you because of your poor grammar and spelling skills?

Forum user doesn't understand community innovation (1)

yoz (3735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252970)

... and is modded up using the collaborative karma system.

Anyone else giggling about this?

Or are you all waiting for a post that everyone sane can understand, like how to modify your Gentoo PPC install to use both OSS and ALSA without frying your SBLive?

*sighs wearily*

Re:Forum user doesn't understand community innovat (1)

dont_think_twice (731805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253524)

Or are you all waiting for a post that everyone sane can understand, like how to modify your Gentoo PPC install to use both OSS and ALSA without frying your SBLive?
*sighs wearily*

I would take practical advice any day over these meta-abstract pseudo-intellectual discussions that self appointed experts like to get into. It seems every week, there is some new Paradigm That Will Change The Way We Process Information. This one looks just as stupid as all the rest.

Re:Forum user doesn't understand community innovat (1)

yoz (3735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253615)

these meta-abstract pseudo-intellectual discussions

"big words I don't understand and can't be bothered to click on"

self appointed experts

"people actually learning about things and explaining them"

It seems every week, there is some new Paradigm That Will Change The Way We Process Information.

This one's been around for months. Tens of thousands of people are using it already. That's worth commenting on, isn't it?

"I would take practical advice any day" ... and I use this kind of tagging every day. People are building it into new applications as we speak. It's not abstract, it's working and useful right now.

Re:Forum user doesn't understand community innovat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11253760)

"big words I don't understand and can't be bothered to click on"

No, "made up words". Or does your Websters or OED contain the word "Folksonomies"? I can make up important sounding words too; that doesn't make me an "expert" nor does it increase my IQ.

This one's been around for months. Tens of thousands of people are using it already. That's worth commenting on, isn't it?

No. Just as AYB, Dancing Hamsters and Napster were passing fads, so is this. It will quickly fad, shortly followed by "everyones" favourite "the blogoshpere". It will slip from grace to be replaced by next weeks New! Shiny! Paradigm! of crap, and we'll get a whole new bunch of self-agrandising "experts" who'll invent a whole new bunch of psuedo-intellectual bullshit and more made up words under the guess of "jargon".

Re:What the??? (1)

antoy (665494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253062)

Ditto that. I didn't know if the topic is too advanced or if it's just simple stuff using ten dollar words.
br. Turned out to be the second.

Re:What the??? (3, Insightful)

xZAQx (472674) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253124)

Lots of discussion going on about 'folksonomies' -- bottom-up taxonomies that people create on their own -- as used in and Flickr: Adam Mathes has a thesis on Folksonomies; IFTF's Future Now makes a point about problems with folksonomies: no synonym control ( "mac" and "macintosh" on; no hierarchy and content types; and only simple one-word tags.

That pile of shit is ONE sentence.

Slashdot: Where grammar is sacrificed for stories about "revolutionary" technologies such as blogs and other bullshit made up trends that will be nonexistent in 6 months.

Re:What the??? (2, Insightful)

moonbender (547943) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253386)

Hm? There is no problem with the grammar in those phrases, at least I don't see any. It's also not really difficult to understand - I'm not a native speaker, and I parsed the sentence without any problem whatsoever. It's arguably one sentence, as evidenced by the fact that is just one full stop, but there are other punctuation marks that clearly seperate the clauses, ie. the colons and the semi-colon.
Granted, I didn't exactly understand the meaning, but that was simply and solely due to the fact that I lacked the background knowledge he presupposed. I checked out one of the numerous links; acquiring the necessary knowledge took me, oh, 20 seconds.

What we can see here is the reaction by many folks in the Slashdot crowd when confronted with an unfamiliar topic: bitch and moan instead of spending some time to find out what it's all about. Pathetic. I mean, I agree that the story should have been a bit more explanatory, obviously a lot of people have no clue what it's all about, but this kind of verbal abuse is not warranted.

BTW: Your final sentence is longer (ie has more words) than any of the clauses in the paragraph you quoted, and is a lot more difficult to understand. "Bullshit made up trends" is one long compound noun.

Re:What the??? (1)

xZAQx (472674) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253749)

It's bad writing, that's all. No need for a dissertation.

Re:What the??? (-1, Flamebait)

moonbender (547943) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253791)

True, I should have just called you guys pathetic and left it at that.

FIRST POST!!!! (1)

Gi77 B4t35 (808520) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252679)


Wha.thef.uck?! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252680)

I'll let James Lavin explain.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252825)


If you write as if you know what you are talking about, you may convince the reader that you are more knowledgeable than they are. They will then be afraid to disagree or mark your answer 'wrong.'"

Re:I'll let James Lavin explain.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252856)

This story has the upside that you can mark posts "Offtopic" and whoever gets to M2 your moderation probably has no idea if it's a Fair moderation or not, because they can't understand it either.

asdf (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252688)

4th post

wtf?!? (5, Insightful)

marcushnk (90744) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252694)

I must need more sleep.. that looked like complete gibberish to me.

Congratulations, you are appointed as a new editor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252731)

You obviously have a firm grasp of deciphering Slashdot articles.

Re:wtf?!? (4, Funny)

Basje (26968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252741)

Hear hear.

At least now I know what my wife is thinking when she sees slashdot over my shoulder. She must feel as I did when I saw this story.

Re:wtf?!? (2, Funny)

grazzy (56382) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252908)

This is what we get for encouraging these bloggers, put em back there they belong!

Re:wtf?!? (0)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252792)

Okay, I'm another person who didn't understand a thing.

Would someone who actually understood the article please explain wtf, or just translate it to human-readable form?

moderation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252905)

Okay smartass moderator. If you're so clever, explain this. Slapping -1 overrated and acting that for you it's all perfectly clear and understandable is easy.

Yeah (0, Offtopic)

beatdown (788583) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252695)

I know, right?

I'm just tagging my Flickr photos now. (3, Interesting)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252705)

And I'm sure I'm not quite matching what other people use, I'm not being consistant even amongst my own stuff and my spelling is probably a little off.

Meanwhile, this is pretty much what happens in any ad-hoc metadata system, and not all of us have the luxury of paying someone to manage our indexes. The place I used to work is just the same. At least it's better than nothing.

Re:I'm just tagging my Flickr photos now. (2, Insightful)

Eric Giguere (42863) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252733)

And this is also why search-based systems like GMail [] and Zoe [] that let you group and classify things on the fly are so useful. And it's not limited to computer stuff, either. Haven't you ever tried to figure out which of your (manila) file folders you should use to file a receipt?

See your HTTP headers here []

Re:I'm just tagging my Flickr photos now. (1)

alex_ware (783764) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252772)

Yep, everything goes in the "URGENT SORT NOW" file or on my desk in my pocket in my desk on my draws or anywhere.
Woah, I'm disorganised.

Another article on the topic (4, Informative)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252708)

A study of tagging on [] .. "A mini-ethnography of social practices in a distributed classification community"

Re:Another article on the topic (1, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252760)

That title alone suggests it is more pompous than the slashdot submission.

Re:Another article on the topic (1)

bbtom (581232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253872)

Indeed. I've got a great book here that is assigned on many "new media for morons" courses. It's got a great little anecdote (reference at the end), plus some bullshit to justify it. Here's the first paragraph of bullshit:

The Screen Play researchers argue that the dominant discursive construction of young computer users as 'future workers' in the knowledge economy leaves little space for them to articulate their pleasure in using computers in non-authorised ways - primarily, though not exclusively, gameplaying. The following excahnge, in which parents discussing their agenda for encouraging computer use at home are interrupted by their 'earwigging' teenage son, captures something of the ways in which these broader discourses and policies (and their contradictions are struggled over in everyday family relationships:

Then here is the anecdote itself:

Dad: But we did get stuff for the kids to use on it. Mum: We got some educational software for the kids, at that point we were determined they weren't going to play games. [Laughter] I would like Steven to get involved in other things. I've tried a few times to interest him in various things and it's the games, definitely, that dominate his computer usage. Q: Right. And so that's a... Mum: Steven, what's the problem? Steven: I'm just saying that I'm going to bed now. And games rule! Visual Basic sucks!

Then the researchers have some more justification at the end:

Steven's outburst, like the immediate pleasures of computer gameplaying he refers to, disrupt the discourses of future rewards for 'educational' computer use.

(The whole thing is from Lister et al. (2003) "New Media: A Critical Introduction" [] , London: Routledge, p. 244)

To which any sane person who has actually used a computer would respond: bull. "Edutainment" software is generally an enormous pile of patronising horseshit. Not that VB is 'edutainment', though it's about as functional and useful as edutainment.

The researchers who write about all this stuff (and I've read a number of tomes written by them) do talk so much crap, it's unbelievable.

There are a few people in various disciplines who do get the whole point about the Internet and computers in general. Larry Lessig gets it. David Weinberger gets it. Quite a lot of the academics who run blogs and post on USENET (etc.) get it. Most of the academic nerds who go to things like Etcon, Notcon etc. get it. But there are so many people in the humanities, notably media studies, who really don't understand that Marxist historical materialism or physicalist determinism really have no place in talking about computers.

That said, in comparison to what I've read, the paper linked by the grandparent post is not too bad. They are actually talking about the technology and the software.

tags in (1)

koi88 (640490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252710)

this list included much of what one might expect as common subjects of photos: cat, friends, dog sky, sea, park, kids, garden, baby, building, flower, flowers signs, sculpture, city, vacation.

From the folksonomy thing [] . What's a "dog sky"?

Re:tags in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252790)

typo due to misplaced space ... should have read: "dogsky"


dogsky (n): a russian dog.

Re:tags in (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252802)

What's a "dog sky"?

It's what the sky looks like just before it starts raining dogs. Cats are optional.

Re:tags in (1)

son_of_rotten (585642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252889)

What's a "dog sky"?

It's much the same as a bird sky, which quite common. However a dog sky is a lot rarer than a even pig sky.

Re:tags in (1)

Aumaden (598628) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253770)

Well it all depends on where you live. You'll rarely, if ever, see a dog sky in Phoenix. While here it rains cats and dogs roughly monthly. If you're not a "dog person" you do not want to live in Seattle... you'll be hip deep in puppies!

Where my boss is from pig skies are apparently quite common. Whenever I ask about a raise, he ways "when pigs fly!"

who gives a shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252718)


social mechanisms an synonyms (1)

YOrainer (647327) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252721)

It seems that in a system like which is very open social practice will reinforce some standard way of dealing with things like synonyms. maybe it can be expected that people will eventually use the most common words in the system for tagging if they want to make full use of the social benefits that the system offers.

if on the other hand people use and the like only for their personal benefit or for a small group then there is nothing wrong with using different words than some other subgroup.

Re:social mechanisms an synonyms (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252816)

I fully agree. In fact one may posit that given the socioeconomic juxtiposition of the blogoshpere, to wit, the social intertwining of the full fabric of blog/space/time, and given the propensity of people to form social bonds along racial, non-racial and sexual boundries throughout the ages, one can clearly see that the reinforcement you speak of should, given enough time, money, energy and encouragement of the blogmunity, blossom into a fant.ass.tic oppurtunity for those socio-economic classes which until now have been under-represented in more traditional forms of blogspresional media.

This doesn't even make sense. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252730)

I read the article, I've read the paragraph.

Maybe I'm just having a bad hair day, but it *sounds* so stupid that no one can even explain it coherently.

What is and Flickr? (5, Informative)

joebetoblame (846146) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252742)

I didn't know either so I looked it up

...more info at ed-communication/folksonomies.html [] [] henceforth referred to as "Delicious") is a tool to organize web pages. A description online states it is: "a social bookmarks manager. It allows you to easily add sites you like to your personal collection of links, to categorize those sites with keywords, and to share your collection not only between your own browsers and machines, but also with others" (Schachter, 2004)

Flickr [] , a photo management and sharing web application, has a similar system of free-form tagging for photos that was adopted and modeled after Delicious. It too requires users to create a user account, and is free to join.

Signal-to-noise ratio? (1)

ag4vr (705570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252915)

What I find cool about [] is the ability for people who will actually use the pages to classify them in ways that are useful to them and potentially to others.

The ability to also merge tags in a search is particularly useful, such as in the case of a search for Python packages ( [] as opposed to Python movies ( [] .

As the site gains more and more users, I have to wonder about the S/N ratio, although merging keywords in searches will help.

Hopefully some scumbag won't figure out a way to make his H3RB4L V14GR4 page come up no matter what keywords you enter.

There are no synonyms (2, Insightful)

bkhl (189311) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252743)

The lack of synonym control is one of the reason "folksonomies" works. Even if say the tags "mac" and "macintosh" might seem like synonyms, what if someone uses the two tags "macintosh" and "clothes" together, for the other kind of macintosh? Would you like those to go under "mac" too?

Instead, these systems works because there are so many participants, it doesn't matter if you miss 50%, 80 or 90% of them because of differing tag names.

What the hell is this about? (5, Funny)

Loco3KGT (141999) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252744)

This is the first slashdot blurb I've ever read that left me feeling like I had no f'n clue what they're talking about. It was like reading the mental vomit of an ADD kid.

They're talking about that "internet" thing. (1)

adb (31105) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252767)

Please try to keep up.

But but... (4, Insightful)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252756)

no synonym control ( "mac" and "macintosh" on

Aren't words what people make them to be? I mean, if many people, from the bottom up, decide that "Mac" should be primarily a synonymous of "Macintosh" (which it is, de facto), then secondarily an acronym for an ethernet card address, then for TV addicts a short for Duncan McLeod, so what? Who's to define what words mean if it's not the people who use them?

I mean look at the French: they have something called the "French academy" that makes up a bunch of words willy-nilly every year, after much discussion, to be added to the "official" french language, but without consulting the potential users (the French). Well guess what: most of these words aren't known, let alone used, with precious few exceptions.

So I say great: if grassroot efforts end up redefining the language, and help consolidate new words into the core language, and help create new words and expressions, I say fine. That's what defines a living language that people like and use.

Re:But but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252844)

That is why there should be a hierarchical structure.

ICT->Networking->MAC is not the same as ICT->Computers->Brands->Mac
ICT->Computers-> Brands->Macintosh and ICT->Computers->Brands->Mac are synonyms.

Re:But but... (1)

yerfatma (666741) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252850)

While I'm a big fan of tagging in general and delicious in particular, the alternative argument is we'll all be driven to a version of English like the one in 1984. ++ungood.

Re:But but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11253528)

Hey, funny sig, way to show the finger to those usual loud replies to every new article. Had to look a second time, then I laughed hard :)

Don't Abbreviate (1)

Czmyt (689032) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253785)

I find that it's best not to use abbreviations when labelling things for later search retrieval, because abbreviations can have multiple meanings and words can have multiple abbeviations: Does "script" mean "shell script" or "prescription?" If there is a commonly abbreviated phrase, I will include the initialism as well as the spelled out phrase: "Local Area Network (LAN)" and "Random Access Memory (RAM)" I also include common synonyms when labelling things like files or e-mail subjects even if it seems redundant: "Measurement Conversion Factors Equivalents List"

I'm sorry, but.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252781)

This all looks like nothing more than a filing system for the anally retentive.

HTH (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252803)

So here's the new rule: If on a given night, the amount of gel you put in your hair outweighs the amount of semen you plan on putting in a woman's vagina... that makes you a queer. Plain and simple. That's the new gauge for homosexuality. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being gay. I'm simply giving you a way to figure out whether you need to double click on your Quicken icon and make room in your monthly budget for anal lube and penis-flavored chewing gum.

This will be abused (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252826)

I'm sorry, but this is not a very good idea. After it has got popular enough to attract attention, it will be ripe for abuse.

You can just imagine what the bots will be tagging the viagra ads and nudie pics with...

Sure, we can start with bayesian filtering and manual deletion all over again, just like with wikis and blogs. But isn't it time that we start caring about these issues before we jump on every new product?

Synonyms? (0)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252836)

I didn't get the article but I think that's not it.
Add an entry "mac" and entry "macintosh" and point both to Apple and you have the synonyms problem solved. Many words to describe the same thing, multiple entries describing the same page.
Worse about homonyms, where one word has several meanings. Wikipedia solves that by "disambiguation" pages.

Re:Synonyms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11253781)

What if I want to talk about waterproof overcoats, or a certain type of apple? Many things described by the same words; who decides which are correct?

Jesus.. (1, Redundant)

NfoCipher (161094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252847)

..H. Christ on a pogo stick. My brain stem just fell off.

Social tagging on audioscrobbler (4, Interesting)

jacoplane (78110) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252883)

Audioscrobbler [] :
Audioscrobbler builds a profile of your musical taste using a plugin for your media player (Winamp, iTunes, XMMS etc..). Plugins send the name of every song you play to the Audioscrobbler server, which updates your musical profile with the new song. Every person with a plugin has their own page on this site which shows their listening statistics. The system automatically matches you to people with a similar music taste, and generates personalised recommendations.
The system also has a lot of problems with taggin music. This is because a lot of the time ID3 tags in mp3s are not done correctly. It is then possible to do tag moderation [] . I'm not sure if this is what this article refers to as social tagging, but if it is this is a good example of it working. I've had quite a few badly labeled tracks and artists fixed this way.

3 Points (1)

erikharrison (633719) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252892)

1) Most incomprehensible /. blurb EVAR

2) Adam Mathes is one of those guys I always though really understood the internet as a distributed ad hoc metadata generation system. He's also pretty funny. He was one of the cofounders of the snarky webzine (which I used to write for). He combined the two and invented googlebombing, which earned him a certain degree of noteriety.

3) I think there is nothing new in these criticisms of distributed ad hoc systems. It's the same with google, and wikipedia. You sacrifice some depth and accuracy for breadth, And as your algorithms become more sophisticated they can organically uncover the inconsistencies and work around them.

Re:3 Points (1)

j_heisenberg (464756) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253623)

Actually, very extensive systems of "Folk" metadata already exist. Compare classifieds, Open Directory (any dir of a portal), Usenet, Wikipedia. They contain some standard classifications but mostly Folk. Might be more informative (= wink wink, nudge nudge)

Isn't this just a "vocabulary"??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252925)

Please, someone explain how a "folksonomy" is different from a "vocabulary"! The article makes this big deal about how a folksonomy is a weird kind of taxonomy without explicit relations between words, where you can have synonyms, where people disagree about exact meanings.

Isn't this just a "vocabulary" like we use every day when we talk??? Why is this a strange new thing???

Re:Isn't this just a "vocabulary"??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11252987)

because it is on the intarweb.

Re:Isn't this just a "vocabulary"??? (0)

Plural of Mongoose (808754) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253129)

because it is on the intarwebs


Autocompletion and suggestion in (1)

yoz (3735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252951)

A few months back I wrote [] , which does autocompletion and dynamic suggestion of tags based purely on your own tag coincidence statistics. You can see it in action on Bowen Dwelle's site [] : try typing "ja" in the tags field - it should autocomplete "javascript" in the textbox and then suggest a couple more tags beneath. (This is all based on Bowen's own tags) Note that autocompletion only works in Mozilloids and IE/Win at the moment.

A popular add-on that makes suggestions from other user's tags is Greg Sadetsky's (unfortunately unavailable at the moment). Joshua is building [] some of those features into core.

OPML (1)

hachete (473378) | more than 9 years ago | (#11252977)

I always thought that OPML [] and Google-like search powers was the beast for this job. Is it being used? It would certainly gather together the disparate threads in a self boot-strapping manner.

Dave Winer (of Scipting News [] fame) always had a bee in his bonnet about this subject and on this he makes sense.

Re:OPML (1)

yoz (3735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253026)

I always thought that OPML and Google-like search powers was the beast for this job. Is it being used? It would certainly gather together the disparate threads in a self boot-strapping manner.

OPML differs in a couple of vital respects:
  1. It's hierarchical. The tag systems discussed here are deliberately flat. (One can argue for hours about the relative merits of each, but let's just say there are strong opinions on both sides)
  2. OPML takes a one-to-many approach to categorisation (one category can hold many items, but each item can only appear in one category). One of the most powerful things about these tag systems is their many-to-many approach, and the ease of filing and finding goes hand-in-hand with
    that. A text search can be laid on top (and is in but it's a secondary method of finding after tag-browsing.

    The one-to-many aspect of OPML is quite bizarre given Winer's history with outliners, of which MORE was his first. One of MORE's primary innovations, which is still fantastically useful, is the ability to file the same item at multiple points in the tree, using a system similar to hard linking in filesystems. Changing the item changes it at all places in the tree. OPML doesn't have that at all, for some reason.

It's all in the software (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253023)

All that's needed is a decent design to be built into one piece blogging software. A few people are working on it for Drupal [] . Once one popular blogging tool has a simple and elegant solution others will adopt it, just like trackbacks.

Personally I think the central server(s) should use something like WordNet to determine common synonyms based on context and build from there. I think the fact that the keywords come from so many people is a good thing. Instead of a few people thinking hard about how to organize, general concensus will help it work itself out, especially as it become much more popular.

fsck, all giberrish (2, Insightful)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253041)

/* Note: this is going to be off topic, so I don't mind if it gets modded that way */ I read the damn thing at least 3 times... not that I didn't understand for first (I know about it all over, and the linked stuff) but for the plain reason that I just couldn't believe my eyes someone could put together a paragraph which sounds so totally out of language non-human gibberish all over. My head just hurts. Indeed.

Taxonomy Recapitulates Hegemony (1, Funny)

NotWallaceStevens (701541) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253045)

Enable nonstochastic communication modalities by utilizing post-Bayesian non-deterministic linguistic differentiation mark-up in a non-denomenational plurisitic non-denominational rainbow-like blur of buzzword hyperbole.

eschew ... (0)

xlurker (253257) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253091)

eschew oxymoronic obfuscation

A Modest Proposal (1)

samael (12612) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253049)

The problem is that many modern categorisation systems assume that people know how they want to categorise their own data. They therefore aalow individuals to use whatever word/phrase they want to tag their data with. These tags can conflict both with other users (for instance one user could use "Mac" to refer to items related to Apple Macintoshes while another uses "Macintosh" and a third uses "Apple") and with themselves (when a user's nomenclature changes or they mistype).

There are a few obvious solutions to this:
1) Reuse: Help the user to re-use their old tags by offering them a list of previously used tags - this will prevent typos and unintentional changes.
2) Synonyms: Help users to lump tags together by stating that "Mac" and "Macintosh" mean the same, as far as they are concerned. When they look for tags in the same category as "Mac" the search will automatically be broadened to include similar ones.
3) Build categories from the most commonly used tags. This returns to the top-down imposition of structure, but builds it from the tags that people actually use. If a tag is used by more than x% of the population then categorise it and assign it a detailed description. For instance, if more than 1% of people are using "Mac" as a tag, then "Apple Macintosh Computer" could be assigned as a detailed description. Users could then choose to use the 'official' tag. Synonyms would also exist, so that "Macintosh" and "Apple" would both link to this single 'anchor'.

The use of more-defined descriptions would allow multiple meanings for the same tag to exist, so that someone using "Apple" as a tag could be offered the choice of attaching that tag to the definition "Apple Macintosh Computer", "Apple Fruit" or "Apple Music Corporation". The user could obviously also attach it to any other definition or leave it definitionless.

I am, of course, assuming that most people would find utility in using common definitions, as it would allow them to find things that used the same tags, whilst leaving them the freedom to use any tag they like for their own use.

Re:A Modest Proposal (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253287)

The problem is that many modern categorisation systems assume that people know how they want to categorise their own data. They therefore aalow individuals to use whatever word/phrase they want to tag their data with

I think this is basically the problem Google tries to solve ( [] , which relates images to words, in the title of the image files and the text around it on the HTML page) -- the embedded metadata in HTML is often absent, wrong, or deliberately bogus, so the subject has to be inferred from the text itself, and more importantly from the links others make to it - and these links are analogous to the tags here under discussion. The synonym problem exists here too, but given enough links you can decide which meaning is most relevant.

MusicBrainz + Audioscrobbler (1)

taybin (622573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253064)

MusicBrainz/Audioscrobbler have a system that lets users vote on synonyms for metadata. For instance, "The Beatles" and "Beatles, The" both point to the same group tag. and tagging (2, Interesting)

216pi (461752) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253071) is a bookmarking system. Joshua Schachter programmed it to have a bookmarking system and as far as I know, he did it for himself, not for the public at first.

So, _you_ add a bookmark, _you_ tag it, so _you_ can organize your links in the way you like it. There are many ways to categorize bookmarks and the tagging system allows you to use multiple ways in one.

I recreated for porn ( [] ) and something interesting happend: In the beginning, people tended to tag their posts in the usual way (hardcore, softcore, etc.). Then came people tagging their bookmarks using their favorite porn star names as tags (luba, marketa, etc.). And than came a guy starting to tag them using tags like f, ff, fm, ffm, etc. And now, most people tend to combine all or some of these types of tags.

there is no horizontal, vertical or other buzzword-way to tag. You just start to organize your bookmarks in the way you like it. And most people may adopt the most useful tag-styles creating a huge, very well organized link list.

You don't need a synonym control if you have enough users because if the link is important there will be someone who will post that link with tags assigned to them you would use, too. Porn.a.licious is bookmarked often on, and since some users still try to hide their porn-bookmarks, not all tags used were really useful (sometimes, porn.a.licious was tagged with 'cars' or something like that).

Flippsonomy ossifragged in (4, Funny)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253077)

Lots if discussion going on about fragglemat. Toxic taxidermists tipptoe on people creating their own. As seen in Flippsonomatic
Flicker, flicker, *wink* *wink*. ITVTVTT-TV WTF?
Future Now makes a point in being later than yesterday. No synonyms controll mac for macintoshes. Herarchy one-word-tagged content-types.
Jojo-Joohohoho - The Blog! Notesdiscussion What-about-what?
Mobsinjection? Folksoflippsonomy-Calegari?
Taggletaggle (the federated social one)?
Wonder, wonder, google, google.
Makes me lazy, makes me hazy.
Tag! You are it.


I allways had the impression that slashdoters and the slashdot editors were stoned beatiks, but this guy obviously double dosed his morning share today.

Wot no Hierarchy? (1)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253285)

What's a taxonomy without hierarchy? This is just simple classification for indexing and it's a shame to misuse the terminology and make all the ignorant responses above right about the whole article being a blur of buzzwords (... and, God damn it, not programming jargon!)

Crapsonomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11253331)

'nuff said.

oh, please. (1)

loonicks (807801) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253346)

God I hate the quantization of internet culture. There's nothing more lame than some academic know it all spewing junk about how web facilities are creating fun new words.

Tagging is fun (1)

Earlybird (56426) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253430)

I tend to want to buy a lot more stuff than I can afford. So I add books and other items to my shopping carts, such as at Amazon. My Amazon UK shopping cart has more than a hundred items, all of which I intend to buy at some point.

Unfortunately, Amazon's shopping cart is painful to browse when it reaches that size. Also, Amazon distinguishes between the current cart and items "saved for later", and moving between them is also awkward. There's also no way to move an item from my UK shopping cart to the shopping cart, for example.

Recently, I started tagging items with [] instead of adding them to the shopping cart. Voilà -- a portable shopping cart.

Since I can get the RSS for a collection of tags, I can now easily have a bookmarklet or script that, given a tag, adds each item (based on its ISBN) to a shopping cart -- any shopping cart, not necessarily Amazon's.

Take it one step further: Have a script that looks for the cheapest stores based on the items in the RSS. This assumes the URL contains the ISBN and the script knows how to find it, but that's easy.

Since my portable shopping cart is available for all to see [] , it doubles as a gift wishlist. I've started a read list [] , too.

Call it what it is.... (1)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253494)

Why don't we just call it what it is, meta data?

How hard was that !

Arguing about the name of the thing, 'Tags', 'Folksonomies', etc. is all a load of BS as far as I am concerned. The real issue is that we have a means of attaching meta data to other datum in a way that is easy to use and easy for computer systems to digest and parse.

There is already a standard that allows this - and even allows you to extend it as needed: XML. What is lagging behind are the tools to make that an easy process for the end user, as well as a flexible data storage medium that does not have the current limitations RDBMSs [relational database management systems] incur - (at this juncture it is probably useful to bring up that there are object oriented database systems that can be useful in this vein - Zope is one example, and there are others - far more flexible and extensible than traditional RDBs which require the attentions of a database administrator for even minor changes).

Something else to consider: with the exception of a small subset of the total information store at any given moment, it is not possible to effectively systematize the classification of all information in a way that is useful to everyone. What needs to take place is for the end users of the information to also overlay their own classification system upon disparate datasets - tieing them together in a meaningful way for them. Just as every individual thinks differently and approaches various activities in different ways, so too should their information systems.

Re:Call it what it is.... (1)

Lars Arvestad (5049) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253708)

You are missing the point: Yes, it is about meta data, but what these terms (folksonomies, mob indexing) are describing is the phenomenon of attaching meta data without a prior defined tag vocabulary. It is an evolving tagging system and apparently well worth studying.

The Emperor's new clothes (1)

duncangough (530657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253532)

It's in danger of becoming a bit like the Emperor's new clothers. Tagging has been around for a long time, it's just that we all got bored of doing it - meta tags that is.

For evey page on your website you'd create a bunch of meta tags and then cross yourself three times in the hope that a decent search engine would make sense of it all.

Of course, then Google came along and made the content of the page much more important than the author's chosen keywords, which is right, in my opinion.

No, I understand the difference between an author's chosen tags and these folksonomies and I'm for the folksonomy but it's hard work - I don't see a future in user-defined tags. I do, however, see a future in scripting all this - be it by a personal proxy server or a branch of Google.

A personal proxy server written in Python []

The problem with tagging []

Playaholics : Great online games []

Metadata. I LOVE it. (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 9 years ago | (#11253841)

Its great that people are at last forcing/levering/coaxing the issue of the organization of information from the hands of geeks who pride them selves on never forgetting anything (but couldn't tell you what any of it means if you put a gun to their temple.)

Remember these are the same folks who insisted on 8.3 file names and who only recently discovered desktop search.

These are the same people who insist on interning references instead of describing relationships between data objects as exactly that,relationships between data objects. (Too complicated. It'll lead to slow retrieval. [It doesn't.] That will never work! [It does.] It'll break referential integrity! [Like you turn it ON for your database!] Retrieval will get too complicated. [Not if you use your schema properly and create wiews.]

Once somebody collects there and starts a meta meta project with the data, I think we'll actually get somewhere.
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