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superpig

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So, one of the things that we at Gamedev Towers want to bring to the site in the future is a tagging system. I've spent the day so far working on a basic prototype.

Tags are very easy to implement, but difficult to design. Here's the basic idea of tags:


  1. Allow users to attach a bunch of tags to things.

  2. Um...



The basic notion is that tags can be used to establish a 'semantic network' of content, making information easier to find. Instead of taking a user's search phrase and matching it against all the text in your database, you take each chunk of text at authortime and pull the keywords out then to make searches faster later. Furthermore, rather than trying to pull the keywords out automatically, you encourage the author to provide the keywords him or her self.

Second to the idea is the notion of incidental search - things like "related content." You do a search for the tags that the current item is annotated with, ignoring the current item, and offer it as a "see also" section. For this to work well you thus need to do more than just a basic string matching on your tags. Things like synonyms and spelling mistakes would cripple such a simple implementation.

Who gets to tag content, and at what granularity should content be tagged? Youtube allows the author to set the tags, and only per-video. Del.icio.us allows each user to provide their own set of tags for a bookmark, but they're only per-bookmark. Most blogs, on the other hand, only allow the author to tag, but tag each individual post. Which approach is right for GDNet? Do we tag posts, threads, entire forums? Do we rely on the authors to tag their content correctly, or do we encourage the community to do it en masse? How do we structure the system so that it can't be broken by incorrect tagging?

The model employed by del.icio.us is the one that I think seems the most promising, at least in part. Del.icio.us, if you don't know it, is a social bookmarking site - you store your bookmarks in the cloud, annotated with descriptions and tags, and other people can browse or search through them. Now, if a site is good, there's a reasonable chance that lots of people will all bookmark it independently - and they'll use similar tags. Once 10 people have bookmarked the same resource, you'll have a pretty good idea of what the correct tags for it are. Once 100 people have done it, you're solid; you'll have covered most synonyms, spelling mistakes, etc. Languages are a thornier issue but I'm not super concerned about addressing that quite yet.

So, we could use that model. We actually already have a bookmarking system, so that would be the logical thing to expand. Let people quickly add threads - or even individual posts - to their bookmarks to form a "personal search store" of useful content. That would be a good starting point for guiding searches, even for those people who don't bookmark anything. We could even add support for bookmarking external links. And if we were to implement something like del.icio.us, why would people use it instead of just using del.icio.us? Integration. Del.icio.us doesn't do things like tracking when pages update; while for us, providing last-post information with each bookmarked forum thread is trivial. We have insider knowledge on most of the content.

So that would be a start. Would it be enough? I'm not sure, but I think probably not. Under that system, some content would acquire tags that could aid later searches - that works out quite well, in fact, because the content that people tag will be the content most likely to be useful. Still, it leaves a lot of content untagged, and doesn't help change the way people find content in the first place.

One small extension to the system might improve things significantly: when a user posts a new content item, consider it "auto-bookmarked." While posting, have the user set up the tags that it should use. By folding this into the bookmarking system - not explicitly, of course, but internally - all new content items are guaranteed to receive tags. Question is, if this were enforced - posters had to supply tags - would they actually use it? It's an approach that leads to people using tags like "asdfasdf" just to satisfy the software. That's not helpful. There are two things that may help, though.

The first is automatic tag suggestion. It's a nontrivial task, but it may be possible to take a content item - I'm think primarily text, here - and identify key words automatically. To take a page out of Google's book, extra weight would be given to things like the title or to hypertext links. Clicking a few tags in a "suggested tags" list is easier than typing junk into a text field, so while people might apply the wrong tags, it would help stop the system getting polluted with junk tags. Automatic tag suggestion is also the only realistic way of generating tags for all our archived content...

The second is to take advantage of the path the user took to creating the content item. Take the saved searchforum that gets used to post a new thread. If that forum has some tags associated with it, then the new thread could automatically have those tags applied. That would ensure that anything posted in Graphics Programming and Theory would at least get a "graphics" tag, for example. This leads neatly to the next aspect of the system...

Currently there are a number of predefined forums on GDNet - "For Beginners," "Graphics Programming and Theory," and so on. These are categories for topics that have been defined by the GDNet Overlords over a long period of time, and are fairly resistant to change - new forums are only created in response to a surge of discussion on one subject that distorts the focus of an existing forum and drowns out discussion about other topics.

But who's to say that we're right? Many of the forums have poorly defined boundaries - where do you draw the line between General Programming and Game Programming, after all? Or Math and Physics and Graphics Programming and Theory? We don't permit cross-posting, so if you've got something in the grey area, you just have to pick one and go with it, likely costing you the expertise of people in the other one. Ideally your topic should be marked (*cough* TAGGED *cough*) for both forums.

Thing is, if we've got all our content tagged, rigid categories aren't necessary. Instead we have the concept of saved searches - a set of search parameters, the results of which are used to generate a set of topics. We flip things upside down and allow topics to self-select into "forums" instead of having to explicitly associate them. Want a forum dedicated entirely to shadow-mapping? Just set up a saved search for that. And of course, anything that the search can do, this can do too - for example, you could edit your search to exclude topics started by a particular poster that you don't like. If you start connecting it to user profile data, too - like, say, a user's stated "proficiency level" in given topics - then you can quickly construct a beginners-only (or experts-only) view.

There's obviously still a lot of value in having predefined categories. And that's one of the great things - we can still keep those, even with a search-based system; a saved search for the "offtopic" tag, titled "GDNet Lounge", and you've got your Lounge. It's self-supporting, too, as I noted above - if you go to the create-thread interface via that Lounge saved-search, then your topic will receive the "offtopic" keyword automatically, so what you've posted in the Lounge will appear to stay there.

There are other details I'm thinking about. For example, should all tags be considered equal? This post is mostly about tagging, somewhat about GDNet, a bit about forum structure... yet just tagging it "tagging, gdnet, forum structure" wouldn't capture that information. It would have to be a simple UI, like a slider bar for each tag, but perhaps users could choose to specify weights for their tags if they so desire. You no longer have to decide whether or not it's worth using a particular tag, you can just use it but at a low weighting.

I realise this is a long post. If you made it this far, well done! Care to round off your journey by leaving me some feedback?
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Sounds pretty ambitious. I like the YouTube tags, but I don't like how they appear as one-word-per-link next to the video, mainly because searching on a single keyword is useless 90% of the time unless it's a word that's pretty-much stands by itself and doesn't lose meaning if placed next to others, like "Borat".

Biggest problem I can see are from abuse or dumbasses. Moderators can keep abuse to a minimum (tagging your latest spam as "free money"), but they'll also need to be around for every dumb kid who doesn't know how to spell "lounge".

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Original post by johnhattan
Sounds pretty ambitious. I like the YouTube tags, but I don't like how they appear as one-word-per-link next to the video, mainly because searching on a single keyword is useless 90% of the time unless it's a word that's pretty-much stands by itself and doesn't lose meaning if placed next to others, like "Borat".
Yeah, I intend to support multi-word tags, plus word-forms ("program" versus "programs" versus "programming").

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Biggest problem I can see are from abuse or dumbasses. Moderators can keep abuse to a minimum (tagging your latest spam as "free money"), but they'll also need to be around for every dumb kid who doesn't know how to spell "lounge".
Well, that's the thing - things like that should disappear when you average them out over everyone applying their tags. Someone might tag their spam as "free money," but then 99 people come along and tag it as "spam"...

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Sounds pretty cool. Tagging would certainly make finding stuff and searching a bit more... interesting. Hopefully easier too.

Possibly the slider bar of tag weighting would be going a little far IMHO. The simpler the system is, the better, I'd have thought.

Sounds a bit like the whole forum thing would be a bit destabilised by perhaps searching for tags instead. One concern would perhaps be that it would be possible for a slightly unusually tagged post or topic to simply get utterly lost, unless forums are at least preserved to some extent?

Also sounds like implementing it might be a bit of a long-term project?

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Original post by sprite_hound
Possibly the slider bar of tag weighting would be going a little far IMHO. The simpler the system is, the better, I'd have thought.
Aye. You'd be able to ignore the sliders if you want - add tags and have them automatically centered on their slider - but the ability to weight tags comes in very handy if you start using them to do things like tag users (i.e. weight of tag indicates 'proficiency' or something like that).

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Sounds a bit like the whole forum thing would be a bit destabilised by perhaps searching for tags instead. One concern would perhaps be that it would be possible for a slightly unusually tagged post or topic to simply get utterly lost, unless forums are at least preserved to some extent?
Well, that's what the saved searches are for. You're right in that it would be possible for someone to post an item that has no tags at all by explicitly removing tags from it, but one of the saved searches would be an "untagged items" feed. If nothing else it would show up there. To a large extent, it's in the topic author's interests to tag their thread correctly - if they don't tag it at all and it only shows up in the "untagged" section, it won't get as many readers.

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Also sounds like implementing it might be a bit of a long-term project?
Relatively, yes.

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I'm all for this. One of my current annoyances about the SE forum is that its boundaries are so ill-defined. Stuff that ends up there usually only does so by random chance; SE-related questions generally end up scattered across the other programming forums. I think it's pretty obvious that General Programming has much higher traffic, and therefore much better chances of one's topic being seen and discussed.

Obviously that can be partially addressed by just moving threads around (and I have some thoughts on that which I'll bring up in the near future) but that's only of limited use. The main problem IMHO is questions which end up leading to very good SE discussions but are originally about something totally "unrelated" to the SE topics. I mean, who actually talks about UML here?

I think this fits in nicely with the whole "web of interrelated knowledge" concept that Oluseyi has kicked around a few times, and the oft-discussed replacement for the Begin Here articles. I see all these things as sort of complementary pieces; having a sound tagging system available makes constructing good content much more convenient.

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Original post by ApochPiQ
Obviously that can be partially addressed by just moving threads around (and I have some thoughts on that which I'll bring up in the near future) but that's only of limited use.
Indeed. Threads should be listed in both forums, and while you could move it from one forum to the other leaving a shortcut, that's hardly ideal.

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The main problem IMHO is questions which end up leading to very good SE discussions but are originally about something totally "unrelated" to the SE topics. I mean, who actually talks about UML here?
That's a good point and ties into my granularity question. While a discussion is generally on one topic throughout its course of life, it's still easy to see a discussion that would suggest different tags at different ends. Perhaps improved tools for splitting threads would help this? Failing that it's a nice example of how tags can actually 'mutate' a topic - as it turns towards software engineering, people start adjusting their tagsets to include the new terms, and suddenly it begins showing up in the SE forum.

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I think this fits in nicely with the whole "web of interrelated knowledge" concept that Oluseyi has kicked around a few times, and the oft-discussed replacement for the Begin Here articles. I see all these things as sort of complementary pieces; having a sound tagging system available makes constructing good content much more convenient.
Indeed. The prototype I've built so far is independent of any external dependencies other than user IDs. Any taggable item can request a new "tagset" in which it stores its tags, so outside the system every content item has a tagset ID number and inside the system tags are dealt with purely in terms of where they're grouped.

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I remember once seeing a program were every search created a population of search spiders, they competed against each other were rewarded for success, reproduced and mutated(with other words they did undergo a genetic algorithm)
We could do something similar:

Like you said, when someone posts a new topic he would have the option to add certain tags.
For each tag, in case there would not already exist one, a small population of spidersbots would be created and the topic would be added to their candidate lists,
this second step also happens in case the tags already exist.
The spiders would also on their own try to find topics belonging to their tags and add them to their candidate lists.
Now if a topic was on the candidate list the tag would appear in a small list of proposed tags for a topic with the option to either approve or dissaprove, once one opinion has enough support the topic is actually given or denied the tag and the spiders are rewarded( or punished?) based on the fact if that topic was on there candidate list or not.
Occasional, as the populations are small, there might be interbreeding with other tags spiderbots to raise the overall fitness of the spiders while still maintaining their tag specific strategy, association patterns etc.

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I agree with the tagging concept. My suspicion is that the basics will be a lot easier to get right than the user interface(s), so I'd err on the side of flexibility, with the aim of optimising and removing redundant code once the interfaces settle down.

Presentation will probably be the key here. I wonder if the whole notion of forum 'sections' will even make sense with a tagging system. Some people may prefer to organise the forum and thread listing using their own criteria. ("Software Engineering" and "Game Design" both have very fuzzy boundaries.)

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Original post by stimarco
My suspicion is that the basics will be a lot easier to get right than the user interface(s), so I'd err on the side of flexibility, with the aim of optimising and removing redundant code once the interfaces settle down.
Yep, I think you're right. I'm looking to make the underlying tech as modular and layered as possible, so that the user interface can easily be adapted to the right levels in the right places.

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Presentation will probably be the key here.
Hence my original statement - implementing it is easy. Designing it - from the point of view of user interface and interaction - is what's hard.

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I wonder if the whole notion of forum 'sections' will even make sense with a tagging system. Some people may prefer to organise the forum and thread listing using their own criteria. ("Software Engineering" and "Game Design" both have very fuzzy boundaries.)
That's kind of the point of the saved searches, though. If the GDNet Staff can save some searches, why not you too...?

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All around, I really like the idea. It's also one of the reasons I really like Windows Vista.

Some issues though:
1) To get people to use it the interface has to be not just simple but fast. Suggested tags, in my opinion, are needed to the point that the system shouldnt exist without them. When I'm done with a post, I dont want to go and tag it because then I need to think about what to tag it with. If you tell some and I can choose those and add others then I'm much more likely to tag something. This is the reason very very few of my LiveJournal posts are tagged.

2) I think tag weighting should not be done by the original author. That just adds another piece of UI noise and isnt likely to be used. Rather, weighting should be done by the system when it recognizes that a lot of people are tagging the item similarly. For example, MSDN blogs (and many others now) do weighting themselves and display the results using larger or bolder text (IE Blog as an example). I'm not saying that we should use a weighting for display but just to point out that it is possible and effective to have the system weight things on its own.

3) Let's say that Joe User makes a post and tags it 'Game Programming' but that most people actually view it as a very math-oriented post and not a game programming post and tag it 'Math'. If forums become just saved searches and there are two forums 'Game Programming' and 'Math' then Joe's post would originally show up in 'Game Programming'. As more and more people tag the post as 'Math' the relative weight between these two tags tips in favor of 'Math'. Obviously Joe's post will then show up in 'Math'. But does it stop showing up in 'Game Programming'? Saying yes would mean that during the beginning of a post's lifetime it's possible to switch around in the forums and that's just bad news. Saying no complicates saved searches since if the post is obviously no longer really about game programming, why should it be in that forum?

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Undoubtedly, you are a already a highly skilled programmer and still learning at that. But I feel as one person with a life and a job (final year of uni soon too no?) a project of this magnitude, that is, gamedev.net (especially maintaining what would seem to be a rather inflexible code base) will only wear at you, draining your time until you end up forming a bitter sweet relationship with it. Only worth doing because of the gratitude the community shows. But eventually, even that will cease to suffice.

So you must see what I am getting at. Perhaps you should lighten the burden on you a bit, increase the odds of the continued existence of the site by creating a team of programmers you feel would be skilled enough to aid you. Create a small task force, cabinet, whatever, who are highly skilled memebers of the community you trust and whose job would be to aid you. It is often said that part of what makes a good leader is knowing when and how to delegate tasks to others. Free yourself to do more.

Disclaimer: In case it might come across that I am volunteering myself, know that I am not. For a number of reasons I know i am woefully unqualified for this. I do not enjoy web development much and I know that i am wholly ill equipped for such a task and hold no illusions as to my programming and especially not my web programming ability.

This is but a suggestion and there is a high chance that it might have been a strongly misplaced one at that. But it was something I thought I would nonetheless give.

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Original post by Colin Jeanne
1) To get people to use it the interface has to be not just simple but fast.
Yep, I hear ya. At the very least, posts will have the tags inherited from the search they used to post. Beyond that, the text analysis engine will be trained over time to offer the most useful tags.

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2) I think tag weighting should not be done by the original author.
Bear in mind it would be done not just by the original author but by anyone tagging that thread (i.e. bookmarking it).

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That just adds another piece of UI noise and isnt likely to be used. Rather, weighting should be done by the system when it recognizes that a lot of people are tagging the item similarly.
I know what you mean... maybe I need to create some UI mockups. What I'm looking to do, mainly, is to bypass that moment of indecision where you're shown a tag and you go "hmm, does this apply, or not? Well, kinda, but I'm not sure..."

Maybe it shouldn't be exposed everywhere, but there are definitely situations where it would be necessary. For example, I'm considering allowing users to tag each other to indicate "proficiency," where a low weight indicates a beginner and a high weight indicates an expert.

Why not allow both? The system can easily weight things on its own by effectively summing the weights set by the taggers. Say each weight is a float in the range [0..1], default 1 - instead of calculating "number of times a given tag is used / total tags applied," you calculate "sum of weights given to a tag / total tags applied" instead.

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3) Let's say that Joe User makes a post and tags it 'Game Programming' but that most people actually view it as a very math-oriented post and not a game programming post and tag it 'Math'. If forums become just saved searches and there are two forums 'Game Programming' and 'Math' then Joe's post would originally show up in 'Game Programming'. As more and more people tag the post as 'Math' the relative weight between these two tags tips in favor of 'Math'. Obviously Joe's post will then show up in 'Math'. But does it stop showing up in 'Game Programming'? Saying yes would mean that during the beginning of a post's lifetime it's possible to switch around in the forums and that's just bad news. Saying no complicates saved searches since if the post is obviously no longer really about game programming, why should it be in that forum?
I'd say yes, because it's kinda equivalent to Joe User having posted it in the wrong forum originally (i.e. Game Programming instead of Math and Physics). Currently, a moderator would move it; under this system it would just implicitly move itself. I am aware that it's a problem, but there are two countermeasures: one, give some extra weight to the original poster's set of tags, and two, provide a better means for tracking your own topics and topics you've participated in (a pair of saved searches at the top of the forum listing page, I imagine).

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Oh, don't worry, I will be recruiting [smile] It's just quite difficult to do so at the moment because most of the work lies in high-level design and architecture stuff, which doesn't easily split into separate tasks. By the time we're actually implementing things it'll definitely be more than just me.

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There are other details I'm thinking about. For example, should all tags be considered equal? This post is mostly about tagging, somewhat about GDNet, a bit about forum structure... yet just tagging it "tagging, gdnet, forum structure" wouldn't capture that information. It would have to be a simple UI, like a slider bar for each tag, but perhaps users could choose to specify weights for their tags if they so desire. You no longer have to decide whether or not it's worth using a particular tag, you can just use it but at a low weighting.
What about weighting implicitly based on the order that the user enters the tags? It might be a fair assumption to make that the first tag somebody types will be the one they think is the most reflective of the content.

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Original post by jpetrie
What about weighting implicitly based on the order that the user enters the tags? It might be a fair assumption to make that the first tag somebody types will be the one they think is the most reflective of the content.
Hmm... for the first tag, that might be a reasonable assumption, but for tags after that? I'm not sure. Also, bear in mind that ideally tags will just be clicked from a "suggested tags" list rather than typed, so people won't need to think about them so much, especially if they see multiple tags in the list that they want to use.

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Original post by superpig
Maybe it shouldn't be exposed everywhere, but there are definitely situations where it would be necessary. For example, I'm considering allowing users to tag each other to indicate "proficiency," where a low weight indicates a beginner and a high weight indicates an expert.

Why not allow both? The system can easily weight things on its own by effectively summing the weights set by the taggers. Say each weight is a float in the range [0..1], default 1 - instead of calculating "number of times a given tag is used / total tags applied," you calculate "sum of weights given to a tag / total tags applied" instead.

If you can pull off floating weights without UI noise you definitely have my thumbs up.

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I'd say yes, because it's kinda equivalent to Joe User having posted it in the wrong forum originally (i.e. Game Programming instead of Math and Physics). Currently, a moderator would move it; under this system it would just implicitly move itself. I am aware that it's a problem, but there are two countermeasures: one, give some extra weight to the original poster's set of tags, and two, provide a better means for tracking your own topics and topics you've participated in (a pair of saved searches at the top of the forum listing page, I imagine).

Currently, is there a "Post moved to" dummy/redirect thread when a post is moved? I havent seen one in a long time but that might be because I use the Active Topics page and not the actual forums. Such a thing, I think, could not be implemented in the tag-based system. However, if you did have a "My Recent Threads/Posts" saved-search then that would mitigate that, as you said,

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To be honest, I don't see the attraction in amending the bookmark system, although if the bookmark page was just a view on your existing tags, that's fine. Traditional bookmarks almost seem to be the opposite of tagging; bookmarks force you to explicitly note things to be gathered in one place. Tagging usually allows you to find entire swathes of things based on a single criterion, including criteria that you didn't even know were important yet. Therefore I'd be more interested in seeing the 'top tags' list featured prominently, and for each tag, the top tags found with that one. If I tag a forum thread, I don't want to move off that page while doing so - AJAX is best, pop-up is acceptable.

I think it needs to be easy to apply these tags to articles, reviews, and journals as well as forum posts; and it needs to be just as easy to see these things in a similar context when using tags for search. I think unifying the content in that way will be very handy.

One issue that worries me is that of 'losing' threads. If you poorly tag your thread, and forums are just saved searches, then who sees it? Does it languish in obscurity? Do we perhaps have a set of mandated tags, at least one of which must appear for every thread posted? Do we have a special void search that brings up the untagged posts?

I think it would be useful to allow moderators to revoke or amend individual tags for a post. Keeping such a revoked tags list for each post might be needed if it shows that certain tags keep getting misused (perhaps by accident rather than by malice). Especially with 'For Beginners', threads are often going to start off poorly tagged, and we'll need to be able to remove tags that completely mislead a potential helper, much like we can fix up subjects currently.

That makes me think that there will be a need to press upon newbies the requirement to use the "beginner" tag, or something similar. There could even be some automatic tags assigned, such as "staff|mod|gdnet+|beginner" to threads started by the relevant groups. Which brings me onto the next matter...

I also think some moderator-only tags would be nice; 'reserved words' if you will. Perhaps a special prefix that normal members can't use. I don't have an immediate use for them, but I expect one might arise.

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Original post by Kylotan
To be honest, I don't see the attraction in amending the bookmark system, although if the bookmark page was just a view on your existing tags, that's fine. Traditional bookmarks almost seem to be the opposite of tagging; bookmarks force you to explicitly note things to be gathered in one place. Tagging usually allows you to find entire swathes of things based on a single criterion, including criteria that you didn't even know were important yet.
I disagree with that. Bookmarks themselves are just "notable" resources that you've found and think you may want to find again quickly in the future. And when considering tagging, why would you bother tagging something that you don't consider notable? Sure, maybe you're acting out of the public interest - a desire to help improve everyone else's search results - but I don't have that much faith in people. [smile] The description of bookmarking you've given only applies to isolated bookmarks - social bookmarking really changes it significantly, as it brings that "including criteria you didn't even know were important yet" aspect to it.

So I guess it depends on what you mean by "a view on your existing tags." It would be a list of items you have tagged, possibly annotated with full descriptions (e.g. you might bookmark a thread because you want to remind yourself to add a comment about such-and-such, but the thread doesn't actually warrant that as a tag).

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If I tag a forum thread, I don't want to move off that page while doing so - AJAX is best, pop-up is acceptable.
Definitely. AJAX is what I had in mind.

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I think it needs to be easy to apply these tags to articles, reviews, and journals as well as forum posts; and it needs to be just as easy to see these things in a similar context when using tags for search. I think unifying the content in that way will be very handy.
Yes. [grin]

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One issue that worries me is that of 'losing' threads. If you poorly tag your thread, and forums are just saved searches, then who sees it? Does it languish in obscurity? Do we perhaps have a set of mandated tags, at least one of which must appear for every thread posted? Do we have a special void search that brings up the untagged posts?
Heh, "all of the above." There'd be an "untagged items" saved search; posting via a saved search would automatically seed the tag list with certain tags for that saved search (e.g. "graphics", "audio", etc) - though they'd be tags you could remove if you wanted to; and if you tag your post poorly, then it will languish in obscurity somewhat. But the same is true of poorly-written thread titles now, no? It's the author's responsibility to tag and title their thread appropriately, and it's in their interests to fulfil that responsibility because if they don't their thread won't get read. Now, some users are not necessarily qualified to tag their posts with every appropriate item, but I find it hard to imagine a user who would explicitly remove the automatically-appended tags, ignore the automatically-suggested ones, and then not add any manually, unless they were trying to leave their post untagged.

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I think it would be useful to allow moderators to revoke or amend individual tags for a post. Keeping such a revoked tags list for each post might be needed if it shows that certain tags keep getting misused (perhaps by accident rather than by malice). Especially with 'For Beginners', threads are often going to start off poorly tagged, and we'll need to be able to remove tags that completely mislead a potential helper, much like we can fix up subjects currently.
I could see that being implemented, though I'm hoping that it won't actually be necessary if everyone who reads the post tags it with the correct tags (which would eventually outweigh the tags provided by the original user). Revoking tags - or negating their effect - is something I need to give more thought to.

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That makes me think that there will be a need to press upon newbies the requirement to use the "beginner" tag, or something similar.
Posting via the 'For Beginners' saved search would automatically provide such a tag in the tags list for the thread (assuming that the poster doesn't remove it, but if they're posting via For Beginners then they probably want it there).

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There could even be some automatic tags assigned, such as "staff|mod|gdnet+|beginner" to threads started by the relevant groups.
I'd rather implement the explicit user groups - staff, mod, gdnet+, etc - separately. You'd be able to search on them, but the search will use more than just the tagging system to provide information. "Beginner" is a very dangerous tag to assign to a user - what if they're a proficient 3D artist but are learning some basic programming skills in their spare time?

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I also think some moderator-only tags would be nice; 'reserved words' if you will. Perhaps a special prefix that normal members can't use. I don't have an immediate use for them, but I expect one might arise.
To be honest I'd rather avoid this. Special-casing behaviour into the tagging system makes a complex mechanism even more complex. Things like "spam" are tags that can be applied by any member, and with good reason; things like "deleted," tagging a user as "watched," etc, would not go through the tagging system.

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Original post by superpig
Quote:
I also think some moderator-only tags would be nice; 'reserved words' if you will. Perhaps a special prefix that normal members can't use. I don't have an immediate use for them, but I expect one might arise.
To be honest I'd rather avoid this. Special-casing behaviour into the tagging system makes a complex mechanism even more complex. Things like "spam" are tags that can be applied by any member, and with good reason; things like "deleted," tagging a user as "watched," etc, would not go through the tagging system.
What about spotlighting a thread (or rather, various threads at once), or as a different method of stickying a thread? These could be done by the community, but there are cases in which it might be best to have some unified source decide something.

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