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Tagging vs. Categories

LincLinc Detroit Admin
edited July 2010 in Vanilla 2.0 - 2.8
My big issue with free-form tagging is that it doesn't encourage the re-use of common tags. I have to flip back to the index page to see what the "major" tags are or else I run the likelihood of marooning it in some tag I made up by accident. E.g.: Was that "feature-requests", "feature-request" or "requested-features"?

If you rely on memory, it's going to make the system fragment fast.

Then, of course, you have the guys who will tag all their discussions "boner" which puts them at that level of annoying just below what's ban-worthy. I had to turn off tagging after 2 weeks on my site after I got tired of deleting tags every night, and I probably have one of the best-behaved forums on the Internet.


  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    I put autocomplete in there in the hopes that it would encourage choosing of existing tags - I also put the help in there for the same reason.

    I also considered putting quick-links to popular (or "recommended") tags below the tag box.

    I think it's going to take some administration, for sure. But I think over the long-haul it will prove to be a winner. Either way, I want to guinea-pig all of our plugins on this forum before wide release. This is one of the first ones :)
  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    Autocomplete won't cut it from my perspective. People don't make good tags left to their own devices. Even my staff (who've been writing for us for years) make bad / redundant tags frequently, and Wordpress has auto-complete too. It requires a mental model of what makes sense in the context of the site that most casual users lack.

    Already we have redundancies:
    - themes, theme, template
    - performance, speedup
    - locales, language, translation

    And uselessly ambiguous ones like "quote" and "field." No one will ever say "You know, I'd like to read all the post about 'quote' today." :)

    Tagging is an interesting way of collecting meta data, but leaving it completely open to users AND using it as primary nav is a bad mix.
  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    Also, If I go to edit a discussion, it doesn't say what tags it currently has. Not only can't I tell if it's tagged correctly, I can't remove a bad one.
  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    PS: I don't mean to sound like a jerk. I like your experiments even when I don't. :)
  • Please, bring back categories, at least as drop-down menu...
  • One thing I'd like to be able to do in the admin is to merge multiple tags into one. Currently changing a tag to an existing one results in an error: "The specified tag name is already in use."

    If you took that one step further, you could maybe create some "automerge" functionality. For example, whenever a user enters the tag "locales" or "translation", it automatically gets changed to "languages". Just an idea. I think it would help to take the pain out of tag management.
  • I think @Geert is having two very good ideas, which combined may be a proper solution.

    If it will be possible to easily plug in pre-made lists of automerge words, like with/next to the language file, everything would be cool.
  • ToddTodd Chief Product Officer Vanilla Staff
    edited July 2010
    @TiGR, categories still exists. Tagging is just a plugin. We will also be removing the restrictions on tag names and allowing unicode characters. It will take a bit of a delicate touch is all.

    @Geert, @Dykam. Certainly having better tag admin options is a good idea. I would like to be able to specify that one tag is an alias for another tag so when I consolidate things they will always remain consolidated, even with new tags.
  • @Todd, good to hear. I meant that I asked to bring back categories to It was handy to jump to any category from sidebar. But now popular tags are being displayed only on main dicussions page. So, if I want to go somewhere, I have to visit one unnecessary page.

    That's why I asked you to birng back categories. And yes, I do understand that tags are just plugin.
  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    Really cool post about how Stack Overflow is compensating for tag synonyms:
  • edited August 2010
    Tagging should not necessarily adhere to a strict model anyway. It kind of defeats the point, IMHO.
  • What's the status on tag aliasing ? Having a robust tag system would really improve Vanilla's usefulness.

  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    Tagging is a plugin that comes with vanilla

    and there are more just search a bit ....

  • That... has nothing to do with what I asked. I am aware of the Tagging plugin.

    I was asking if there had been any more work/research done for a system of tag aliases/synonyms to prevent tag sprawl. This is the only thread that talks about such a feature. I assumed that whoever saw my post would also bother to read what I was responding to for context. ;p

  • Oookay. Apparently we're playing tit for tat now with "off topic" votes. If I did something wrong I'd prefer constructive criticism. What would have been the proper way to phrase my question ?

  • hgtonighthgtonight ∞ · New Moderator
    edited April 2013

    That is just @vrijvlinder being vrijvlinder. She likes to post comics. :D

    She didn't link the tagging plugin. She linked the auto link plugin. Your apparent lack of reading her reply might have caused the off topic flag.

    I appreciate you asking for the "proper way" to post something. As far as etiquette, I don't suggest commenting on an almost 3 year old post. I also don't suggest reacting "tit for tat" to comments. I would suggest posting a new topic, using this one as a reference, and asking a specific question.

    Welcome to the community!

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    Click on insightful, awesome, and funny reactions to thank community volunteers for their valuable posts.

  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP
    edited April 2013

    Look it is simple, you have a voice and can explain or disagree without being disrespectful . You are new here and have not earned the right to judge volunteers. If you have the chutzpah to mark a helpful post as off topic, then please don't complain about it if you get marked back. If you click it again it will unmark. It is not terminal unless you make it so. People here earn respect by participation and being helpful.

    If you don't like the answer. You can just say, thanks but that is not what I was looking for.

    You don't kick the gift horse in the mouth.

    I bothered to look for answers for you and that is what I found based on your question on a 3 year old thread. I guess I could have just ignored you, I should have just ignored you.

    I will ignore any questions you may have in the future. :)

  • mxBugmxBug New
    edited April 2013

    Thanks to @hgtonight for the tips and apologies to @vrijvlinder for the ire I've unwittingly aroused. Glad to meet you both.

    In the software and engineering forums I've visited it is (seemingly) more common for old topics to linger unless explicitly closed, and karma/reputation systems are usually taken with a grain of salt. Although I find myself in brave new territory I shall do my best to navigate its unspoken code, and exercise further caution.

  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP
    edited April 2013

    more common for old topics to linger unless explicitly closed

    Agreed but Vanilla has changed since, maybe it would be a good idea to make a new topic and refresh the thoughts about it?

    and karma/reputation systems are usually taken with a grain of salt.

    Possibly if the person is a spammer or a troll, but it does irritate to go out of my way to look for answers. To get that as a result. It is not about the points it is about the principle.

    Although I find myself in brave new territory I shall do my best to navigate its unspoken code, and exercise further caution.

    No need to step on eggshells, a little gratitude and kindness are not unspoken code at all. It is common curtesy towards others.

    Glad to meet you and welcome to this community !

  • We only have a few tagging plugins. The native one, delivered with the core. The Tagging enhanced one and lastly kdiscussiontags but I think that one only places tags in a different place.
    Don't think anyone is working solely on the Tagging of Vanilla. Core team maintains tagging plugin.
    My Suggestion would be to look at how to make a plugin and edit the Tagging Enhanced plugin.
    You're a developer now, so you can post in the developer category if you have any development questions.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

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