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Please begin with an informative title:

That's right. Bad. Bush is bad. We know that, but he's also bad as a four-letter -word- tag. Use George W. Bush for the current president, Bush Administration for his corrupt cabal, and proper names for any other shrubs.

The FAQ is very clear on the subject of tagging, and using first and last names. I'll show you just how clear over the flip.

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Tagging clarity as per the FAQ:

When using a person's name as a tag, use both their first and last name and use proper capitalization.

If there is an ambiguity, include middle initials (with a period and space following each initial). For example, don't use Bush as a tag; use the George W. Bush tag or the George H. W. Bush tag depending on whether the diary refers to the current President or his father, or Laura Bush for President Bush's wife, etc.

Do not use titles. Use John Kerry, not Senator Kerry or Senator John Kerry.

Got that? Libby is bad; Scooter Libby is good. (As a tag, not a person.) I added Scooter to over 30 "Libby" tags on the Fourth of July (preferred over "July 4", "July 4th", "4th of July", and a bunch of other variants). Never, ever, ever use only a last name for a tag. Yes, this means you.

We once had over 3100 Bush tags, and the tag librarians and other helpers took 110 days to convert each of them to the appropriate correct tag. But people keep reusing the tag, even though it's ambiguous. An average of over six new diaries a day show up with this invalid tag, and the tagging software doesn't stop invalid tags.  As I type this, there are 30 "Bush" tags that need fixing, and the same for other tags that frequently recur.

We need your help.

First, it saves everyone a lot of time if you get the tags right the first time. I've listed other common mistakes below. You can check the Daily Kos FAQ. The officially listed Tagging tips (the link is there every time you enter or edit tags) are not quite as up-to-date as the FAQ; number 5 (about elections) is badly out of date (see common mistakes below!), but the rest of the information is solid.

Second, if you can visit the Daily Recurring Tags on the cleanup jobs page, and fix a few every day or two, that would help us keep ahead of the game. These are tags that were fixed months ago, but keep getting reused, usually several times each day. If someone has already cleaned these out, you can check out the Frequently Recurring Tags, which are used a couple of times a week. Both of these sections have explanations on how to use them; please read and heed them. And, of course, you can always help with our current cleanup jobs. Note: editing tags does require that you are a Trusted User. If you aren't a TU, remember this paragraph for when you become one. :)

Third, avoid these common mistakes:
1. Use 2008 elections as a tag when talking about the elections in 2008, and 2008 only when talking about a non-election topic or event that requires a year tag to distinguish it from the same thing happening in another year. 2007 elections should be used for this year's elections in Virginia, Louisiana, and other places.
2. When talking about the Presidential race, the tags are few and simple: 2008 elections, President, the candidates' names—first and last!—that are referred to in the diary, primaries if you're talking about one or more primary, debate if a debate is involved. There may be others, but it's unlikely. Don't use the word "Presidential" alone or in a multi-word tag, or "race" in the meaning of "campaign", or the year with any other election-related words.
3. Don't use redundant tags. For example, "FOIA" and "Freedom of Information Act" mean the same thing. Use the most common one only—in this case, FOIA.
4. Don't use odd characters or punctuation. No exclamation marks, question marks, equal signs, double quotes, asterisks, pound signs, or any other things that mess up the tag search functions.  Commas should only be used to separate tags. Periods should only be used on initials or a very occasional abbreviation (Ford Motor Co.); hyphens only when required in a word; apostrophes only when required for possessive words. Single spaces only between words in multi-word tags (two spaces make a different tag from one space). Don't use semi-colons. They're wrong.
5. Don't use phrases for tags. Unless it's the name of something—congressional committees are notoriously long—a tag over five words is almost certain to be one that no one will ever search on. It may mean something to you; it won't to anyone else.
6. Avoid cutesy tags. If you use them, tag librarians will get rid of them. It takes us time, and we'd much rather be getting rid of other unhelpful tags: there are currently 28,784 singleton tags that we're chasing after, most of which are not valid ones. Adding extra invalid tags to our list makes us cranky.

If you want more information about tagging, there are a number of diaries out there with the tag tags that discuss tagging in greater detail. A recent one (only three months old!) is SarahLee's Welcome New Users (Tag Talk) 04/06/07, which covers tagging in a more orderly, comprehensive manner.

As she notes, The Centerfielder created a Search for existing Tags tool, which allows you to search on any string you want, and also set a minimum and maximum number of diaries the resultant tags can be in. I never use the Daily Kos tools any more. One caveat: the tag list for this tool is refreshed once a day, so you won't see a tag you've added for the first time until the following morning.

© sardonyx; all rights reserved

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Originally posted to sardonyx on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:56 PM PDT.

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