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A reminder, since many people are misusing the tags. The big thing to keep in mind when tagging -- they are a search tool. What do people search for? Issues, people, and races. Tags should ALWAYS address one of those three.

  1. Use combinations of simple tags rather than inventing complex ones.

  2. Try to think of what tags people might use to search for something and use those. Remember, tags are like categories. And people don't search for "humor" or "satire". They search for issues, races, and people.

  3. Try to re-use existing tags.

  4. Keep it simple. Don't use tags that are redundant.

  5. For election blogging, add the year, state and office. So the Colorado governor's race in 2006 is tagged: "2006, governor, Colorado". Also add the dKos-style abbreviation of the race (two digit state abbreviation and race). So a governor's race would be "CA-Gov", a Senate race "CA-Sen", and a congressional race would be "CA-06".

  6. Stop with the "cutesy" tags. This is a tool to help organize content, not show how clever you are with keywords like "HUNTERRIFIC" to express how great Hunter's diary was.

  7. Use first and last names for all people. Believe it or not, people sometimes share last names.

We're in the process of retooling the comments for the site. When that is done, we've got to finish the stats page and the search. After that, we'll go back to bolstering the tags functionality.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:24 AM PST.

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More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hmm... (none)
    but what about placing tags to make it easier for the user to find the information they're looking for?  It's kind of a way to individually file away stories/diaries they like.

    Not even the best unread diaries on this site.

    by therightlies on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:24:46 AM PST

    •  That's what the hotlist is for (none)
      If you click the plus sign next to a diary or story title, it will add it to your personal hotlist.  From then on, click "Your Hotlist" over on the right side of the screen and you can see a list of diaries/stories you've added to your list.
    •  no.. (none)
      Tags are not your bookmarks!
    •  Tagging of This Diary Not Following Stated Guides (none)
      So far, these tags have persisted in this diary:

      daily Kos
      existing tags

      None of these is a person, although daily Kos perhaps resembles a person.  I don't think his first name is really daily, though.

      None of these is an issue, at least not outside of the internal workings of this site.

      None of these is a race.

      existing tags isn't even an existing tag.  Who on earth is ever going to search on existing tag?  Yet it persists.

      Deleted tags for the diary include:

      Stepford Wives
      Stepford Wife

      Of these, HUNTERIFFIC and SweetPotato are references to posting handles, and so are at least as much names as daily Kos, if not more so.  HUNTERIFFIC probably appeared for snark factor only, but SweetPotato possibly referred to her diary posted last time the meta-discussion of tags arose.  Stepford Wife and Stepford Wives are both descriptive names.  

      Fascism and anarchy are issues, not just in website maintenance but in society at large.  IMPEACH possibly refers to the impeachment issue currently discussed at length in this blog and elsewhere, and seems to be a shining example of guerilla tagging, non-Avery style; or perhaps it merely expresses an opinion of Kos' management of the blog.  

      Of these, Fascism, anarchy, and IMPEACH are all existing tags.

      Will the diary police please explain the tag maintenance of this diary?

  •  No fun... (none)
    Where would we be without tags like Lieberman is a Douche?

    I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

    by GTPinNJ on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:28:46 AM PST

    •  I Was Just About to Post Something Along That Line (none)
      I always put a bizarre sort of tag in my diary that has to do with what I'm writing about, but which I doubt anyone would actually search for per se.  I do think, however, that it might pique their interest if they say that phrase in the "all tags" page.

      Should I discontinue this?  

      Miss the Scotty Show on dKos? Catch it on The KE Report!
      Laying a Smackdown on the Ass Clowns

      by karateexplosions on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:27:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think they're funny... (none)
        and don't see the problem with them.  Sure, people probably won't specifically search for them, but if they elicit a chuckle, it's worth it.

        I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

        by GTPinNJ on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:32:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hunterriffic? (none)
    I would never use that tag!
  •  it might be easier (none)
    to re-use existing tags if they could be selected from a drop-down list.  

    "Don't blame me, I voted for the smart guy."

    by frsbdg on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:30:06 AM PST

    •  Such a list (none)
      would be about 27 feet long.

      I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

      by GTPinNJ on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:34:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe include just (none)
        the top 10 or 20 in a drop-down list.  I don't diary that often, and find the tagging requirement to be a pain in the ass.  Maybe I'm the only one.

        "Don't blame me, I voted for the smart guy."

        by frsbdg on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:53:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I did at first too... (none)
          But this site has become so big it's necessary.

          Not even the best unread diaries on this site.

          by therightlies on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:00:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't believe such a list would be useful. (none)
          george w. bush
          patriot act
          Dick Cheney
          Iraq War
          War on Christmas

          These are the top 20 used tags.  A drop down list of these tags necessarily leaves out way too many topics & would result in these tags being forced onto topics where they probably don't fit.  The top 20 list would therefore never change from its current configuration and would be ultimately unhelpful.

          I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

          by GTPinNJ on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:08:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sad state of affairs (4.00)
            when "War of Christmas" is a Top 20 tag (with a bullet).

            How about oil, environment, health care...

            Visit and follow every 2006 Senate race.

            by AnthonySF on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:32:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  how about a tags tree (none)
            If we want to use common tags, which makes sense to me, we need an easy way to access the most often used tags. Given the wide diversity of content here, to avoid a long drop-down list how about creating a simple category tree.  For example, with six or seven top line categories and ten tags each we'd have 70 tags, or adding a single layer of 6 or 7 subcategories each we'd have nearly 500 tags. Plenty.  Don't know how easy it would be to add that functionality to the drop down list (ideas are the easy part).
        •  Tags are least useful (none)
          when they are the most common.

          Here's how I used them that was useful.  I wrote a series of diaries during the fall on Rep. Richard Pombo and associated shenanigans in the Congress.

          I did a google search in for "Pombo" and for several other related topics & associates.  Went through the google results and added relevant tags (1872 Mining Act, Jim Gibbons, and whatever else).  Then, working on other diaries in the series, I pull the list to link back to relevant BG, make sure I knew what had already been covered by others to quote, and to follow/find links.  And make sure all the work done on the topic would be findable for anyone else who wanted to work on it.

          I think that works best for niche topics.  The main "topics du jour" get too many.

          I also don't get why only recent items are included in the listings.  Awhile back, there were 200+ tags for Harriet Miers.  Now there's only five.  Where did they go?  If you're working on something with more meat than talking back to what was on TV in the last 24 hours, a connection to something from months (or even a year or more) ago might have just the nugget you need to click a story together.

          I guess I just don't get it.

  •  I Assume This Will Go Somewhere Permanent (none)
    For those who don't know, Markos and crew are working on detailed guidelines on several aspects of the site, like diaries, rating, etc.  I assume this or some variation will be placed in an easy-to-find permanent location.

    The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

    by Dana Houle on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:32:07 AM PST

  •  I'm just waiting for someone to edit the tags (none)
    On this story.
  •  Have you added.. (4.00)
    ...the job title of Professional Cat Herder to your C.V. yet?

    You can't teach an old dogma new tricks. Dorothy Parker

    by garbo on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:37:02 AM PST

  •  Wrong Wrong Wrong (none)
    Tags are not meant to be a hierarchical categorization system at all.

    The reason that you can put multiple tags on a post is that you can categorize it along multiple accesses.  And people certainly do search for Humor and Satire.

    The reason that tags are so great is that they can evolve as needs and uses demand.  I agree that tags like hunterrific are kind of silly, but people may settle on tags to describe a particular kind of posts that falls outside of your preferred scheme and they might take off and be very successful and useful.  You never know, which is why you don't put limits like you're suggesting.

    Let the people tag how they will, and trends will emerge.  People have done things with flickr and delicious tags that i'm sure their designers never intended.

    •  typo (none)
      uh.. multiple AXES... don't know what i was thinking when i typed that.
    •  yes, i'd agree (none)
      The beauty of is that everyone is free to tag their bookmarks as it makes sense for them.  With a sufficiently large community meaning will flow from the tags.

      I think 'misuse' is the wrong term.  Perhaps Kos should post his recommendations / best practices for tagging rather than trying to mandate that people follow his tagging ideal.

    •  Hmmm (none)
      Food for thought.
      •  Another use for tags (none)
        I've seen several posters use tags to measure the relative attention different topics are getting at dKos: e.g., relative frequency of (negative) Lieberman discussions versus (positive) Feingold discussions.

        In that context, 'humor' and 'satire' are useful for keeping track of site trends, even if they are less frequently used for searches.

        They are also useful in identifying some of our leaden prose as satire or humor when it might not otherwise be obvious...

      •  And isn't this site so big... (none)
        that it's really a search engine unto itself?  It seems to me this site is probably never going to come up if people google certain issues or races without daily kos included in the search itself.  And attaching a few words to clarify (like satire or hinting at spelling corrections) the authors point helps prevent useless commenting.

        Not even the best unread diaries on this site.

        by therightlies on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:05:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  also, from my diary on tagging (none)
        4. Now to the tagging itself: so when creating tags it's best to keep in mind that they're most effective in being linked to by other people in a way that allows you to follow a specific subject. For example, tagging all things to do with Halliburton/Iraq/Abramof/Katrina/Dick Cheney under the tag 'Contracts' allows us to link like so: Contracts: It's a great way for those of us who know how to use Daily Kos to get reliable information in a timely manner.

        So basically if you're having a discussion on another site you can have put up a cool link that is automatically updated for anyone who clicks on it to follow.

        Not even the best unread diaries on this site.

        by therightlies on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:28:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  yes (none)
        I've searched for "humor" and "satire" tags in the past, particularly when reading about all the bad stuff going on in this country gets to me, and I need to read something light.
    •  But (none)
      people use this site for different reasons. People who are here simply for fun and interest can go with a free-form approach to tagging. Kos has a very serious and narrow purpose: to get Dems elected. His high-level schema makes sense for that. I'd suggest trying to put together an approach that includes both sets of needs, like maybe a two-part schema in which you add your own free-form attributes to the three main categories or use a fourth free-form main category.

      I've worked with structured information for several years (from the content side) and know how quickly a free-form system can become impossibly unwieldy, but also how strangling and burdensome an imposed hierarchy can be.

      A very good article on this is Resource Profiles, by Stephen Downes, a guy who's thought a lot about metadata. It's fairly technical, but the conclusion section is pretty straightforward. What he concludes is that tracking actual use is where the value of metadata lies -- i.e., something along the lines of the flickr model.

      The spring is pure, but foul it once with mud and you nevermore will find it fit to drink. --Aeschylus

      by Alien Abductee on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 01:42:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the folk process (none)
      This is common coin in music, dance, and other "evolving" types of commonly held media--people start to share something from a source, someone tries something new, people like it and it gets passed around. As new ideas evolve (and people like them, or find them useful) they get picked up by others and become part of the canon or repertoire. But sometimes they diverge, or diverge and then reconverge...That's how a modal song on one side of the atlantic becomes a simple guitar tune on the other or how we end up with a huge repertoire of swing and salsa and tango moves based on some very simple moves and so on--ah but i digress (and wax esoteric)...

      I think choosing a folksonomy (rather than some other taxonomic scheme) puts us in this sphere, with useful ideas and trends emerging from the general activity. Otherwise, why bother with a "folksonomy" at all?

      People come to general consensus or agreement on how to refer to things and the best --or most critical for the moment--emergeand you gain the advantage that you avoid the "locking in place" of other, less-flexible taxonomic systems.

      That said, it may be useful to have some simple conventions as indicated in Kos's post  (like how to refer to people (last name [comma] first name? last name only?) that can help consolidate related tags in the list and create some minimal basic structure that helps keep the common ground (again like different dances or music styles with basic steps or rhythmic patterns we all recognize upon which endless variation can be spun).

      Seems to me the object, ultimately, is usefulness. My general thinking is that as long as the user includes some "primary" tags that are general and subject-oriented enough to be found later, who really cares if they include other, more granular or humorous tags?  I may well be glad of the granular tag later when I'm looking for that article about whatsisname annd the whosawhats scandal among all the others. Tags that aren't helpful simply won't be used (and will get very very tiny...; ). And, if not disruptive, they can be a fun (and editorializing) part of the folk process.

      "So spake the fiend, and with necessity, The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds." --John Milton.

      by DemocracyLover in NYC on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 04:34:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  dkBay (none)
    Why should searching through dKos be any less fun that searching through eBay???

    Two or three key words are necessary for getting the fullest spectrum of the kind of crap you want.

    As an engineer explained to me the other day (on a different topic entirely,) this is an organic arrangement, not a logical one.

    And now, I'm going to search under the tag: "Asshat" to see what comes up!

    See you later!

  •  FWIW (none)
    I don't find them useful and have never searched for anything using tags. There needs to be some sort of search capability on the site but I don't think tags are the answer.

    A pessimist sees a glass half empty. I see a paper cup with holes punched in it.

    by Paper Cup on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:43:51 AM PST

    •  How ironic (none)
      You should probably know that the site does have a search function, and that tagging exists because that search function is absolute crap.

      You must understand, Preston, is not the message that is important, it is our obedience to it. -- DuPont, "Equilibrium"

      by DH from MD on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:51:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mileage varies (none)
      I very much enjoy the tag searches.

      I'm here to represent the needle in the vein of the establishment.

      by mhojo on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:53:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I use it to see if something was already diaried. (none)
      Because it works better than the search function (at least it seems that way).

      I wanted to do one on the Red Cross, and wanted to make sure it wasn't a duplicate.  I figured Red Cross would be a blatant tag to have used by others....

      Trying to avoid duplicates.  Seems a valuable reason to use them.

    •  asdf (none)
      Tags aren't for finding a particular diary or story that you already know exists. It's for organising things into flexible categories so that people looking for particular issues and topics can find new diaries about them easier.
  •  Should be obvious, but clearly isn't: (4.00)
    Put commas between terms: William Jenning Bryan, money shot, Ulan Bator  Not: Willam Jennings Bryan money shot Ulan Bator. Also conform to normal spelling and captitalization in the cloud. It isn't that hard.
  •  What... (none)
    I am an older mama and although I know  lots of things I really dont know what your taking about..
    •  Read the line (none)
      at the bottom of the post.  These are the tags that are supposed to be brief descriptive words relevant to the diary or front page post.

      I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

      by GTPinNJ on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 11:49:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Point by point: (none)
    #  Use combinations of simple tags rather than inventing complex ones.
    Agreed, probably a good thing.

    # Try to think of what tags people might use to search for something and use those. Remember, tags are like categories. And people don't search for "humor" or "satire". They search for issues, races, and people.

    wrong, people do look for humor and satire.  And you really shouldn't try to limit tags in that way.  You really don't know what people search for until the tags are out there.  If they're useful, they'll get used.  If they're not, they won't.  It doesn't hurt to have them.

    # Try to re-use existing tags.


    # Keep it simple. Don't use tags that are redundant.
    Disagree.  I think tagging a post about George Bush and NSA wire tapping with:

     Bush, "George Bush", "George W Bush", NSA, "National Security Agency", wiretapping, spying, scandal, "White House"  , president

    is pretty redundant but also is not a bad way of doing it, because it gives people a lot of angles into the story.

    # For election blogging, add the year, state and office. So the Colorado governor's race in 2006 is tagged: "2006, governor, Colorado". Also add the dKos-style abbreviation of the race (two digit state abbreviation and race). So a governor's race would be "CA-Gov", a Senate race "CA-Sen", and a congressional race would be "CA-06".

    very good system, i like it.

    # Stop with the "cutesy" tags. This is a tool to help organize content, not show how clever you are with keywords like "HUNTERRIFIC" to express how great Hunter's diary was.

    agreed that it's probably useless, but what does it really hurt?

    # Use first and last names for all people. Believe it or not, people sometimes share last names.

    disagree.  Why not tag a post with "Clinton" and "Hillary Clinton"?   That way people looking for stories about the clinton's in general will be able to find it without having to check two tags.

    •  Tags and Subject Vocabulary (none)
      We librarians often depend on a carefully controlled subject vocabulary to find groupings of like subjects together.  It would be good when it comes to tagging to provide some type of drop down menu of commonly used tags and to encourage everyone to look at that menu, first.  So all the variations of say George W. Bush could be easily grouped, for example.  (or going by traditional AACR2 practice, it would be: Bush, George W. 1946-  and NSA would always be "National Security Agency" as acronyms are always spelled out).  

      So I'd be for vocabulary control.  As for trying to simplify to just issues, people, and places, I'm rather skeptical.  I'm wondering if that's too limited.  I've worked with databases that tried such limitation, and I'm sometimes appalled as to the way too broad subject terms assigned for some articles when vocabulary control is too limited.  I'd rather invite more, rather than less, even if we're a more focused environment (i.e. politics).

      I guess issues can be loosely interpreted to include say "Fitzmas" but it may be difficult after awhile.  I think humor and satire should at least exist as subheadings, and as subheadings they should also be clickable on their own.

      •  this is a subject that librarians love (none)
        i wondered when the library class would respond. does anyone here go to dave weinberger's site joho the blog? full discussion of tagging aka indexing there. i am surprised that this literate crown doesn't understand subject headings (for the old-timers) or keywords (for the younger set) tags is an electronic media term, and it is really just another attempt at managing data swarm

        my favorite was the eric database, with bt broader terms and nt narrow terms and descriptors. in my retirement i haven't bothered to look at it.  i wonder how that system is faring.

        and then there is facet indexing...

  •  House race codes (none)
    One thing I have noticed is that in those states with fewer than ten House reps, people often forget that the dKos style code calls for double digit district numbers all the time, i.e., CO-07 not CO-7.  I think this point needs emphasis (or the style convention should be changed).
  •  Yeah! (none)
    Let's have all us left-leaning libertarians work together as one, and follow some rules around here!  Gotta take direction and respect the wishes of our Fearless Leader!  We can't expect to build a well-oiled political machine without some order and discipline!

    Hey, You!  With the tags!  You know who you are!  You aren't being paid to think; now, get on board!

  •  "satire" tag (none)
    searching for the tags "satire" and "humor" are about the only times I use tag searching.  Please keep using them, folks.
  •  Please remember, too, that there... (none)
    ... are no "touchbacks". I

    f you are "it" you have to tag someone other that the person that tagged you.

    The Management

    "you don't have to like what i say so long as i don't have to say what you like"

    by dennisdeveny on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:08:10 PM PST

  •  Tag searching (none)
      My po lil 'puter, I only has dial up..remember that? Some o you whippersnappers are too young, but when I was little.. wrong site sorry.
       To search tags requires 12-14 minutes to down load the whole friggin' list. If one could chose just the A's that would be helpful, or maybe A-C that would be good too.
       Five thumbs up for tags, they work great once you know what the specific tag is.  Also, i lost this bet, I haven't seen anybody saying 'hey who edited my tag, I oughta..'
  •  Tags are a silly toy (3.00)
    I'm sure their loads of fun for people. Especially at Myspace.

    But if the goal was even remotely similar to attempting to organize posts into categorical divisions for the purpose of making them accessible, tags are an abject failure.

    I've been wanting categories for years to facilitate my reading of certain issues more easily. So, while tags were not what I had in mind, I had an open mind and looked forward to their implementation.

    For my purposes, say to be able to read all recent posts on say, Global Warming, they are utterly useless.

    No system is ever going to be perfect. The content here is far too complex and cross pollinated to easily squeeze into neat little boxes. But a quick glance at the existing tags list surely must demonstrate how rediculous they are, not because of rediculous tags, but because of the number of different tags that relate to a general topic. And, of course, rediculous tags too.

    Sorting posts by topic is supposed to reduce the noise level. Tags increase it. And the fact that people can look at that tags list and not see the absurdity of it kina scares me.

    Here's how it should be - clean and simple.

    There should be existing categories like say, Environment, Civil Rights, Democratic Races, etc.

    Those categories should have sub-categories like say, Environment>Global Warming.

    And to make browsing through categories most relevant, you should be able to sort the posts withing each category by RECOMMENDS.

    You know, this is so fucking obvious, I can't believe I have to argue a case for it.

    •  this comment is "rediculous" (none)

      Not even the best unread diaries on this site.

      by therightlies on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:21:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  folksonomy (4.00)
      You raise an important distinction.  Do you want a hierarchy or a folksonomy?

      In a hierarchy, the tags are limited and dictated by the designers of the site.  

      In a folksonomy, anyone can add any tag to anything.

      Sure, you may get more noise with the folksonomy, but you often get a higher degree of resolution as well.  Things don't have to be shoehorned into a specific category where they might not fit.  It's a tradeoff.

      The one thing you can't do, however, is give people free reign and then bully them into using tags in only the way you see fit.  

    •  Disagree strongly (none)
      For example, there is a concerted effort to float the Michael Steele "Oreos" myth, notwithstanding that it has no contemporaneous support and even Steele has withdrawn it.  One of the few things keeping the truth running toward the top of Google results is the "Oreos" tag.

      You're positing a false choice.  There's no reason why people can't use the generic tags you're talking about, with the option of other more specific tags that pull up new topics that come along, like "white phosphorus," "FISA," and "Katrina."

      Tags don't hurt.

    •  So help us out (none)
      And tag the diaries with the words that you think are more approriate.
  •  I have asked before. (none)
    But this seems an appropriate spot to ask again.

    "Researching for 'Marian the Librarian'.  Can anyone explain why the Tags tag doesn't include this one or this one (the first one worked at one point)."

    Just askin'.

    •  The tags (none)
      are case-sensitive.  The diaries you refer to were posted with "Tags" rather than "tags". & thus not included in your search.

      I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

      by GTPinNJ on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:21:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have a dog in this hunt. (none)
      Perhaps I should have made it clear from the get go.

      All that stuff about tagging at the bottom of the FAQ, I did that.

      I was thinking, and it worked at the time, that Diaries about Tags would be a self updating resource.  All I would have to do is keep an eye out for new diaries about tags.

      This diary is there now.  This diary was there, but isn't anymore except through the direct link 'Tagging Tips'.

      Tags are an incredibly powerful organizational tool.  If I took the time to collect all the tags about Connecticut and posted them at My Left Nutmeg, they would be able to dynamically see what all us kossacks think about Lieberman.  Wiecker and Rell too for that matter.


      And did I mention dynamic?  Automatic updating baby, every properly tagged new diary goes in the bucket too.  I like things that are low maintenance.

      I have a diary ready to go about this stuff, but I can't explain the glitches.  Especially why the seminal tagging diary doesn't show up in the 'Tags' tag.

      Need any help?
      Oh, all I can get.

  •  And I just got the hang of (none)
    using the dewey decimal system to find diaries.

    "She was very young,he thought,...she did not understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing." -1984

    by aggressiveprogressive on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 12:19:46 PM PST

  •  Anarchy is a bad tag for this post (none)
    and I would and do search for humor and satire.
  •  Who's gonna search on '2006'? (none)
    I don't get it.  That makes no sense.  Not likely to search on "governor" either.  Can imagine searching on the name of a state, though have never done.

    Actually, I'm more likely to search on "satire", actually, than on a year like "2006", though that's only hypothetical.  Haven't actually done so.

    I used to look at the tags, and try to contribute to making some order in them.  But I gave up.  Now it's only a tool if there's a diary on a topic related to things I work on.  Sometimes I search google for results within and add tags.  The goal: to find again, so I can refer back in a later diary, or go back to follow a link.  Otherwise, I don't bother.  Can't make any sense out of it all; it's too big of a mess.

    Who's gonna search on "Democrat"? Or "Congress"?  Or "lying"?  Or "treason"?  Or even, likely, on "George W. Bush" or "Karl Rove"?  For those, hundreds of results come back, and it can take hours to look through them a dozen at a time, with no option to skip ahead.

    Google works WAY better.

  •  Folksonomies (4.00)
    Here is what I think:

    • Daily Kos hosts one of the largest "virtual communities of interest" on the Internet

    • Folksonomies are designed to leverage the collective brainpower of very large communities of categorizers

    • Daily Kos seems perfect for "folksonomy" tagging

    • Folksonomies work best when people are given maximum leeway on tagging

    With the sheer number of diaries and tags written every day, the noise in tags has been very quickly drowned in the "signal," as the top 20 tags in the tag list suggest.  All 20 tags -- and even much further down in the list -- are relevant and refer uniquely to a single issue.

    Looks like we've been successful so far.

    And, yes, I was the one who created the "Not Another Capitol Hill Blue Diary" tag.

    "We need a war to show 'em that we can do it whenever we say we need a war." -- Fischerspooner

    by bink on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 01:08:14 PM PST

  •  example of (none)
    a well-tagged diary on tagging:

    btw...should auto-pimp be a tag?

  •  and don't forget to add the Recommended tag (none)
    to recommended diaries!
  •  Speaking of "Cutesy Tags" (none)
    "King George IV"?  There already was one.  And a fifth.  And a sixth.

    "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

    by fishhead on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 01:26:36 PM PST

    •  King George IV (none)

      I'm probably in the mintority but I think King Geroge IV is an appropriate tag. For one thing, there are 15 diaries already tagged with it so it returns useful information.

      While not too many people may think to tag search using King George IV, they don't have to.  Tags can be found either by reading diary already tagged with that label and clicking on it or through the Similar Tags box that shows up when doing a tag search.

      I sense there is one group that thinks the tags should be a serious although flat taxonomy and editorial comments through tagging are inappropriate.  I haven't heard any reasons that having frivolous or cutesy tags are bad.  The only one I can come up with is that it makes the tag list long.  This problem could be solved aging out tags that both haven't been used in long time and were infrequently used, say three diaries or less.    I'm not prosposing stripping this tag data but just moving to a page that has a complete tag list and the main tag list would no longer show it.

      If a tag is helping people find the information they are looking for, it's a good tag regardless of whether its cutesy or not.

  •  How many of us never use tags? (none)
    I don't.  Well, I throw a couple on my diaries because you're supposed to.  But I've never ever used them to search for stories--not actually sure how to do so.

    Am I alone here?  Or is this a low-UID type thing, maybe (as in, we're set in our ways and resistant to change)?  I am curious to see what's going to be the deal with the new comments, though...


    -9.00, -3.69 Bush, 12/12/05: "I think we are welcomed [in Iraq]. But it was not a peaceful welcome."

    by SlackerInc on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 01:35:29 PM PST

    •  no low UID here, but (none)
      I have tried the search function to look for things only to have my computer get hung up for as long as it takes me to get bored I just don't even get what the hullabaloo is about (or it's too abstract to be of interest to me...)
  •  Sigh (none)
    This is exactly why librarians are still useful professionals.  

    The average smart witty educated person is usually just not that good at organizing information to be intuitively searchable.  Let alone thousands of them doing it on the fly and trying to be funny at the same time.

    We've got a lot of Kossack librarians, I gather, can't a better system be devised?

    "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

    by sarac on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 01:56:44 PM PST

    •  a tentative thought (none)
      A librarian I may be, but cataloging? Ick. I'm glad other librarians do it, but I wouldn't wanna. Here are my tentative thoughts on this topic.

      I love the combination of keyword searching AND subject browsing. No system is perfect. Not Dewey and certainly not LC. So I suggest:

      1. I say that within this wild and varied online community you need some standardized broad categories that diarists can initially pick from (created by Kos et al top dogs) and the posts are thusly labeled and browseable by broad categories. Sort of like the b2evolution blog program. You can create subcategories for each broad category, too.

      2. Then add a keyword section that diarists can fill in with like, I dunno, the top 5 keywords from their post. Sort of like indexing their own post. "Author supplied keywords." These keywords would be searchable only. Not browseable.

      3. Set up your search engine to either search for keywords in full text of diaries or just the keyword section - the diarist supplied kw. This would help limit the search to those top 5 keywords that diarists supply. Narrows the field. Categories and their subs would be browseable from a standard pull-down menu.

      This approach isn't perfect, in fact it may be a crappy idea. But with every diarist essentially being a lone wolf cataloger, and no hard and fast cataloging rules (like Dewey and LC), the organization system is doomed to suck.

      On the other hand, being a freewheeling reference librarian, I kind of like the free for all feel of the tags. I'm such a rebel.

      •  librarians come out (none)
        i am happy to greet fellow biblio-nannies. as a reference librarian i felt catalogers were more interested in elegance than practicality. after leaving a large research library, i became a one person librarian in a small college, responsible for everything from watering the plant to filling our card catalog with numerous SEE and SEE ALSO cards to bibliographic instruction using online catalogs. that was fun, except the daunting challenge of cataloging. now, in retiremnet, i am church librarian, a far call from engineering.

        i first learned about folksonomy at joho the blog, where you can find extended discussions mirroring our little tempest here.

        •  end goal? (none)
          yeppers! As librarians we see others in need of help and just can't help but throw in.

          A question for Kos and others who wish to organize DKos content. How do you wish to retrieve content? This should be the main focus of how and why we organize content. Take a look at this Wikipedia entry on folksonomies. Two graphs, pro and con on the current system of tagging:

          In contrast to top-down, authoritative systems of formal taxonomy, folksonomic categories may strike those of a formal turn of mind as hopelessly idiosyncratic, but therein lies their value: a folksonomic category arises from an individual's engagement with the tagged content, such that the created category is simultaneously personal, social, and (to some degree) systematic, in an imperfect and provisional way.
          Folksonomies therefore convey information on multiple levels, including information about the people who create them, and they therefore invite human engagement.
          If you agree with somebody's classification scheme, no matter how bizarre it might seem to others, you are subtly but strongly encouraged to explore other objects that this user has tagged.

          A criticism of folksonomies is that they encourage idiosyncratic tagging, increasing the complexity of retrieving content. Phenomena that may cause problems include polysemy, words which have multiple related meanings (a window can be a hole or a sheet of glass); synonym, multiple words with the same or similar meanings (tv and television, or Netherlands/Holland/Dutch) and plural words (cat and cats).[2] Those who prefer top-down taxonomies/ontologies argue that an agreed set of tags enables more efficient indexing and searching of content.

          Again, I like the idea of folksonomies and willy nilly tagging, but if you are serious about indexing and retrieving content, ya gotta clamp down and get a real system going.

  •  Tags on this site are essentially broken... (4.00)
    until you implement the ability to search for tag intersections (like you can on and most other tagging sites.)

    Your advice to avoid composite tags like "2006 governor Colorado" is counterproductive unless users can actually search for individual diaries that have multiple separate tags like "2006", "governor" and "Colorado". As it is now, you have to run three separate searches, each of which returns too many hits to be useful.

    Without the ability to use multiple tags to narrow down a search, you basically just have a one-level hierarchy with way too many categories. You have all the disadvantages of categorization and tagging, with none of the advantages of either.

    •  agree with (none)
      "You have all the disadvantages of categorization and tagging, with none of the advantages of either."

      I think that's TBD, so we use them and wait 'til they get the kinks worked out. But doing that will help people tag more clearly.

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. ~~ Mohandas Gandhi

      by TimeTogether on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 03:27:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If that's the case, Markos needs to say so. (none)
        It seems like most people here are confused about the purpose and practical use of tags, and I think a lot of that stems from the fact that Kos' tagging advice doesn't make sense with the current implementation. Instead of blindly fighting everyone who's trying to make the system work as it stands, Markos needs to explain whatever upcoming tag search system we're actually supposed to be designing tags for.
        •  I don't have any knowledge of future plans (none)
          just that he noted some technical things were TBD, so just my 2 cents, guess & gosh, I also read scoop-dedicated blogs, so I see discussions there.

          My point is, I don't think we can go there yet, to just use these as they are now and deal with it.

          First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. ~~ Mohandas Gandhi

          by TimeTogether on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 04:36:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Idea: Only TUs can create new tags (none)
    but anyone can apply instances of those tags to stories once the tags are created.

    Or perhaps only allow a user to create one new tag per week, but any number of instances of tags.

  •  You know what's wrong with the tags? (none)
    There are tags that I am absolutely certain exist, yet they do not appear in the official list of tags.

    I wanted to add a tag to a story about my favorite wingnut site,, so I searched in the list for an existing one, but couldn't find anything.  As a consequence, I created the new tag "," only to find later that there was already a tag called "GOPUSA" that had like 6 stories attached to it.  As of this writing, neither of them appears in the list of tags, and I used my search function and sorted alphabetically and everything.  What's up with that?

    Maybe this has been addressed upthread, but I don't have time to check, as I am about to go see King Kong (the movie, I mean).

  •  Tags??? (none)
    I am a TU and I can't begin to figure out Tags - where to find them, how to apply them or whatever the fuck use they are supposed to be. I'm sure that our experiences here at Dkos can be very rewarding without Tags.  

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 03:16:59 PM PST

  •  good priorities (4.00)
    We're in the process of retooling the comments for the site. When that is done, we've got to finish the stats page and the search. After that, we'll go back to bolstering the tags functionality.

    I think you've got a good priority list.  

    The tags are a clear win, despite my doubts when they were introduced.  I think the pattern of (ab)use here is similar to that seen elsewhere.  I'm impressed enough that I've started monitoring tags in my downloads.  

    It is clear you get it that tags are not a replacement for search, nor are they a controlled vocubulary with defined heirarchy - they are a folksonomy.

    Fiddling around with trying to make tags into search or categories is likely to be mostly wasted effort.  Moving on to other areas is the right thing to do.  When you do come back around to tags, things I think would help are similar to suggestions already made.  Automatically deduping and grouping similar tags, and killing "banned" tags periodically [at least once a day, maybe once an hour] would be a big help.  Just a very little of this "gardening" type activity will clear up tags in short order, as people give up on replacing banned tags and get used to the single accepted form for each group.

    Stats and search are next up.  That is great!  I hope people will begin now to think about what they'd like in those areas.

    I have somewhat fixed notions about those subjects, and I know the results will be all the better if discussions on perceived goals and objectives precede implementation.

    So, what do people want to see in terms of stats?

    A concrete starting point would be the summaries I post daily and weekly of recent diaries that attracted a lot of attention (got lots of recommendations, collected lots of comments).

    Missing from those summaries, and from the site since social democrat wandered off, are similar summaries of highly rated comments.

    A third possibility would be to provide each user  with a summary of like minded kosmopolitans, those that recommend the same diaries, or that user's diaries.

    This is already too long, so I'll leave thoughts on search for another day.

  •  That list of tags is an awesome resource! (none)
    Great reading to be had clicking the tags - I found eclectic and fun stuff at WTF, and every other place I visited.
  •  Good timing- (none)

    You have the competence to go the extra mile, unlike the comatose blogs who have already sold out.

    Notice how the rants come from your average right-wing stiff? Do the world a favor and tell the drama queens to get lost.

    What comes natural for you, will take them a lifetime.

  •  uh oh (none)
    Looks like "bibliographic control" is rearing it's ugly head. Rules for Tagging. Is an official Kos American Tagging Rules far behind? Will your post be automatically dumped if it doesn't use an approved KATR tag?

    What about tags that use the lingo of this unique online community? In cataloging world, local lingo like Hunterrific can be useful. In fact, some librarians (you know, those fancypants professional organizers of information) would recommend it.

    But then again, I'm just a reference librarian. What do I know. I hated cataloging.

  •  "Recommended" tags (none)
    I've been finding them very useful on days when I don't have much time to spend reading dkos diaries. They allowed me to open on one diary on the current Rec List that night, click on the tag saying Recommended, and the entire day's crop of recommended diaries would appear for my reading pleasure.

    But for some reason, today I was very disappointed to find that the recommended diaries no longer included that tag, so I may have missed some of the great diaries from earlier in the day. Is this part of your tagging "cleanup" efforts? If so, please consider reinstating the use of the Recommended tags in the diaries that make the Rec List.

  •  I want to search for humor, jokes (none)
    When I need a good laugh, or when I want to demonstrate the website. .  .I sure would like to be able to search for humor, jokes, satire, cartoons, photoshopped images, etc.

    Also, I'd find it easier to skim the available tag list if it were presented in vertical columns rather than horizontal paragraph style.

    And how about a simple starter of "Current Events" and "Off Topic"....with subheadings?

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