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Author Topic: Should we add tags to forum?  (Read 3846 times)
mouser
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« on: June 26, 2010, 04:59:01 PM »

There is a nice tagging system for the simple machines forum (smf) system we use to power the donationcoder forum, which just got an update.
I wonder if it's time for us to install it here.

http://custom.simplemachi...rg/mods/index.php?mod=579

As you can see from the screenshots, it allows people to assign tags to topics; topics can then be browsed by tag, or by clicking on a tag cloud.




The benefit is that is provides another view into forum contents.
The downside is that it requires some maintenance and effort to tag stuff, and it might create a little more "noise" and complication when posting.
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superboyac
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2010, 05:26:10 PM »

My opinion is the search function here is so good (best I've ever seen) that tags won't add that much more to it.  I've never been a big fan of tags anyway.  They are useful in theory, but it depends so much on the users.  You can't enforce any systematic rules on users, so it can quickly just end up doing nothing of any importance.  For example, let's say someone is looking for topics about Excel, and there are 10 posts about excel, but 2 of them didn't bother tagging "excel", but that's the one you are looking for.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.  Nothing tops the DC search function.
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daddydave
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2010, 06:10:11 PM »

I agree with superboyac, it would only seem to be useful for cases where the tags are not actually in the text of the posts, which to my mind, is almost never. I also have been in forums that allowed tags and it seemed like too much hassle to use the feature.
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Innuendo
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2010, 06:18:11 PM »

While superboyac and daddydave make excellent points the question in my mind is while the benefit of adding tags may at times be minimal what is the downide to adding them? I can't seem to think of any.

Minimal gains in searching are still gains.
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superboyac
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2010, 08:16:14 PM »

While superboyac and daddydave make excellent points the question in my mind is while the benefit of adding tags may at times be minimal what is the downide to adding them? I can't seem to think of any.

Minimal gains in searching are still gains.
true.  i don't think adding them hurts one way or the other.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2010, 09:15:21 PM »

The downside (I think) is if the existing search system and the tags do not integrate, then someone may end up using one or the other (and not both) and thus missing content, especially if they favor the tagging system for which less content will obviously be available than for search (which inherently has access to the entire forum content store). In short, if someone comes and tries to find something using *just* tags, they're likely to be disappointed. At the least a "didn't find what you're looking for? try our search function" text and link should be added to the tag searching page I think.

Also, does the plugin let you tag other people's posts or just your own at the time of posting?

- Oshyan
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daddydave
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2010, 09:37:29 PM »

In addition to wasted time for the searching user (esp, newcomers), it seems like it would wasted time for the admin as well.

Minimal losses in usability and time are still losses Wink
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rgdot
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2010, 10:21:10 PM »

To me tags are useful for the same person creating them (like if I use tags in my note-taking app).
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2010, 10:27:15 PM »

The way it's using a tag cloud, I'm not sure it helps at all. 90% of the Living Room in my opinion is untaggable.

It would only be good if there's a system where we can suggest tags that mouser or mods can enable for topics.

The purpose of this is for all those things like free e-books especially older threads where users might not think of searching for it.

I.E. a GOE that can be filtered to index cards or ideas can really help filter things out but it goes to hell if we each not only use different tags but we're wasting it on topics that are better off searched for than tagged. (I.E. outliners/PIMS/Mindmaps)

The key really is filtration though especially for those threads with hordes of pages. Those are the ones that can benefit from tags but those are also the ones that can least benefit unless there was some way to connect the relevant posts together while taking out the mid-between posts that have something to do with some other application.

Edit: I forgot the most important issue against tags: you can do this in a better and separate site and mouser if I recall expressed something about using a social bookmarking service. The only flaw with such service is that they can't narrow and separate two posts that may be about two different things in one thread.

That said, I don't think it's possible with forum tags too though because you have to really really know which posts after which posts connects to get a filtered conversation.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2010, 10:30:30 PM by Paul Keith » Logged

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superboyac
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2010, 10:36:36 PM »

All i will say is this:
I have never had a problem finding what I was looking for in this forum.  Never.  In other forums, i continually refer them to here as an example of how the best way to do a forum is.

So tags or no tags, i am 100% sure that mouser will do it in the best way possible, because that is his track record.  I'll bet that if mouser implements tags here, I'll be telling people, "See, this is the way you should do tags."
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mouser
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« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2010, 10:50:52 PM »

superboyac, we should remember that when we appreciate the search function on the donationcoder forum, it's not me that deserves thanks, it's our beloved member Wordzilla, who spent a lot of time rewriting the default smf search functions to give them dinosaur power, creating what he called the "zillarank" system:
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superboyac
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« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2010, 11:05:15 PM »

superboyac, we should remember that when we appreciate the search function on the donationcoder forum, it's not me that deserves thanks, it's our beloved member Wordzilla, who spent a lot of time rewriting the default smf search functions to give them dinosaur power, creating what he called the "zillarank" system:
Wow, wordzilla,  i didn't even know about that thread.  Amazing.  The people here are just the best, I'm not just saying that.
but mouser, you still deserve credit for masterminding the culture behind this website.  it is unique.  it's the only website that I visit daily, even with my limited time.

Sometimes I'm at work, and I wish i could hire some of the people here to help me...
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daddydave
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2010, 07:25:14 PM »

Well, I thought of a possible use case for tags in a forum. Be patient, I have to set it up.

Say there's a forum that rules with an iron hand. Everytime someone asks a topic that has already been asked, they are tersely told to search the forums. Problem is, the person posts the topic because they already did a search of the forums, and all they could find were these terse responses saying to search the forums.

Suppose further the search engine can be tweaked so that if a thread is tagged with a certain tag, it gets the bottom priority in search results or is ignored completely. These "search the forum" threads could be tagged by the admin for that purpose, so that the n00b could actually find what he is looking for by searching the forums.

This case doesn't seem to apply to the people-friendly and search-friendly DonationCoder forum, but I wanted to give an idea of when it might be useful.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2010, 07:36:41 PM by daddydave » Logged
Innuendo
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« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2010, 08:00:46 PM »

Suppose further the search engine can be tweaked so that if a thread is tagged with a certain tag, it gets the bottom priority in search results or is ignored completely. These "search the forum" threads could be tagged by the admin for that purpose, so that the n00b could actually find what he is looking for by searching the forums.

Reminds me of what they do over on the DD-WRT forum. The most important thread that has all the must-read materials for newbies is named The Peacock Thread. That way all someone has to do is search for peacock & the desired thread comes right up.
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erikts
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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2010, 10:04:48 PM »

I would love to use tag to bookmark specific / interesting post (not thread, since we have Thread Mark function to bookmark thread) but according to screenshot, only poster can set tag for his/her post.
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mouser
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« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2010, 10:08:48 PM »

poster and those with special permission to edit all tags.
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app103
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« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2010, 05:32:49 AM »

poster and those with special permission to edit all tags.

If that means I would be expected to tag a post when I start a new thread, I'd rather not. I hate tagging stuff.
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