Originally posted in my old blog at My Opera
Tagging. Everyone's doing it.
It's great for categorizing things like blogposts or photos into related groups.
Here's even more tagging issues! :whistle:
Tagging in general, tag clouds and social problems. Whoa.
How often does it actually help to have a big list of tags next to your blog's post?
Rather than displaying a tag listing, or maybe in addition to it, displaying something that's related to the item would be a lot better. So what's related? Things with the same tags and similar content, of course. Some sites already do this, but a lot (including this one!) don't.
This applies to tag clouds as well: Is it really useful to have that? Nope. Sometimes the tags in the cloud get so small it's difficult to read them and it can be very confusing with a lot of small tags such as HTML, PHP and CSS dropped among other words. Sure, it might be a nice way to see what's the most used tag in a blog, but do you even want to know which tag the author likes the best? I don't. It's just a waste of space.
I would remove my tag cloud if it was possible to give a list of categories I blog about in the sidebar, but that's missing from My Opera.
And how many people get tags the wrong way? A lot of people tag things simply by thinking of any words that just might be related to their post. If I did that, this post would have a dozen tags: blogs, blogging, tags, tagging, improve, improving, html, php, css, epic, win.
That doesn't help anyone. If each and every of your posts has a dozen of semi-random words, you aren't categorizing your posts, you're just adding keywords. Most of my posts have just a couple of tags, which are related to the posts and can be used to find other posts about the same topics. This creates useful categories, while still letting me to use more than one for each post if I want to.
One more issue is caused by the fact that people are different. Some tag in my blog could give you a completely different topic on an another blog. This is not a particularily big problem, but it's something to think about nevertheless. This may also be noticeable on sites like del.icio.us where a lot of people tag the same items. You would need to establish a certain tagging methodology to fix this. Danbooru apparently has a system for doing this, at least I've noticed some synonym tags linked together. You could have something like that to link similar tags together to remove some extra “tag noise”.