Tags and Spontaneity
By DaveLevy on May 23, 2006
We broke for coffee and I bumped into Elias Torres, one of the roller development team, so we had a long chat about tags on the web , looked at how to make roller's implementation better and how I could become more helpful by creating an environment to test this stuff. He pointed out that my Qube (currently not working) needs replacing.
We tried to remember the state of our debate as we left it. Elias co-authored a paper "Ranking Bookmarks & Bistros", one of the conclusions is that tagging software should not be too helpful in prompting for tags; the spontaneity of the tag author is an important part of the folksonomy. My view is that a tagging correspondent will have a personal structure to the tags they use, in my case I have a small group of 1st order tags, which will always be used, or nearly always. I believe that my contribution to the folksonomy is more effective if I am helped to keep to my structure. For my medium order tags, I want to be prompted as to my spelling and which words I use to imply meaning. Elias' argument is that the collective expression is stronger if more spontaneous (I think). I think that part of our disagreement is that I focus on tagging for personal use and at time of discovery and hence initial tagging, Elias is concerned about the stranger looking for wisdom in the tag base.
For instance for my retrievals I like to go in large or medium and refine my queries using the del.icio.us "+" function adding filters to my query until the page is small enough to inspect. (Is this a binary chop?) It all reminds me that I need to ask him for the data model (author, articles, articles, tags) numbers and growth rates. I wonder if Linda or Will can give them to me from blogs.sun.com.