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More than one category for AskMes? June 29, 2008 5:44 AM   Subscribe

I, too, would enjoy a pony: the ability to select more than one category for an AskMe question.

Recently I posted a question that could have been categorized as either "food/drink" or "sports/exercise" (it was about nutrition for strength training). With the advent of MyAsk, I figure the ability to get questions that genuinely overlap categories in front of the appropriate faces can only be a usability plus.

I find it hard to imagine ever needing to be able to select more than two; at that point you're probably doing it wrong and need to tighten up your question. And of course, you're under no obligation to select a second if your question fits snugly into the one.

What do y'all think? Full disclosure: I sent this request to the modz via the contact form some time ago but didn't hear back. Understandable, they're busy folks. But I also didn't do a good job of fleshing out my reasoning and figured I'd try that here and see what the hive thinks.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas to Feature Requests at 5:44 AM (22 comments total)

Recently I posted a question that could have been categorized as either "food/drink" or "sports/exercise" (it was about nutrition for strength training)

Actually, the categories you mentioned are "food & drink" or "sports, hobbies, & recreation". Since the main focus of your question was nutrition, I would have chosen neither of those and gone with the "health" category.

So no, I don't think the ability to assign multiple categories is needed, especially since you can assign multiple tags.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:35 AM on June 29, 2008


You got your ontology in my folksonomy!
posted by blue_beetle at 7:44 AM on June 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thanks for clarification, Brandon Blatcher. I wasn't able to quote accurately because my question's not a week old.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 7:47 AM on June 29, 2008


This is good. I've been waiting to post a question about sex and vacuum cleaners.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:48 AM on June 29, 2008


That would still fit in one category wgp: grabbag.
posted by netbros at 7:51 AM on June 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


My opinion on this is that it'd be a lot of work to address a problem that's not really much of a problem. Categories are occasionally a bit fuzzy/borderline from some questions, but the goal of the category listings isn't to insure 100% accuracy but to be a handy way to do somewhat focused browsing.

Reworking the database to accommodate option extra category tags, reworking the posting page to deal with user understanding and correctly selecting or electing not to select a second category, plus an extra bit of spit-take code to make sure they don't pick the same thing twice, reworking any other parts of the site that interact with category in order to handle the new feature correctly: it's non-trivial. I don't personally see the benefit outweighing the work required to pull it off.

I sent this request to the modz via the contact form some time ago but didn't hear back.

Actually, Jessamyn wrote back to you that same day with a brief "eh, system works as is" kind of response. I had meant to get back to you to, but she had hit the key points -- tags + category does a good job for increased specificity and categories aren't really treated as key ID/search data anyway -- and I got busy and forgot.

posted by cortex (staff) at 8:45 AM on June 29, 2008


I wrote back to you an hour after you emailed.
My thoughts, and I'll be happy to let others chime in, is that this is a pretty rare thing to happen *and* it's okay to use to tags to fill in where category might not be totally perfect. I get the feeling, based on not too much, that people don't use categories that much for searching, that it's a lot more tag based.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:53 AM on June 29, 2008


Yeah, what she said.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:04 AM on June 29, 2008


See, that's what happens when you have 2 or 3 whiskey sodas—you can't keep up with your e-mail.
posted by languagehat at 9:27 AM on June 29, 2008


And remember, "2 or 3" = "at least 5."
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:37 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, then. Solid point about the tags, that's something I hadn't taken into consideration. And if it's a buttload of work then I wouldn't even want it considered. Ain't no thang.

I just checked the spam filter in my Yahoo mail account and sure enough, there's Jessamyn's reply. Sorry I missed it. Also, please don't think that this was intended as a Wah wah, teh modz iz ignor me! callout or anything. I thought that maybe I'd done a crap job of explaining myself and wanted to give it another shot + was interested in what other members thought. And now I know that what they think this: do not want/need.

So, uh....close 'er up, maybe?
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 9:44 AM on June 29, 2008


How should I categorize my question about those brown paper sacks full of random packs you get at baseball card collecting conventions?
posted by carsonb at 9:50 AM on June 29, 2008


Also, please don't think that this was intended as a Wah wah, teh modz iz ignor me! callout or anything.

No, those are usually a lot more distinctly whiny when that's what's really going on. But it was pretty weird on our end, so I'm glad it ended up getting explained.

*shakes tiny fist at Yahoo*

How should I categorize my question about those brown paper sacks full of random packs you get at baseball card collecting conventions?

sports, hobbies, & random allocation
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:06 AM on June 29, 2008


Yeah, having conversed with Jessamyn and Matt about site stuff before I know that you folks seem to do a shockingly good job at responding quickly. That's actually why I was a little puzzled when I didn't see anything back--it seemed way more plausible that my initial request had somehow not made it to y'all. This MeTa just seemed like a good opportunity to try to better phrase what I was going on about (although on review I more or less just ended up saying the exact same thing. Guh).

You're all just lucky I have so much housecleaning to do today. Otherwise, believe you me, I would have flamed out so hard. SO. HARD.

Maybe next weekend.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 10:20 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Remember to sell tickets.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:10 AM on June 29, 2008


We need a category cloud.
posted by Artw at 11:43 AM on June 29, 2008


We need a flameout.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:32 PM on June 29, 2008


FORGET YOU MEATBOMB YOUR A BUTTHOLE I HATE YOU ALOT AND I ALSO HATE THIS WHOLE INTERNET WEBSITE ALL OF YOU CAN SUCK M

(sorry, that's all I have time for right now)
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 2:54 PM on June 29, 2008


zing!
posted by blue_beetle at 3:17 PM on June 29, 2008


OH SHUT IT UP STUPID BLUE BETLE HAHA THATS RIGHT YOUR NEXT I MEAN DAMN YOUR JUST SO STUPID I HOPE YOU GET CANCER OF THE STUPID AND DIE OF STUPID CANCER SO MAYBE YOU SHOULD JUST SHUT UP BEFO

(seriously, at some point the people we're waiting on to show up for board game night will get here and i will stop doing this)
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 3:28 PM on June 29, 2008


Since we're all here, I'd like to add that I'd like a pony as well.




Oh, it's not related to the site -- I'd just really like an actual pony. Preferably wearing sneakers.
posted by loiseau at 3:32 PM on June 29, 2008


So, then. Um. Maybe I should removes jessamyn, mathowie, cortex and pb from my "always spam" listing.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:38 PM on June 29, 2008


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