Ajax-enabled tagging July 22, 2007 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Would it be hard to enable AskMe's tagging system with a bit of AJAX so existing tags are pulled from the database as you type them -- kind of an "auto-recommend" feature -- in order to prevent redundancy?
posted by deern the headlice to Feature Requests at 1:05 PM (18 comments total)

I just made a post and didn't know whether to tag it "home", "homes", "homeimprovement"...It seems like an auto-suggest feature would help nudge people toward maintaining some consistency and standardization of the tags they use, otherwise variations of tags could go on endlessly, making the taxonomy less useful.

Apologies if this has been suggested before.
posted by deern the headlice at 1:08 PM on July 22, 2007

One could argue that an endlessly redundant taxonomy would be the most useful tag database. "home", "homes", and "homeimprovement" are all good tags.
posted by carsonb at 1:12 PM on July 22, 2007

On a similar note (sorry to derail) everyone go tag your old posts! It's a Sunday, what else have you got to do?
posted by carsonb at 1:14 PM on July 22, 2007

Leave it alone.
posted by public at 1:40 PM on July 22, 2007

seconding some sort of suggestions mechanism. I've only been using metatalk for six months but when I post a question I find the whole tagging thing confusing - better, for me at least, if a list of candidate tags was available such as 'deern the headlice' has suggested.
posted by southof40 at 1:53 PM on July 22, 2007

This is something on the longer list of "things we'd like to roll out" In the meantime it's perfectly okay to add more tags if you're not sure that the "right" one is, or check who is using that tag and see which ones are the most popular.

http://ask.metafilter.com/tags/homeimprovement (51)
http://ask.metafilter.com/tags/homes (19)

I added the tags bricks and painting to your post as well.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:11 PM on July 22, 2007

This sounds like a good feature. I'm all for putting as many tags as possible on something, but I don't know why this would hurt.
It might help people catch a handful of doubles on the blue, particularly if it's about an unusual topic (or, for newsfiltery articles like the Neocon Cruise, if people tagged things with the author's name).
posted by dismas at 2:31 PM on July 22, 2007

The big thing we're working on is something like that, a double-catcher. "Hey did you know that a similar post was made with the tag 'jinglebells' in the past week?" Of course you have to find a way of finding what's an improbable tag, like that one, and what's not, like 'youtube' or 'politics.' So, it's still something we're thinking on, but it would be neat to be able to do it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:36 PM on July 22, 2007

It's safer to tag things for what they're not. Your question obviously isn't about GeorgeBush or Iraq, yet you didn't indicate that in the tags. Something like "NotIraq", and "NotGeorgeBush" would make it easier for the rest of us not to not find it.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:41 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Why that'd be absolutely delicious! (And is one of my favorite little features of del.icio.us, in fact.)

There's a lot that could be done with tagging that isn't, yet -- time will hopefully blacken the plains with veritable herds of tag-related ponies.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:57 PM on July 22, 2007

var new Pony;

Auto suggest scripts exist in several AJAX tutorials and shouldn't be too horribly hard to add to MeFi. I don't know about the database performance that comes up from a zillion db queries as people type tags, though.


Even better would be to put the auto suggest engine on steroids, and have it suggest other tags that are commonly found with this tag. For example:

I tag a post: garbage
MeFi says: Posts tagged garbage are also often tagged: rummage, refuse, waste, garbagedisposal

I'm generally against feature creep, but I believe that when it comes to user contributed content, you need to make things as easy and dummyproof as is humanly possible otherwise the user contributed content lacks quality. I think making tagging as intuitive and easy as possible, especially for the less web-savvy, is a Good Thing(tm).
posted by twiggy at 6:38 PM on July 22, 2007

Man, I hate that kind of thing. Anything that "automatically completes" something that I'm trying to type should be disposed of immediately and never spoken of again.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:47 PM on July 22, 2007

The idea of a "folksonomy" is not that every article will be tagged perfectly, but that you can use the tags to find articles (note: not necessarily every article) related to what you're interested in. If you don't find what you're looking for, you can just search on different tags.
posted by kindall at 6:51 PM on July 22, 2007

Afroblanco: auto-suggest doesn't generally auto-complete. You just see a dropdown of suggestions as you type that does not interrupt your typing at all... You can type as you please and just ignore the "suggestions" if you don't want to use them.
posted by twiggy at 6:53 PM on July 22, 2007

I think auto-suggest features (like google suggest) are nearly as annoying as auto-complete features. I want programs that just leave me alone and let me do my thing.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:12 AM on July 23, 2007

I think auto-suggest features (like google suggest) are nearly as annoying as auto-complete features. I want programs that just leave me alone and let me do my thing.

So, seeing something below what you're typing distracts you enough to be irksome?

Fine.. then maybe they can add a little "x" button that says "don't suggest stuff for me anymore in the future"...

Can't please all the people all the time.. but.. you can try..
posted by twiggy at 8:46 AM on July 23, 2007

seeing something below what you're typing distracts you enough to be irksome?

Yeah, it does. For some stupid reason, the latest edition of Firefox started doing that in searches in the top right search bar. When I'm typing a name, I really don't need to see the closest matching Hollywood heroes.
posted by mediareport at 9:09 AM on July 23, 2007

I think the benefits of consolidating potentially confusing tags vastly outweigh the UI costs incurred (and I don't even agree that it's irritating, unless it stops behaving predictably). So often I have to search for "macbook", "macbooks", "mac"+"books", etc. and I still miss older posts. Just think how much it would help our Tagging Brigade, as well!
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:37 AM on July 23, 2007

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