A pony called "Thesaurus" September 7, 2007 10:41 PM   Subscribe

glbt (6) / lgbt (2); color (98) / colour (30); theatre (72) / theater (78). Previously.

It's great that there's a tag replacement option for the admins but I doubt it will be an ideal solution since the problem will continue to surface.... Would it be feasible (or even desirable) to whip up a thesaurus to make the tags pull results for all identical terms?
posted by Tuwa to Feature Requests at 10:41 PM (26 comments total)

Obviously more Americans than Brits use this site.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:51 PM on September 7, 2007

Isn't there a "view similar/related tags" function somewhere?
posted by loquacious at 11:00 PM on September 7, 2007

Yes, but the related tags aren't always displayed, and when they are they don't always pull synonyms or even alternate spellings for the same term.

I don't know how hard it would be to code a tag page that would honor the tag on whatever post you came from but also pull identical terms, but something like that would be ace.
posted by Tuwa at 11:05 PM on September 7, 2007

Oh, and look at the difference in "related tags" on color and colour. Hm....
posted by Tuwa at 11:09 PM on September 7, 2007

but something like that would be ace.

A beautiful woman stepping out of my computer to give me a blowjob would be ace, too, but I don't expect mathowie and pb to code that for me.


dear mathowie and pb: please to code a beautiful woman stepping out of my computer to give me a blowjob. tia.
posted by dersins at 11:12 PM on September 7, 2007

Maybe I'm confused, but I thought the whole point of tagging was that it's informal, and so you don't rely on it to be a perfect organization system, but you reap the benefit of more people tagging precisely because it's informal. Trying to control (or at least rationalize) tags, well, you might as well cook up a boilerplate list of categories and make 'em available via dropdown.
posted by davejay at 11:26 PM on September 7, 2007

When I brought this up recently, Matt said,

"tag groups and tag clusters are so nerdy that I don't even understand how they work on delicious, and I've been using that service daily for three years. I have no clue how to set it up or why I would."


"Tag aliases, on the other hand, are pretty easy to implement and one of these days they will magically appear when pb puts five minutes into solving the problem."
posted by Gyan at 2:28 AM on September 8, 2007

quail (3) / Quayle (0); potato (14) / potatoe (0)

No need!
posted by rob511 at 3:15 AM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yeah, alias seem like the best solution—people can continue to tag as they have been without any complications to the process, and we can identify an alias and put it into action once and avoid the difficulty presented by doing tag replacement repeatedly. Give it time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:45 AM on September 8, 2007

A question for pb: would it be possible to implement the tag-suggester you installed for the back-tagging project for all tagged posts? I thought it worked rather well.
posted by carsonb at 7:32 AM on September 8, 2007

I keep waiting for mathowie to add a 'favourite' feature to Metafilter that will let me keep track of posts I particularly like.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:39 AM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Thanks, Gyan; I missed that thread.

I'll give it time, cortex, if you'll write a jingle about it. (theme for November: patience).
posted by Tuwa at 7:50 AM on September 8, 2007

carsonb, you know there's a tag suggester built into the back tagging, right? It may be that you started before we were hanging out the URL. If you're all like "whu?" email me and I'll send you the URL for it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:08 AM on September 8, 2007

I think he might be asking for the suggester to be built in to the tagging boxes on post pages, or something like that. carsonb, can you, uh, clarify a bit?
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:10 AM on September 8, 2007

why doesn't this tag thing fail elegantly for zero results?

pants(42) / fish (0)

it just wanders off into lala land never returning anything. that's really cheesy coding.
posted by quonsar at 8:20 AM on September 8, 2007

well, now i look stupid don't i?

no wait. i already did...
posted by quonsar at 8:24 AM on September 8, 2007

A beautiful woman stepping out of my computer to give me a blowjob would be ace

577 cold fusion error

jrun has a headache
posted by pyramid termite at 9:28 AM on September 8, 2007

cortex takes my meaning. I like the tag-suggester we use on the back-tagging page. I think it would be a valuable addition to the New Post and New Question pages. Sorry I was not clearer before.

taggester tuggester tag tags tagged tagger tgrs tagr tagging taggiest
posted by carsonb at 11:55 AM on September 8, 2007

Er, as opposed to those two pages, I mean their respective initial preview pages. You know, you write a post/question and then hit "Preview" and the tag suggester goes to work, with the results displaying on the post preview page.
posted by carsonb at 11:57 AM on September 8, 2007

I think there will be relatively few lexical correlations of this sort, most of them rule-governed, like -or/-our, -l-/-ll-, -ize&-yze/-ise&yse. There will be completely different spellings here and there, like curb/kerb and tyre/tire (not predictable from the morphemes). This may not be too difficult to program. It may also not be very important.

Still, when it's ready to roll out, I would caution against labelling it as a feature that normalizes “U.S. and U.K.” English or similar, since the variations are not as clear-cut as that (Canadian English uses neighbour/organize/marvellous and nobody else does).
posted by joeclark at 2:43 PM on September 8, 2007

I think it'd be better described as normalizing (or, really, just logically grouping) variations of all sorts—with US vs. UK vs. Canadian variants of words being just a visible subset of that. Aliasing could work very well for both spelling issues and logical groupings, and I reckon it'd even be possible to provide a "don't alias!" flag of some sort for someone trying to search on a literal tag string—though don't quote me on that since pb has to actually do the work.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:07 PM on September 8, 2007

This is one trembling step away from a controlled keyword vocabulary, amirite? Prevent tagging fascism before it starts by deliberately misspelling every tag you write.
posted by ardgedee at 4:02 PM on September 8, 2007

My favourite favorites.
posted by tehloki at 4:43 PM on September 8, 2007

Obviously more Americans than Brits use this site.

Ahem. Canadians spell them "colour," "behaviour," "theatre," and so forth. Good Canadians, I mean. And Aussies and Kiwis, et al.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 11:21 PM on September 8, 2007

So, I have a back-tagging question/suggestion that I was going to just email but since this conversation is going on, here goes.

I was trying to tag a post whose main topic was the dot com crash (or dot-com crash, or dot com bubble, or...). To look for a standard tag, I google "dot com crash site:metafilter.com" and find a few posts with that phrase in their title. But none are tagged. So I just pick something. Now, with three other untagged posts about the same topic sitting in my google results, I wish I could tag them while I'm at it. I'd be faster, and no one else would have to figure out what the best tag for that event is. Is there a way to tell the back-tagging random selector to let me tag a particular back post? Or to allow back-taggers to edit tags but only for untagged posts?
posted by salvia at 11:46 PM on September 8, 2007

To the best of my knowledge salvia, no. If you want, you could bring them to the attention of one of the mods and we could tag all of them [send the URLs or something] and let us know what tag you've chosen.

Once we've made a first pass with the tagging and have a basic tag suggester going, we'll be able to standardize some tags like that one [and 911, 9/11, september11, etc], but we'll probably be more likely to just find a way to have a search include UK and US and Canadian variants if at all possible rather than picking one. I don't know what mathowie and pb are scheming but that's what I'd like to see.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:21 AM on September 9, 2007

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