Tagging and categorizing old AskMe posts. February 23, 2005 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Sorry if this has been covered, but will we have the chance to go back to our old AskMe posts and not only tag them (as is currently possible) but also put them in the correct category, as as currently not possible? And is there any volunteer effort being organized to go through and tag (and/or categorize) old posts that have not been tagged by their creators?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Feature Requests at 12:38 PM (24 comments total)

Well, I think only the creator of the post can add tags, correct? So how would tagging other people's posts work, exactly?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:50 PM on February 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

He probably means people who have left...or 'left'. That's actually a pretty good idea, as it would be nice to have those categorized.
posted by graventy at 12:53 PM on February 23, 2005

Like, call in a team of Super Taggers to go through and covertly categorize old threads?
posted by Arch Stanton at 12:56 PM on February 23, 2005

Can you re-tag your own posts with different tags you forgot when you originally tagged them?
posted by Shane at 1:10 PM on February 23, 2005

In the past Matt's talked about convening a group of volunteers to whom he would give Tagging Permission, and then splitting up the untagged posts among this group. Having only started to go through and tag mine, and how little of the site is currently tagged, I was just thinking about what a huge job it's going to be to get the whole site tagged properly, certainly more than the couple weeks he's estimated it would take he and jessamyn. But at the same time, I'm thinking how incredibly valuable that will be, and I guess, volunteering yet again to help out.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:12 PM on February 23, 2005

I'll add categorizing on old posts soon.

I would like to do an optional "let this level of mutual contacts also tag my posts" feature, but that would require those long lost users to login once to enable that.

Make sense? That'd let your mutual (you both choose each other as this) contacts that are set to say "colleague" also tag your posts, which you can remove if need be.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:14 PM on February 23, 2005

Wow, that would make XFN actuallly... useful.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 1:16 PM on February 23, 2005

Matt, i dont' get this. I don't care who tags my posts. Why should I? I just care that they get tagged. At one time you thought it required library expertise, now you're more interested in protecting the "integrity of the tag" by linking it to the "relationship" of the contacts list. I think you're overthinking it. People aren't going to be any more motivated to tag their contacts' post than they have been, so far, to tag their own.

Why not just divvy up the untagged posts by month, or week, and farm them out to the motivated people who have volunteered to do this? Once distributed, the whole thing could be done in a couple of weeks.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:23 PM on February 23, 2005

I've been lazy and haven't tagged anything. Also, I don't think my mind works very logically when it comes to tags, and actually don't feel qualified to decide tags for my own posts. I start getting fidgety when I even think about it! So, I'd be totally keen for someone to go in and do it for me. I nominate ssF to your team of super-stealth taggers. And while we're at it, my car needs a-washin' and the cows need a-milkin'!
posted by naxosaxur at 1:57 PM on February 23, 2005

I also don't think that tagging impacts the integrity of postings, and I think that a lot of people aren't particularly motivated to review all their old postings to do this. I realize that some people might be inclined to cleverness (at least to them) with tags, but perhaps a "last tagged by" (visible) field would establish some accountability?

Also, if open tagging is allowed, it might be restricted to (say) posts that are over 30 days old (and, as mentioned above, only those posts that are untagged). That way, the original poster has 30 (or 60 or whatever) days to add tags; after that, he/she has can be considered to have waived ownership of the tagging.
posted by WestCoaster at 2:04 PM on February 23, 2005

I had a MeTa post sitting in draft discussing another aspect of the volunteer tagging effort:
The MeFi tag stream has overrun its banks! ...At least it has on my WinFF1.0 browser -- tags stretch aaalll the way across the screen with no left or right margin, which is a bit difficult to read, especially on the left. The AskMe all-tags page looks much better.

And while I've got your attention, I've noticed a couple questionable or broken tags, both in the Blue (The,
of, #) and the Green (the and of again, -, T.), not to mention inconsistent tag styles (using underscores to separate words vs. running words together, use of capitalization or InterCaps).

I know that giving people the ability to edit their tags is in the offing. Maybe someone -- or more than one, more likely -- should be installed as tag-master to help bring a little order to the chaos and trim dead branches. The tag-master(s) could also tag threads that haven't been done yet, since by now anyone who's going to tag their posts has done so by now, and there are thousands left
I agree with stupidsexyFlanders that the relationship-based tagging permission doesn't make much sense -- what about all the people who have NO contacts listed? They and we are just out of luck?

WestCoaster's suggestion of allowing closed threads to be tagged seems reasonable.
posted by me3dia at 2:27 PM on February 23, 2005

I don't want all of your grimy paws tagging my posts. Not only no, but hell no.
posted by xmutex at 2:36 PM on February 23, 2005

I was just thinking that open tagging for all would really open the site up for shenanigans and maybe some folks don't want others organizing their posts. It could also lead to "tag wars" where say a partisan member tags all bush threads with "jerkass" while another partisan would tag all threads mentioning kerry as "dumbasshorseface."

And then there's the whole quonsar thing. Imagine if anyone could tag anything when that went down. It wouldn't be hard to write a bot to add a tag of your choosing to every single thread ever posted to the site, which would be a mess for me to clean up.

I'm not overthinking it, I just wanted to put a little bit of control before I unleashed it on all posts. Seems like it would be hours before I would have to so something about removing things or locking certain posts/subjects down if I unleashed it as a free-for-all.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:42 PM on February 23, 2005

Understandable concerns, and for that reason I support a volunteer team.

(And for the record, I'm not expecting a nomination. Although I wouldn't turn it down if the job was offered.)
posted by me3dia at 2:50 PM on February 23, 2005

Can you report a bad tag? I saw one earlier which was lame, like super duper lame, but the post was just fine.
posted by grouse at 2:51 PM on February 23, 2005

"Tag. You're it!"
posted by LouReedsSon at 2:57 PM on February 23, 2005

I'm also up for being part of the tag team. To my knowledge, there's nobody I know at mefi that I dislike (people I disagree with, sure, but I tend to forget people I dislike, and they tend to go away or get better pretty fast), and I'm pretty good at being neutral (ok, I'm excellent at being neutral when called on to be so. I was just trying to be humble). Plus, unlike moderation, tagging is not a perpetual duty for which I'd have to commit 6 months or a year. If you ever start volunteer tagging, I'm good for it.
posted by Bugbread at 3:28 PM on February 23, 2005

Yeah, definitely don't unleash it as a free-for-all.

"tag-team," heh
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 3:38 PM on February 23, 2005

I know I need a life and all, but there's a plethora of bad tagging going on and it's making me nuts.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:57 PM on February 23, 2005

Holy crap, my posts are being tagged as we speak! Ya gotta help me!
posted by graventy at 7:17 AM on February 24, 2005

I think I like this "let my contacts help with tagging my posts" idea. I'd add CunningLinguist and stupidsexyFlanders (with maybe a 'tagger' attribute) both to my contacts and let them help me with my mis-categorized tags, etc. and if others didn't want that they wouldn't have to add them (or anyone else) to their contacts in that way, and if they were already there as their friends or whatever they just wouldn't have to add the key 'tagger' attribute. I don't know if this is exactly how Mathowie is envisioning it. Just my fanciful interpretation - a level of control and some user choice as well. Sounds sweet. I also think that a tag-team posse ought to be rounded up so that posts left in the desert of non-active members gets tagged too.
posted by safetyfork at 7:22 AM on February 24, 2005

Isn't the whole point of tagging to allow it be organic, and not from a predefined set of terms? This article discusses some of the limitations (ambiguity, synonyms, spelling) and the strengths (serendipity, decentralization, reflective of real use) of this kind of classification system.

The thing, I guess, that differs in this system vs del.ic.ious is that here (so far) only the author can tag a post. So improper spelling or notably absent terms have a greater effect on the system. I understand why you chose to limit the authorship of the tags, Matt, but I think it diminishes the value. If anyone was able to tack their own tags to a post, then it wouldn't matter that there were inactive members or spelling variations or whathaveyou.

At del.ic.ious, you can tag your own website, but you can't prevent others from tagging it with whatever they want to (even if you don't like it). It might decrease your own control, but it enhances utility for the entire community.

I object to the idea of a team that is authorized to tag any posts. It seems too top-down authoritarian to me. I know it isn't meant as such, but it would create a situation where some people had power and some didn't. How would you pick who got the ability? If only certain people were allowed you risk picking favorites, if you allow everyone interested to join it could become an unweildy group. I'd rather see it continue to be distributed (like anyone can tag any post) and those people that are interested can participate.
posted by raedyn at 7:48 AM on February 24, 2005

I would think that as long as the post creator retains rights to go in and edit tags, it really wouldn't be a violation of anyone's integrity for someone else to post tags. If the poster disagrees, he, she, or it retains editing rights. Simple.

Put a notice in he sidebar - "beginning on X date, all posts that are not previously tagged will be tagged by the ace mefi tag team" - of mathowie's choosing. Original posters retain the ability to edit. That should keep disputes down and keep it as "organic" as possible.

I hope we can consolidate some of the singular/plural or noun/verb things and correct spellings. With editing abilities, I would guess many people might go in and clean up some of their stranger outliers now that we've had a chance to see how tagging works and how good taggers are doing it. But if people want to create sucky or strange tags, oh well - their posts won't turn up in searches. I have been guilty of some odd tags. But then again, I have made some odd posts ;-)

Matt, I would do some tagging if you need help.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:25 AM on February 24, 2005

(and I'd be happy to help out with the task if that's how Matt decideds to deal with it, but I just think there are other more desirable ways to deal with it)
posted by raedyn at 11:23 AM on February 24, 2005

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