Saturday, April 09, 2005
More on

My head hurts from thinking too hard. About the simple act of choosing tags in and what can affect those choices.

I said this:

But what I really want, is a way to find out what most people use to tag certain things.

Then Steven Cohen said this:

As I mentioned to her at the session, I think that if this is done, it would ruin the collective nature of open tagging systems. What makes them useful is that people tag stuff according to their own ontological rules, rather than having to use others' rules.

And I think the second quote is referring to the first. I have been doing some research. And I might have revised my earlier thought. But I still have questions. I understand if there were limitations on variations of tags, or combinations of certain tags (plurals/spellings/abbreviations), then that would change the whole system. But suggests what tags to use (only if a site has been already entered into the system (I think), which my examples had not been). So I wonder if looking at the number of times a tag is used would "ruin the collective nature of open tagging systems". If so, how can that be different than using the suggested tags? In one sense, I can see how using the suggested tags might limit a person's creativity. They would rely on other people's thoughts and not their own. Is that a bad thing because people are conforming or a good thing because more people can find more sites from one tag?

This is interesting, thought-provoking stuff. Compared with the other stuff out there, I am way out of my league. But here are some of my findings and conclusions.

I don't want to control the world. Or even just But I am selfish and I want to be able to use to my advantage. If every form of the words "professionaldevelopment" that I could think of (, prof-dev, professional.d, etc.) were its own little party on, I want my form of the tag to be at the party with the most people.

Why do I want to be at the popular party?

Well, if this was only about organizing some of my own bookmarks, then I truly wouldn't care. Some of my tags are more subjective and only make sense to me. That is fabulous. For example, I really don't expect the link to Round Rock Independent School District to make sense to everyone looking at the “job” tag. But it makes sense to me.

But goes beyond my personal bookmarking. It is social. It’s exciting. And new and confusing.

That is dilemma one: finding out which form of a certain tag is the most popular. I can see how many things I have tagged with “prof_dev” but if I try to see how many things other people have tagged with “prof_dev”, I cannot. Well actually this is a bad example, because the only things linked to prof_dev are mine and number at 2. (Newsflash: Someone else added to prof_dev with 4 links after I had done mine. So prof_dev stands at 6. And for the record, professionaldevelopment tag has 9 uses.) But the blog/blogs is a better example. Looking at the differences in the tags blog and blogs, there is no way to tell which is used more frequently without counting on the page and then counting on the earlier pages.

But this has occurred to other people. So maybe it will get solved. On the discussion list for, there is this request:

I was wondering if it would be possible (or if there is already a method that I haven't seen) to quickly see how many bookmarks are listed under a certain tag (for all users, not just one). For example, if I view my own bookmarks for the tag "blah", it says "showing all X items". But if I view the tag "blah" for all users (e.g., it doesn't show this count.

And Joshua Schacter said (in the same link) in would go on the to-do list. A very worthwhile task. Thanks!

Another suggestions, (which I had not even considered) (also in that link):

it also would be great if there was a way to filter redundant links/bookmarks in the tags from all users. If I search at for something I often have to browse through lots of pages until I find something I haven't seen on the last 5 pages or so.

dilemma two: finding websites about professional development for educators when I don't know websites to start with (if I knew a website I could see what people are tagging it with, but I don't have the websites to begin with, because that is my dilemma) and I don’t know the tags that people might use.

I see three solutions to my problem: 1) realize that is not there to cater to my personal needs and be happy with any help that I get and go on with life 2)simply keep trying variations of professional development tags 3) assume that the websites/links/tags are not up yet, but they will be at some future time so then start trying variations of tags.

So hopefully my issues will be helped. While researching all this stuff I found many interesting things. Back to the blog/blogs issue. For the record I am against combining these and making them into the same thing. (And I don’t want to limit or combine variations of professionaldevelopment either. I just want to know what is out there.) That goes against the personal choice and the ability for one user to make a distinction between the blog and blogs tags. This is discussed here. It talks about variations of spelling (color/colour) and the single/plural issue. But the thing that most applies to me is this:

anything important enough to have a reasonable number of people tagging
it will have the bundling done for it due to the very nature of,
as can be seen by the preponderance of things turnign up as both delicious

So in a perfect world, where everyone was looking for things that I was interested in, and everyone was tagging them with things that were remotely logical to me, I would eventually find those things. Back to my professional development problem: it just does not rate “important enough to have a reasonable number of people tagging it.” Yet.

Oh how my head hurts. This stuff is deep.


<< Home

Powered by Blogger Weblog Commenting and Trackback by