I don’t know about you, but when i look at my Flickr and Del.icio.us tags and even the categories for my blog, it makes me realise that folksonomies are not so simple.
Particularly my Del.icio.us account is now so completely out of control that I frequently can’t find things that I *know* I saved and tagged… and I’m supposed to know a thing or two about how to label things!
Where are the main problems? Plurals and abbreviations are my biggest foes. Sometimes I pluralise, sometimes I don’t. Generally I use the full word or term, but occasionally I’ll use an abbreviation, or both! If a term has two words to it, the way that I join the words to make a term varies.
It’s a complete mess.
Why did this happen? Because I didn’t make any rules when I first started, and my ‘rules’ have evolved over time as I see different ways that other people use tags, and as I succumb to using ‘suggested tags’ that break my ‘rules’.
Not only that, but usually I tag in haste, often times because I want to come back and look at the page/site at leisure but I don’t want to lose the link. I’m not really thinking too much about whatever my latest tagging rules might be, and there’s nothing to remind me of what rules I’d decided on.
And, most of all. The system doesn’t care how I tag and doesn’t keep me in line!
it drives me crazy. I feel like a plumber with a dripping tap. But will I ever go back and tidy it up? Probably not. I have a whole lot of links there now – it would take a serious investment of time to tidy up now… and what’s to stop it from ending up in the same state of disrepair in six months time?
If I’m having these kinds of troubles with tagging, then surely others are having even more troubles. And the value of the tagging must surely be diminished because other people are getting less rich results due to my haphazard tagging.
I do love the freedom and flexibility of tagging… but more and more I find myself wanting some rules, and some compulsion to stick to the rules or knowingly break them. And I want a smarter system that realises I’m being silly when I randomly choose to make a tag a plural for no good reason at all.
I want some structure to my tagging.
Do you? Or do you think I’m taking all the fun out of folksonomy?
People lie for three reasons; the first is to protect themselves. They may wish to protect something they want or need, a concept they cherish, or to prevent something they fear, like confrontation…. a great and useful read
“In particular, this blog is all about the new user interface we’ve been working on for Office 2007. This new version does away with menus and toolbars and replaces them with new paradigms such as the Ribbon, Contextual Tabs, and Galleries.” (thanks Damian!)
My name is Leisa Reichelt. I am the Head of User Research at the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office.
I lead a team of great researchers who work in agile, multidisciplinary digital teams to help continuously connect the people who design products with the people who will use them and support experimentation and ongoing learning in product design.
If you're interested in working with me or would like to talk more please email me