How do you use tags?
I am finalizing the results from our user testing in Munich and the expert review we have commissioned and there is one thing, I cannot wrap my head around.
Apparently, everybody sees them and makes sure they are there (points, anyone?) but I am not sure I understand how you use them. Now that I'm trying to come up with suggestions for improvements to the site, I'd appreciate if you took part in my mini-poll, and I also encourage the more quiet readers to jump in.
Everything that doesn't fit my poll can go into the replies below. Thanks a lot, folks, let's make the site better and better!
Some random thoughts about tags:
It's a mess
We have too many tags describing the very same thing: "visual studio 2010" vs "msvs 2010" vs "msvs2010" vs "msvc 2010" vs "vs 2010".
Is it "qt5" or "qt 5"?
Look at this post - 38 minutes old and it already has "tags" and "tagging" - one of both is superfluous, IMHO.
I know that we have tag aliases, but administering that list is quite undoable, as you will alway be ways behind our creative users...
What is a tag?
What should go into a tag? The main Qt classes, probably. Something that describes the problem in more or less compressed way. One to max. three words? Should it be a noun describing a thing (tag) or a noun describing the action (tagging) or something else?
If you look at some posts, the tags contain more or less randomly collected keywords from the post itself. They may fit, but there are many occasions where the don't.
How to solve it?
I don't know a final solution. In my eyes, the main cause of the mess is the liberal tagging policy that led to a huge amount of different (literally) while at the same time not different (in the sense of meaning) tags. While I concede that it helped a lot in bringing DevNet up and running, it may turn into something less useful over time.
On idea that came into my mind, is to restrict the creation of a new tag to higher ranks (Robot Herder or Dinosaur Breeder), while just applying an existing tag should be open to Ant Farmers and up only. It may help to boil down the pure amount of tags.
Also, we should have guidelines to apply tags. Think of [[Doc:QAbstractItemView]], [[Doc:QListView]], [[Doc:QListWidget]], [[Doc:QTableView]], etc. - none of them has been tagged with "item view", for example, which would glue all of them together. Look at the tag search for these classes, I picked 4 random forum threads, none contains "item view" either.
The existing list of tags (how many do we have?) should be examined and the doubling entries removed. We should also start to look at tags that are assigned only one, IMHO they are candidates that do not fit into a kind of "useful scheme".
All together, tagging can be a useful means of categorizing contents and linking pieces that wouldn't be connected otherwise. But it only works out, if the tags aren't unlimited - we don't get a relationship of two pages with the one tagged with "qnetworkaccessmanager" and the other with "networking".
I very much like Volkers comments. However, on the one-time used tags only, we need to be careful not to create a scheme that would prevent new tags from being created altogether. At first, any new tag will only be used once...
On tags in the documentation: I noticed that the tags that were there for the 4.7 docs do not apply to the 4.8 ones. Isn't that strange?
I also agree with Volker. A bit of "autotagging" based on the first post might be handy, too: automatically detect Qxxx classnames, maybe? I imagine the programmers here could come up with some kind of heuristic that worked pretty well.
Well, hello. That is quite a post, Volker. :) Let me try to explain my view.
Tags have always been and will always be messy. It is impossible to make a large group of people from all over the place with different backgrounds (think age, language, social settings, education, etc) agree on one way of doing things. People are messy.
More on topic, some people think in verbs, others in nouns. Standardizing on either will confuse the others. And quite honestly, looking at my Evernote tags for example, they're not very consistent either, and that's just me tagging...
I think we can easily agree that tags are supposed to be keywords, short and sweet. Then again, people may have a different perception on what really is in a specific thread. Have you ever talked to someone about something you both read? I sometimes find myself wondering if it really was the same book we read.
If a tag is clear wrong there is always the option to remove it.
First, the autocompletion functionality should take care of some inconsistencies. But I don't think there is any way around manually pruning the tags on a regular basis. That is a somewhat tedious task but there is nothing better than a human pairs of eyes.
For the autocompletion to make any sense however, it needs a critical mass of tags. That's where crowd sourcing comes in. My feeling is that we have reached that point...
That being said, a more restrictive tagging policy might be appropriate when it comes to creating new tags. Although it doesn't quite feel right to me. Stackoverflow for example has some automated pulling of unused tags, and they also have a broader approach to moderation of tags. That might help; we have to investigate our options here.
In any case, it will always be somewhat messy when it comes to collaboration within a large open group, and there is no way around keeping things in check manually. Unfortunately. But I agree that there is room for improvement on the crowd sourcing end.
A "discussion":/forums/viewthread/19070 on the lifetime of tags and the role of moderators in disapearing tags has been split off.
Well written post Volker and Alexandra, and I see fantasy in Chris H's suggestion also.
I think some kind of revision of the tags should be made, that's for clear with the acceptance that there isn't a fully perfect solution and it will always be a little messy.
And a suggestion: maybe some kind of mechanism could be setup, that automatically adds additional tags based on the existing ones, hence partly solving Volker's problem e.g. itemview tags. That could run at the end of every day or something similar.
Another algorithm could bind very similar or same tags (e.g. 'qt 5' and 'qt5') for searches. So if I type any of them, I get results for both of them.
And maybe suggestion for adding tags could be improved based on these binded tags where one could be marked as preferrable in same way, e.g. offering it firstly. But this idea needs further work I think.
[quote author="CreMindES" date="1343286403"]
Another algorithm could bind very similar or same tags (e.g. 'qt 5' and 'qt5') for searches. So if I type any of them, I get results for both of them.[/quote]
Some "aliasing" is in charge already. That is: a canonical form that is used as a tag and the variants will be "translated" automatically. E.g. if you tag with "qt5" it will be changed to "qt 5" automagically. I don't know whether that works for tag search (i.e. the other way round) too.
If you see something that should be rectified, don't hesitate to send an email to "MariusG":/member/2, he will extend the alias list.