This is a pretty long topic so please read everything before commenting, if you notice any type of errors PM me about them instead of commenting, that'll be easier for me. Contents Tags Metadata...
This is a pretty long topic so please read everything before commenting, if you notice any type of errors PM me about them instead of commenting, that'll be easier for me.
Right now, the core functionality of tags is to filter in or filter out topics that you may or may not want to see. This is a useful tool for everyone and that's certainly not what I'm suggesting to be removed however there are so many cases where ambiguity will need to either be discussed or left alone, causing uncertainty on what to tag a topic as. We're seeing this right now with topics in several groups like ~tildes, ~music, ~sports and this won't really stop happening either, I think.
Along with that, the current (and possibly future) implementation of the hierarchy system isn't able to deal with this ambiguity because there's many synonyms and cultural differences just across English-speaking countries, which are probably the most prevalent countries on Tildes. Choosing what to tag a topic and filtering them in or out should be intuitive and I think the hierarchy system is gonna make that very difficult and will need a lot of discussion to come up with good standards... And that all needs to be documented and set in stone.
Before I continue, I realize we're in early-alpha and that a lot still needs to be figured out. Which is also why I'm proposing that we switch to a different system (whether it's this or something different) because I can't see tags working properly in the (near) future.
I quickly want to point out that I'm going to be referring to "topics" as every type of submission, both text topics and link submissions, otherwise I'll specify.
A lot of tags are basically just specific categories of a topic to provide you some sense of what the topic is about. So that's where the idea of metadata could replace tags comes from. Described in the docs "tags are used to categorize topics." And I think we could narrow this down even more by specifying the categories of tags to use so it's more intuitive and easier to figure out what you should tag a topic yourself, instead of relying on "tag mods" to figure it for you.
A lot of tags can be condensed into singular categories which could then be directly translated into metadata.
I'll be separating these out in quote blocks so that they're easier to read, just know that they're not actually quotes.
Subject: what is your topic about? This is probably the most ambiguous but there's plenty of examples where this could apply.
~news: https://tildes.net/~news/5kz | subject: john mccain, death
~misc: https://tildes.net/~misc/52h | subject: triggers, psychology
~humanities: https://tildes.net/~humanities/5kw | subject: linguistics
In other cases this might be unnecessary like songs and albums in ~music but could still prove useful in a lot of other cases.
Location: to what country does your topic apply/where does your topic come from? This one is already standardized in the docs so we know it's already useful and understood.
~music: https://tildes.net/~music/5l5 | location: africa
~games: https://tildes.net/~games/5a7 | location: japan
Extra or Other: for everything that you're not sure of where it could go, potentially where "spoiler" and "nsfw" could go for now. Basically a place to put metadata that you think is useful but doesn't have an intuitive category to go.
The following will mostly apply to link submissions but I'd still like to include them.
Author: who/what created what you're posting?
~news: https://tildes.net/~news/5l3 | author: jane coaston
~movies: https://tildes.net/~movies/5ju | author: borys kit
Date: when was your topic originally posted? This doesn't refer to the date posted on Tildes but when it was originally created. For example a news article written in 1970.
~tech https://tildes.net/~tech/5iw/ | date: 2002
Source: where does your topic come from? What website or news organization.
~tech https://tildes.net/~tech/5jc | source: blog, medium
~life https://tildes.net/~life/5il | source: nytimes
These are just a few examples that could be used, of course there's more that could be added however I'd like to keep this topic relatively short now.
Potentially there could be group-specific categories, so the current "ask" tags could their own special category in ~tildes or ~talk, that'll all depend on the groups though.
The metadata could easily rest in the sidebar of topics like the tags, with the categories as headers.
In the topic listing it wouldn't even have to change much, it could be as simple as gathering all the metadata and just displaying it like it is now. Maybe in order of importance, ex:
source > author > location > subject > ... which would show as normal: "
china" for this topic but it wouldn't need to change much to the current way tags are shown.
As for submitting a new topic some metadata could be automatically fetched based on what is submitted, a lot of news websites have
<meta/> on the page with this information, like author, date and source. Other metadata could be manually filled in with input boxes or just left empty if you're not sure on what to put.
I'm not saying this system is gonna be foolproof and will work in all cases but I think it could be a step up from the current tagging system. I could be wrong and in the future tagging might be a million times better however I can't see that happening.
If you have an overall better solution or think of something different in this system please comment and say it. Everyone's opinion on this is important as tags, metadata or another system is what we will have to work with.
TL;DR specify categories for tags and then put the tags in them, also give it a different name: metadata.