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(I know Tim has mentioned something about tag bundles which may conflict with this idea, but since I have no idea what that is or where in the process of being implemented it is I'm going to go ahead and present this idea).
I suggest a new tag management page that would be linked to from the current tag page that is behind the tag tab and possibly from the tag pages as well. This page would present you with all of your tags in a grid with tags down the left and across the top would be columns for Don't Suggest, Unowned, Private etc. (or maybe that should be Suggest and Owned with their default being set). This should make it quite easy to set your tag attributes and to see what they are.
Another numeric column would be Tag Order with the meaning that if two tags are both present on the same book that the lower numbered tag would always be shown first.
A little more complicated idea would be that some tags could imply other tags so, for example, fantasy might be set to imply fiction with the result that whenever you put the fantasy tag on a book, TL also adds the fiction tag. This would be a way to enforce a tag hierarchy and could be done by having one of the columns being a drop-down list with all of your other tags. If another tag is specified in the drop-down list then TL will reorder the tags on the tag management page with the sub-tag showing up right below the super-tag and indenting it.
I do see a problem with people who have a system for creating lots of unique tags for things like location (Room1Cabinet2Shelf3Book4). This can be handled if tags could take values. For example, you could create a loc tag for locations and check the Has Value column and then you could use loc:r1c2s3b4 in your catalog. People who already have this system could have a massive conversion effort though.
I hope that wasn't too long. Any thoughts?
2aaron_t_hanson First Message
That said this introduces a great deal of complexity to tagging. Imagine having 500 unique tags to sort through and set each value individually, not a pleasant experience.
The tag hierarchy sounds like it would be easy to make circular links where if you selected one tag three or more get added as well. So that if one tag is present all the linked tags are there, distinction fails. Perhaps that's not bad? It could even be considered a feature.
Tag Order or maybe Tag Priority sounds interesting, but needs to be fleshed out a bit. I'm not really sure what the purpose would be for it.
I'd probably use this system, even if might be overwhelming. But it should also be completely ignorable, if an LTer doesn't want to use it the they wouldn't have to. Anyway, I'd like to be able to define at least some of my tags to have special meaning to the system and this sounds like a good way to do it. Or maybe a good start.
Just my 2 cents
Basically, a tag bundle is... a bundle of tags. I can group any of the tags I've used into non-exclusive* batches. It's not strictly hierarchical, because, again, it's non-exclusive, and I can look at a tag across all my bundles or indeed all of the site, but it allows a level of containment for people who want to use it as a hierarchy or for people who want to use certain tags that way -- I have a bundle that consists only of private links, because I'm always forgetting how to get to various work-specific tools, login pages, and the like, even though I'm a huge tagging whore for most things.
It's a much simpler and more flexible system than tables and checkboxes and pre-defined tag uses that may or may not work for anyone else. If it were implemented here, it certainly wouldn't do everything you say, but I suspect it would help with a number of recurring issues. Also, it's fun to play around with.
On the other hand, tag ordering feels anti-tagging to me (I think someone else brought up the same point in the Everything Is Miscellaneous Contest thread). Tags aren't hierarchical, they're faceted. And tag dependencies are just wrong -- the whole point is that even if 99% of the time "fantasy" implies "fiction", sometimes it implies "erotica" or "cake" or "foreign policy" instead. Plus, dropdowns with hundreds of items are to be avoided!
* I have "metadata" listed in my "ideas", "school", and "technology" bundles right now, but it may come out of the school batch when the metadata class I'm taking this semester is over. Or it may not. Probably not. Because it's everywhere!
I hadn't considered someone having 500 tags, I have maybe 30 total.
#3: I think hierarchy in at least some tags is necessary. How else can I select all animals if the only tags I have are lions and tigers and bears, etc. etc.? But it looks like tag bundles would take care of that.
What do you mean that you have a bundle consisting of private links? I thought we were talking about bundles of tags? Or does del.icio.us do bundles of links and the concept of bundles is what is being borrowed? If so, then it looks like links have attributes, like private, so why can't tags have attributes too?
I don't liek the imposing order fields though, because that starts constraining some of the freedom. Tags are already ordered - the first tag you type is sorted first.
TIM is against auto-tagging which is your last idea. As am I, if I wanted something to be tagged both fiction and fantasy I'd do so. Besides there are non-fiction works I'd also tag fantasy.
Yeah, but if you have to use the tag replacement hack in power edit (add tag, delete tag) that order is lost. Or if you add a new "standard" tag, and do it through power edit, it comes at the end rather than towards the beginning where you would (probably) want it. I don't think it's constraining any freedom to be able to sort tags easily, I think it's just facilitating the catalogue sort on tags.
I also don't think the latter function is auto-tagging, it's just a way of saving a lot of typing when you want hierarchy in your tags. You could also have the system implicitely know that when I search for fiction that it should select all the fantasy and science fiction books but I think the way I suggested is probably easier to program.