Using tags here

Continuing the discussion from Categories and communities:

Ah, I see there is a configuration option for how much protection to apply to tag creation: I’ve bumped it down, so that should work for you now. Let’s see how it goes. I might feel a need to curate the tags later, if things seem to have gone a bit Cambrian.

I think I’d be happy with

  • decades (50s, 60s)
  • generations (mini, micro, workstation, supercomputer)
  • companies (cray, dec, acorn)
  • lines (pdp11, apple ii, archimedes)
  • CPUs (z80, mos6502, i8080)
    although that will turn out to be a lot! Please only create them as you use them - a tag which points nowhere doesn’t seem like a good plan. Better yet, use a tag once you see there are at least a couple of posts which could use it.
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So, for example, how would you feel about me tagging my two PDP-11 posts with “mini” and “pdp11”? Is it too early? (I feel like both of those categories are likely to get more posts, but maybe I’m biased?)

If trust level is the metric used for tag creation, it’s probably just that the forum is so young – as it grows, the trust level for that should probably be higher than my level (which is the lowest, I think?), because there will be preexisting tags for truly popular topics that have been previously created by long-term forum members.

I think it’s worth doing that, and then seeing how things go. If this forum takes off, it will be quite a slow ramp up, I think, so if we need to consolidate two tags or drop some, it shouldn’t be too much work.

One thing tags will do, like categories, is send a message as to what kinds of subjects are good here.

Indeed, as we get more people, and some people in the higher trust levels, we can bump up tag-creation until it’s back to the default. (Which was level 3. We only have a single level 2 at present, and that’s me.)

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Created. I guess one or both can always be pruned later, if warranted. :slight_smile:

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BTW there’s an index of tagged posts - or a list of tags, if you like, at

Just added “commodore” and “basic” tags – I hope this ok.
(I guess, while probably not a must for every post, tags are especially useful for knowledge base content. So some system or language related tags may come naturally.)

Is it possible to have too many tags or overuse them?

Well, I think it is possible! See upthread:

As noted, because we have search, tags are less useful than they might be otherwise. You might have seen that the forum software prompts you when composing if there are already similar topics, in case an existing topic already serves the purpose. But I like that tags help to illustrate to the newcomer something about the variety of interests here.

Just a quick update on tags: those of you who are able to create new tags, because you got the Member badge, please follow these guidelines:

  • create a tag only if it will be useful in future for people to find posts of interest.
  • create a tag only if it can be applied, at time of creation, to two or preferably three existing posts.
  • search for posts which should have the new tag and add it to them. (If it’s your own post, also reset the bump date using the wrench/spanner icon.)

As users may well not tag their posts, those who can add tags to posts should feel free to do that.

If we have tags which only apply to a single post, or which look like they would be no particular help in finding posts of interest, we should discuss: PM @trust_level_2

(It’s good to see that we have 16 people with the Member badge already. I think a few more people would get that automatic promotion today, if they used the Like system. I’m in favour of Likes - I find them useful, and I feel rewarded and encouraged when I get them. I know they are fictitious internet points, but they work.)


Well, I’ve got the Member badge, and actually have one or two topics that would benefit from a new tag (apple), but I can’t seem to find how to create a new tag. :confused:

(At the point of composing a post, there’s a text box for tags, where you can use an existing one or create a new one. I’m still not entirely sure about tags, because - unlike some platforms - we have a fully working search feature, so one can search for “apple” or “6502” easily enough.)

(For existing threads, the title text has a pencil icon next to it if you have the rights to modify it, and if you use that you can also adjust the tags and the category. Edit: looks like this comes in at the next promotion after ‘member’, which is ‘regular’.)

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I had another thought. If tags are useful, and if a tag like ‘apple’ is useful, then it must surely be useful as one of a set: we’d need ‘commodore’ and ‘tandy’ and ‘acorn’ and when we create one of these, with its 2 or 3 existing posts, we should create the others too. This is more work, of course, but maybe it helps to give us a sense of whether tags are valuable enough to justify the work.

In a couple of years time, when we have a thousand topics, will these tags be well-maintained and still a useful way to find things? For me, this question points towards have fewer tags.

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Off-topic, but this story by Wired shows how a fanfiction archive site, Archive of Our Own, does tagging and keeps tags relevant. In short, people can create tags but behind the scenes, curators work to see which tags are in current use and how to relate them to tags already created.

Obviously it’s a lot of work and probably overkill for this forum for now, but it’s an interesting example of an apparently effective tagging system. From the article:

AO3’s [Archive Of Our Own] trick is that it involves humans by design—around 350 volunteer tag wranglers in 2019, up from 160 people in 2012—who each spend a few hours a week deciding whether new tags should be treated as synonyms or subsets of existing tags, or simply left alone. AO3’s Tag Wrangling Chairs estimate that the group is on track to wrangle over 2 million never-before-used tags in 2019, up from around 1.5 million in 2018.

Laissez-faire and rigid tagging systems both fail because they assume too much—that users can create order from a completely open system, or that a predefined taxonomy can encompass every kind of tag a person might ever want. When these assumptions don’t pan out, it always seems to be the user’s fault. AO3’s beliefs about human nature are more pragmatic, like an architect designing pathways where pedestrians have begun wearing down the grass, recognizing how variation and standardization can fit together. The wrangler system is one where ordinary user behavior can be successful, a system which accepts that users periodically need help from someone with a bird’s-eye view of the larger picture.


I think, tags may help, especially for machines/vendors. Especially for anything like building up a knowledge base. Prefabricating the most important ones may encourage the use.
This is still debatable, and users may be unsure, if they had to pick any of the exiting ones, or may also pick none, or create one on the fly.

Laissez-faire and rigid tagging systems both fail because they assume too much…

I guess, there’s no right way. If there are certain key users, others may pick up their habits, but there’s no guarantee at all – even for this working out well, at all. However, I would give it a try.

One good thing about the tagging on this platform, is that it sorts-by-popular, so less-used tags are less likely to be offered as prompts and less likely to be visited from the tag page. (It looks like it also suppresses the display of a tag which matches a word in the title.)

But as @sohkamyung notes, curation can make crowdtagging effective. Perhaps the point here is for those creating tags: if the created tag doesn’t get much use, it may well be removed or consolidated later.

I heavily oppose this UX approach! (Let’s optimize the “get sites statistics” button until it has as much clicks as the “post” and “home” button.) Ultimately, everything becomes consolidated into a single C64-tag…

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Hmm, no pencil icon next to the thread I wanted to add a tag to.
Is it possible that a member can add a tag only to a thread he/she created?

Yes, I think it turns out you may need to get up to ‘Regular’ to tag other people’s threads.

(BTW, if you modify a post of your own, you also ‘bump’ it so it appears as if freshly posted. Best to use the spanner/wrench menu to ‘reset bump date’ to un-bump it.)