jameydee: (Default)
You know what? Tagging sux.

I'm ranting because I've been watching the rise of tagging over the last 5 or 6 years. In the instructional design world, my former profession, the DoD is convinced that each learning unit should be tagged and then a student should be able to do a search on a tag (say, laser maintenance), pull up a dozen (or a hundred dozen) matches for laser maintenance, and have everything he needs to learn about laser maintenance appear in front of him. In short, a search engine for lessons.

Sorry, but you cannot assemble a cohesive learning experience out of pieces and parts, that's not teaching, that's just firing scattershot at a target.

And at the most fundamental level, a tagging system is only as good as its taggers. Garbage tags in, garbage results out. I know this because I've seen people fumbling for tags to describe things. In my own practical experience, I've seen graphic artists struggling to tag their graphics for DoD purposes and pulling tags out of their *sses, lacking the military vocabulary to adequately tag what is depicted. I've been that person trying to figure that crap out.

That's the professional side of my rant. I've seen this stuff in action for half a decade and it largely SUX.

Now go to flickr. Try doing a search on a common tag. Okay, people are a bit better there, but still, you'll probably hit a 20% anomaly rate of things that make you scratch your head and say "Whatthef*ck?" Try any other tag based system, and then come back and defend tagging as a professional method of filing.

And this is what the future is pointing to: metadata, tagging, doing queries on our own desktop files instead of using the foresight to create the structures to adequately organize our data in the first place.

Okay, what set this off? So I wanted a category cloud for my WordPress set-up. However, I had imported the previous 2200+ entries from livejournal already, so when I installed the category cloud, the word "UNCATEGORIZED" is *HUGE* because those 2200+ entries are currently untagged. So I've tagged 2.5 years worth of posts and I'm not a happy camper, and even as I go, I see that I'll have to go back and re-tag, and quite frankly, as long as the human element is involved, it's all just a buncha crap.

Of course, knowing this on a fundamental level will not stop me from tagging the other 1700+ posts.

::bangs head against the wall futilely::

I am a Web 2.0 victim.

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