Blog posts tagged "tagging"


December 8th, 2008

public anger

A griot (pronounced /g?i.??/ in English or [??i.o] in French, with a silent t) or jeli (djeli or djéli in French spelling) is a West African poet, praise singer, and wandering musician, considered a repository of oral tradition.Wikipedia

Also an emerging tag for describing the ongoing protest in Athens over a 16 year old being shot to death at point blank range by Athens policemen.

Being used on Flickr, blogs, and Twitter and the meta Not being used by the corporate media (aside: the trailing ‘s’ is lexically significant, classic stemming does not work on tags)

Does anyone know how and where this tag emerged?

Clearly the next evolution in participatory media (and the only type with a future) is figuring out what the tools to discover, distribute and broadcast these meta-media collaborative objects. Who is thinking and writing about this?

Photo by murplejane

Flexible Category Lists for WordPress

January 12th, 2007

One of the side effect of overloading (perverting?) the WordPress category system to do tagging is you end up with over 1000 categories. The posting interface gets unhappy, and the wp_list_cats template tag becomes pretty much useless.

(This post is another WordPress meta post, one of several I’ve got queued up in my head, and probably interesting to 3 people in the known universe, but here you go.)

better_cat_lists is WordPress plugin that adds a couple of more flexible methods.


works like wp_list_cats, but only categories with $cat_threshold posts in them.



works like wp_list_cats, but only from posts with the last $n days. You can also limit the total number with $cat_limit


Both methods use the same hack, they overload the list_cats_exclusions callback to do positive match instead of the intended negative match – appending and cat_ID in ($cat_ids) to the exclusion string. PHP at its finest, quick and dirty, like monkey patching but without language level support for it.

My hopes for MusicBrainz 2.0

January 21st, 2006

The post on BB today reminded me of MusicBrainz. I’m still patiently waiting for MusicBrainz to add support for arbitrary, user-contributed, emergent flat classification. (i.e. what the rest of us calling “tagging”, but that term is overloaded for audio files.)

My original desire was driven by the desire to build playlists by mood, or theme (‘electronic’, ‘sensual’, ‘dark’), but since then Pandora has launched and showed us another set of axes to explore (‘mild rhythmic syncopation’, ‘extensive vamping’).

I think the ability to hang a variety of arbitrary data off of the MusicBrainz model would kill CDDB deader then a stake through the heart, and at the same time creating a platform where its easier to collaborate in public then in silos. Tagging is just the first, easiest to under form that might take. Got to use all that lovely RDF to some purpose!

Tom’s Phonetags is useful prior art.

Tag Stalking

December 26th, 2005

Some tags I check when trying to figure out who someone is/what their story is: me, friends, work, home, weather, craigslist. Also a quick visual scan for place names.

Even folks who’ve managed to stay fairly anonymous leak a lot of info in their tags.

Yahoo and A bit of speculation

December 12th, 2005

So the Yahoo acquisition of hit every tech blog on the planet this weekend, and hardly needs more rehashing. But a couple of ideas I haven’t seen elsewhere from one of my mailing lists.

It was pointed out that

[Yahoo] recently hired all the IBM people that worked at the WebFountain project.

And that the database of tagged website would be an awfully juicy source of data to start analyzing. Yahoo is the obvious player to build post-search interfaces, browsable and discoverable like Yahoo of old, but this time built to Web-scale.

Meanwhile is anyone watching the Flock’s future? What with its APIs to Yahoo’s Flickr, Yahoo’s, and integrated editor for all those new MT blogs. Just a thought.

On Book Listing Services

November 6th, 2005

For years I’ve wanted a decent website where I can manage my relationship with books. (not especially complicated, but voluminous)

For a while there was largely nothing, then there was Allconsuming which was wonderful, but slowly died, and went dark before being re-incarnated in the mold of a 43x tool. And I have this memory of there being a nifty little $14/mo tool, back in the days when I didn’t pay for websites, but I wasn’t able to find it.

Last Fall, I started sketching down notes towards building my own, and in the intervening year its become an interestingly crowded space. (who knew so many other people felt the pull) Even in the 6 weeks since I first started jotting down sites for this blog post, the space has evolved with LibraryThing coming out solidly on top as the most active: most actively developed, most actively used, and most actively engaged developer.

That said, in a cursory search (mostly of my links) I turned up 5 other very similar services

Also the Bookshelf example app from 24L, and the intersting related services What Should I Read Next?, and Library Elf

None of them are quite there yet, and I want more, more, more!

Read the rest of this entry » Actually Getting Social

October 26th, 2005

It is interesting to sit on a blog post for 3 weeks, and see how well they age. Most age very badly, but some age badly for excellent reasons, i.e. the world changes. (politics are a great example of this right now, but that isn’t what I’ll be talking about)

Digital Lifestyle Aggregation: Using My Friends

I’ve had this persistent idea, nagging me, that somehow I should be able to use my Flickr contacts to filter the overwhelming amount of data that gets pushed at me, with the small idea being if I had a way to capture the accounts of all my various contacts, then I could at least build a smarter del inbox. I had started to sketch out a tool (I was thinking ning) called “theyisthey” to keep track of relationships I know between people’s various identities. (43people subscriptions are one step in this direction, and certainly an indication of how social software can be used for purposes more interesting them high score lists.)

Hear the Good News

Well we showed up en masse (Brian, Ben, Eric Hopp, Jared, Mako, Seth and I) to the Joshua’s Berkman lunch yesterday, and the most explosively interesting thing I thought he said (beyond some numbers which Brian wrote down) was that “networks” are in the works. A replacement for del’s broken inbox metaphor, networks are 1-way, opaque social networks that you can build to not only filter content, but also enhance it. (e.g. when tagging a link, see the tags and notes from everyone in your network who has also tagged this link, or install the Firefox plugin to see your networks notes on webpages in the wild)

Very cool.

(also count it, 5 Hampshire alumns in the house, we offered to make Seth an honoray Hampshire alumn, but he turned us down)

Tags Bubbling Up, Down, and Sideways

September 6th, 2005

Tom Coates’s is playing with bubbling tags up from individual songs to shows, and albums.

a more intriguing, way of aggregating tags up through a conceptual chain would be to view albums as collections of songs and artists as a collection of albums/songs.

Are there any information theories about encouraging people to tag the smallest indivisable instead of the container? (the song vs. the show in the Phonetags example) Or perhaps conversely to tag largest common demoninator? Perhaps its a lighter burden on the commons to get the handful of shows tagged, rather then each and every song? Will that always be a false normalization, one that short circuits an important cognitive process perhaps?

Because I’ve been in a couple of discussion of items inheriting tags from their containers, where the container (e.g. a playlist at H2O, a playlist at Odeo, or a SSC toolbox) are the primary objects; meaning derived from the unique combination of different items.

And while we’re bubbling tags, do we bubble tags sideways? Phonetags enriching the rumored MusicBrainz tagging project? And if so I wonder if the tags need to be qualified? I mean if syndicating tags is going to be anything more then a gimmick we need to know the source and the tagger, something like kellan@phonetags/electronic as distinct from, and kellan@musicbrainz/electronic?

No answers, just questions.

(ps. using David’s system, this post is pre-alpha)

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Quickly: A Useful Mental Model for Tagging

September 6th, 2005

Lots has now been written on schemas for storing tags (mostly in relational databases). In fact Tag Schema is a blog and mailing list devoted entirely to exploring that space further. (maintained by Nitin Borwankar, working at Odeo these days).

So what happens when we take off our DBA hat, and put back on our programmer hats? (because really, who has seperate DBAs these days?)

Most implementations I’ve seen treat tags as something you put in a bucket attached to an object. (could be most implementations I’ve seen are in Rails which encourages this)

But tags aren’t something an object has, their something an actor said about an object. An actor is key. Tags without someone/something behind them are devoid of context and meaningless. So rather then coding it as:

object.tags << sometags


user.tags(object, sometags)

where tags is no longer a noun (a collection), but a verb.

At some point I don’t care how you store it in your database, but you need to be thinking about it as something a user is doing to the object.

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Tagging Music

August 3rd, 2005

While Erik suffers from tagging indecision over the every critical “how do I tag lunch?” question, I suffer from a more prosaic question, how do I tag music?

MusicBrainz could really distinguish itself, if it could provide a commons where I could tag/discover music metadata like the rich mood/genre info you can find from AllMusic.

Anyone have a solution for me? In particular a solution that doesn’t involve me having to tag all my music myself?

Because I could really use a playlist of music this morning tagged “lush electronic romantic”, you know?

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O’Reilly Connection and Post Search

August 2nd, 2005

Not sure why O’Reilly is getting into the yet another social network site space, but having spent 10 minutes playing with O’Reilly Connection, a couple of quick comments.

Finally they’re going to do something with all that user generated content across the O’Reilly Network sites. For some reason they’ve never been able to catalyze decent user community around all that content, but at least having persistent profiles will help. (not that I’m in a position to criticize as I explicitly passed on the opportunity to help them make it better, when I went to Groundspring)

Tags, Not Just a Gimmick

The closest thing to innovation is the heavy use of tags. Interestingly spending a couple of minutes filling out my profile reminded me that Friendster had a similar impl. of tags back in the day, we just none of us knew thats what they were.

Everybody and their dog is adding tags to their apps these days, but its interesting to see it working on Connection. More then an amusing (or annoying) toy, tags on Connection really enhance the browsability/discoverability of the site, and as discovery is the primary (non-broken) activity of a social network site, this is key.

Post Search

Couple that with Flickr’s new “Explore” features, and I think we’re starting to see a push to towards non-search techniques for discovery, a realization that perhaps Google has been a false plateau.

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In Lieu of the Promised Article on Tags and SQL

April 7th, 2005

For the folks I promised an article on how to implements tags in SQL. Sorry, I never finished it. I got sucked into some more esoteric problems, and never got back to writing down the basics. However, all is not lost. Peter has done a very nice job of writing about how he implemented tagging for his snippets code libraries.

  1. Matching on data intersection across a many-to-many join – aka, how to find an object (e.g. a post or a recipe) with two or more tags (i.e. show my all posts tagged with tagging and sql). For the lazy, skip to bottom for a solution. (but it’s worth reading through) This is what enables tag combos. (Also available from snippets)

  2. Find items with similar (or as many as possible) relationships – for a ‘related posts’ box etc – aka, find other recipes tagged with similar tags to the recipe I’m currently looking at I’m currently looking at. In Recipes on Rails, if I’m looking at my recipe for hot chocolate (tags: beverage, hot, chocolate), use this query to also show tea and coffee. (both tagged beverage and hot)

  3. Find all many-to-many relationships which are tied to an arbitrary number of other many-to-many relationships – I’m looking at all recipes with the tags easy, and hot, what are related tags I could use? How about carrot, and curry (my curry carrot soup is tagged easy, soup, carrot, and curry, not to mention winter and favorite), or maybe silly with which I’ve tagged my boiled water recipe.
    After some futzing I came up with the same query that Peter did, but I was really hoping there was another solution, as I’ve been seeing some of the same worrying numbers using MySQL 4.1.x’s subqueries that Kevin is.

There you go, you no longer have any excuse for building a sub-par tagging system.

fyi, Peter, from whom all those tips originate, on top of being the creator of the snippets site, is available for hire.

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