Re: Of tags and topics

On Mar 5, 2006, at 6:40 PM, Peter Harvey wrote:
I'd like to see a GNOME-wide tag/topic system eventually, but we should get some definitions sorted out first.

I think it would also be a good idea to have a couple of years of app-specific experiments first. Otherwise we'd probably standardize on a bad choice, which would suck.

Tag: any label that can be used as metadata for an object.
This can include basically anything. Take a photo of a group of friends standing on a beach, and you can tag it with the name of each friend in the photo, plus "photo", "beach", "sand", "water", "sunshine", etc. If you ever want to find some photo of your friend Jack you can just say "find all objects with tags 'photo' and 'Jack'". It's great for situations where you want a list of objects because you're not after a specific object necessarily. Or you want to look at all objects with certain properties - not just one.

I agree with all of this (though I think the term "tag" is unnecessarily obscure, which is why I prefer "keyword").

Topic: the label you would think of first when trying to find an object.
This definition may sound to have been written backwards, but try it out for a bit before criticising. Imagine you are trying to find a specific photo again. Not just any photo of a beach, or of your friend Jack, you want that specific photo. What labels would you think of first? Perhaps "Photos", "Friends", "Beach". You could say that a topic describes the main characteristics of an object as if the user was trying to organise their objects using the minimum amount of meta-information, but the real definition is what I gave first.

We already have a field for this: folder names.

While it may be useful to add tagging to Nautilus, or folders to Epiphany bookmarks, I think any attempt to give the two ideas the same prominence, for the same collection of objects, is doomed to confusion between them. Either concentrate on one, or concentrate on the other.

Matthew Paul Thomas

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