Monday, July 16, 2007

They're all good, Bill

Bill Roth just provocatively posted that maybe all tags aren't good. I came up with a brilliant response:

They're all good, Bill. Really, they are.

The main problem with the alternative, is, well, the alternative. The alternative to the "false positive" problem is the idea that there are good descriptors and bad descriptors. There just aren't.

Let's describe Bill. Maybe developer tools, eclipse, BEA, blogger, these would all be good tags. But what about stagehand, actor, marquette tribune, bucky badger? It would depend on who you're talking with. If you're talking to Bill's college buddies, maybe the latter tags would be a much easier way to find him.

If one person tags an object, it is a good way for that same person to find it again, and that is enough. To thrive in the enterprise, you need to leverage people's selfish tendencies -- give them a way to get their job done easier. Whatever tags they use for that occasion, someone, even if it is only them, will benefit.

Of course the real enterprise needs some precautions, such as tagging blacklists, reserved words, etc., and Pathways can do all of that.

But then what about all of that noise? Won't it make the "real" tags disappear? Nope. Once there are a bunch of tags in the system, if people view the top 50 or top 100 in their tag cloud, they will only see the often-used tags, and the important (judged by ActivityRank) tags. The only times the "long tail" tags will show up if the search is so targeted that they rise to the top. And I can always use Views to see how a specific set of people have tagged it. If I am interested in Developer Tools, I might want to see the world with Bill Roth's view. Or maybe my son's. He's only two and a half, but that new generation seems to have something to say, even if I don't always understand him. His friends do, and those tags might help him show them the way.

Okay, maybe that was a stretch. But we have definitely found that if we add information in this seemingly chaotic way, we can reduce the chaos. No tag is bad, Bill. Convinced?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Pages has left the building...

AquaLogic Pages is now Generally Available, folks. Go and
Get It!

The world of work has just gotten a little bit easier...