I know what you're thinking. If you're interested, and you're reading this, you're already sold on tagging. If you're not (then how do you know about this topic? There's today's existential question for ya), or you're still skeptical about tags, then you might read along or skim politely but no dice, I won't convince you. Not you
Well, I hope you'll hear (read) me out.
In the old A2K, topics were divided into forums. We all know this. One thing not known outside of Moderator Land is that one of our jobs was not only to promote interesting topics (Noddy, may she rest peacefully and comfortably, was in charge of that) but also to assure that said topics were in the correct forums. This helped people to find what they were looking for.
As Mods, we had the ability to do a sort of partial move, which afforded an opportunity to show a topic in > 1 forum without the user having to create > 1 identical topic. We did not (nearly all of the time) do any more than double a topic as that would wreak havoc with the requirement that we had to have 10 (no more, no less) topics featured in any given forum. One of the problems with limiting this (always a lower priority versus pulling spam, handling access issues, etc.) is that not every topic fits into a nice neat singular or dual pigeonhole.
For example, let's say there was a topic about someone who wanted to train their dog to be in show biz, including not only TV but also print media such as magazine layouts. Perhaps they'd start the topic in the old Pets & Garden forum, and do a bad job naming it, calling it Help!
That's all well and good, and it might attract people interested in dog training, but it would probably not bring in anyone with too much knowledge of show biz or getting an agent, etc. Hence we would do our duplication trick with the topic, but to where? Performing Arts was really meant for non-TV, non-movie subjects, such as opera, ballet, Broadway shows, mime, etc. Unless the dog was going to walk on during a pivotal scene in this video
, that forum was out. What about TV? All well and good but the dog could get roles in the movies, too. Plus the old TV forum was dominated with people mainly just talking about existing shows. And what about print media? With no magazines forum (adding forums was very, very tough with the old software, so adding a Magazines forum was out of the question), the closest one was Books. Although that could pull in some ideas about agents, it wouldn't be for canine talent.
Hence that topic would end up, most likely, just in Pets & Garden, and nowhere else because we'd be at a loss as to where else to put it. Then we'd hope for the best. In the meantime, with a topic title that was less than descriptive, it would likely not attract many participants. A recipe for a forum flop
Enter tagging. Here on the new A2K, instead of forums, we have tags. If you were creating the dog talent topic, you could put anything you wanted into the tags. Things like: dogs, talent agency, talent scout, advertisements, TV, movies, magazines, clicker training, etc. Then any time someone either searched under one of those tags or even if they went to Google and looked, that topic would have a fighting chance of coming up. Not so much of a forum flop anymore, eh
Then, as more people read and tagged the topic, it might get new and different perspectives from the participants. Other tags, like border collie, reward system or Cesar Milan might be added. Those new tags, in turn, would have the potential to bring in more and more different people. Not so bad for a topic called Help!
about a somewhat obscure yet very specific subject.
And there's more
As folks come into the new A2K, a lot of them have issues with finding things. And that's understandable as the new system is being learned. However, this is where tagging can really shine. If our little Help!
topic is tagged Cesar Milan, then anyone looking for topics about Cesar Milan will find it, just by doing a search using the tag search box (try it: there already is a Cesar Milan tag
). There is the search up top (which is just an A2K-specific Google search) and there's also the tag search. Tags can help with both.
So try some tagging. As you do it, so will your fellow A2Kers, and it'll get even more useful. Use tags when you start topics. Use them when you go back into your older topics. Use them when you go into others' topics, if you don't see them tagged, or not tagged properly or specifically enough, or if you can think of a different tag that that topic seems to be missing. When the site was imported and changed, the names of the forums were brought along as tags, so if you really want to look things up using only the old forum names, feel free! Just start typing the old forum name into the tag search box (left side of the screen, about 40% of the way down) and you'll get to the right set of topics. But try your own tags, because I bet they'll work even better.
All we are saying, is give tags a chance.
Thanks for reading.