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Tagging Infrastructure

 
 
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 04:21 am
Some changes were made to the tagging infrastructure. This will allow us to bring some useful updates in the near future. Right now any changes that have been done are mainly on the backend, so you probably won't notice anything.

For those who noticed, this is the reason why the site was down for a few hours last night. Its 5am, and I haven't gone to bed yet. I am going to do that now.
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 05:04 am
@Nick Ashley,
For those, who live in other time zones, it was noticeable - at least that the site was down for some time Wink

Thanks, Nick!
0 Replies
 
Region Philbis
 
  2  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 01:49 pm
@Nick Ashley,
i like seeing a thread's tags from the All Topics view...
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 01:52 pm
@Region Philbis,
Seeing the tags with the threads helps enormously. Thanks, keeedz!
0 Replies
 
George
 
  2  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 02:21 pm
Let me add my thanks. The tags can be very revealing. When you see McCain
posts tagged with "senility" or alzheimers" or Obama posts tagged with
"demoncrats" or "liberaltards", you know that the thread is going to become a
cesspool very quickly.
Foxfyre
 
  5  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 02:37 pm
@George,
George wrote:

Let me add my thanks. The tags can be very revealing. When you see McCain
posts tagged with "senility" or alzheimers" or Obama posts tagged with
"demoncrats" or "liberaltards", you know that the thread is going to become a
cesspool very quickly.


And sometimes those snotty or malicious tags can be intentionally attached to a perfectly respectable thread too with the intent of repulsing people from joining in. That's the unfortunate downside.

Our faithful, competent, and quite terrific programmers for the site do put a great deal of faith in the competent and mature prevailing on A2K. Unfortunately, I sometimes think they fail to allow for a small but active number of trolls who intentionally try to make trouble for other members or just in general.
Izzie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 02:47 pm
@Nick Ashley,
Yep.... like the tag bit... site was down a couple times here... but that was coco.

So.. thanku.

NOW SLEEP!
0 Replies
 
George
 
  2  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 02:49 pm
@Foxfyre,
Foxie wrote:
And sometimes those snotty or malicious tags can be intentionally attached to a perfectly respectable thread too with the intent of repulsing people from joining in. That's the unfortunate downside.

Sad, but true, Foxie. Sad, but true.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 02:57 pm
@George,
So I suppose adding the tag "Nick rocks" would be inappropriate. Ok, I'll post it here instead. Thanks for your tremendous efforts, Nick.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 03:02 pm
@Foxfyre,
the more we tag appropriately, the less the inappropriate tags will be visible
Foxfyre
 
  3  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 03:11 pm
@ehBeth,
I hope so ehBeth. I wonder if it would work or would be practical for the tags to be restricted to the author of the thread to choose the tags? If he or she tagged inappropriately, the thread would likely disappear. Or if he or she tagged with stupid tags, it likewise would likely disappear.

I suppose that would defeat the philosophy behind the tagging system though.
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 03:13 pm
@Foxfyre,
Foxfyre wrote:

And sometimes those snotty or malicious tags can be intentionally attached to a perfectly respectable thread too with the intent of repulsing people from joining in. That's the unfortunate downside.

Our faithful, competent, and quite terrific programmers for the site do put a great deal of faith in the competent and mature prevailing on A2K. Unfortunately, I sometimes think they fail to allow for a small but active number of trolls who intentionally try to make trouble for other members or just in general.


You don't know what we put faith in. ;-)

The big update over the last night and today wasn't to put tags under the topics on the topic grid, but to address this issue where it was too easy for one person to make irrelevant tags. Showing them under the topic grid was just a cosmetic tweak we made once the data structure was the way we wanted for the anti-abuse fixes.

Before, one person could tag something and it would have more of an effect, now the aggregation points only work off the top 5 topic tags. For example, anyone could tag a topic "politics" and it would show up on the politics page. But now it has to be in the top 5 to show. Additionally, the aggregation points like related tags now discard the tags outside the top 5 so the irrelevant ones are already showing up a lot less in the tag clouds.

I have no faith in users never trying to abuse the tags, and some users are always going to leave irrelevant tags, insulting tags or just plain silly tags. All of this crowd wisdom worry would be a lot less of a concern if you guys understand that we aren't counting on the whole community to use things like tagging and voting the way they should, we are just counting on more of them doing so than not doing so and our ability to make code to catch the bad use as a statistical outlier.

So if you want to combat that kind of tagging, just tag topics. If you see an irrelevant tag on a topic just give the topic 5 relevant ones and it may remove the irrelevant tag. If two or more people do so it is much more likely to "fix" the topic tags.

We also implemented IP filtering and plan to start more flood control to curb the bad use even more. We'll also start filtering nonsensical tags (like a search stop list where "the" and "and" are not relevant) and even giving weight to users so that the ones that consistently use irrelevant tags will have their tags only count for themselves and not have any effect on the site.

But it all comes down to something pretty simple, if more good use is happening than bad use we can very easily make code to prevent the abuse. And we'll also do things to dramatically increase the good use of tagging (like enable an option to tag topics as you are replying to them, and giving tag suggestions based off other user input to concentrate the tagging on the more relevant ones) and even basic semantic analysis of the topic texts themselves (simple example is that if a thread is tagged "hot gay sex" and the topic is about Obama we can programmatically give tags that seem to be about the topic more weight than the ones that don't).

We have no faith whatsoever in the individual user or the totality of the user activity. We do have faith in that there are more users using the site in ways helpful to the rest of the community than users using the site in ways disruptive to the community and as long as that is the case it won't be too hard to have the community activity minimize the effect of the disruptive users.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 03:14 pm
@Foxfyre,
It wouldn't really make much sense to have only one person tag the topics. You wouldn't really get a sense of what the community thinks the threads are about.

Just get in there and tag!



(it's actually quite interesting to see what happens to the topic tags as you go along)
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  4  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 03:20 pm
@Foxfyre,
Foxfyre wrote:

I hope so ehBeth. I wonder if it would work or would be practical for the tags to be restricted to the author of the thread to choose the tags? If he or she tagged inappropriately, the thread would likely disappear. Or if he or she tagged with stupid tags, it likewise would likely disappear.

I suppose that would defeat the philosophy behind the tagging system though.


It wouldn't work well to be that restrictive, but something I've already considered is to give the author more weight. So say the author's tags count as 2 or 3 other people's tags. Then if the author tags it 5 legitimate tags it would take that many more asses to make the topic tags malicious.

But also note that the malicious patterns themselves are fairly easy to address. We can very easily just turn an abusive tagger's influence off, or use systems where relevance thresholds are calculated algorithmically.

An example of how to do that a very easy way is in the two-blind tag concept. Let's say we are tagging photos. If one person's tag was the final tag they could tag all the photos penis.

Ok, so now let's use two users. The only way the tag will go through is if it's agreed to by both of them. Now at the very least you need both of them to be asses. Thing is, that's not too impossible so we need more.

And a simple example system that would make it very hard is to make them tag blind to each other (remember, the wisdom of the crowds works best when the crowds are the least influenced by each other, and blind action is one way to push tweak that dial). So both see a photo and suggest tags, but they don't see each other's tags. If the photo is about a bird, they'd both probably think of using "bird" as a tag, but even if they were both malicious and wanted to abuse it they'd have to think of the same abusive tag, and the basics of tag abuse are that the tag is irrelevant, so a match is harder for them to get blind.

So with that simple kind of tweak, you can raise the bar and require groups of people working in concert to be needed to abuse the system.

Thing is, that's just the tip of the iceberg in what we will explore to improve the algorithms, and we can also start detecting group tagging patterns to tackle the group use when the abuse gets that far.
Foxfyre
 
  2  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 03:43 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Of course in my case, I just look to see what tags are already there and use the logical ones for my own tags. Would blind tagging eliminate my ability to do that? I think a lot of us already agree that we like being able to see the tags on the thread titles so we can pass by those of no interest.

The few threads I start I try to pick one or two of the most popular appropriate tags to use for it. I notice other tags then start appearing, most of which make sense, but every now and then one of those stupid malicious ones is tacked on.
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 03:45 pm
@Robert Gentel,
You two are way too law and order for me and I suspect also for many free thinkers, but the tag line on the main page is very helpful.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 03:47 pm
@Foxfyre,
We aren't going with completely blind tagging. The blind part would make the tag input more diverse but that's a trade off versus usability and the positive power of suggestion (e.g. already seeing some good tags that you can use can help if you aren't that good at making relevant keywords). I'm not sure what exact direction we'll go from here (and a lot depends on the data we accumulate, as we'd rather just test our ideas instead of guess at what would work) and those were examples of some simple ways we can curb the malicious tagging.

When you see a stupid tag, just add at least 5 good ones. The more the better as they are more likely to match with other good tags that way (using singular and plural is an easy way to get the relevant tag count up).
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 03:56 pm
@hawkeye10,
You aren't a free thinker, you are a drama queen. Remember when in a moment of sheer stupidity you told jespah that the way the online users are counted right now makes this site like the "KGB"? Laughing You still owe an example of how the KGB makes online user counts to validate that brainfart.

You aren't about freedom but whining and playing the victim.
hawkeye10
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 04:19 pm
@Robert Gentel,
You might want to work on learning how to take a compliment....

There is no value on defending my KGB comment, people around here either know what I am talking about or they don't. We can't argue or defend feelings, they are what they are and they are ours individually. The new a2k feels like it was developed by the KGB to me, and I suspect that in time others will come to the same conclusion. However I have no interest in trying to convince others that the new a2k is fatally flawed. I had an interest in bringing it to awareness, so that you would have the opportunity to step back from your mistake. You are deaf, so it is time to move on to other things. Or maybe I am wrong, it does happen on occasion. But I will always speak my mind, even when the person I am trying to talk to insists upon being a dick.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 04:24 pm
@hawkeye10,
Your freedom ends where the right of others to peaceful coexistence begins.

You just don't get that and have been a jerk going around with the broken record about how this is the KGB or a "regime" against freedom. You don't even understand freedom. Freedom isn't about you being able to annoy others without their recourse to ignore you.

Freedom isn't about you being able to say what you want while they aren't allowed to express disapproval.

So you go on and on like a broken record about how we are anti freedom and anti free thinking but you can't come up with one single specific example of how this is limiting freedom or thought.

The online view count is the best you can do? That's what makes this the KGB? Laughing

You won't stop going around bad mouthing me and my intentions, so put up already and give an example of how this "oppression" you keep speaking of is happening.

Otherwise you are just a windbag of hot whiny air and I will avail myself of the opportunities to express my thoughts on your attention whoring motivations for doing so.
0 Replies
 
 

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