Jump to content
David

Tagging

Recommended Posts

Tags are a new feature for us after our move to IP Board, though I expect many people are familiar with them from other forums.

 

Tags are a way of flagging up the content of a thread for people, making it easier to find the content you want.  If you click on 21st-Century Fiction, for instance, you'll see some tags there, such as for Juan Pablo Villalobos.  If you click on that you'll be taken to other posts tagged in the same way (though currently there aren't any).

 

At the moment you can only create tags if you're the person starting a thread - you're given the option to do so when you post, just fill in the tag box, separating tags with commas.  However, I want to change this to allow people to add tags even if they haven't started a thread.  There's a plugin which does this, but I want to check about doing things like this with our developer before I do anything!  (I'm still waiting to hear back about author indexes, BTW).

 

Anyway, there's a helpful post on this blog about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool, have been thinking about tags a lot while reading discussion of Author Indexes, adding author names to title lines and so on - most of the issues go away with good use of tagging :)

 

While we're at it, how about implementing tag clouds? I think there's a plug-in ;-) A nice graphical metaphor that many will be familiar with from elsewhere...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ooh, and, this might be related to the earlier question about editing posts, but I wonder if there might be a way that pre-IPB posts could be tagged?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool, have been thinking about tags a lot while reading discussion of Author Indexes, adding author names to title lines and so on - most of the issues go away with good use of tagging :)

 

While we're at it, how about implementing tag clouds? I think there's a plug-in ;-) A nice graphical metaphor that many will be familiar with from elsewhere...

 

If we can't restore the author indexes then clearly this will be a good alternative - and even if we do it will be an important addition, such as tags for very tight genre descriptions, such as grasshopper suggested.  I do want us to have several extras down the right hand side of the board, and a tag cloud would be a good candidate - once we've had a good few tags.

 

Ooh, and, this might be related to the earlier question about editing posts, but I wonder if there might be a way that pre-IPB posts could be tagged?

 

They can be already by the Mod Squad.  If I can get the appropriate plugin that should be possible for members too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, some bad news and some good news.

 

The bad news is we will not be able to restore the old author indexes.  Whilst it's technically possible to do so, whatever our developer builds for us will not last for new versions of IP Board.  Each time there's a major version change the board's core coding changes to such a degree that add-ons need to be rewritten so they can still work.  In other words, leaving us with the same problem we had before.  I don't think that's acceptable and so reluctantly we'll have to say farewell to our old author indexes.

 

The good news?  Say hello to tagging, which in many ways will be better!  We've already started thinking about it in this thread and now's the time to pin it down.  The particularly good news is that whilst the author indexes themselves may be dead, the information within them could still live on.  Our developer thinks he can use the information stored in those files to create tags for all the threads which pre-date the move to IP Board.  So whilst they currently lack any author, his 'fix' will attach the right author to books as a tag.  It will be brilliant if this can work - though we'll have to see what his price is.

 

The beauty of tags is that they aren't restricted to the author - you can include any useful and logical tag which signals content to others.  So 'satire', 'vampires', or even something as broad as 'biography' and 'autobiography' to make that distinction within the forum which deals with both.

 

All I would say here by way of rules is that we want useful tags, so please keep them to tags which are for serious navigation, not expressing opinions.

 

For this to really work, it means when you start a thread you'll need to have a think about how to tag it.  And whilst you can have up to 10 tags I think we should view that as an extreme possibility, not a target!

 

The key thing we need to decide is display options.  If you look at the 21st-Century forum you'll see Winter in Madrid in the index.  There, meg has ticked the 'Use first tag as prefix' option beside the tag box.  So the 'C.J. Sansom' tag has been made a grey box at the start of the title.  In fact, it also appears in the normal tag slot too.

 

Now, although you could argue we could leave the author out of the title and let the prefix tag signal this information, it would mean the Recent Topics sidebar wouldn't show the author, so I'm not sure about that.  On the other hand, if our developer's fix works, then old threads will simply have the author tag at the start - the author won't be in the title itself.

 

What do people think?  Take a look and given these options, what combination and arrangement would work well for you?

 

Note that another application I intend to get for the board will enable members to add tags to old threads, even if they didn't start them, allowing us to add useful tags to old threads over time.

 

At the moment we can't do anything with the pre-transfer threads - this is something our developer will need to fix.

 

Anyway, this is the future of our navigation system and title conventions, so we need to get it right!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have been using search today to see if there was a review of Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill and it was hard going. A title is useless as it searches each individual word, and using author name you only get a long list of topic titles where either Susan and or Hill appears mostly in booklists. I have concluded that neither  a review or mention of the title exists, but may be wrong and it took a very long time.

 

Just read above and used CJ Sansom in search and got a long list of topic titles again, but  Meg's tag made it stand out straight away. That seems a good way to start on finding authors even if we get a future tag fix.

 

ETA but it seems you cannot go back to previous tagging and select 'set first tab...' as I couldn't find a way to correct  it on 'Jewels of Paradise '.

Edited by grasshopper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think search is broken. Maybe the indexing hasn't worked properly? Example: search for "book lists", you'll see "book lists 2013", "book lists 2012", "book lists 2011" amongst the search results. Search for "book lists 2013" - no results. Search for "book lists 2012" - the only result is "book lists 2013"! So looks like something not quite right there...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 looks like something not quite right there...

So it does.

Even using Advanced Search you get the same result - unless you click Titles Only in the search options.

I found it that way, but it should be possible to find it in a simple search.

 

At least book and list and 2012  each have four characters - it's impossible to find anything with less (as it also was on Classic BGO)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think search is broken. Maybe the indexing hasn't worked properly? Example: search for "book lists", you'll see "book lists 2013", "book lists 2012", "book lists 2011" amongst the search results. Search for "book lists 2013" - no results. Search for "book lists 2012" - the only result is "book lists 2013"! So looks like something not quite right there...

 

Hmmm.  That's concerning.  Thanks for pointing it out, waawo - I'll contact our developer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thought I'd post with a quick update.  Unfortunately our developer is both very busy and out of the country this week, so it won't be until next week that he can look at the tagging question.  It's a little frustrating because I want to get a publicity drive going to promote us, but I really don't want to do that whilst virtually every book has no author in the title and the tagging system is limited to a few weeks' worth of threads - this could put people off and then the opportunity is lost.

 

Anyway, he didn't see why there should be a problem with the old threads being tagged so I hope that can be fixed and we can get the old author index integration with tagging sorted using the remainder of the pledge money - there's a reasonable chunk left since the conversion didn't take as long as feared.

 

As for the search problem, he notes that:

 

MySQL searching is notoriously poor, but at the same time, you can refine your search using operators that most searches accept. 

So if you search for “book lists” you’ll get all of them.

 

MySQL is the database used by the system.  I think the point he was making is that years don't search well, but straightforward 'word' terms will.  There is an alternative search option in the system called 'Sphinx' but I don't know anything about that and haven't heard back yet from the developer about his thoughts.  I don't know if it would be worth investigating that.

 

Anyway, we'll need to decide about how we want to define the rules for thread titles:

 

Title and author, then ordinary tags with no prefix tag at the start? 

 

Prefix tag with author, then title and author? 

 

Or prefix tag with author, then just the title?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prefix tag with author, then title and author? 

 

Or prefix tag with author, then just the title?

My preference is for prefix tag with author, then just the title .

 

Definitely not Prefix tag with author, then title and author, because it is similar in effect to the result we got in ClassicBGO when the author name was added to the thread title by the original poster as well as being listed automatically by the indexing software - and we decided then that 'author - title - author' looked odd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My preference is for prefix tag with author, then just the title .

 

Definitely not Prefix tag with author, then title and author, because it is similar in effect to the result we got in ClassicBGO when the author name was added to the thread title by the original poster as well as being listed automatically by the indexing software - and we decided then that 'author - title - author' looked odd.

Seconded

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't appear to have the ability to use prefix tags. However we set it up, there will be a job of work for the moderators in standardising titles/tags that others have posted - people will make mistakes or won't understand the rules. We oughtn to go for a solution that makes this easier for moderators.

 

One other thought is the searching facility. Do tags show up in Google searches. If not, could we be losing potential hits if we use tags rather than title lines for author names?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

One other thought is the searching facility. Do tags show up in Google searches. If not, could we be losing potential hits if we use tags rather than title lines for author names?

That's a good point. A Google search led me to the site; I don't think I would have found it otherwise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One other thought is the searching facility. Do tags show up in Google searches. If not, could we be losing potential hits if we use tags rather than title lines for author names?

A Google search for a specific author name  probably wouldn't show a BGO thread for dozens of pages anyway, would it? Surely we don't have enough traffic (yet) to get our threads on a single author's books onto the first couple of pages?

  But, a search for Book Group Online author name does bring up tagged threads - I just tried with a couple started by me for books by Nathaniel Dale and C J Sansom - and they were on page 1.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't appear to have the ability to use prefix tags. However we set it up, there will be a job of work for the moderators in standardising titles/tags that others have posted - people will make mistakes or won't understand the rules. We oughtn to go for a solution that makes this easier for moderators.

 

One other thought is the searching facility. Do tags show up in Google searches. If not, could we be losing potential hits if we use tags rather than title lines for author names?

 

I'm not sure what the tag issue might be, Mr HG.  Is this on a proper computer, not just your mobile?  Options on mobiles do appear to be a little more limited, from what people have said.  Certainly if I go to a thread you've started I can get the prefix tag option in the full editor:

 

wl2o.jpg

 

 

Do you not get that?

 

Yes, whatever system we choose it will mean not everyone gets it right, but most people will once they've got the idea and it's not a huge hassle to make a change - but thanks for thinking of us!

 

The search element to tags is something I hadn't thought about and yes, that's a very good point.  I've started a test thread to see how this works in practice.

 

A Google search for a specific author name  probably wouldn't show a BGO thread for dozens of pages anyway, would it? Surely we don't have enough traffic (yet) to get our threads on a single author's books onto the first couple of pages?

  But, a search for Book Group Online author name does bring up tagged threads - I just tried with a couple started by me for books by Nathaniel Dale and C J Sansom - and they were on page 1.

 

For the most part we may well not feature very highly for individual searches.  Certainly the more popular the book, the less likely that is - searches will bring up major newspaper reviews, Amazon pages, etc. before we get a look-in.  However, it's still worth working on.  Not least because we've already made very significant search gains from a few simple changes I made.  We always came top in a search for 'online book group', for instance, but never featured anywhere significant in a search for 'online book forum', which is another very common search term.

 

So I changed the site's title to 'Book Group Online - the Book Forum for Everyone' and we started to climb the rankings.  Last week we'd reached page one and now we're number 2 in a search for 'online book forum' (though this probably won't be the case outside the UK).  Ironically, this is now better than 'online book group' because recently the Guardian has sneaked in there! With a bit of thought you can make a big difference to search.  So we'll see how this tagging experiment goes.

 

The thing I'm struggling to work out at the moment is how to get the apostrophe to display in the "you'll" within the site description.  I know apostrophes don't always work properly in some formats, but normally you get symbols or letters instead - here it's just disappeared altogether!  If I can't fix it I'll have to change the wording there, which is a shame because I want us to sound friendly and abbreviations are helpful on that front.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure what the tag issue might be, Mr HG.  Is this on a proper computer, not just your mobile?  Options on mobiles do appear to be a little more limited, from what people have said.  Certainly if I go to a thread you've started I can get the prefix tag option in the full editor:

 

Do you not get that?

 

No - I don't have that option either on full editor or on new threads. This is using a proper computer and having tried on both a PC and a Mac. There is just white space next to the tagging box.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No - I don't have that option either on full editor or on new threads. This is using a proper computer and having tried on both a PC and a Mac. There is just white space next to the tagging box.

 

Hmmmm.  I don't understand that, then.  The only other things I can suggest at the moment are trying a different browser or switching off your security software to see if either of those things makes a difference.  I can see other subscribers have been able to use the prefix, so it's not an issue with your user group.  There's nothing I can see in your profile settings which should affect this.

 

If we can't resolve it in other ways I'll ask our developer when he's back in the UK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No - I don't have that option either on full editor or on new threads. This is using a proper computer and having tried on both a PC and a Mac. There is just white space next to the tagging box.

I do not have that option either. I tried to find where this option "Use first tag as prefix" was, but couldn't see it and thought I had not worked out the system but now realise I do not have that little square box by the tags. Tagesmann came in and tagged the prefix bit for me by edit so on his system it must be there even in my post.

My computer is a very ordinary HP laptop with Windows 8.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmmm.  I don't understand that, then.  The only other things I can suggest at the moment are trying a different browser or switching off your security software to see if either of those things makes a difference.  I can see other subscribers have been able to use the prefix, so it's not an issue with your user group.  There's nothing I can see in your profile settings which should affect this.

 

If we can't resolve it in other ways I'll ask our developer when he's back in the UK.

 

Just to add to the evidence pile: I don't get the prefix tag option either. I've tried Chrome, Firefox and IE9 with the same result. (All on the same Windows 7 PC though so what you mentioned about security software could still be the problem).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to add to the evidence pile: I don't get the prefix tag option either. I've tried Chrome, Firefox and IE9 with the same result. (All on the same Windows 7 PC though so what you mentioned about security software could still be the problem).

 

Right.  Okay - would you be able briefly to disable your security software and see if the option appears, waawo?  I wonder if this is the problem because I have issues with Norton and IE10.  It prevents some functions in the admin control panel working.  I actually had a Norton technician take over my computer the other day to try to resolve this and whilst it seemed okay when I tried one thing which hadn't worked (meaning I then said, "That looks fine now, thanks..."), all the others turned out to be problematic still. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×