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Stefan Kottwitz
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Would you like to have tags for forum topics?

Postby Stefan Kottwitz » Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:40 pm


would you like to have tag support for topics? Besides the broad forum categories (subforums), you could then filter for tags such as TikZ, Koma-Script, BibTeX, editor names, package names, ... also combined. We could implement an advanced search engine using tags too.

You know tags from word press sites, perhaps those tag clouds. I don't mean just a nice cloud, I mean tags for browsing, filtering, perhaps also feed support.

If yes - what to do with the existing 17565 topics? I spend some days writing a program which does tagging automatically based on pattern matching. Even if I made it pretty sophisticated, after designing a tag list:
  • a set of important tags which also can match in source codes
  • common tags with synonyms which can match in topic text body only, not in code
  • too broad tags which are only considered when occuring in titles
  • cutting a too long tag list using priority weight on tags
I got too many tags for topics, and often they don't catch the meaning of a topic, just because of a mentioned word.

Do you think, human tagging, i.e. done by us users would be a possibility? Let's say we tried it and are bright and fast: I think routinely looking at a topic and adding 5 tags could take 15 seconds, which means 4 topics in a minute. Would you be faster? 4 per min means 120 if I would spend just half an hour. Done on some days in the next weeks, and if some fellow users join and help, we could tag the forum for getting a great know-how database. I would suggest best practices for tagging then.

I offer to implement a tagging solution, if people here would say "yes, we want it!" and if some people help tagging. If you would like to help, it would be great if you would estimate how many existing topics you would tag for us. Just tell a number if you like. :-)

If the sum would reach about 30% of the number of existing topics, let's say 5000, I would start and implement tag adding, searching & browsing. By a joint effort we could make this forum much more efficient.

Thank you,


PS: Quick previews:
A list of tags, here the font size represents the popularity, as an example kind of list
tag-cloud.png (174.05 KiB) Viewed 17262 times

Search for a tag name - in some results you can see that the automatic tagging version tags too much
tag-search.png (122.83 KiB) Viewed 17262 times

The form for entering tags, suggestions are automatically made while typing
tagging-form.png (17.68 KiB) Viewed 17262 times admin

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Re: Would you like to have tags for forum topics?

Postby cgnieder » Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:59 pm

Hi Stefan,

I really do like the idea of having tagged topics and a search based on tags. So: count me in. I have no idea how many topics I'd be able to tag but since I'm online here almost every day anyway I could spent at least two to three hours per week on tagging. This would make about 500 topics a week.

Having said that I really hope if our fellow forum users would also like to have tags they'd be willing to spent an hour or so and help getting the tagging right.

Best regards to everyone :)
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Re: Would you like to have tags for forum topics?

Postby JohnHammersley » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:42 pm

Hi Stefan,

I think this would be helpful in navigating the forum - whilst the current sectioning by categories is useful for finding certain answers, at other times I'm not always sure where is the best place to post/find a question.

A further suggestion along similar lines would be to make the list of "Similar articles" more prominent, rather than it being at the foot of the page. I find that unless I make a conscious effort to look at it, I often forget. If it were somehow on the sidebar, so the similar topics were in the corner of my eye whilst reading the main posts, this I think would be helpful. Another option would be to have them at the top, so they can be glanced at immediately before reading the main posts.

Hope this feedback is useful, and great question about "How can I explain the meaning of LaTeX to my grandma?" the other day! :-)

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