Are tags valuable? Under used? Should we use them in the main search?

Rudy

Well-known member
One good (and bad) thing with tags is that they can reflect the content of the post--some thread titles are broad, yet the specifics in the first post (and even later posts) could mean that more helpful tags could be added. The good side is that this helps content discovery, and also helps overcome poorly titled threads. The bad side is that any auto-tagging add-on can't anticipate the contents of the first post in the thread, or know which keywords should be turned into tags that are highly forum-specific.

I do like tags. I just wish they were easier for members to create without creating too many junk tags, or could be reliably automated enough that members didn't have to fuss with it. Many of the "your forum search function sucks" complaints could be remedied with proper tag usage.
 

imno007

Well-known member
I think they're useful in a limited fashion. I also use Stuart Wright's Tags Essentials addon, which definitely improves on the default core implementation, with features such as being able to add default tags for nodes. The main problem with tags, at least for me, is that you can't limit them to specific tags for various nodes, can't require users to use only one or more of the tags you want them to choose from in certain forums. So they're all over the place, and are of limited use because anyone can choose to add any keywords, and they only help when they happen to match exactly with those used by others. So then you have prefixes, but by default you can only choose one per thread, so you have to use something like Xon's Multi Prefixes to make up for deficits there. I think Xenforo could really take a lesson from Flarum when it comes to tags - at least I think it's Flarum, if I'm remembering correctly. I believe they let you implement tags pretty much how XF let's you implement prefixes, but also with the additional features that Xon's addon gives to prefixes.
Just to correct myself, it's not Flarum I was trying to think of, it's Discourse:

 

Mouth

Well-known member
Tags will really only be useful if/when xF allows them to be drawn from a staff/usergroup curated tag list.
Staff and those with usergroup permissions can freely create new tags when tagging content (which adds those tags to the curated list), everyone else can only apply tags from the curated list staff/usergroup have added to. Staff listing of all active tags, allowing them to delete items from the list (which then deletes the tag from everywhere it's been used).
 

Alpha1

Well-known member
I had an addon developed in the past which auto-tagged threads based upon their occurrence in the thread in combination with weighting (i.e. occurrence in title has high weight, occurrence of X times in the best answer has high weight, occurrence of more than X times in the thread has moderate weight, etc)
Then auto-remove old tags with 2 or less occurrences and have specific ranking members go through all tags once or twice a year to delete, block or merge.
That worked pretty well.

I dont think its useful to only allow curated tags, because you then cannot anticipate for new topics.
 

imno007

Well-known member
I dont think its useful to only allow curated tags, because you then cannot anticipate for new topics.

It's not an all or nothing proposition. I think Discourse's implementation (going back to 2016!) is far superior to XF's: you can choose if you want certain forums to have only so many tags to choose from, but the rest of your forums would operate as usual. So it is useful for those it's useful to - very useful for some people in some circumstances. Sometimes there's not a lot of demand for something simply because not a lot of people can imagine the possibilities if that something were to become available, and I suspect a much more versatile tags system is one of those things: maybe most people aren't clamoring for it now, but many of them would likely be thankful for it once they had it. Of course, the XF team could choose instead to beef up their prefix system along the same lines, and I personally would be equally content with that. I'll tell you this: I've come to rely on Xon's prefix addon so much that if upgrading to XF 2.2, for all it's improvements, meant I'd have to lose that addon's features, I'd probably choose not to upgrade. 🙃
 

Max Fridman

Member
It's not an all or nothing proposition. I think Discourse's implementation (going back to 2016!) is far superior to XF's: you can choose if you want certain forums to have only so many tags to choose from, but the rest of your forums would operate as usual. So it is useful for those it's useful to - very useful for some people in some circumstances. Sometimes there's not a lot of demand for something simply because not a lot of people can imagine the possibilities if that something were to become available, and I suspect a much more versatile tags system is one of those things: maybe most people aren't clamoring for it now, but many of them would likely be thankful for it once they had it. Of course, the XF team could choose instead to beef up their prefix system along the same lines, and I personally would be equally content with that. I'll tell you this: I've come to rely on Xon's prefix addon so much that if upgrading to XF 2.2, for all it's improvements, meant I'd have to lose that addon's features, I'd probably choose not to upgrade. 🙃

Can you link the Xon addon?

The thread is really interesting.
 

imno007

Well-known member
Secondary
 

Stuart Wright

Well-known member
Tags will really only be useful if/when xF allows them to be drawn from a staff/usergroup curated tag list.
Staff and those with usergroup permissions can freely create new tags when tagging content (which adds those tags to the curated list), everyone else can only apply tags from the curated list staff/usergroup have added to. Staff listing of all active tags, allowing them to delete items from the list (which then deletes the tag from everywhere it's been used).
That's all already possible. You can set which usergroups can create tags, you can see (and search) tags in the maintenance screen and deleting tags removes them from the threads they are used in.
I've come to rely on Xon's prefix addon
Multi prefix, I think, is a kind of replication of what tags are intended for and using multiple prefixer is, my opinion, undermines what prefixes were originally intended for and makes their use messy.
I think a single prefix to denote what type (or purposes) the thread is
e.g.
  • bargain/bargain expired
  • for sale/for trade/wanted
  • bug/bug fixed/bug not reproducible/working as intended
and using relevant tags to attach key search terms to threads feels like a better idea.

Another problem with the current tag implementation is how they are discreetly displayed above the first post where nobody will ever see them.
 

imno007

Well-known member
That's all already possible. You can set which usergroups can create tags, you can see (and search) tags in the maintenance screen and deleting tags removes them from the threads they are used in.

Multi prefix, I think, is a kind of replication of what tags are intended for and using multiple prefixer is, my opinion, undermines what prefixes were originally intended for and makes their use messy.
I think a single prefix to denote what type (or purposes) the thread is
e.g.
  • bargain/bargain expired
  • for sale/for trade/wanted
  • bug/bug fixed/bug not reproducible/working as intended
and using relevant tags to attach key search terms to threads feels like a better idea.

Another problem with the current tag implementation is how they are discreetly displayed above the first post where nobody will ever see them.
If tags were implemented in XF the way they are in Discourse, you probably wouldn't need prefixes at all - or their current implementation in XF would be fine the way it is. Xon's addon's are making up for the fact that one or the other or both systems (depending on how you see it) are very limited. The bottom line is if you have good reasons to want to make it mandatory that users only have so many tags/prefixes to choose from, that they have to choose at least x-many, however many that is, and that they can choose multiples up to whatever limit you as admin set per forum, neither tags or prefixes in XF currently gives you the flexibility to do all that, not even together.
 

Stuart Wright

Well-known member
If tags were implemented in XF the way they are in Discourse, you probably wouldn't need prefixes at all - or their current implementation in XF would be fine the way it is. Xon's addon's are making up for the fact that one or the other or both systems (depending on how you see it) are very limited. The bottom line is if you have good reasons to want to make it mandatory that users only have so many tags/prefixes to choose from, that they have to choose at least x-many, however many that is, and that they can choose multiples up to whatever limit you as admin set per forum, neither tags or prefixes in XF currently gives you the flexibility to do all that, not even together.
FYI you can set a minimum number of tags required in threads when editing a node.
Tag Essentials also allows you to set default tags for nodes.
 

Mouth

Well-known member
I dont think its useful to only allow curated tags, because you then cannot anticipate for new topics.
Staff, and anyone else you but into an 'editors' usegroup, can add new tags to content, and those new tags are automatically allocated to the curated list. That easily allows for new topics and ensures only worthy or related tags make it into the curated list.
 

STNN

Active member
That's all already possible. You can set which usergroups can create tags, you can see (and search) tags in the maintenance screen and deleting tags removes them from the threads they are used in.

Staff, and anyone else you but into an 'editors' usegroup, can add new tags to content, and those new tags are automatically allocated to the curated list. That easily allows for new topics and ensures only worthy or related tags make it into the curated list.

Multi prefix, I think, is a kind of replication of what tags are intended for and using multiple prefixer is, my opinion, undermines what prefixes were originally intended for and makes their use messy.
I think a single prefix to denote what type (or purposes) the thread is
e.g.
  • game cheat/cheats required
  • for sale/for trade/wanted
  • bug/bug fixed/bug not reproducible/working as intended
and using relevant tags to attach key search terms to threads feels like a better idea.

Another problem with the current tag implementation is how they are discreetly displayed above the first post where nobody will ever see them.

I don't really use them. Never noticed any difference in G and don't need them for forum management. Besides, stopping certain usergroups from abusing it is too much hassle.
 

imno007

Well-known member
FYI you can set a minimum number of tags required in threads when editing a node.
Tag Essentials also allows you to set default tags for nodes.
I know, I have Tags Essentials. But you can't choose a list for users to select from, and you can't select a maximum.

FYI, you can also resize prefixes, choose where to display them, whether or not they directly appear before thread titles, above or below them, etc, so that they're not as messy as you seem to think they have to be when using multiple prefixes.
 

imno007

Well-known member
I don't really use them. Never noticed any difference in G and don't need them for forum management. Besides, stopping certain usergroups from abusing it is too much hassle.
Which is partly why some of us are arguing that it would be helpful to have more control of them ;)
 
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