Tagging Words

Wordie was originally conceived as a joke: all tags, no content*. Well, the punchline has finally arrived. This weekend I added tagging**.

Tagging is a way to categorize things by adding descriptive metadata to them in the form of, well… words. On Wordie this may seem like gilding the lily, but tagging has been repeatedly requested since the site launched, and for good reason. Among other things, tags allow:

  • Glossaries and topical dictionaries. Want to create a glossary of beer-related terms? Use tags: http://wordie.org/tags/beer

  • Collaborative lists. Want to get a bunch of your pirate friends together and create the ultimate list of pirate words? Have everyone add a ‘pirate’ tag to their piratish words, and bob’s your uncle: http://wordie.org/tags/pirate

  • Lists for an event or organization. Create lists specific to a class or conference by having participants use a custom tag like MIT6001 or DefCon15.
  • Related Words. Want to show all synonyms and antonyms of a word? Use tags.

Tagging is useful right off the bat. And once a critical mass of tags has been entered it gets more useful still, as it becomes possible to extract interesting information based on site-wide tagging patterns. For starters, at the bottom of each page there’s a link to a site-wide tag cloud, showing the last 500 tags entered. Like the comments page, it’s a good view into what’s current and another way to watch Wordie happen.

It’s also a good opportunity for me to pimp another site of mine, TagsAhoy.com, which lets you search your personal tags across variety of services. It now supports Wordie. Yes, I’m mildly obsessed with tagging.

Since this launched quietly a few days ago, over 1,000 tags have been added, and as the pace picks up and more viewing and sorting options become available it’ll only get more interesting***. Thanks to everyone who gave feedback as this was developed, and to everyone who has added or plans to add tags to their words. Fun for you, fun for the whole family.

* It’s a joke no longer; it’s now the best site on the Internet, ever.
** If you’ve been on del.icio.us since 2004, if you think tagging is passé, well, it’s as useful as ever, so shut up! I have yet to see a better ad-hoc organizational technique, and I still believe. Back to the future!
*** Check out Tim’s great blog post on when tags work and when they don’t. Since many of the benefits of tagging on Wordie accrue to the person doing it, I’m hoping we fall into the “when they do” column.