There is an interesting post at canspice.org about tagging (not to be confused with the tagging that you get with memes).
Tagging already has a couple of well-known problems. One of the major ones is the confusion over whether you should use singular or plural. Flickr cleverly bypassed the other problem — words such as ‘bush’ that have two meanings — by creating clusters.
Tagging is about as trendy as it gets these days. You’re setting up a website — but if it hasn’t got tagging involved somewhere, you can take your arse right out of Web 2.0. We don’t need the likes of you around here.
The problem is that each site implements tags completely differently. The plugin that I use to tag posts on my blog automatically converts hyphens into spaces so that when, for instance, somebody searches for ‘formula 1‘ on Technorati, the posts that I tagged with ‘formula-1’ will appear.
Flickr is slightly more restrictive. Spaces are allowed, but you’ve got to stick quotation marks around any tags with more than one word.
del.icio.us is even more restrictive — it won’t let you use spaces at all. So I decided to use the next best thing, which in my view was the hyphen. Unfortunately, most people seem to use what Brad at canspice.org calls the mashup technique. Search for ‘formula-1‘ on del.icio.us and just about all of the entries are posted by me; searching for ‘formula1‘ brings up far more links.
Brad outlined why he thinks more people should use hyphens rather than underscores or the ‘mashup’ technique. The problem is, with the whole tagging idea being that it’s driven from the bottom-up, it’s going to be difficult to get everybody using a standard.
Do many people actually care about tags anyway though?