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我愿意为多级标签掏100块钱[2009]

原文写于2009-06-19

http://tw.rpi.edu/weblog/2009/06/19/i-will-pay-delicious-100-for-hierarchical-tagging/

I will pay delicious $100 for hierarchical tagging

Just saw Jim’s post on What is the Semantic Web really all about?

I have been wondering about this problem too. What is Semantic Web? Yesterday I have asked a question “Why few (or none?) Web 2.0 sites provide hierarchical tagging?” on LinkedIn and get some pretty good answers:

http://www.linkedin.com/answers?viewQuestion=&questionID=496785&askerID=14212719

For your convenience, I attached my LinkedIn post at the end of this blog.

There are two things in the answers that draw my attention:
* Many do _not_ believe tags, or even hierarchical tags, are semantic; “semantics” means RDF or triples at least to them;
* Some believe that even implementing a hierarchical tagging system is not easy in engineering or social aspects.

I think these two beliefs, among many other reasons, may explain in part why the “Semantic Web” is still far from a reality. The first is about the overestimation of what is “semantics”: triple is one way to express semantics, but it is a question that whether it is _the_ way. The second is about the underestimation of “Web”-scale: realizing a knowledge system, even if is conceptually “simple”,  on the Web can lead to serious scalability problems, both for machine (can you make <1s response for all queries?) and for people (on changing their way of thinking).

Here is what I believe about “semantic web” (note no-capitalization). First, it is not necessarily “the Semantic Web” (just like there is no “the Mobile Web”), as defined by W3C standards or the layered cake model. Semantics is a way of organizing things, RDF and OWL are some ways to express it, but other ways should be encouraged too and sometimes may work better. Second, tools and services should be “web-ish”, something like a semanticized version of youtube or gmail; after all, “web users” are rarely a bioinformatician or can master a Java-based ontology editor.  Third, starting deployment with very very basic semantics like trees (yeah, I know some will protest) and sameAs, but do it in a very very efficient way – if we can’t even come up with a Web-efficient tree reasoner, then how realistic we can come up with a Web-efficient RDF or OWL reasoner?

Now I’m prepared to dodge tomatoes 😀

by Jie Bao

===============

My original post on LinkedIn (reorganized a bit)

Why few (or none?) Web 2.0 sites provide hierarchical tagging?

Gmail label and delicious tagging are flat, which is troublesome all the time for me. I have to add (unnecessarily) many tags even if they can be easily inferred. I didn’t find an alternative that allows me to organize my tags in a tree or network. Is there any technical or marketing reason?

People have been talking about semantic web a for a while and are looking for a killer app. It’s apparent that hierarchical tagging is semantic, is in high demand, and is relatively easy to do. Why there is none in popular sites?

PS 1: Let me clarify some situations when hierarchical tagging will save me a lot of time: recently I’m reading a book of Qian Mu, a historian, and tagging my notes on delicious with tags “qianmu“; I also want all those notes be tagged with “history“, but I have to always add both “qianmu” and “history”.

Sometimes I want more than one tags to be inferred. For example, when I add “wuxu” (the year of 1898), I want tags “qing“, “china” and “reform” to be added. You will find how trouble it is to add all 4 tags together when you have about 10 notes on “wuxu”.

In another example, I want to share my tags in both Chinese and English. If I can define two subclass relations between two tags, each in a different language, I will not have to always add the both tags.

Now I have about 1000 tags on delicious. I’m really really in despair need for a hierarchy. I’m willing to pay delicious $100 for such a service.

PS 2: Further clarification: I don’t believe I will need a tagging system that always requires me to pick up terms from a tree, DAG, or a network. I can still freely add tags. But I need some way to clean up my tags from time to time, and organize them. It is just like how i clean up my “download” folder: put them into different folders, and if a folder is too big make some subfolders.

P.S. 2012-01-04 绝对不可以要求用户去维护一个标签树!这是一个极大的认知负担。不要给用户造成思想的负担。丁一虹(Yinghong Ding)在我原帖的回复里说得很好。

相反的,观察用户的行为,比如发现每次“钱穆”加上后,总会加“历史”,这样两、三次后,在边框小心问用户:“是不是关于钱穆的帖子都是关于历史的啊”?用户也没有心理负担以后还要来维护这个分类。这个分类在他今天后来的几个帖子里有用,节约了一分钟时间,就足够了。其实,连标签也不应该要求用户去加!

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