Del.icio.us-style Tags for MediaWiki

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This is a stub for fleshing out the idea of having del.icio.us-style tags for MediaWiki articles.

Rationale[edit]

There's a lot of excitement around 'tagging', user-driven keyword/classifications for web URLs, photos, and other artifacts. MediaWiki installations might benefit from such a facility, as a way to help categorize articles, organize editorial and administrative tasks, and express diverse opinions on article content.

Possible Variants[edit]

Simple HTML link[edit]

This site reproduces a quick hack found on the MediaWiki mailing list, attributed to Raj Shekhar. You can put the following HTML into a MediaWiki page, or into a template, tweaking the style as desired:

<p style="border: 1px solid rgb(159, 165, 234); margin: 0px; padding: 5px 15px; color: rgb(103, 109, 184); text-align: left;"> [http://del.icio.us/post?url={{SERVER}}/index.php/{{PAGENAMEE}}&title={{PAGENAMEE}} Del.icio.us this!]   |  [http://digg.com/submit?phase=2&url={{SERVER}}/index.php/{{PAGENAMEE}} Digg this!]</p>

"Common Tags"[edit]

A "common tags" system would give articles tags that any contributor could edit. This would be most in keeping with the wiki spirit, and be more or less equivalent to the existing Categories system.

There would likely be ongoing cooperation to harmonize "common tag" practices for consistency, since everyone would be sharing the same tag space. This is somewhat in contrast to other tagging systems, which allow (if not celebrate) everyone's different and often-conflicted styles of tagging.

As this variant doesn't add much beyond the existing Categories system, it would chiefly be interesting to align MediaWiki practice/terminology with the 'tag crowd', though far from necessary.

"User Tags"[edit]

A "user tags" system would work like del.icio.us, except rather than the targets of tags being any web URL, the targets would be local articles.

One click ('tag this article') could bring up an input field into which any number of tags could be entered. Tags would remain associated with the originating user. The most commonly-applied tags for an article could be displayed somewhere in the margins of the article. Users would be able to browse their own lists of tagged articles or other users' lists. Lists would highlight changes like independent Watchlists.

This might be accomplished through a new "Special:"-like namespace, say "Tags:", which generally conforms to the simple URI-space layout of del.icio.us and other project. For example, the path "/wiki/Tags:gojomo" would be the user-centric view like "/gojomo" on del.icio.us; "/wiki/Tags:inbox/gojomo" would be the "inbox", etc.

As this variant most closely matches tag practices on other sites, it would be most familiar to users and might draw the most use.

"Functional Tags"[edit]

A "functional tags" system would drive key MediaWiki functions by the presence or absence of certain significant tags. Watchlists, the "patrolled edit" flag, article locking, and other editorial/administrative functions could be subsumed into the tagging system, when specific users apply or remove specific tags. Discussed future features, like marking certain article versions as having reached a verified standard of quality, could be a function of applying editorial tags.

This variant is more speculative; should some tags have special effect, and should existing practices be unified under tagging? More discussion needed after initial experimentation.

Issues[edit]

What is being tagged?[edit]

Does a tag apply to the Article, or to the subject of the article? For example, if the tag 'biased' is applied to the article "Supreme Court", does that mean the user is asserting that the article is biased, or that the Supreme Court itself is biased? There could be a use for both meanings.

Should an external service be used/usable?[edit]

Since every article has an URL, an external service like del.icio.us itself could be used. Some editors might prefer this; others not. Also, as in the above issue, if the intent is to tag the 'topic' (eg: the real Supreme Court) rather than the article (eg: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Court), local integrated tags could be preferred.

External service tags could be imported for display along with local tags, especially for any editors who prefer an external service.

Implementation and Database[edit]

To be determined. Might be able to leverage Flexible Fields for MediaWiki.

  • A way to start might be to use categories and enable that category pages can be included in templates. Then one could have for example a dynamic driven start page depending on the content of categories.
  • A nice feature would also be to have tag clouds with subcategories with different sizes of words depending on number of listings.

Future Directions[edit]

To be determined.

References[edit]

http://del.icio.us