Categories vs Tags

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Tag Duncan Mackenzie writes about the issue of Categories vs Tags in blogs and blog editors.  I tried to comment there with my thoughts, but received some weird javascript errors.

I’ve thought alot about the same issues with Subtext. Orginally my plan was to simply repurpose the existing category functionality by slapping a big tag sticker on its forehead and from henceforth, a category was really a tag.  One big rename and bam!, I’m done.

But the API issue Duncan describes is a problem.  After more thinking about it, I now plan to make tags a first class citizen alongside categories.  In my mind, they serve different purposes.

I see categories as a structural element and navigational aid.  It is a way to group posts into large high-level groupings.  Use sparingly.

By contrast, I see tags as meta-data, use liberally.

One thought around the API issue is that there is a microformat for specifying tags (rel=”tag”) and Windows Live Writer has plugins for inserting tags into the body of a post. 

My current thinking is to pursue parsing tags from posted content and using that to tag content.

tags: Rel-Tag, Microformat, Categories, Tags

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