Lists vs GMail-style Labels with Tag Clouds

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

While posting in the "Maybe OT: PBP Campaign Thread Help?" thread, I had a thought on something that might improve the utility of the messageboards as an information resource. Since Gary mentioned wanting to revisit the List functionality at some point soon, I thought it might be worth mentioning.

Lists are great for personal use, but have limited utility outside of those who know about a particular person list. Right now they function somewhat like file folders. While it's true that you can add a single post or thread to multiple lists, it's time-consuming and doesn't address the searchability issue.

What about adding the ability for board members to add GMail-style labels to threads or even individual posts?

On a site-wide scale, this would allow individuals to flag posts not merely for inclusion in a FAQ or for violations, but also to help categorize useful contributions. Forums that might be particularly well-served by the ability to tag posts/thread with multiple descriptive labels would be those concerning the various Adventure Paths, and the House-/Rules forums.

On a smaller scale, adding the ability for a GM and their players to label posts in their own campaign would make indexing the story, and noting posts with important information, new NPCs, and treasure vastly easier.

Naturally some support would need be be added to the search parameters, but with the ability to compose a tag/label-based search, it should help to filter results by categories and to know that these are posts other people have separated from the background noise.

In relevant forums, adding a tag-cloud for the currently viewed forum/thread would also help to give a high-level overview.

In terms of implementation, I'd say that a managed list of labels would be best. However, since it's impossible to think of everything up-front, the ability for people to suggest labels, and the ability to return an appropriate label when someone types a related keyword in their tag box would be ideal. Naturally in the PbP Campaigns, it might be desirable to allow the GM to control label creation and modification for their campaign threads only.

So what do you think? Too developer or CPU-intensive to implement? Would further elaboration or use cases be helpful?

Paizo Employee Senior Software Developer

I call this "tag soup" and it's been a back-burner project idea of mine for the past four or five years or so. For now I guess using wishlists for this kind of thing is probably best. I do really like the idea, though.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Tag "soup" might actually be the better term since "cloud" has so many other uses in IT these days. I'm still longing for the day when the file system on mainstream computers becomes label/tag based instead of folder-based. That was such a wonderful paradigm shift going from a traditional email system to GMail. For me it ranked right up there with the concept of making links to pages and categories that don't yet exist in a wiki.

At any rate, just figured I'd toss the feedback out there since I know that development/feedback is an iterative process. In case it's of interest, I had some recommendations for a fellow poster on how to leverage lists to manage information in a PbP campaign here.

I'm thinking that I might come up with a list of my own tags/keywords for the purposes of greater consistency just using Ctrl+F on such a Table of Contents.

tag soup conjures the image of meatballs floating around the forums...

anyway. I'm a big fan of this as well.

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