Tagging Ourselves to Death

All Tom Bridge wanted were some photographs of Washington, DC. What he got was a giant panda.

This giant panda does happen to be a resident of the National Zoo, and therefore the District of Columbia. But the photos are hardly about DC, so Bridge doesn’t want to see it—he’s being buried in pandas! His blog entry singles out one particular user who adds a “dc” tag where she shouldn’t, but she’s only one of at least a few offenders.

First of all, what kind of a masochist is Bridge that he subscribes to such a high traffic feed—every photo tagged with DC—instead of just browsing them at Flickr every once in a while? Most feed readers demand an attention that Flickr photos just aren’t worth.

Secondly, this onslaught of pictures is a problem whether you feed or browse Flickr. Take a glance at the photos tagged with Princeton. Right now you must scroll past a massive set of one young man’s graduation photos (evidently uploaded three-quarters of a year after the fact).

Flickr likes to cluster tags elsewhere; if one user uploads a set of photos with the same tag at the same time, why show all of them when tag browsing? They are likely very similar.

So show the first few photos, then throw in a Google-esque [More “DC” Results from Tom Bridge] link. Or whatever the trendy AJAX way to do this would be.

This works for tag browsing on the site, but what about the feed? A similar link could be added, but it would depend on a delay between uploading the photos and updating the feed. Are feed subscribers more discerning than they are impatient? I’d rather not ask.

Without using a delay, we can turn to my imagined Weed and Feed Reader. This discerning program could throw out all the Flickr feed entries from the same author that arrive within a close period of time.

A problem for another time is Flickr’s use of space-separated tags. Who knows how many of those DC pictures are really pictures of DC Talk?


3 Responses to “Tagging Ourselves to Death”

  1. somesai Says:

    I would of appreciated if this was bought to my attention instead of the world. Why not send me a message directly? This is a common mistake lots of people make as flickr seperate your tags even if you type it in together. I wanted to put dc pandas as there are pandas in other zoo and it seperated my tag to dc. I did not realize this. One of the main attraction of the DC area does include the pandas so I can imagine lots of other people tagging it with dc as shown here:


    However, I’ve changed my tag to dcpanda.

  2. Mike Mariano Says:

    Yikes, Somesai; I’m surprised Bridge didn’t contact you first. I’m also sorry that you fell victim to Flickr’s confusing tagging system.

    For the record, I think your panda pictures are adorable.

  3. Selfish KM, Web 1.9, and the ‘Death’ of Tagging | cazh1 Says:

    […] think the death of tagging has been greatly exaggerated, it’s just moving to a more pragmatic place in our KM […]

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