Tuesday, June 14, 2005

On Tags in Technorati

In the great tradition of blogging allowing one to cc the world, here's a short email to David Sifry and support@Technorati

Enhancements to Technorati Tags

Great to see the beginnings of tag aggregation at Technorati in the past few months, the beta UI is even better. It's a great glue layer solution, one that got me to tag the 100 or so posts I've written on my blog. One nitpick: you seem to give undue great prominence to tags that use the technorati.com namespace. From reading the guide to Technorati tags, I had thought that other namespaces using the rel=tag attribute would show up in the aggregation user interface, but they don't seem to, at least not yet... What gives?

In any case, I have a couple of enhancement requests:

For members who have claimed a blog, in addition to the cosmos for a given blog, please provide
  1. a list or "tag cloud" of all tags used by that blog (or link to said tag list or cloud)
  2. Also for members-only, and for claimed blogs only, I'd like to see the list of tags used for a given post
For example, if I tag my forthcoming post about those parasites that got my blog temporarily consigned to the "Spam Blackhole in Technorati" a couple of months ago with "blackholes, spam, technorati" I should be able to later on navigate and see the list of tags used and not just from my blog but also from technorati.

Ideally the tags should be listed as hyperlinks under the post (ala delicious) but I would settle for a nice new icon like the ubiquitous cosmos icon (great branding by the way). When clicked it would display the tags used.

Bonus points: display the list of tags others have used (extra credit) ranked by authority, or date. Some nice visualization could come into play also if one was to be ambitious to show the evolution of tags used over time. (And I'll buy you some Schnapps or Palm Wine).

I understand that such a feature would decrease performance since it ties the search engine more deeply with the tag aggregation engine. But it is so much nicer and promotes immediacy wouldn't you think? Being able to pivot on tags by simply clicking a link is very satisfying.

Bonus points, allow specification of uri parameters to slice and dice the tags, and blog posts, eg. being able to see all posts tagged with a given tag query. (with an option to specify internal tags and external). Your garden variety RESTful api at work here

I do that with del.icio.us as my poor man's categorization. For example, this is a link to my Cambridge Toli Chronicles

Lastly, and lowest on the totem pole of feature requests, how about some metrics about the tags used per blog. Statistics give some comfort to people. I'd like to know how many tags I've used. I can eyeball my tag list at delicious and figure out that its probably 100-200 or so (I'm so verbose). But I'm a lazy sort, and I believe in the Lazy Web.

A Technorati Tag Chat

P.S. don't you just love that Google has been so delinquent as to give you the opportunity to gain such a headstart not just in blog search but also now in tag aggregation since they don't even provide categories in Blogger. The current situation gives rise to chats like the following from just a few weeks ago:

Koranteng@Toli    did you mean this absurd sequence...< ol>
  • write a post...
  • post to blogger....
  • write tags in delicious (wait a few minutes to better get a sense of what to tag since, if you tag as you write, they aren't useful...
  • copy tags from delicious and generate technorati tags using technorati tag bookmarklet...
  • copy said technorati tags and paste in updated post to blogger...
  • and then if I feel like it (if I want to save it or if it is about to go into a for pay subscriber-only walled garden then furl my post copying keywords and navigating the awful ui for multiple topics therein...[Furl's UI for multiple topics is awful even though it could be easily fixed and I've sent suggestions to their support to no avail]
  • That's a twilight zone... not quite Orwellian but echoes of Beckett and Waiting for Godot

    JJMG    I have started three separate ST topics with you

    JJMG    (1) yes the absurd sequence although I thought it was
    1. add the technorati tags with the bookmarklet;
    2. copy the resulting tags out of the post and post your posting to delicious; I didn't know about furl
    JJMG    anyway, I can't believe how ridiculously many steps you have to make to post to your blog with tags

    JJMG    you'd think there would be a way to at least tag to delicious and technorati at once, and in fact these two postings imply that you can:

    JJMG    but you aren't using their technique

    JJMG    your HREFs at the bottom of your postings are all technorati hrefs

    JJMG    and then you just HAPPEN to post the same posting to delicious with the same tags

    Toli    all because Blogger doesn't implement categories.... I believe that typepad categories now get mapped to technorati tags...

    JJMG but those two pages imply that if you use HREFs that point to delicious, then they become technorati tags, but in fact it appears that they do not
    JJMG    (there is a rel="tag" thing in there which is supposedly what makes technorati think it's a tag
    JJMG    so, for instance, at the bottom of the freshblog's postings

    Toli    right but that is just technorati playing favourites in its aggregation ui to things that are 'proper' technorati tags

    JJMG    so at the bottom of the freshblog postings, all the hrefs are to http://del.icio.us/jrfj44
    JJMG    yours are all to technorati
    JJMG    yours actually work, but theirs don't, so I don't know why they document that theirs do
    JJMG    when I say yours "work" I mean that you can go to technorati.com/tag/ and you show up
    JJMG    when you do, say, technorati.com/tag/how-to, you don't get the freshblog thing in the technorati list, although you can get to it from the delicious list, so I kind of miss the point of what they are documenting in those two pages ...

    Toli    they might have but again technorati are the aggregator so they decide what happens... I really hope google buys all of these services up
    Toli    yep the spirit of the technorati inital proposal about the rel=tag implied the kind of flexibility but then reality stepped in

    JJMG    in fact those two postings I just sent you
    JJMG    they say
    JJMG    "I just learned that technorati tags do not need to actually link to technorati. This is important because for a while now I've been using delicious as a way to make categories on my blog posts. "
    JJMG    simply having the rel="tag" is supposed to make it a "technorati tag"
    JJMG    but -- again, the technorati UI doesn't seem to treat it the same way unless it really links TO technorati
    JJMG    anyway ...

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    John said...

    Thanks for the link & the discussion. In my experience, the combination of the del.icio.us and technorati URL's works great, & posts at Freshblog are listed on both services. Technorati may not pick up the posts as quickly as if they linked directly there, but my posts do appear on Technorati tag searches. Search for the tag britnews, for instance, & it will only return my posts.

    The bookmarklet from Ted Ernst's blog generates tags that link to del.icio.us but are also read by technorati. This definitely saves a couple of steps in the method that you lay out. It is still cumbersome to tag each post, but I think it is worth it.

    John said...

    As for the how-to post appearing on Technorati... I guess that is a limitation of the tag search. They acknowledge that "700 posts from 217 blogs match this tag" but only display the 20 posts most recently tagged with that term in their search results. In fact, the technorati tag homepage only promises to point to "current tags." Perhaps tag search results are mostly useful for seeing what's going on right now... Still a worthwhile addition to Freshblog, though.