Marie Kondo Loves Tags!

Don’t know who she is? Well never mind that.

Some of you are wondering, “Where are all the forums and subforums?” Or thinking, “We need more categories and subcategories.” Please allow me introduce you to the awesomeness of tags.

Tags have several advantages over Categories:

  • Topic can have many Tags, but only one Category.
  • Users can create Tags, allowing the community to organically develop the right set. Users cannot create Categories.
  • Tags are cross-cutting, but Subcategories are only in one Category. This allows readers to browse tagged topics like #photos across different species at once.
  • Categories are like walls, so you don’t want to many of them. Tags are flexible and can be extremely fine-grained, so it can even encompass the large number of gene mutations.

Other considerations:

  • You can set notifications on a per-Tag basis, just like with Categories. This means you can MUTE any tags you don’t want to see, across all Categories. For example, you could avoid all #identification posts of people asking if their normal is an xyz.
  • If a Tag becomes extremely extremely popular, we can always graduate it to a Category or Subcategory later. For example, #field-herping.
  • Users with higher trust level (not just mods) can update the Tags on a Topic.

I think there’s a natural inclination to want categories because they’re familiar. That’s How We’ve Always Done It on the old vBulletin forums. But later came Facebook, and there weren’t any categories, but we had hundreds of walled-off groups. And later came Instagram and Twitter, and the tag (aka hashtag) became popularized. This Discourse forum has the best of both: categories AND tags.

Most posts should go in the appropriate broad category and then be ideally marked with at least one tag. We will develop a list of recommended tags for you to be using – but you can always create your own as long as they are reasonable. Here’s a start:

General tags:

Reptile-subtype tags: #reticulated-pythons, #hognose-snakes

Morph/Gene/Trait tags: #clown, #scaleless, #piebald
(Note while most tags are plural, these are preferred to be singular - clown not clowns)

Region-specific: #uk, #canada, #germany

You can see all the existing tags with their topic counts at any time from the hamburger menu Tags item. But remember you can always create new ones.

Of course, not everyone will use tags the exact way, and we will help guide that. Every topic will not be perfectly organized. There is not a “perfect” anyway. But we feel that this combined approach gives maximum flexibility. Let’s try it.

You can read more about tags here.