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IPS implements "fearless" overhaul to Tagging

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IPS was not kidding when they titled their blog as "Tagging Reinvented."

These aren't the standard tag features that everyone else is accustomed to (colors, defined prefixes, font awesome).  Instead, we got a vision statement by IPS on taxonomy: a global closed tag system for the entire community.  No more open tags.  No more tags defined per node.  Each tag is predefined by the admin, available for the entire community, and displayed in a beautiful dedicated page per tag with its own banner image, description, featured content, and a consolidation of content from the entire community presented in a unified manner.  

Other highlights:

  • Tag pages can be used in the menu 
  • Featured Content and Our Picks are merged together


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I am still personally wrapping my head around these changes.  

My initial gut reaction:

  • The new tagging page looks amazing.  The fact that you can link to it as a standalone page provides a new way to browse content
  • Closed tagging sounds good in theory.  But in practice, a closed tagging system is hard - very hard - to actually do.  It requires a lot of upfront planning and a lot of ongoing moderation.  
  • Closed tagging works great on small and starting communities because it's easy. But once your community expands past a certain point, you just can't keep up with closed tagging.  Imagine if Twitter were to try to maintain a closed tagging system.  
  • For existing communities, this will be painful to transition. My personal take is that most large communities will simply disable / not use this feature, even though it's a very cool feature, because it's just not designed to scale and grow.  

This is definitely an interesting vision statement by IPS on tagging.  It's beautiful, it's bold, it's something fresh and new.  But for large communities, they're going to need to think very hard about whether this vision is appropriate.  

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