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Warning: What follows is even more trivial, banal, geeky and self-involved than my usual fare. Hard to imagine, I know. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

[Note: as of 27 August 2022, the plug-in referenced below has ceased to function, probably because I upgraded this site to a more recent version of PHP. The plug-in, which is no longer being maintained, was failing to load, which brought the whole site down, so I’ve disabled it. I also replaced the “live” tag cloud below with a static version, via copy and paste from the invaluable Internet Archive.]

I started tagging my posts over three years ago, but they have never been visible until today. At first that was by design. I had only just started tagging so there didn’t seem much point in exposing the tags when they wouldn’t lead to much. Soon it became one of those things that I kept putting off, and so three years went quickly by.

But then yesterday J asked me how to make his tags appear on his blog and so finally I got around to it. As of right now, you can see the tags for any given post in the metadata section at the bottom of said post.

For example, at the bottom of this post, you’ll see something like this:

Tags: , , .

The question arises, “So how are tags different from categories?” Well, they aren’t really very different, except in terms of flexibility. The thirty or so categories I’ve established for this blog are pretty much set, and I don’t add a new category lightly. I establish a category only when I figure I will write something in that vein repeatedly. Categories are an inherently more conservative scheme. Tags are fast and loose, and they proliferate like vermin. With tags I’ve tried to err in the other direction, so many tags may be used only once and never show up again. Categories are restrictive and clean. Tags are expansive and messy. In fact they way they’re implemented in WordPress tags seem to encompass and include categories, which makes a certain amount of sense. They’re both simply schemes for sorting through information. Of course tags are more powerful when implemented a true folksonomy but this blog is a solo project, not a collaborative effort.

So how many do I have so far? Let’s see. I’ve installed a plug-in called A Better Tag Cloud by Nicolas Kuttler, which allows me to generate a cloud like so.

Wow, that’s a lot. I’m guessing around 2000. So there you have it.

Note: This should in no way be confused with my Delicious tag cloud which I posted four years ago.

Published inGeeky


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