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[This idea is still under development, but comments are welcome on PersonalCategoriesDiscussion
PersonalCategories is an approach to wiki categories and filtering that could give most of the benefits of ViewPoint but be much simpler to implement. The basic idea is that individuals or groups could claim part of a category namespace, and be very free to label any wiki pages using that namespace.
(PersonalCategories are not intended for the C2 wiki. The community there is relatively conservative, and may not want to make such large changes. Still, the C2 wiki is well worth studying for its problems and solutions.)
Currently, categories on the C2 wiki have several problems:
- Maintaining categories can HijackRecentChanges?.
- Categories are part of the page content. There is no way to distinguish a category-only edit from a regular content edit.
- Special user names help somewhat.
- The MinorEdit feature helps much more.
- Category tools are mostly limited to an index of pages matching the category.
- People disagree on categories.
- A few people do not want certain (or any) categories applied to some pages.
- Categories useful for filtering are unlikely.
- One attempt at a "filtering" category was Wiki:CategoryMetaWikiNoise (now Wiki:CategoryMetaWiki ).
- Even relatively non-threatening empty/deleted tags are likely to offend some. (Labels like the "empty/deleted/whimsy" tags might be an example.)
- People have varying opinions about which tags are appropriate.
- For instance, consider a pattern page that briefly mentions XP--would it belong to the XP category?
- If categories are too broadly applied, they can become nearly useless.
PersonalCategories (just "categories" below) are based on a few ideas:
- Categories should be metadata (MetaContent?), separate from main content.
- Updates to categories should have no impact on non-interested people.
- Old content-based categories could be still be used while transitioning to the new categories.
- People don't always agree, and consensus should not be forced.
- Wiki pages are a shared medium of expression. In a way, each page occupies part of a public space (attention-space?). The shared space often imposes limits on individual expression.
- Categories should be metadata, visible only to interested people. This gives people far more freedom for unpopular expression.
One way to look at the difference between content-based categories and metadata-based PersonalCategories is to compare a live musical performance to a radio broadcast. The current content-based categories are like a performance--they occupy space and are difficult to ignore if one is within that space. Multiple performers (multiple categories) may conflict within the same space.
On the other hand, a metadata category is like a radio broadcast--it is only detectable by people who tune their radios (category tools) to a particular setting. Multiple performances can coexist on the same spectrum. (The wiki metadata "spectrum" is limited only by namespaces and server resources.)
The namespace of personal categories will be divided by owners (individuals or groups) and topics (particular ideas or labels). Owners will often be named individuals, but could be pseudonymous (numbered), or "open" (unrestricted) owners. Category names will not need a "Category" prefix, since they will be stored as structured metadata. Some examples of category names could be:
The new categories will one of the following kinds:
- Tag/flag categories. A page is "in" this category by being labeled with a category. Examples:
- Numeric (rating) categories. Pages can be labeled using the name and a following number like:
- CliffordAdams1!Rating: 3
- Open1!SpellingRating: -17
- JohnDoe1!FlameLevel: 31
- Free-form data. (Probably not in first implementation.) Examples:
- JaneDoe1!FlameLevel: Medium-hot
- CliffordAdams1!Keywords: patterns, XP, functional programming
- Open1!MainKeyword: FortranLanguage
. . .
[Later add comments on:
- user interface
- drop-down lists
- Special links on each page
- Namespace division
- Individual or generic name plus number
- Numbers reduce conflicts--nobody gets fully generic name.
- Security of namespaces
- Eventual layering
...and other ideas.]
Since the main idea is rather large, please discuss this idea on PersonalCategoriesDiscussion