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Tag Synonym Server

Web 2.Oh yes.
  (+6)
(+6)
  [vote for,
against]

People tag things. People tag things slightly differently. This is partly cultural and partly simply the way the coin was tossed given requisite variety of alternative representations in most people's lexicons. The same person will tag things differently, forgetting how they did it last time if it wasn't visible to compare. Different people will exhibit an even wider variation, employing tags that the first person didn't even know were viable alternatives.

What the world needs now, is a tag synonym server* (as a deep web service, machine-to-machine, rather than a user-usable looking up resource like a thesaurus). People would strengthen the relationships by statistical means - alternate suggestions would be accepted by the host application presenting to the user, and this information is returned as a weight to the synonym server.

Initially, it might pre-provide a range of pluralisations so that when a person tags 'aarvark' it will register as the logical equivalent of 'aarvarks' and possibly even 'aardvarkii'. Pluralisation is something I'd treat as a special case, even if it's a majority and very common case.

Although I've left it out of the implementation considerations, I also think there needs to be some sort of analogue quantification of 'how much of a synonym' the suggestions are selected to be. This would allow weighted interrelationships of tags to be built, and then we'd sort out this whole folksonomy mess.

* I'm aware that the phrase 'synonym server' already exists, but it is exclusive to the realm of DNA sequencing and suchlike. This idea steals back that and re-generalises the phrase before re-eclecticising it again.

Ian Tindale, Mar 10 2007

Sensebot.net jaguar -cat http://www.sensebot...t.aspx?sentences=20
As opposed to just "jaguar" without the "-cat" [pashute, Aug 05 2012]

[link]






       [+] I think, subject to my having understood it correctly. Would such a server include elements of disambiguation?
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 10 2007
  

       Yes please (somehow).
Ian Tindale, Mar 10 2007
  

       Nice. Have a tasty synonym bun! +
csea, Mar 10 2007
  

       I have no idea what any of this means. Just thought I'd mention that. I'm sure it's very clever.
angel, Mar 10 2007
  

       I'm concerned that the effectiveness of this might be subject to the semantic context in which the tags were authored. So, a 'Jaguar' tag on a car website has a different meaning from a 'Jaguar' tag on a large primate conservation website. To disambiguate homonyms, you might need an additional layer of disambiguation which does something similar to search engines which use analysis of how search terms form separable clusters of links in the search space.
hippo, Mar 11 2007
  

       dunt matter hippo, cruisin the strip in or on your jaguar would get attention.
the dog's breakfast, Mar 11 2007
  

       Personally, I'd skip any attempt at disambiguation in the early phases - a] because it's a very difficult problem; b] because it's probably not as necessary as people think; 3] because given enough diverse tags for the same resource, it may prove possible to steer in one direction or another through inferred context of other tags; and d] naughty marketing people will try and break the system anyway by trying to strengthen association of 'innocent' tags with brands and marques*. To the latter, I'd say let 'em, by not even bothering with disambiguation at all. Who kneeds it?   

       * (in a similar manner to "googlebombing")
Ian Tindale, Mar 11 2007
  

       And then of course there is the Jagular.
pashute, Aug 05 2012
  
      
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