The IFDB Tagging System

AO3’s tagging system was briefly mentioned in the original post, though it was hidden in a collapsible so not very easy to find! I agree that its tagging system is stellar. Among other features, the synonym system and parent/child tags would be very useful. The sheer categorization potential…

(Just imagine.)

These would be good short-term solutions, though I’m not sure how easy they’d be to implement. It’d definitely be simpler than revamping the tagging system entirely!

It’d work best with a way to rename and combine tags, as Patrick Mooney said. A way for mods or users to move everything from one tag to another would be a good start.

Now that I think about it, some of the issues brought up are listed on the official IFDB suggestion tracker. The source code for IFDB is publicly available on Github, but unfortunately I have next to no experience with what it runs on. Maybe someday I can try to figure it out, or someone else will. Then we can get to the part where we implement solutions. (The hard part!)


My 2p… (nothing very new here, tbh)

I’m another tagger in IFDB (at least sporadically), again mostly using existing ones, occasionally inventing my own.
I think as a system it’s worth it, provided you don’t take it too seriously, and recognise the messiness that comes from the limitations of the implementation and available effort.
I would be interested to know if there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes effort in moderating tagging.
While AO3-style tag curation sounds lovely, it also sounds like a lot of upfront and ongoing work to implement and maintain, as well as raising the barrier to taggers by making tag semantics more complex, all of which this community may not have the energy for. (I’d totally be up for being a tag curator, though! For now I settle for going through and adding the majority tag to works with a minority spelling/term, now and again.)

I don’t think anyone’s really suggested it, but for the record, I think having to have new tags preapproved would basically kill most energy for tagging. Better to have some way to tidy/curate them after the fact, I think.

Mm. I occasionally feel some guilt/responsibility about this, as a tagger.
While I kind of like that authors mostly aren’t super privileged by IFDB, it might be nice if there were some way for authors to contest tagging that bothers them, less drastic than ‘pester the tiny core admin team’.

When I’m entering (other people’s) works into IFDB, I’m very reluctant to use the Genre field, and often leave it blank (unless the author has provided an Official Authorial Genre, or it’s very obviously a trad ‘Fantasy’ work or something).
I’m reluctant to promote my perception into the single “this is the most important facet of this work” genre slot. Whereas I’m happy to tag something as espionage or whatever, without thereby implying that’s its most important attribute.

Aside on Forgiveness Rating

(Relatedly, I do see what certain editor(s) are doing with the ‘Forgiveness Rating’ field. …I’m here for it, honestly.)

As has been said, some interactive suggestions of existing tags to nudge people onto the consensus spelling/ontology would be nice; or (probably easier to implement in IFDB’s current form) even just saying in the editor whether the entered tag already exists in the ‘Edit Tags’ popup, before ‘Save Changes’.
Wouldn’t be perfect (hard to see how any system would have steered me from *‘timed text’ to the consensus term ‘delayed text’, to pick a recent example).
Currently it’s two clicks, and probably manually opening a new tab/window, to get from editing tags to the unabridged list of all existing tags, which seems like a lot to ask of people (I have it bookmarked, instead) – there may be an easy tweak to reduce that.

I’m not super fond of the busywork and duplication involved in entering/maintaining competition membership into IFDB’s well-developed competition system, and also tagging it in various ways.
As you say, Wouldn’t It Be Nice If there were a search term like compresult:"Annual Interactive Fiction Competition":"1st Place" (with the second part matching either series or individual comps), to answer use cases like mathbrush’s? (I think this would answer CMG’s need too.)

Agree. I’ve also held back from tagging for this reason.


Incidentally, I’ve been vaguely wondering for ages what the colours on the all-tags page signify.
In my IFDB theme, most tags are some kind of blue, but a few are black.

Having been provoked by this thread into poking the HTML and IFDB source, it turns out they show tag ‘age’. I think this probably means the most recent time someone applied that tag to a game (calculated here), but I’m not 100% sure.

From www/ifdb.css:

Tag ages 1 through 7 - these depict the age of a tag using font weight
and color intensity.  We use darker color and heavier [bolder] type for
newer tags, lighter color [more washed out, closer to white] and lighter
type for older tags.  Age 1 is newest, 7 is oldest.

In practice, all tag ages from 0…7 appear, so black might mean ‘the very newest’ (since there’s no CSS for tagAge0), and all ‘older’ tags are blue, getting wishy-washier as they get older.
(Or maybe the appearance of tagAge0 is due to a bug and not age-related. There’s certainly some kind of bug here, which I ought to report, or see if it’s already been reported.)


How do you search for multiple tags? Something like tag:"tag a"&"tag b" or tag:"tag a"|"tag b"?

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And’ing tags tag:parser tag:commercial. No idea if Or’ing is possible.


That did the trick. I had previously tried this and couldn’t get it to work, then realised I was looking for two comps in different years, which would have required an OR operator.