questionsare "funny" tags unwelcome?

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I use funny tags. During the beta, a few of us were using woot staff names as tags to report bugs. I thought it was amusing, but didn't know how effective it was.

Try to keep them clean and you will be fine.

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I appreciate the tags and I believe it is a conspiracy by the moderators to sweep the site of lousy humor that is not created by them.

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@catbertthegreat: So....any humor not created by them is lousy?

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@sgoman5674: To clarify: I believe my tags are always clean. I think the closest I ever got to something less than clean was the tag "strangeintercourse" on a deal for the Mass Effect 2 video game (I remember from the comments that someone enjoyed that one). Yet my tags are deleted anyway ...

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I stick in tags intended to be humorous all the time (what seems funny at 6AM often isn't once lunchtime and good sense roll around). Sometimes they get tased, other times not. It's more likely to happen if your deal attracts attention: tattles and popularity are both major risk factors. They want us to have fun, but not so much fun we neglect to click through!

And sometimes you just have to be persistent. It took multiple postings before they left the #whobuysthisjunk tag alone.

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Tags are a tool.
They should be useful.
We will edit when necessary to make them useful.

All told.

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@wootfast: And there was much rejoicing. Yay!

@jumbowoot: ... less so.

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Mine rarely get edited. But I do usually add one or two that are actually useful too.

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The mods have been kind enough to leave most of my tags alone. If I take a crack at humor, I try to have that as one of the last tags. Some one was kind enough over the weekend to correct one of my "funny" tags for me when I asked to have it changed from "when-veggies-go-bad" to "when-vegans-go-bad" on my autographed zombie DVD. They get so busy handling all the tattles. The speedy correction gave me a warm & fuzzy and it's nice to know they have a sense of humor about them too.

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@wootfast: Vikings to LA? Only if they're going in drakkars and laying waste to the city. Burn, pillage and save the city from itself!

(Not a fan of pro football. I lean towards watching the college games. Less showboating in the end zone. Go Navy! Beat Army!)

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@lavikinga: Los Angeles does not want a football team. The Raiders were there, and went back to Oakland (hooray, and good riddance). The Rams went to St Louis, poor things (but their fans there appreciate them far more than the local guys ever did).

I'm not joking about this, by the way. Here's the skinny. If you have a local team, it gets blacked out on television unless the game sells out. It NEVER sells out. Most everyone would rather sit in a sports bar, or at home, and watch the game, with all the creature comforts, and with a choice of decent beer at a decent price (among other things).

Beer is important.

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@shrdlu: We HAVE a team that gets blacked out ALL the time. Makes no sense to me. If you want to encourage people to support the home team, you should show them what they're missing by televising the game.

One of our big problems is our stadium is really too large to fill regularly. Even with covering seats, we have a difficult time selling tickets. We're still a small town and ticket prices+parking+concession prices=a hefty chunk o'change for a family of 4. It doesn't help that we have a set of thugs on the team as well.

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@lavikinga: Thugs? Let me introduce you to the Raiders, who've made a career of it. Not being able to fill a stadium that was meant for the Olympics was a perennial problem for the Raiders. I think the Rams games were actually well attended, but then, they weren't really IN Los Angeles. I think their physical home was in Orange County somewhere (but I know almost nothing about sports).

My husband watched football. I sat in the same room and did other things, from computer stuff to embroidery and crochet. He liked the Raiders, and also the Cowboys. We've now used up almost every list bit of sports info that I know.

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@lavikinga, @shrdlu: I'm from Los Angeles and grew up without football (though, in truth, the Raiders WERE there when I was a young one, but I guess they just didn't captivate the people around me). It was only when I moved to Chicago for law school (yes shrdlu, I know you figured that out) that I was exposed to a real sports town and actually got into football, and have now adopted the Bears as my team, God help me. If L.A. actually still had a team, I might have taken that one, but I was just left with no other option - seriously, it just isn't fun to watch the sport if you aren't rooting for anyone - and now I'm stuck forever.

As I've heard it, supposedly L.A. can't sustain a team because in the winter the weather is good enough for people to get outside and do things, so staying indoors to watch football just isn't as attractive. Personally, I think that's balogna, and that the culture is just so metro/effeminate/post-modern/what-have-you that football is just too bourgeois.

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@gwintner: They love their football there. They just don't want to go to a stadium to watch it. Actually baseball and basketball are much more important than football. The weather certainly plays a part, but the LA Rams were loved. People were sad that they left. Please remember that was Georgia's work, not the fans.

The Raiders? Let them stay in Oakland. The airport there sucks too.

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On the topic though: @hobbit: I also always include "useful" tags, and also always put my "funny" tags afterward. Yet I get edited. Either yours are funnier than mine, or the mods have a sweet spot for you.

I just find the whole thing irksome. I actually appreciate a certain amount of censorship and oversight (I think a laissez-faire attitude from moderators + internet anonymity + some people's [trolls'] angst = bad experience for everyone), but when it gets to the point of screening out harmless attempts at humor, it feels oppressive.

They censored @luisibarra81 and I didn't say anything. Then they censored @kevskoolkars and I didn't say anything. Then they censored me, and there was no one left to harass them for me ...

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@shrdlu: Hm, will have to talk to some friends next time I'm in L.A. and see if I just missed out, if as you say people actually ARE into it. You're definitely right that they're into baseball and basketball though, so that might dash one or both of the theories I mentioned above ... And yeah, if it was the Raiders that were still in Los Angeles, I might just have adopted the Bears anyway. But if it was the Vikings? Different story!

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@gwintner: Actually, I think basketball's the biggest, followed by baseball. Football was never number one there. Basketball games are regularly sold out.

Back to the original point; I think that some tags are extremely funny, but mostly they are smile worthy. #whobuysthisjunk cracks me up every time. I think it often depends on who's on the other end when it comes to tags. @hobbit, @sgoman5674, and I used to see a LOT more things deleted, and more comments edited, than they do now. @hobbit and I used to have long conversations across multiple questions, where the beginnings were on questions that were deleted. We just kept on with the discussion anyway.

Before there was notification (or before we knew about it), the quickest way to catch staff's attention was as a tag. I myself have had several questions and deals with #shrdlu as a tag (I may have even used it once myself). Humor, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

It is what it is.

snicker All polled.

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On topic...I've posted several times with jokes along with deals before and seen them edited down to simply just state what the deal itself is. I don't think the staffers are out against the humor, but at least in the case of headers for deals, they prefer them to be kept straight to the point (even if it is clean humor). Just my 2 cents.

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One thing I'd like to see is the elimination of what I've been calling "dependent tags". That is, tags that are dependent on the context of at least one other tag to make sense.

I think dependent tags are useless at best and actively harmful at worst. The less tags describe the content of an item, the less we can rely on them for search and data mining purposes (similar deals/questions, deja vu, etc).

If the tag can’t work as the only tag on a deal/question, it’s probably a dependent tag. Every tag you use should be able to work, more or less, as the only tag on an item.

Ironically, this question iteself (with the #noyouarenot tag) illustrates my point.

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@shawnmiller: First, please give me back the punctuation on replies. Please please puh-leeze, the colon after the @name provides a nice separation between the person one is addressing, and the text that is the reply.

It's fine to use tags for datamining, but every now and again we need to smile. The #meta tag never had much meaning for me, and certainly doesn't on its own, and yet it was added, often. I've even used it on purpose (once you defined where it made sense). #askthewooters used to be a useful tag, but won't make sense for new users.

I love #zombie tags. Zombie deals crack me up. #bacon is another tag that's funny, and yet useful. It has to be a balance. If it isn't fun, it might as well just be @wootfast posting deals, and feeling sad with no one to annoy.

[I'm very glad, btw, to hear that Dallas woot staff is okay, and yes, I worried.]

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@shawnmiller: I second what @shrdlu said. Certainly tags can and should be useful, but does that mean there's no room for additional ones that are just humorous (whether "dependent" or not)? Or, from a technical standpoint: how does the presence of "non-useful" tags mess up the utility of the "useful" tags? I don't have an intimate understanding of the coding at work here, but I would assume they're entirely independent. E.g. If a deal on broccoli is tagged "broccoli" and "zombiesarecool", then if someone searches the deals looking for broccoli and uses "broccoli" as a search term, the deal should still turn up just fine, regardless of what other "non-useful" tags are present. No?

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Zombie tags get thrown out the window right away.

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I had a nice, comic little tag soap opera going on with Yoda deals I posted. Today I posted a deal putting the tags "Yoda,decoration,wifesendsu2shrink". Ok, I recycled that wife tag from another of my posts. The tags were changed to: home, decoration (yawn). Is there anyone who comes here and types "home" when they are looking for items? I just did that and some of the items with that tag are chicken mcnuggets and Crocs. Now that I think of it "scifi" would have been a useful tag for my deal, or "collectible" maybe. How about letting us have just one of the five tags used as a joke tag?

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Have you noticed the new Deals.Woot module in the sidebar of all the Woot sites? We're experimenting with different search/tag options to filter and display a unique set of deals relevant to each of our communities.

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@shawnmiller: Huh. It's a wootoff (as I'm sure you know), but I admit I simply would never have seen that if you hadn't pointed out that it was there.

Any chance that you can back off a bit on editing tags, just the same? I just read @mtrlgrl's comment, and it made me sad. Yes, I understand that it's very unlikely to be you, personally, editing tags, but perhaps you might be more persuasive than we have been on this issue.

On the side bar over on deals; it's at a spot where I don't usually look. Woot just keeps wanting more screen space on the browser, and I keep liking it the way it is, but even if the browser had been full screen, I don't know that it would have been apparent to me that those things were related in some way (other than that they were all deals).

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@shrdlu: I get it. You want to use tags for commentary. I think that's fine. Twitter is an example of where this works decently. The commentary tags offer little to zero value in their system, but they make people smile :)

Let's not forget, the primary purpose of tags is to describe an item so it can be found again by browsing or searching. We've found the Deals.Woot engine simply works better with tags that:
- accurately describe the item; to increase search engine relevance
- aren't dependent; that is to say each tag could work as the only tag on an item
- fall into the most widely accepted tag synonym (tv vs. television); to promote proper grouping/categorization

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@shawnmiller: I understand what you are saying, but why have us enter tags at all if they are going to be removed or edited by staff? Why not just let staff write them? And if you are going to edit our tag entries, what's next? Will the descriptions be edited? While your reasoning for the tag editing is valid, I am concerned that we (the community) will have less creative input when writing up the deals, and that is the part I've always enjoyed the most about participating on Deals.Woot.

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@mtrlgrl: Fair enough, but we did place the "commentary" watermark in the description text box as a hint that most anything goes there. We very rarely have to edit a description. Only when it's abusive, offensive, or spam. Your creative descriptions are safe from my dictatorship grasp :)

It's interesting to me that no one has discussed the popularity aspects of tagging. I anticipated the default behavior (with tag auto-completion in place) would be for members to try not to create new tags. When you create a new tag your item is less likely to show up on the similar deals/questions sidebar, deja vu, search results, subscribed RSS feeds, the Woot.com homepage... and you're missing out on needed visibility for your item to become popular. It also means you're probably missing an existing tag that better categorizes your item.

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@shawnmiller: Dictatorship? No. I did re-read my last comment and I do apologize with the tone, which might come across as sarcastic rather than rhetorical. I guess I like Deals.Woot so much I'd hate to see anything change that would make it less enjoyable. I like that Deals.Woot isn't just a place to post deals, but it has a bit of a social media aspect to it. And I occasionally get to make people laugh. Thank you for making it much clearer to me the technical impact of tags and how it affects (effects?) the visibility of my deals.

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@shawnmiller: I think that the problem here is that the viewpoint of what a tag is for is quite different, and I'd say that the intent of the community posting deals and adding tags is quite different from vendors, and different yet again from deals woot staff. I honestly doubt that most of the community (and when I say community, I exclude all vendors, even the nice ones) cares whether or not a particular deal shows up again in the sidebars. I acknowledge that I am a 6 sigma outlier when it comes to deals and deal posting, but I suggest that my gauge of the populace is still reasonably accurate.

I think that tags can be very useful, but think that "aren't dependent" is arguable, and that there's still room for creativity. When staff sticks a tag like #home on a deal, I cannot imagine the utility of this. I note that there have been recent sponsored deals without #sponsored, and yet no one leapt to add that tag.

Oh dear. Not yet through...

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@shawnmiller: I see descriptions changed, as well. Certainly not as often as tags (which seem to be a particular target), but I still see it. I don't think I've ever personally had one changed, but then, considering I've been doing this for nearly a year (off and on), my average for posting deals is vanishingly small.

I see far less tag changing on questions than on deals (which makes perfect sense), and the result is often that people simply use the tag section for further commentary (and many questions matter so little in the scheme of things that this is fine, IMNSHO).

The tag system has morphed beyond what had been planned for it. It's very difficult to put the genie back in the bottle. I've seen suggested tags when I posted deals (and used them, since they were good ones), and perhaps you might want to emphasize your efforts in that area. Look how often #funny and #free are tags (not to mention #knives wink wink).

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No joke - the first thing I do every morning is log on to deals.woot and check if mtrlgrl added any items to see what tags mtrlgrl used. I think they are hilarious (specifically the yoda and zombie references) and would hate to see anymore of them edited.

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Just got caught up on this. I appreciate @shawnmiller's exposition of the functions of tags - in particular, I hadn't put together that the tags would be key in determining what "similar" deals appear in the sidebar. Nevertheless, there's clearly room for those functions to be served while still allowing for additional "funny" tags, so I'm glad it looks like we've reached that resolution.

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@gwintner, @shawnmiller: I'd just like to point out that this seems to be a rule for some but not all. Please note the number of #sponsored deals that have ONLY that tag, and no others. Surely someone on staff can go in and add more useful tags after the fact, even if they weren't there from the beginning.

http://deals.woot.com/deals/tagged/sponsored?sort=mostrecent

It does seem like the scythe of moderation after the fact seems to strike in one direction more than another.

Just saying.

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@shrdlu: A fine point. On top of that, I'm not even sure that the "sponsored" tag itself is all that useful search-wise. What function is it even serving? Is it a warning? An endorsement? Regardless, shrdlu's point stands, and makes one wonder a bit about the editing of user-posted deals, since staff is not even taking care that their own deals are turned up easily by appropriate searches.

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@gwintner: Here's an alternative, and again, it's pointing to a double standard. Look at the bizzarro tags on this deal:
http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/cb1b504b-61eb-4d12-a36a-e1ddb471a2c7/military-surplus-finnish-gas-mask-w-case

http://deals.woot.com/deals/tagged/maxpedition-fatboy-versipack
http://deals.woot.com/deals/tagged/shopping-warehouse-home-%3E-law-enforcement-%26-self-defense-%3E-accessories

That's basically TWO tags, neither one of them remotely meaningful. They are also not funny, unless we're laughing at the intellectually challenged this week. Yeah yeah, that wasn't very nice, but with all the other weird crap going on, this caught my attention.

All the arrow crap in the first tag just causes a server error if you try to click on it. Actually, IMO, a Deal shouldn't even POST if it has illegal (for Deals) character in it, and open/close angle brackets are absolutely verboten.

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@shrdlu: ... Yeah, that whole thing is just plain bizarre. And indeed, your third link causes a server error.

How are you inferring a double-standard though? Are you saying that I, personally, or black triangles generally are more heavily scrutinized than the poster of that deal, an unknown? Wouldn't that be counter-intuitive?

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@gwintner: Counter-intuitive, perhaps, and yet, it seems to be so.