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Evernote Discussion forums: do you use forum tags?


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  • Evernote Staff

I'm looking into doing some heavy duty clean up of our forum tag system. Some of our forum regulars may recall that we used to use a tag-heavy system for topic categorization, the remnants of which float around the community to this day--lots of product and platform tags that do little at this point but clutter things up. The objective of the clean up is to remove tags that are inordinately common--tags that number in the thousands or more. This is painless from an administrative point of view, but could have far reaching effects if you rely on tags in your searches for forum content. 

For example, there are upwards of 100,000+ instances of the tag "Evernote". In a forum about Evernote, the utility of this tag is questionable. Ditto with something like "iOS" or "Android". 

Before I do any extensive clean up, I want to ask if any of our forum users lean heavily on tags in their forum searches, and (sub question) what kinds of tags do you rely on? If there's general agreement that there's no bad reason not to expunge a good amount of this metadata, then we'll move forward with clean up. 

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  • gbarry pinned this topic
  • Level 5*
In short, I recommend that you keep the tag feature in these forums, and build on it, making it even more useful. 
 
I agree with the questionable usefulness of the "Evernote" tag, but what does it hurt to leave it?  OTOH, I think "iOS" and "Android" are very useful tags.  Can be used to filter search results to a specific platform.  Unless there is a compelling benefit to deleting tags like "Evernote", I would just leave them, rather than risk deleting a tag that some find useful.
 
Tags could be very useful in these forums, IF:
  1. Forum Search properly supports search for multiple tags, along with member, and text
  2. Tags are properly assigned and maintained
 
I think #1 now works, although it did not work in the previous version of the forum SW, which greatly reduced the usefulness of tags.
 
Restriction of Tag Creation
Many of the other forums I belong to restrict creation of tags to moderators, which is necessary, IMO, to ensure #2 above.  I would recommend that Evernote create an initial set of tags, perhaps with input from some of the long-time forum members, and then restrict adding new tags to just a few moderators.
 
Auto-Tagging?
Is it possible for the forum SW to scan the topic, and select tags from a pre-defined list?  I'm thinking about how the EN Web Clipper Intelligent tag suggestions work.  Perhaps these suggested tags could be presented to moderators to accept/reject.
 
All moderators should be able to assign (but not create) additional tags to a topic.
 
This topic about forum tags is likely to trigger the same debate we have had, and still have, about use of tags in Evernote itself.  There is a small group who don't see the benefit of tags. However, many of us do see the benefit of tags, and in fact Evernote has published numberous blogs on using tags.
 
I see the same benefit of tags in these forums as I do in Evernote:
  1. Greatly reduces false positives
  2. Ensures the proper topics are found, even if the tag (keyword) is never used in the topic
  3. Search results are much smaller, thus finding the topic(s) of interest is much easier
 
Benefit of Tags to Evernote Employees
  1. Allow product managers and devs to quickly & easily find related issues and requests
  2. Find all bug reports
  3. Find all crash reports
  4. Filter all of the above by platform
  5. If the forum supports hidden tags (tags viewable/accessible by only those with proper permissions), you could go to the next level by tagging topics that have been "Processed", "Under Eval", "Rejected", or whatever tags make sense to you to help use better use the forum feedback in product development.
 
Examples of Search Using Tags:
(these examples show only tags.  You could, of course, add text to the search to further filter the results)
  1. Mac, Released
  2. Beta, Released
  3. Tags (here "Tags" is a forum tag), Bug
  4. Notebooks, Tags, Organization, HowTo
  5. Security, Encryption, Request
  6. Editor, Issue, El Capitan
  7. Display, Issue, Win10
  8. HowTo, Share, Notebooks
  9. HowTo, Reinstall, Mac
  10. HowTo, Backup
 
I see very little overhead, or downside, to using tags in the forums.
  • Yes, it probably requires a few people (combo of Evernote employees and top-level moderators) to maintain/curate the tags
  • If the forum SW could provide auto-search, auto-selection, auto-completion of tags (like EN does in the EN apps) to the topic creator, then it would be easy for the creator to select/assign tags
  • If a forum member does not want to use tags in search, then he/she does not have to.  So no additional burden on searching.
 
Add Help Menu
To help ensure forum members are aware of tags, and search using tags,  it would be helpful if a video could be created, as well as adding instructional pages to the forum site.  I just notices that there is NOT a "Help" menu at the top of forum page. I suggest adding one, and providing at least the following items:
  • FAQ
  • How to Use Forum Search
  • Before you post . . .
  • How to Assign and Search for Tags
  • Which Sub-Forum to post in
  • etc
 
In the Forum Search Block:
  • Add a "Help" link
  • In the "Advanced Search" page, add links to the video and "How to Search" instruction
 
I am obviously a tagging advocate.  I use tags extensively in my Evernote account, and I see tags being used by the great majority of online services, blogs, articles, etc.  I encourage you to find a way to make effective use of tags in these Evernote forums.
 
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  • Level 5

I do not use tags in the forum. Searching for specific words - such as Sync or Notebook or Sort - in the forum results in too much chaff. So I resorted to a personalized method. This method achieves a remarkably higher accuracy in finding my posts using the Forum search.

I create a unique code and paste it into my messages that contain a similar subject. This only works on topics I consider (considered) important. To hide the code, I use a faint font color and small font size.

Example:

Search Code 47ER92

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  • Evernote Staff

@jbenson2 you have been including secret easter eggs under my nose all these years! That's amazing. I've occasionally noticed it but never attributed to a system or anything. Pretty impressive. 

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  • Level 5*
24 minutes ago, gbarry said:

@jbenson2 you have been including secret easter eggs under my nose all these years! That's amazing. I've occasionally noticed it but never attributed to a system or anything. Pretty impressive. 

really? jb's quixotic reminder / due date campaign lasted for years and carried his unique codes. i thought he was famous for this "hack" of the forums :) i still use similar codes in my own database. it's a nice idea.

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  • Level 5*

I use tags like @csihilling - to get more information about the OS or the device being used;  never for searching though.  I rely on keywords (but not much) and 'following' conversations to monitor developments.  The major problem with any tagging system is that unless you have a recognized structure in place and prevent anyone adding their own new variations (or just forgetting what they tagged an item with last time),  the index is always going to grow and evolve into something less useful than it starts out.  The best option (and I'm not volunteering here) is to have someone -or a small group- in charge of the admin who will edit posts to follow the 'approved' standard tagging system.

Like @GrumpyMonkey though I was impressed with @jbenson2's original code idea - I use Lastpass to generate new 'passwords' as ID codes for a database that I run.  ;)

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  • Level 5*
14 hours ago, sophieschoice said:

but about prefixes for topics? That a topic can be marked as solved, feature request, under consideration, under development, that a bug is filed for fixing,..

That would be useful. Of course, those could be tags assigned by the Evernote staff.

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