I'm a noob. First post. Been using Evernote for awhile, but haven't found my moment of Zen yet. I've read most of David Allen's book, seen Daniel Gold's stuff, and have done my share of online research around various methodologies for using Evernote. So, a few comments on what I've seen here so far.
I think we all agree our "system" needs to be just complex enough to fit your needs. I am a bit OCD about things and have certainly suffered from tag-overload. Mommy told me not to touch the hot stove, but I certainly never did it again after I burned myself. Shame on me...live and learn.
Regarding note searching, it would be cool to see a "Did you mean?" or "Related Searches:" suggestion thingy.
Regarding the benefits of tags, for me it is the consistency of them. Believe it or not, one day I might tag something "email" and the next day "mail". There are a million other examples of this. By having a not-too-crazy list of tags, I am sure to use the same name every time. Also, tags can be like an umbrella over the concept of your note. Your note may cover a concept without ever actually using the name/description of that concept. Tagging solves this, but I guess adding this to the note body does as well, so...um.
Some of the ideas/concepts in this thread remind me of an M.C. Escher drawing (data/metadata, tags/notes), lol. This is one of the great things about Evernote. It is as simple or complex as you need it to be. I think beginners need examples and suggestions to help them get started. It's like martial arts for organization. Most of us need to "paint the fence" and "wash the car" before we are ready or can even understand what the true masters recognize and practice.
Regarding my organizational structure, I am experimenting with the who, what, when, where model. I can't remember where I saw this. All of my "real" tags are nested under who, what, when, and where. I know that every note I have should have at least one of each of these tags. However, some things have multiple what and multiple who tags. I've only got about 308 notes at the moment. A note might be tagged like this (!!reference #noWhen .anywhere @noWho). This note has a when, where, and who tag even though it really doesn't need it. I'm sure many will find this offensive For me, it's about following a process for each note I create. The only thing I am certain of right now, is that my approach will evolve