Hey Magpie, thanks for the input! This is extremely valuable as we work through enhancements to Clearspace and the way users can get to content.
Thanks Magpie -
We are taking a good look at this area of the app right now. Our current thinking involves downplaying or removing tag groups from spaces and making them global, or user owned constructs. We (the devs) have a soft spot for tag groups, but they have been a failure so far for a couple of reasons:
Tag groups are great for creating a view of existing content, but they aren't so great for acting as a place to put stuff. Most people just think of them as a folder and want to be able to put their content in the folder. Since tag groups are filters and not containers, our UI attempts that have made them seem like folders have been bewildering to most users. Our UI attempts that present them as filters have given them a low enough profile that no one notices them.
The whole idea of special admin defined tags is sort of contrary to the idea of tagging in general, and complicates content creation. You have to choose a space, write your post, and then remember to tag it with the magic tag which will make it show up in the right place. In a perfect world, you'd just tag it what you think it should be tagged, and people would find it.
So here's the current thinking (subject to change at any moment). If tag groups didn't live inside the tree of spaces, and the average joe (or jane) could create and manage tag groups and perhaps share them with other users, you'd get the ability to define custom, cross space views of the system which actually matter to the users and take into account what tags people are using as opposed to what tags they should be using. This is part of a general direction we're leaning - where an admin sets up the tree and the permissions and users can use that construct, but they have other options like personal tag groups, favorites, and widgets which they can add to a personal landing page. What do you think?
Thanks for the response and opening-up the debate. As you may gather I'm a keen to support and lobby for ways to free us from inflexible file structure hierarchy. The Clearspace best practice guides are spot on in stating that spaces should be used for access control. The recent addition of the customizable space landing page does provide an ultimately flexible way to structure content within a space - wiki free-form organizational style. Personally, I don't think that this ultimate flexibility really works and communities need more help.
In my own domain (information management systems) we utilise soft customization/configuration techniques for flexible typing1 and classification of content on top of a comprehensive and explicit meta model. Multiple2 hierarchical3 classification schema's can be applied to all or specif content types and be subject to access control. This tremendously increases the flexibility and reduces the cost of solution implementation and maintenance.
I would concur that in the social community context tagging is personal and sharable. In the business world taxonomy's & ontology's are prescribed. The obvious conclusion is that both have their place and by only having one method it is going to pollute the each world. Indeed, a key personal attraction to Clearspace is the desire to leverage the best of both worlds and find ways to make them work together. I'd like to see both: an assisted prescribed and and personal organic, indeed a facilitator could mine personal tags to help evolve the assisted prescribed.
I've tried to list below some core aspects of how I'd see this working:
Content needs to belong somewhere, a fixed space container subject to access control
Visibility and actions on that content should be aggregated according to the space hierarchy and access control e.g. "What's New"
Aggregation can be switched on/off as required by the user
The ability to create a complete cross space view of the content i.e. personal, role
Multiple hierarchical classification/tag group schema's (constructs) would be possible to enable personal and prescribed use & publication
The blending of space/sub-space and 'tag groups/classification schema's' into one organizational tree
The introduction of new paradigms will have it's issues but I truly think that this will give Clearspace a clear competitive edge. Sure Clearspace is a nice, well engineered platform that blends Discussions, Online Document Authoring, Artifact Management, and Blogs that leverage Web 2.0 collaborative approaches (secret sauce), but it still needs effective ways to organise and find content - crack this and you'll take a big advantage.
1 I'll comment/separately on flexible content typing
2 Multiple means any number of classification schema/tag groups can be implemented in parallel
3 Hierarchical means multi-level. Content classified on leaves automatically belong to parent classifications. On flat structure is very limiting
are there any news concernig this matter? We also discussed this and came to the conclusion that the representation of tag groups within a tree hierarchy would be a great feature and extremely heplful.