10 Replies Latest reply on May 12, 2009 6:36 PM by gialyons

    The Curse of Windows Explorer?

      I am starting to receive this question from our Clearspace users


      "I wish we had the capability to create folders and have a document hierarchy similar to Windows Explorer.  Currently all documents get lumped together under one space.  It would be nice to group and segregate file to provide good functional decomposition."

      It seems like adding tree & branch folders to a collaborative workspace tool would be a giant step backwards, but I don't have a great answer for them as to why. Can you help?

        • Re: The Curse of Windows Explorer?

          We are considering Clearspace as a replacement to Microsoft Groove.  We have the same problem - people want the whole folder hierachy thing, and a drag and drop file upload process (as they have in Groove) and I know it's not right, but I can't quite put my finger on why.  If anyone has a good answer to this I'd love to hear it.

          • Re: The Curse of Windows Explorer?

            Two words: "Tag Groups".  This is one of Clearspaces hidden gems that often gets overlooked.  If you notice, in the Build community and even in the this community, when you look at the overview, discussions, documents, and even the all content tab, there is the ability to "filter" the content via tag groups.


            Clearstep Business Community _ Community_ Internal Collaboration.png


            Tag groups allow community administrators to dynamically create "folders" of content based on a tag, or multiple tags.  For example, the "Business Drivers" tag group is made up of the tags: business_drivers, and busines_case

            Clearstep Business Community _ Community_ Internal Collaboration-2.png

            Thus, when a user selects that tag group, all the content that have one or more of the tags will show up and the rest of the content will be filtered out.


            The advantage of this over a folder structure is that a piece of content could live in multiple tag groups.  That is one of the inherent problems with traditional taxonomy.  Someone defines the structure, and everyone else has to adhere to it.  But what is a "business driver" for someone may be a "key issue" or another.  So where does that topic get placed in a traditional structure?  With tag groups, it can appear in both.


            This does take some getting used to, but experiment with it. Another benefit to tag groups is that you can easily add and remove tags from the tag group without loosing any data.  You can add new tag groups.  This is similar to folksonomy where the users generate the structure based on tags.  So with tag groups you get a bit of the best of both worlds: structure - by allowing community managers to set up the tag groups and tags, and folksonomy - by allowing users to define the tags.


            Let me know your thoughts on this.

            • Re: The Curse of Windows Explorer?

              Thanks for this - it's a real help.  It is clear from what you have said that using tag groups and a sensible tagging policy will give better results when finding and viewing content than a file/folder hierachy.  But tag groups can not be created in the root space, they have to live within a space, so is it the case that they cannot encompass content from across more than one space, or that if we wnat to use tag groups to do that then all of our 'Spaces' would need to be 'Sub-Spaces'?


              One other advantage of the file-folder thing though is the world of drag and drop.  If I want to move 3 directories, which contain subdirectories and files within into a tool like Clearspace, can I do it from the back end, and 'batch-tag them'?  This is not going to be an issue after implementation, but the ability to do this in the short term when implementing, and then to be able to revisit the files and apply more detailed or relevant tags to them later on would be a real bonus.  We have a massive file structure across over 100 file tools in disparate Groove workspaces right now, and the prospect of uploading each file one at a time to Clearspace is making me feel a bit queasy.

              • Re: The Curse of Windows Explorer?

                Hi Barry,


                I think you hit the nail on the head.  I'd like to take a step outside of the technology and illustrate why.  People perceive reality.  One tag for one person has a different meaning for another person and vice versa.


                For me this is the beauty of tag groups.  It connects people who might not have ever been connected. What a shame in not being able to connect with others who have the same overall perception (REALITY) but have a slight twist.


                Tag groups allow us to provide a connection of value between 2 people, a group, an entire community.  So why the technology of Clearspace is fantastic and tag groups is a great "hidden gem" as you call it; it is the enabler for the true value - human connectedness.


                Disclaimer - I do not work for Jive Software but think their technology is fantastic and the value not fully realized.



                • Re: The Curse of Windows Explorer?

                  What are some best practices to encourage tag usage and maintain consistency and quality of those tags?  What happens to discussions that are not tagged-are they simply not included in a Tag Group?

                  • Re: The Curse of Windows Explorer?

                    Tag groups sound really cool.  Now wouldn't it be nice if your favorite community tool could provide you the community admin and space administrators with a report that:

                    • Identifies all posts that haven't been tagged
                    • Analyzes the key words in those posts and offers tag suggestions
                    • Allows you to quickly accept/reject those suggestions


                    And presto, your content is tagged!


                    Perhaps you could apply the same approach to better profile users.  Your software allows users to tag themselves, but the user doesn't do that (I'm one of those lazy users BTW).  So to make your life and the user's life easier, instead the software analyzes the user's content contributions, identifies key words, and on a monthly basis (or however you configure it) prompts the users (and/or admin) with those suggestions tags.


                    Prompting users to complete their profiles would be good too.  Linkedin does it in a subtle way by showing you the % completion.

                    • Re: The Curse of Windows Explorer?

                      Great thoughts Angelique.  We're listening.

                      • Re: The Curse of Windows Explorer?

                        My objection to this response is that the tag group concept only works at one level.


                        For example, I click into a topic-based folder to see the docs on that topic, then I see an "archive" folder where some depreciated docs live. Users understand by the archive label that this isn't current. Moreover, you don't see those archived docs until they see the current ones first.


                        I've provided feedback to Jive that folders would be a very useful feature, even though I think that the tag concept may be better in many cases (and the "dynamic folders" concept of items living in separate folders is a talking point I'm definitely stealing).

                        • Re: The Curse of Windows Explorer?
                          Ted Hopton

                          Here's another vote for making tag groups more full-featured. It's a great concept, but only goes one-level deep. After I click on one really full tag group, then what?


                          Would love to see some kind of nesting or other approach that helps people drill-down and keep things organized below just one level.


                          Also, I really, really, really love the suggestion to give admins the power to easily and flexibly apply tags to content, and not just one item at a time. Further, it's a drag that you have to edit anything to change the tags -- let's make the tags modifiable on the fly without having to open the item for editing.