Tags are an ineffective association structure

Tags are an easy way to relate heterogenous items, but they’re quite a low-signal way of describing relationships.

All items with a given tag are presented as being related… but it’s hard to see how. They’re just a jumbled, unordered list.

Some of those items are more relevant to a particular tag’s topic than others, so we should Prefer explicit associations to inferred associations.

Some of those items have only a few sentences touching on a tag, but the tag is associated with the whole item. We should Prefer fine-grained associations. Relatedly, tags are often pretty vague or broad. Better to link to associate ideas more precisely.

And sometimes, it would be very helpful to have a few words of context about why an item relates to a particular tag. We should Prefer labeled associations.

Last updated 2023-07-13.