***Hyphenated Tags Must be Outlawed***

Read on...

**Tags is an indexed-sequential search, not random access**

I.E. The tag filters on a major idea. It is supposed to be a quick narrowing of possibilities with a high likelihood of picking up specifics I'm looking for (assuming they exist in the first place, of course). At that point the brain takes over looking in detail at the search results. 

As we "engineer" specificity into our tagging system we move toward the idea of a single query, *a single tag to find exactly what I'm looking for*. I assert that this bad, anti-tagish. Let's just use SQL for crying out loud.

**Are hyphenated tag names transitive?**

I see [tag:ipod-applications] as different from [tag:applications-ipod].

In the first case I'm "looking for ipod stuff" and in the latter I'm looking for "application stuff". How I think about my search matters.

What is the results implication of including both hyphened-versions? Who knows how the hell the tags were used when at least 4 tags may be involved here! I don't want to know - and I don't have to know if we ban hyphen-tags.



**Major points of tagging goodness are:**

 - Very little time spent constructing the query.
 - There are no semantics & syntax to know about - including *implied or assumed* semantics of hyphenated tags.
 - 1-off tag proliferation makes tracking favorites impossible.
 - Specificity is gotten by using multiple tags - and it's syntax free

 - A broadly cast net so I don't waste my time looking for stuff that was filtered out by too much tag specificity
 - There is a gross assumption that the searcher knows (a) how to search a rendered web page and (b) search with tag/literal-text in the first place.


**Hyphenated tags should be outlawed**

We must not corrupt the tag space. I can easily search for [tag:applications] [tag:ipod] without having to worry if I just ruined my search by including (or not!) [tag:ipod-applications] or vice versa or vice-and-versa.

I would make exceptions, for example [tag:macbook-pro] because this cannot mean "macbook or macbook pro". I prefer it to [tag:macbookpro], but would defer if it is confusing or non-hyphenation were enforced @ creation time.

**Other Examples**

 - this: [tag:safari][tag:version4] not this: [tag:safari-4]
 - this: [tag:iphone][tag:3G] not this: [tag:iphone-3G]
 - this: [tag:software][tag:recommendation] not this:
   [tag:software-Recommendation]
 - this: [tag:hardware][tag:recommendation] not this:
   [tag:hardware-Recommendation]
 - this: [tag:OS9][tag:Xcode][tag:version3] not this: [tag:OS9-Xcode][tag:OS9][tag:Xcode-1][tag:xcode-2][tag:xcode-3][tag:Xcode] [tag:OS8-Xcode] ...

You should quickly see several things:

 - Tags become reusable. You can "recommend" or "version" on anything!
 - Tags are meant to identify general concepts. Combining tags gives sufficient, flexible specificity.
 - Excellent cross reference flexibility
 - There are no "shades of meaning" in a tag, therefore any given tag, or combination of tags, is more likely to hit on what I'm looking for.
 - In a hyphenated-tag rich environment you must ask yourself "What fraken tags did I miss because there are so many that I *know* I did not find just the right "synonym" tag!!
 - Hyphen-tagging quickly degenerates into hyper inflation of tags, tags-per-question, and tags-per-query. AND ironically, significantly increasing the probability that you will not, indeed cannot, find what you're looking for.