(I’m only 374 posts in, I can’t be expected to know how the site works by now)
The thing that I like more than anything else on this blog is variety – I write about whatever the Hell I want. Also, I’m interested in people reading the blog for different reasons; some people prefer my rants, some people my poems, some people my updates on how that university thing I’m doing is going, and all manner of other things. As a result of these two things, I try to keep posts as wide-ranging as possible, and the publicity and mechanics of WordPress around those posts similarly broad; I plug this blog on my personal Facebook timeline, instead of a page which forces you to pick a genre and an occupation when signing up, and I try to use as many and as varied tags as possible, because I tend to mention a crap-load of things in each post, and want people to think they’re welcome to come read said posts because of even the most obscure reference thrown in that they understand and can relate to.
But apparently, according to WordPress itself, if a post has more than fifteen tags, it won’t pop up when any of those tags are searched for on the Reader which is rather upsetting; most of my posts have comfortably fewer, but a couple, like the book guilt post from a few days ago have like 25, because I mention about six different books, and so feel obliged to reference each one, and its author, in the tags – it’s not like I can decide to reference one book over another when I give all of them equal prominence in the post.
But apparently that post won’t show up now, because of all the tags; I don’t know if my others do, and if I’m worrying about nothing here, but its still annoying to me that the means by which we bloggers ensure our posts are relatable and relevant to a wide range of people – through diverse and numerous tags – is actually restricting our audience. And WordPress’ justification for this, that they don’t want waves and waves or irrelevant garbage to show up when people search for a tag, is irrelevant here; I accept and understand that some people abuse tags to get a wider audience, and will use popular tags when their post isn’t really related to it but they think they’ll get views from it (God knows I’ve done that), but basing that qualitative judgement – is this a ‘valid’ tag? – on a quantitative piece of information – how many tags are there in total? – doesn’t make sense. Just because I use 20 tags, it doesn’t mean I’m misusing all of them, and just because you use ten doesn’t mean you’re using each individual one appropriately.
Of course, the alternative is to have some poor bastard (read: word experience kid, unpaid intern, me) read like every post ever written, to check that it’s appropriately tagged, and perhaps even regulate it, but that’s hopelessly impractical and undermines the whole idea of freedom and creativity on the site, that we can write and tag how we wish, instead of having our categories and subdivisions influenced by Da Man.
But that’s the dilemma: the bloggers of WordPress are primarily motivated by creativity, to write wacky, personal nonsense that might not fit into neat genres and categories, but the administrators and coders of WordPress are, with very good reasons, interested in categorisation and dividing of content into similar sections – they have a site to run, and endless new posts every day to find a place for, so they need to pay attention to the mundane, and maybe even restrictive, world of category and genre.
I think the current numerical system is a crap one, but there aren’t any alternatives that make practical sense, or theoretical sense in terms of balancing that dual creative-structured system WordPress is operating. I don’t like it, but I don’t hate it either, so I’ll just ave to be more sparing with my tags.