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tag hierarchy filtering

We're trying to implement a "tree-like" taxonomy on our site.
One feature that would be useful would be the ability to have a hierarchical tag organization.
As an example, let's take a classification of linux distributions:

  • Linux - Red Hat - Entreprise Server - 4.1
  • Linux - Red Hat - Entreprise Server - 5.0
  • Linux - Ubuntu - 8.1
  • Linux - Ubuntu - 8.2
  • Linux - Ubuntu - 9.0
  • Windows - XP - SP1

There is no easy way to answer the following questions: - Tag Filter all the "Linux" distros - Tag Filter "Ubuntu 8.1" - Tag Filrer all the "Ubuntu" distros.

I would have to create a series of tags for each distro, and another tag for each version (ubuntu-8.1 ubuntu-8.2, etc...)

If when entering a tag we had the following notation:

  • "Linux/Ubuntu/8.1"
  • "Linux/Red-Hat/Entreprise-Server/4.1"
  • "Windows/XP/SP2"

Then, in the tag list, we could have the following "entries": "Linux/" "Linux/Ubuntu/" "Linux/Ubuntu/8.1", "Linux/Red-Hat/", "Linux/Red-Hat/Entreprise-Server/", ...

By selecting an entry with a "/", it would display all the tags part of that Category and everything "bellow" it.

This is just an example of how a hierarchy could be implemented. A different way that achieves the same goal would be just as good.

Evgeny's avatar
updated 2011-01-23 02:31:23 -0500
Benoit's avatar
asked 2010-12-13 17:46:48 -0500
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1 Answer


this feature would definitely need some thought, quite interesting.

Will relations between tags always be "is a", what about "status of", "in" etc?

Then probably labeling something as "Ubuntu" should automatically presume "Linux" and technically it should not be required to enter the whole sequence.

Will use of certain tags require use of some others? For example - if someone labels a post with "bug", should one be prompted to enter some label describing the context?

Are your users all highly technical or there are also casual users just dropping questions?

Evgeny's avatar
answered 2010-12-13 19:53:20 -0500
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I agree that this needs to be fleshed out. In the original context, there is always a hierarchical context. Maybe think of the hierarchy as Containers? I would be very leery of "automatically" assigning tags in a hierarchy. Where should "8.1" be placed? That's why I wanted the explicit path: linux/ubuntu/8.1 This would support a stand-alone tag ubuntu for example. Users are a mixed bag, but most have engineering background.
Benoit's avatar Benoit (2010-12-13 20:27:25 -0500) edit
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