Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dumb Tag Clouds

The current version of Blogger allows labeling of posts with category tags, but to get a list of the tags on the Blogger-generated pages requires using the layouts template, which requires hosting one's weblog on Blogger's servers, which I do not do. I can live with that, and I might change my own template to include an up-to-date list of links to the label pages, which Blogger does generate. One might think linking to these would be easy, and it is, so there must be some private reason Blogger does not do it.

Perhaps one reason it is not supported is that Blogger would feel obligated to support dumb "tag clouds", (but even this feature does not require more than static HTML.) Tag clouds are cute page content areas that show some or all of the tags applied to weblog entries, but the size of the tag in the cloud represents its popularity. They're cute. They're silly. They're not particularly useful.

They do give an idea at a glance of the more popular tags, but that's the limit of their usefulness. Unpopular tags are invisible or illegible, making their presence useless, and also limiting the readers ability to see what they are or read about them. The space wasted by the popular tags could also be used to present something useful, such as a list of all of the tags, or maybe even the top twenty tags, and that list could be ranked, either ordered by rank or visually marked according to popularity, since that's all a tag cloud provides. For example, the redder a tag would be, the more popular it would be while less popular tags would be shades of blue. Just about anything would be more useful and informative that cute, silly, and dumb tag clouds.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if the "cloud generator" would simply mark each tag with one of a set of styles to indicate it's importance (like, "important0" through "important10" or whatever). Then each blog page could have its own stylesheet that rendered the differences however it wanted.