Wednesday, August 6, 2008

TAGS - A Call to the Community

I have been thinking of this for quite a while now, but it's a big thing and a big undertaking and I'm not sure how many people will take to it. Further, I don't have the time to really put forth toward this to make it an actual "movement," so I don't know how far it will go.

Take a look at the tags to the right there. Go on, I'll wait.

Obviously, The OddBlog has a lot of tags and this makes it difficult to find specific posts, comments, and subjects - especially if you are not a regular reader. Like any website, The OddBlog has its own navigational system and ways of doing things and it takes a little time and experience to learn how best to use them. I have tried - particularly with the near-invisible system across The Weirding - to minimize the procedure without minimizing functionality, but tags are the only real navigational system available to a blog.

I am always seeking to make the tags system stronger. One of the limitations is terminology. While I want those of us who are "serious" about paranormal research to be able to find what we are looking for quickly and efficiently, I also have to keep in mind that casual visitors are not apprised of the terminology we often employ; while we know to check the "ufology" tag for all things UFO-related, the casual reader does not - just as the casual visitor has no idea what "cryptozoology" means (of course, recent trends have helped). This affects how/where we are found in the search engines and the like.

Now, some of my personal views on parapsychology and related subjects directly affect the terms I choose to use, though I am always cognizant of the systems in place before me. I think it's time we more serious enthusiasts - we Phenomenalists - decided on some concrete terms and classifications, ostensibly for general use, but specifically for use in online research.

There are many reasons for this, but obviously, the main one is for ease of reference. Another is to separate the wheat from the chaff; a lot of blogs and sites are created for commercial (and other) purposes and with the perennial popularity of the paranormal, one of the most efficient ways of excluding these useless sites from our searches would be to ensure quality sites use accepted terms. The "UFO" vs. "ufology" example is a great illustration: a search for "UFO" will turn up literally millions of results, while one for "ufology" turns up significantly fewer - and they are of better quality, largely because any site that knows to use the term probably knows a little about the field.

So while the tags included here will give you some idea of what I am personally going for, I want to open this up to the community as a whole and see if we can develop some sort of agreed-upon system to facilitate more efficient online research for the overall parapsychological field.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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