Leigh asks So any signs that “tag spam” has started yet? (found because he uses “trust metrics” a keyword to which I’m subscribed in a number of service). Here I ask the same question. It seems very unlikely that web spammers (they called themselves “search engine optimizer”) cannot see in seconds the value of getting the wanted URL (of the to-be-busted book, movie, …) or photo (of to-be-busted movie, product, …) under my eyes. Afterwards, we are in the attention economy, aren’t we? Getting attention of some humans (or aggregators and, as a consequence, of many humans) on your item is the first step towards you getting reputation (and possibly money). [by the way, the same is true for this blog post].
However, if you look it from a biodiversity point of view, spam is good because forces you to evolve, to differentiate, to invent new solutions.
So, any signs of “tag spam”? If you find something, write it on wikipedia pages Spam or Spamdexing (there is nothing at the moment about this) or ask Britannica to insert it in the next version (hope you get the difference…).
But first, how to define “tag spam”? A bot is always a spammer? If you genuinely think that microsoft.com could be tagged as crap, then this is not spam? But if you tag something just in order to capture attention of other people, then this is spam? If I tag on del.icio.us this post as “folksonomy“, is this spam? If I tag my papers on CiteULike as “Cool” is this tag spam?
Rebecca pointed out that someone tagged on flickr an antisemite protest sign as “MLK” (Martin Luther King). Is this tag spam? She says “community standards” do not, indeed, can not defend against abuse of the system–only design can do that. Off the top of my head, there are several simple things Technorati could do to prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future:
And in fact, Rebecca is already starting to provide anti-spam techniques:
* Technorati could design their system not to publish any photo Flickr users have tagged “Might be offensive”.
* Technorati could create their own tagging system, and not publish any photo Technorati users tagged “Might be offensive”.
* Technorati could provide an email address so that users could alert staff if a photo was offensive or inappropriate, and then the staff could go in and tag the inappropriate photo so that it would not appear on Technorati’s site–or hand-select an appropriate one.
And in fact David Weinberger’s (implicitly) also suggesting to use a trust metric when he says
“Tags work because they’re so simple and because they are so connected to the human semantic context, but having billions of tags won’t work because they’re so simple and connected to the human semantic context. Will we be able to triangulate tags with other data – especially social data – so that we can get more out of them than we put in? It doesn’t seem impossible to me – simply knowing who created a tag lets you get more out of the tag than the person put in – but it’s not up to me to invent the stuff.”
Let me make a strong point here: “Tag Spam does not exist. What does exist are different ways of viewing stuff in the world (and I hope there will always be!). What does exist are also incentives to get attention of other people”. How can we take the most out of decentralized tagging? I think that using trust metrics we can choose to consider only tags provided by sources we deem trustworthy and exclude all the rest. There is the risk of DailyMe here: that is you will see only world classifications of people you already agree with and you will never ever get exposed to different way of thinking. I was speculating about it some time ago and leave this topic for next time.
Ok, I started with “trust metrics” and, having closed the circle, here I stop.
UPDATE: you can never stop. While I was writing 2 posts on Corante appeared that are very relevant.
In “issues of culture in ethnoclassification/folksonomy” danah argues that tagging is culture dependent. The great example about the book “Women, Fire and Dangerous Things” tells us that if someone (of a the culture described in the book) tags a picture of a woman under “danger”, this is not at all tag spam but simply a different point of view on world, a different culture (not a better or worst one).
And in Folksonomy is better for cultural values Clay replies that the same problems applies to ontologies but exacerbated and that “The aggregate good of tags is not that they create consensus or accuracy; they observably donï¿½t, and this is very observability is much of their value.” He also reports that “But the relativity can also be interesting when crossed-tabbed with the identity of the tagger; I donï¿½t want ï¿½toreadï¿½ or ï¿½funnyï¿½ generally, but I do want Lizï¿½s ï¿½toreadï¿½ tags, and Matt Webbï¿½s ï¿½funnyï¿½ links.” In my Jargon, he is here expressing a trust statement (I trust as 1/1 Liz in the context of “toberead” tag). What I propose is to use this information to automatically discover the identities trusted by Liz in the context of “toberead” context and automatically suggest them to Clay. The balance between “i keep a small and direct and controllable social network of people i really know” or” i use also automated tools that can infer, based on the global social network, how much i could trust unknown users” should be an user option in my opinion. The first is more controllable, the second is more prone to serendipity, exposure to something new and new persons but also less controllable and under risk of social attacks.
Since I’m here, there are other interesting posts I found later on navigating some of the links. They are here below:
Cheap Eats at the Semantic Web Cafï¿½
Folksonomy Notes: Considering the Downsides, Behavioral Trends, and Adaptation
The Politically Correct Police (PCP) are making lots of noise about how “This isn’t right and SOMETHING SHOULD BE DONE”.
Technorati Tags Set for Abuse who is tagged as “Nude Celebrities” just to prouve the concept
Shapes of knowledge, word for poodles
Making use of tags and tagsonomies
Controlled Vocabularies and Folksonomies: Why Change is Good.
Social consequences of social tagging
and i guess you will find all of them on del.icio.us’s “folksonomy” tag