So perhaps Ask Ubuntu has enough weight to initiate subsections in the site. I was looking through the questions and felt quite intimidated because I didn't know any of the answers.

Perhaps subsections would accommodate peoples specialities so as to improve the number of questions answered and the quality of the answer.

I would argue that it would perhaps reduce the number of repetitions since people would generic broadcom wireless questions would be covered by a few questions navigating to the wireless section. Or perhaps I don't know where to find Ubuntu's installation guide.

Tags are great, but are they good enough?

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    I haven't recalled a dupe I've been willing to look for and unable to find recently. Jul 22, 2012 at 23:52

4 Answers 4


You may not realise it but you've stumbled into the age-old taxonomy-vs-folksonomy debate.

As it is, the system uses a folksonomic approach, with a few tweaks to make it work well here:

  • Questions can be tagged freely multiple times. Not every question has to be shoehorned into a subject that might not quite fit. We also don't have to bounce threads from one subforum to another - we just fix the tags.

  • Nothing is hidden. Taxonomic systems obfuscate the threads (where real people need interaction) behind [often multiple] layers of navigation and structure. Here everybody has a chance to see the new questions and jump in if they have an idea about it. In a taxonomical setting, many many threads are never seen by the general populous because they've never ventured into all the sub-forums.

  • But things can still be hidden. You can filter out tags, search for others, make some your favourites, etc. If you specialise in a single system and want to help people here with that one topic, you only need search. Tagging lets you tweak the SNR... Often more than just sectioning would.

  • It adds a metadata layer that is easier to analyse. For example you can search by multiple tags. Taxonomy only gives you one vector of information.


Tags do everything subsections would do, and can also overlap each other (in that a question may have more than one tag). You can simply browse the questions in a particular tag. It's unclear to me what value an additional system of categorization could bring.

What could, perhaps, be valuable in helping people find their way, would be a guide to the canonical often-asked questions on the site. Such a guide could probably be written as a community-wiki meta question-and-answer.


We could perhaps, have a different section for highlighting the "Canonical answer" type of questions.

I find often that clicking on a tag is often too narrow - or too broad (in the case of graphics problems), and often times general questions that have really good answers are easy to overlook in using the search function

It could possibly be similar to how "featured" questions are listed, but questions might be "nominated" or put in by mod's.

Something to think about, a organization system, that groups by simple "categorizes" could still be made that does not interfere with the current one, the question is how to implement such a system, would the categories be groups of relevant tags? or would users vote to place questions in categories...


In addition to Oli's answer, one thing you can do to make it easier to see targetted questions is to set favorite and ignored tags on the homepage for things you care about and things you want to ignore, and then use this:


This will then give you a more customized place to get questions based on your interests instead of just the front page firehose.

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