[wp-hackers] hierarchical custom taxonomies vs good & old cats.
William P. Davis
will.davis at gmail.com
Mon Dec 20 17:59:33 UTC 2010
Wow, OK, I didn't get completely through that, but here's my two cents:
The built-in standard tags and categories are fine for most use cases, in my opinion. Built-in capabilities for custom taxonomies are good for most other cases. If you're still not satisfied, I'd suggest building a custom meta box, or use Wikipedia-style naming — as in, apple (fruit) and apple (computer)
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device
From: Haluk Karamete <halukkaramete at gmail.com>
Sender: wp-hackers-bounces at lists.automattic.com
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2010 09:08:50
To: <wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com>
Reply-To: wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com
Subject: Re: [wp-hackers] hierarchical custom taxonomies vs good & old cats.
I will try to use you guys' ***your own words*** - to be on the same page...
Take a ***well defined broad cat.*** PEOPLE. Let's add sub to it. "POLITICIANS".
That's perfect, because it is ***more specific*** than PEOPLE thus the
reasoning for another ***well defined broad*** group under PEOPLE.
So we got People > Politicians so far. For the same token, we can
perfectly introduce "Movie Stars". And we all know how that would go in;
that is another sub-cat under the "People" taxonomy, as a sibling to
So far, there is no problem in the way you guys and I would have
wished to implement the things as.
But we seem to be differing when we hit a rare post that talks about
say "erdogan", The Turkish Prime Minister.
Here I say, that "erdogan" is supposed to be a tag. You guys say, no,
you started out as hierarchical, so you've got to keep it that way,
thus it's got to be a cat.
I say, yes, but how practical is it to have 100s of sub cats such as
"obama", "blair", "bush".
you guys say, why not implement the whole thing as with tags then?
I say, yes, but I want to use a "custom taxonomy" for the very reason
that cus. taxonomies exist! That is, to bring a law & order in terms
Then you guys say, O.K. then, keep the "People" as a cus. tax, also keep it as
hierarchical=true, and add "politicians" as a sub cat under it, but...
use the "good old tags" and add "erdogan" or "obama" as a tag.
I say, ABSOLUTELY NO.
WHY? Because the term "obama" would have missed its context.
Obama as what? A Politician?, A celebrity?, A Democrat?,
See, at this level, if the term we are dealing with was not "obama"
but one of those words in English which has double meaning such as
the over beaten example "apple", then what?.
So you do need taga, you do need custom taxonomies.. and you do need
But you cannot.
What starts out perfectly as a hierarchical =true custom taxonomy
runs out of steam in a few sub cats down to road and starts calling
help from tags. and there is only lone tag taxonomy there to help
you., the good old ones. And from that point on, you'd need
programming to pull the rest off.
Would it be better right there and then, to log that item as a
tag under some sub of a custom tax?
You guys are saying that just because I happened to choose
hierarchial=true for that custom taxonomy, I should be stuck all the
way down! ; no matter how granular and how absolutely a tag-like the
item becomes? I'm sorry, but i'm unable to comprehend the wisdom behind it.
I see the point of view in your explanations as to why
"hierarchial=true" works the
way it is now, but I completely and strongly disagree that it is
supposed to be kept that way. I think sooner or later, that is going
Some of you see the need for the case I'm trying to establish and
suggested this as a plug in functionality, you saw the need but saw
it a "too=specific". Well, maybe that's due to the unimaginable
odd-numbers/even-numbers example which I accept as.. yes it was terrible.
I should have given a more down-to-earth example. But, no problem. The
case is so applicable we can build another case in no time.
Start out with "places" taxonomy for instance.
And soon, you'd be introducing "museums" as a sub. and maybe another
sub as say "churches" and then another say, "stadiums". Soon, you will
see that this is it. You see that you are only working one level deep
from the "places"
top level and the "musuems", "churches", "stadiums" are all subs and all
are siblings. Now, you know you are done as far as
"hierarchical=true". And when you get a new post relates to a museum
for instance, you guys and I go different routes.
I say, it would be easier and more meaningful to go ahead & click on
"museums" and in the text box appearing underneath, I'd add the
musuem's name as a tag!.
I hear now you are asking me why not screw the whole hierarchical=true
and instead, go
with hierarchical=false, and add both the "museums" and that museum's
name as tags? I hear that question.
But do you hear me when I ask what's wrong with having some context to
tags while still enjoying all the hierarchical power which comes with
Otto, you could not help me explain it better when you said this;
"Hierarchical taxonomies are generally used for very well-defined
broad sets of things. Categories, basically. The point being that
often these categories are predefined and you are simply picking them
from a list. " >that's point 1
And you contrasted this with tags very nicely by saying;
"Tags are created on the fly, by definition they don't need hierarchy
because they are not well-defined sets of terms to put into
hierarchical structures. " >and that's your point 2
And you also mentioned;
"Custom taxonomies are there to allow you to create groups of related
terms. " >that's point 3
All three points are exactly right and I couldn't agree more. And yet,
I completely disagree with your conclusions on the final syntesis.
Think of it this way for a sec.
"obama", "blair" and tons of many others can easily be grouped as
"politicians", thus the need for "politicians" as a group, as a
category. ( And this satisfies your point 1 )
"obama", "blair", "washington" are to be "created on the fly" and
therefore, they got to be tags. (this satisfies your point 2)
Since you do not want your tag "washington" to be interpreted within a
"places..state" context, you bring custom taxonomies to plate so
that "washington" is interpreted within "people/politicians" context.
( And this satisfies your point 3 )
In your reply, you've asked;
"But I still don't see the point of it. What is the purpose? What is it that
fundamentally changes by having tags in a hierarchy, exactly?"
Think of it this way please.
Wouldn't it be nice & easy for both the developers and the site
visitors to pull something like the following?
<a href='get all the politicians posts under the people
<a href='get all the obama posts under the people taxonomy'>obama</a>"
It's easy on the developer, and perfectly makes sense for the visitor.
I dunno how else to make this point any further. I see all pure power
and convenience in this, with absolutely no harm at all and no
specifics to no particular case at all.
If this was available, millions of people would have used it.
That's all I can and will say. :) Final.
On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 10:25 PM, Otto <otto at ottodestruct.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 9:54 PM, Haluk Karamete <halukkaramete at gmail.com> wrote:
>> By alllowing tags a hierarchy of their own, and a context of their
>> own, I achieve the best of both worlds.
> But.. what exactly do you get out of that? Why would you want tags to
> be in a hierarchy? That doesn't make any real sense to me.
> Hierarchical taxonomies are generally used for very well-defined broad
> sets of things. Categories, basically. The point being that often
> these categories are predefined and you are simply picking them from a
> What you're talking about is essentially allowing tags to have
> hierarchy, and I get that. I can even visualize a UI to do it. But I
> still don't see the point of it. What is the purpose? What is it that
> fundamentally changes by having tags in a hierarchy, exactly?
>> I see no advantage gain by setting a custom taxonomy hierarchical. I
>> already got that with good old cats.
> Do you see any advantage in making a custom taxonomy non-hierarchical?
> Why is that? I mean, after all, you can already get that with good old
> You're looking at it from the wrong angle. Custom taxonomies are there
> to allow you to create groups of related terms. How you create those
> groups, whether they be on-the-fly poorly defined sets of terms or
> well-defined sets of hierarchically structured terms, is irrelevant to
> the purpose of having them be custom in the first place. They're
> custom because you want to be able to group related terms together
> into sets. A taxonomy is a set. That's it. How you arrange that and
> define that set is up to you.
> What I'm really asking is why do you want taglike-taxonomies to be
> capable of having hierarchy? What does having hierarchy on a tag-like
> set give you the ability to do that you don't have now?
> Giving tags hierarchy makes no sense. Tags are created on the fly, by
> definition they don't need hierarchy because they are not well-defined
> sets of terms to put into hierarchical structures. Hierarchical
> structures by nature assume advance planning and definitions being
> created for them.
> For your even/odd example, you should use two taxonomies. Even and
> odd, both tag-like. Because having the even/odd categories which hold
> number terms doesn't make any real sense. It doesn't give you
> anything. You can't *do* anything special with that structure.
> wp-hackers mailing list
> wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com
wp-hackers mailing list
wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com
More information about the wp-hackers