[Tagging] football or soccer ?

John F. Eldredge john at jfeldredge.com
Thu Jul 1 13:08:33 BST 2010

In fact, the technique of having the user select from a list of words, but actually storing the value as an arbitrary ID (generally numeric), is the recommended technique in database design.  It is called "normalizing the database".  Having the linking value be an ID value means that, should you want to change the verbal description of the value, for example from soccer to association_football, you only have to change the value once, in the lookup table, rather than changing it in thousands of places.

-------Original Email-------
Subject :Re: [Tagging] football or soccer ?
From  :mailto:deltafoxtrot256 at gmail.com
Date  :Wed Jun 30 20:59:23 America/Chicago 2010

On 1 July 2010 00:55, M∡rtin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com> wrote:
> nice idea ;-), I am curious how error proof this system could be (have
> a look at all the typos in our data) and how someone will invent a new
> tag and "simply use it" (like generally suggested). Also I'd consider

Not that I'm advocating this at all, and not that english names can't
be used in the same manner for the purposes of translations, but there
is several ways you could do this and have numbers that didn't
conflict, for example you could use UUIDs, you could do a hierarchical
type thing similar to yahoo WOE IDs where you assign each category a
number from 0000 to 9999, then each sub-type gets a number added on to
the first, eg sport could be 2463 and soccer could get 1322 so
sport=soccer would be 24631322 and so on.

> not only tagging the value as number but the key as well (e.g. someone
> playing chess might be insulted that chess is considered "sport"). A
> simple list in the wiki would be sufficient ;-)
> 123=246
> and if you invent a new key, simply raise the number.
> e.g. 43542=4
> This sounds like real fun, even though autocompletion might turn out
> to be less useful then...

Depending how cleverly the editor was programmed you could still do
auto completion because words could be converted into numbers. At the
same time there is no reason multilingual stuff couldn't be treated
the same way even now where all tags are translated into a persons
language and then behind the scenes converted to/from raw key/values
etc etc etc

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John F. Eldredge -- john at jfeldredge.com
"Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all." -- Hypatia of Alexandria

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