[development] Early Drupal 6 review from Chris Messina

Hans Salvisberg drupal at salvisberg.com
Sun Nov 11 22:30:03 UTC 2007

Karen Stevenson wrote:
> I think one simple change would make a world of difference without 'dumbing' anything down. As was mentioned before, the most confusing thing is the word 'vocabulary' since it's not obvious, even if you know figure out that taxonomy is way of categorizing things, what exactly a vocabulary is.  So just change vocabulary to either 'category type' or 'category group', then we have a much more clear breakdown of:
> taxonomy -> categories
> vocabulary  -> category type (or category group)
> term -> category (or term)

term == category

Yes, that's the main thing! When taxonomy is referred to as "categories" 
(plural), it's not clear what exactly a single "category" is. I don't 
think this is stated anywhere. If we can call "terms" (in developer 
space) "categories" (in newbie user space), we'll have made a 
significant step forward.

"Vocabularies" are categories of "categories" or meta-categories. They 
are categories -- not categories of nodes, but categories of categories. 
Chris Messina is not wrong when he calls them categories, too, but this 
doesn't help to understand how it works. Meta-categories are clearly 
beyond what the average user wants to deal with when he installs Drupal 
for the first time.

Taxonomy is the entire mechanism. Renaming it to "categories" doesn't 
help, because it creates a simplified expectation. I propose to rename

taxonomy -> classification

because this is exactly what we're doing: we're classifying the content, 
not more and not less. I believe that "classification" is something that 
the user can understand, and it's abstract enough to keep him from 
jumping to conclusions.

I like David Strauss' idea of providing a free-tagging vocabulary named 
"Tags" that's enabled by default. Put this on the first tab under 
Administer|Classification. Add an "Advanced" tab with explanations and a 
button to remove the Tags vocabulary (and these two "beginner" tabs) and 
enable the full taxonomy system. Two clicks shouldn't place an undue 
burden on those who want to go straight to the full taxonomy system.


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