[development] Renaming "taxonomy" terminology? (was Re: Early Drupal 6 review from Chris Messina)

Derek Wright drupal at dwwright.net
Wed Nov 14 18:32:02 UTC 2007

[Am I the only one who thinks it's worth forking this monster thread  
into appropriately named subthreads to cover the various parallel  
conversations going on?]

On Nov 14, 2007, at 10:09 AM, Larry Garfield wrote:

> That's again coming back to a very blog-centric view of taxonomy.   
> Half the things I use taxonomy module for are not really  
> "categories".  If you enable free tagging, you're then talking  
> about "tags", not really "categories".  Category carries a lot of  
> mental weight that is very limiting.

Right.  -1 to renaming "term" to "category".  -1 to renaming it to  
"tag", either, since that's just as limiting.  I see nothing wrong  
with "term" -- it's simple enough for everyone to grasp, generic  
enough to be accurate for the various use cases, and is already  
burned into the consciousness of the existing Drupal community.   
Plus, there are a boatload of URLs, RSS feeds, etc that contain  
"term" in them -- changing it in the UI but not the URL or menu would  
be a huge step backwards, and there will be massive link rot to  
contend with if we change the URLs.

On the other hand, even bigger -1 for renaming "vocabulary" to  
"category", since in many cases, each term is a _category_ of the  
nodes that have it.  Look at the project node vocabulary on d.o: each  
term ("Images", "Mail", "Vies", etc) is a category of modules that  
are related to that term.  Calling this whole vocabulary a "category"  
is totally misleading and confusing -- it's a set of categories.

For a very non-"tag" and non-"category" usage of taxonomy, look at  
the "Drupal core compatibility" term on release nodes on d.o.  "5.x"  
vs. "6.x" is *sort* of like a category, but not really.  It's really  
part of the version string, it's a classification of releases based  
on core compatibility.  I can't really wrap my head around thinking  
of this as a "category", and it's certainly not just a "tag"...

Finally, I agree with the last few comments in this thread that the  
biggest usability problem was the (IMHO foolish) decision to say  
"taxonomy is too scary, let's inconsistently refer to it as  
'categories' in some places in the UI".  That right there is the root  
of most of our trouble.  Renaming the menu item back to just  
"taxonomy" and removing places in the UI (other than help texts) that  
use this ambiguous terminology would be a big win.  I'd say "step  
forward", but it'd be a correction to our current regression. ;)

-Derek (dww)

p.s. If we end up renaming "taxonomy" to "classification", it *must*  
be in D7, since it's totally evil to have the menu paths, UI  
elements, module name, and function names all disagree.  It'll be a  
huge task to port everything to hook_classification_*, and that  
*needs* to be D7, not D6.

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