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

Shai Gluskin shai at content2zero.com
Wed Nov 14 19:05:02 UTC 2007

I've totally changed my mind on this.

I'm now fully in the Derek camp and support Taxonomy/Vocabulary/Term. I
think the problem was in poor help texts.

Changing the administration page label to "categories" was a total bust. I
think consistency is important. The issues that Derek raises about the URLs
is very important.

I think really good help texts with lots of fully fleshed out examples is
the way to go. I'd be willing to help out with the writing.


On 11/14/07, Derek Wright <drupal at dwwright.net> wrote:
> [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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