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

Adam Knight codepoet at codepoetry.net
Wed Nov 14 19:00:52 UTC 2007

On Nov 14, 2007, at 12:32 PM, Derek Wright wrote:

> 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. ;)

Seconded.  Drupal has a powerful taxonomy system.  Embrace it, don't  
hide it.  Teach people why it's great and useful and get them hooked  
on it.  My sites wind up having about two or three vocabularies per  
node type and it helps a ton to organize things and make it  
accessible, and I'm sure I'm not alone.  Pushing taxonomies as being  
more powerful than either tags or categories just shows up the other  
CMS solutions, IMO.

Rather than hack up the product, someone (not it) needs to make a "Why  
Taxonomies are Powerful" page on d.o that sells the feature as it is  
rather than downplaying it and explaining how it can be made to be  
just like what every other product has with a little tweaking.  Be  
bold.  It's a differentiating feature and needs to be played as such  
on the site and in the product.  Something like http://drupal.org/handbook/modules/taxonomy 
  but a little less "This is how it works" and more "This is why it  
will change how you work with your site".

I mean, guys, it's not even on the main features page: http://drupal.org/features 
   That's an oversight!  Solve the problem by being proud of it and  
educating people -- loudly and often.

> 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.

It'd be a mistake to change it to "classification" in any case, but  
these are valid points despite that.  The whole problem is consistency  
and changing it now would cause more of that.  I'd suggest exactly  
what you said earlier, move it all back to taxonomy, vocabularies, and  
terms for a release and try the education/marketing/propaganda  
approach.  It should work well.

The reason it was confusing earlier (4.6?) was because people were so  
ready to _almost_ apologize for implementing organization as a full  
classical taxonomy system and they reassured potential users that it  
was just like categories, just a little more powerful and  
complicated.  Change the selling point.  It's more powerful than  
categories and tags combined and everyone else's solution is merely a  
subset of this.  This is how the feature should have always been,  
across the board, and we're doing it so _you_ can have that power.   
Just want categories?  Make a Categories vocabulary and move on.   
Tags?  Same.  But if you want something more, Drupal can _certainly_  
do that as well.

The solution's still just words, but different words in a different  
location and with a different purpose.

Adam Knight
"Every man is guilty of all the good he didn't do."  -- Voltaire

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