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

John Callahan diodata at UDel.Edu
Wed Nov 14 19:25:42 UTC 2007

Being one of a few new users of Drupal in my group (I've set up three 
Drupal sites with small customizations to the code in various modules), 
I can say that we were very confused with the distinction between 
categories and taxonomy and how they relate to other web2.0 software.   
It was the term "categories" that got us confused and lead us down the 
wrong path.  Using Taxonomy/Vocabulary/Term and staying away from 
"categories" would have significantly simplified our first experiences.

- John

Shai Gluskin wrote:
> 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.
> Shai
> On 11/14/07, * Derek Wright* <drupal at dwwright.net 
> <mailto: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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