Last year, we installed a WordPress plugin, a post filtering system, in our emanilapoetry website.
Our objectives are to help maintain uniformity and consistency in the application of our website rules for posting, and to “force” contributors think of ways on how to make their posts easy to find. The second objective was critical considering that emanilapoetry has thousands of posts with some posts not being distinguishable from others as they deal with common subjects and using common words.
It was not easy to configure the plugin as we needed to consider the various genres of emanilapoetry database as well as the general writing profile of our contributors.
The plugin is capable of filtering out posts not meeting its settings, and it does not allow submitted posts to move past the Draft status until the required corrections are made.
The filter settings include specifications for the minimum number of tags (1 – 3 tags per post), minimum title length of 4 characters with a maximum of 80 characters, minimum post length of 25 characters to short posts like haikus, and a minimum-maximum of one category per post.
In addition to numeric parameters, we have also configured the plugin not to allow posts with words which may be considered offensive. The filter’s “bad words” list is of course updated as new words are encountered with updates from contributors.
Based on our review of the filter’s performance, the two common warnings issued to contributors are those for not assigning tags to their posts or not using appropriate categories.
Many contributors simply enter “tulang pinoy” (or their name / username) in the post tag box, and “Pinoy verses” or “Tulang Pinoy” in the category box which have obviously been made to get around the filter’s requirements.
These post tags and categories are not acceptable. They defeat our second objective in installing the system which is to help contributors think of ways to make their posts search-engine optimised.
With this kind of post tags and categories, there are two things that would most likely happen:
1. The post will be sent back to Draft and to the contributor to rectify the problem, thus the publication of the post will be delayed,
2. The post will be rejected or deleted if the contributor does not amend the “Pinoy Verses” or “Tulang Pinoy” tags or categories or both.
Judging from the recurrence of these incorrect tags and categories, it looks like contributors have the impression that the tag or category labels are there with no purpose at all.
They are there as a facility and additional benefit to contributors to provide them extra tools in widening the distribution and search capability of their posts.
Example: Reader cannot easily find a post with subject like “love for parents” if (a) it has a tag like “pinoy verses”, or (b) it does not have any tag at all.
Similarly, if that post is assigned a category like “Uncategorized” or “Pinoy Verses” or “Tulang Pinoy” (again!), then that post will be among thousands of other poems sitting in our website database thus making it difficult for the readers to find that post.
Contributors should give attention to the categories they assign to their posts. For English poems, use English categories. For Tagalog or Filipino poems, use the proper Tagalog categories.
Contributors should also place themselves in the position of their readers when assigning tags to their posts. What word or words do you think will your readers enter in the search box if they are looking for a poet about a particular subject or message?
Here is an additional information from Wikipedia which further explains what tags are about:
In online computer systems terminology, a tag is a non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned to a piece of information (such as an Internet bookmark, digital image, or computer file). This kind of metadata helps describe an item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching. Tags are generally chosen informally and personally by the item’s creator or by its viewer, depending on the system.
Tagging was popularized by websites associated with Web 2.0 and is an important feature of many Web 2.0 services. It is now also part of some desktop software.
Labeling and tagging are carried out to perform functions such as aiding in classification, marking ownership, noting boundaries, and indicating online identity. They may take the form of words, images, or other identifying marks…. Online and Internet databases and early websites deployed them as a way for publishers to help users find content.
So next time you submit a post at emanilapoetry, or even outside emanilapoetry for that matter, think of your readers. You need to address their information needs. Help them find your posts easily with appropriate tags and categories.