I originally posted this as a reply to the aforementioned thread started by Stefan. But I realized it was getting way off topic, so I decided to start a new thread since a scan through all the other thread titles in this subforum suggested nothing similar. It's quite long, so please bear with it, yeah.
First off, here's the basis of this entire proposition: I fully agree with Stefan that people who're gonna spam are gonna spam, and there's nothing much we can do about it. So this idea is here to prevent unintentional "spamming" by members who are ignorant (I mean this in a neutral way, nothing derogatory about it, I just couldn't find a better word), rather than those who are annoying.
And one way to help such members is to help them find whatever they're looking for more quickly, and with the current search system we have, I have to say this, even I hate using it It churns out loads of results, and you don't really know where to start from, and the results aren't really sorted out well at all, and there's no way to sort them. Here's what I got by typing "get faster sub 20" in the search box: 300 results in 20 pages. I think 4 keywords is just nice, too many keywords and you may miss out on some important stuff, too few and you may get 1000 results. That said, we have to admit this, no one's gonna read that. And no one's gonna know where to start from even if they were gonna read that. (Well I did actually, when I started out as a newbie, I really read through all 20 pages of stuff of whatever I searched for because I didn't want to miss out on anything important, so I spent the first 4-5 months of my membership posting nothing and reading everything, but not everyone can do that.)
So I don't think we can really blame the newbies if they don't find what they want through the search function, yeah.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't see a "tags" system in this forum. At least I don't see it anywhere now even when I'm starting a new thread. This is bad. I'll come to this later.
When I started out as a newbie in this forum, I was so afraid of posting anything stupid because I was afraid that the moderators or some of the guys here would flame me or something. So I took my time to read through everything in the BLD subforum, yes, everything, before I posted anything. But not everyone has the patience I have (in fact, I'm not a patient person at all, it's more the fear than the patience that made me look through all those threads one-by-one ), and I've seen too many threads that start with:
1. "I'm too lazy to use the search function so can you just tell me how to..." or
2. "I've read through [insert documentation] once/a million times (yeah they usually come in either one of these two numbers) and I don't understand it at all, can someone please explain it to me?" or
3. "I've searched all over the Internet but I couldn't find anything...".
What I think of them:
1. I hate laziness, if you're too lazy to help yourself, then I'm too lazy to help you too.
2. That's either a lie because he/she is too lazy to read the documentation and is waiting for someone to spoonfeed him/her, or he/she isn't even putting in any effort to read it, because you can't possibly understand nothing at all if you tried hard enough, you're showing no respect nor appreciation for the authors of the tutorials/guides who took the time and trouble to provide them to the community for free. I myself have found little that I did not understand in Stefan's M2 guide (I'm quoting this as an example because it's one of the most commonly un-understood guides as far as I know), it just had some vague stuff here and there that was easily ironed out by reading the M2/R2 improvement thread in the BLD subforum.
3. I personally never search the Internet for cubing stuff if I can help it. I find this forum the most resourceful place on Earth (well, virtual place) and there's nothing that I haven't found here, yet So search here after you search the Internet. (As I've said, much as I hate the search function, it's still gonna get you to whatever you're looking for if you're patient enough.)
After all that, let's get to the point, this is what I suggest: Have FIXED tags for people to choose from when they start a new thread, and do not allow them to start that thread without at least 2 tags (c'mon, out of the entire list, there's gotta be at least 2 things that are relevant to whatever you're talking about, in fact, if anything, I think 2 is a little too little). DON'T allow them to have their own tags, if they wanna suggest a new tag, they can do it in this subforum.
You can even categorize the tags. Here are some of my suggestions, they're just examples to give you an idea, they're far from the full list:
- speed, sub60, sub30, sub20, sub15, pll time attack, f2l, cross, mgls, 4x4x4, 5x5x5, 2x2x2, megaminx, pyraminx, fingertricks
- one-handed, left-handed, right-handed, pinky fingertrick
- blindfolded, 3-cycle, orient permute, m2, freestyle, turbo, bh, commutators, 4x4x4, 5x5x5, pyraminx, square-1
Why I see a need to do this, and I think I'm not alone, there are TOO MANY inconsistencies in cube jargon. For example, when I do a search, I don't know if I should type "revenge" or "4x4" or "4x4x4" or "444" and it's really very annoying to have to type them all separately and get 50 different pages of results. Another example, "blind"/"blindfolded"/"bld"? And another problem is typos, you'd never find the pyraminx tutorial you were looking for if the OP mistyped it as "piraminx", and as far as I've observed, no one's ever been bothered by such minor typos in thread titles.
So why can't we have a fixed set of tags where everything is standardized? And when people do a tag search, they're only allowed to choose from that fixed set of tags, that makes things so much easier for people to post, and for their posts to be read.
I foresee people getting annoyed by having to select 10 different options to search for something simple, but would you rather go through the trouble while searching? Or would you rather have it while going through the results? I'd pick the former any day.
We can categorize the older threads into their respective tags gradually, but I say we implement this asap so all the new threads are forced to have tags.
Also, if possible, allow other forum members to suggest or un-suggest tags to a thread because the OP may have missed out an important keyword or something and he can add it later on if it's suggested by other members. Or if the OP had a tag that was inappropriate, other forum members could un-suggest it, you get the point.
About the search function, I think it's okay to leave it there to serve as an alternative to tag searching in case some people are searching for more specific stuff. I see tag searching and keyword searching as two independent search functions, because it's pointless to have a fixed set of tags, e.g. "4x4x4", and people type "revenge" in the search box, they're not gonna find what they're looking for anyway, hope you get my point here.
Yeah, so that's it.