Improving WordPress’ Tag Surfer?
Tags are cool. And WordPress’ Tag Surfer is very useful. A little less “automatic” than a recommendation system, but a promising high quality relevant content filter for sure. There are a couple of things about it that bug me, though. So for this blog post I will provide some of my complaints that may have also been expressed by others. So here they are (not necessarily in the order of importance, though)…
Suggestion #1: Include an extra tag filter to your tag surfer results page
lmighton (August 2006) suggested that users should be able to click on their tag list and only receive the posts related to that tag and I totally agree. This seems like a very valuable and logical feature to implement.
Suggestion #2: Make pagination of all the posts that are displayed with this tag service
There is a limit to the amount of posts that Tag Surfer displays based on your tags and that number is not high. If I go to my personalized tag surfer now, I count 19 posts. That is not a lot while there are plenty more. Although to be fair, #19 is a week old, so perhaps they were like “if it is a week or older, people probably do not care”. I do not really agree, good blog posts are good blog posts, and if they are related to the stuff I want, I would not mind being given the choice to read more. Pagination navigate to older posts is a welcome change. Marcy (August 2006) also wants pagination but with the ability to manually set the limit of posts shown on a page for the “dialup folks”.
Suggestion #3: Enable a language filter
Björn (August 2006) and alsotop (January 2007) suggested a language filter (for both the tags and the posts). Most of the posts that are displayed for me are in English, so for me it is not really a big deal. However, I do occasionally see posts that are in a language that I do not understand. So having a filter that gets rid of that sounds indeed useful.
Suggestion #4: Show a summarized version of each post
donaldhtaylor (February 2007) suggested that the posts should be ‘collapsable, so that I can see the headers only and then decide which entries to read entirely’. I agree that this is useful. Some blog posts are long, some are short. Although I am not sure if only the header is really that informative. To make the display page more consistent and easy to follow, display a summarized version of each post instead? If we want to read more, we can always click on it. This would also help more specifically with filtering posts and add to the view counts of blogs that deserve to be viewed (according to what you want to read at that time).
Suggestion #5: Hiding returned blog post results
Mary (August 2006) suggested a way to ‘“x out” of the posts you don’t want, in the same way you can “x out” of the tags you don’t want? That way, I wouldn’t have to scroll down the page and find a post all over again every time I wanted to see it.’ Makes sense to me.
Suggestion #6: Block posts from specific blogs
Anne (December 2006) suggested that ‘it should be possible to block posts from certain blogs from the tag surfer.’ Which is a great idea. The post right after hers is from Matt (a WordPress developer) who claims that they are ‘definitely going to add a blocking feature, keep your eyes on the WP.com blog for an announcement’. 2 years later and I still do not see that feature anywhere. Too bad. This one is actually very important. OK, there is a ‘report spam’ feature, but that is not the same thing. Something does not have to be spam for you not to like it on a given topic.
Suggestion #X: WordPress should do the same for categories
Not really a suggestion for Tag Surfer necessarily. The reason why I shifted from Blogger to WordPress is because WordPress has (personal) categories in addition to tags. As much as I love tags, having one that also responds to categories would be great. We still get to see the posts from bloggers who do not bother with tags.