a thought


I know in some of my circles (mostly Tumblr) that some people actually practice what could easily be called “defensive metadata usage.”  Goodness, I do this sometimes.  (I also call it dummy tagging.)

Essentially, it’s the work of tagging things or posting them in such a way that they’ll only be found by the chosen few.  (Most commonly, I see this when my friends want to discuss the negative aspects of fictional characters or canons.)  This can be as simple as replacing vowels with punctuation (@ for a, ! for i, etcetera) or as involved as tagging things literally with “I am feasibly dummy tagging this.”  (I tend more toward the latter for my rants, as in the Tumblr system only the first 6 tags are searchable by the general public, so I have developed a system of tagging nonsense in the first 6 tags and then putting the information for my friends to find the post [name, show, etc.] in the latter tags.)  And this has me thinking: is there such a thing as defensive metadata in the “real world”?  Is it used more strategically?

Would anyone be interested if someday I wrote a book on this stuff?

4 thoughts on “a thought

  1. kellygrove91

    I must be out of touch because I did not know about this defensive metadata or dummy tagging. I think this is really interesting and I want to learn more. You gave me something to look up during some free time. Thanks!

  2. I think this is the first time I’ve heard of defensive or dummy tagging, but I see why it could be useful. (I’ve heard things about Tumblr fandoms. Scary things.) I guess in the “real world” it would depend on how the system searching tags is set up. For example, I assume that if you do a search on Twitter for #whatever, it will bring up every hashtag that matches, regardless of where it is in the tweet. Then I think there are more factors involved for which tweets show up first under popular.

    I wonder how many systems like Tumblr have that built into their search (and why), so yeah, I’d love to hear more about this.

  3. YES, PLEASE!! I’d be interested in reading more about this .. in fact, it would make a great research article as well .. I’m sure there’s more and more of this going on all the time for strategic and other reason you could discover and report on! 🙂

  4. I think that is exactly the reasoning behind those ridiculously long tags people use –or the thrown together letters and numbers conferences use. Tumblr is probably the most defensive. People will actually snap at you for what they deem to be improper tagging –cluttering up “their” tags. It’s certainly a unique environment with respect to metadata. Even after you consider the discovery system is almost a copy of twitter’s.

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