Changes to Tag Permissions

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Site Owner
Staff member
11 Oct 2012
Local time
12:41 PM
SE Australia
After 9 years of allowing members to create their own tags rather than use an existing tag, I have decided (in discussion with the other moderators) that I am going to revisit this position. The site has over 3,000 tags, yet most are only used once or twice. Oddly for a cooking website, a fair proportion are not even cooking related.

So what are tags?
  • Tags are simple keywords that are not sub-forum specific.
  • They are not hashtags.
  • Tags are meant to be simple.
  • Tags allow the search feature to function properly when they are used correctly.
For example
"baked beans and cheese on toast" should have tags "baked beans", "cheese", "toast" and optionally "bread". Other relevent tags could be "vegetarian".
They should not be "baked beans n cheese", "beans n cheese", "beans and cheese", "baked beans and cheese", "cheese and beans", "beans on toast", "freddy's midday snack" and so on.

Unfortunately this is what I'm increasingly seeing and facing and with each and every one of those tags being a totally unique tag (hence unique search term) it is quite literally defeating the concept.

If used correctly, tags allow you to select 2, 3 or more keywords (ingredients, techniques, cooking styles and so on) and multiple threads (recipes or discussions) will be shown across all sub-forums and the media gallery.

Why use tags at all and not rely only on search terms?
First, the standard search actually uses tags.
  • If I search on the words " vegan", "mushroom", "soup", I get loads of results because the search is actually searching for vegan or mushroom or soup in any post anywhere on the site.
  • If you put a tick in the tick box "Search titles only" the system will look at every thread for any of those 3 words where the thread has all 3 tags. Even with a tick in that tick box, it will still return quite a few options and not one of those actually has the word vegan in the title (currently).
  • But if I were to search on the exact same 3 words as tags in the tag search, it has the potential to return a recipe that doesn't feature any of those words in the title but has all 3 as tags. For instance, I know of several vegan soups that use mushrooms in them but don't have the word mushroom in the title, but it seems that I've not written them up! :whistling: if they were written up, searching titles only would not have given them as a result yet they would meet the criteria of a vegan soup with mushrooms as an ingredient.

What changes are being made?
So going forward members will not be able to create new tags. This will prevent the million & one ways of saying the same thing and all the regional variations on spelling, misspellings, singular verses plural and more. It will make searches better in the long term. 8 or 9 different tags all for the same thing doesn't help anyone.

The up side is that I will increase the number of tags each thread can have to 10. All 10 can be added by the thread creator or any other established member. (New members will not be able to add tags on anything other than their own threads whilst established members will still be able to add additional tags to a new member's thread or change any tags on any thread (as they can currently).)

Established members will still be able to edit the CookingBites "wiki" database if they wanted to change the description of a tag. The system tries to find the entry in Wikipedia but it doesn't alway get it correct. Members can correct this if they so wanted to.

The tag I want doesn't exist.
It is going to happen. This site is a UK based web-site so tags use English unless the particular name has made its way into the language, (hummus, moussaka, pitta, chilli not chile, kiev, and so on.)

To start off, there are going to be tags that are not in the system yet. Just use the report button If you can't find something that fits and request the addition of the new tag. You'll get an automated "Reminder" when I approve or otherwise the creation of a new tag and it will be added to your (reported) thread for you.

Things to consider before requesting a new tag.
Lots of recipes use mushroom in the title but feature mushrooms in the ingredient. The auto detect for tags will only work if the tag matches a word in the title, so lots of plural words will be merged into the singular and will be deleted. If they are left as 2 seperate tags, the system sees mushroom and mushrooms as a different search terms. And if the recipe has the tag mushroom and you search on the tag mushrooms, you won't get as many hits.

Where a vegetable or food has different English names between English speaking countries (e.g. courgette & zucchini, bell peppers & capsicum or aubergine & eggplant), both words will be in the tag, that way you can type in the word you reguarly use to find the one main tag. But this means that the autodetect will not function for these tags. It can't handle spaces as part of the autodetect. So you'll need to add the tag in manually (no different from now).

Similarly with meat, a lot of the options will be merged into a broader tag. However, some additional tags will be left, so you'll need to add both if the searches are to work properly - for example if your recipe uses minced lamb, you'll need to add both minced lamb and lamb tags. If your recipe is to make Iamb burgers for example, you'll want to add lamb, minced lamb and lamb burger along with any other ingredients or cooking techniques you used.

I'll update this Tips & Tricks article in the near future but right now the content of it is correct, if the colour scheme is out of date a touch! Help - Everything you need to know about "Tags"
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