Tagging Is Broken

Source: https://fortelabs.co/blog/tagging-is-broken/

  • using tags as a primary source of organization means you have to decide for every note which tag(s) you want to use.

    • You are relying on memorizing all the tags you have made.
    • This a lot of up-front cost.
  • We offload some of our cognitive processing onto our environment, and this is much more capable of storing information than our brain does.

    • e.g.) method of loci, memory palace.
  • This concept is called stigmergy (stigmergic cognition)

  • Tags ignore stigmergy and force us to think about notes in abstract ways.

  • In PKM, a constant temptation is to overorganize

    • too many categories
    • too many subdivisions
  • As number of tags grew arithmetically, complexity grows geometrically.

    • A system that encourages tags is giving you explicit affordance to increase complexity.
  • Tags were good when the cost of running a search was costly.

    • In these days, running a search is not a costly operation.
    • Thus the cost of tagging is almost completely wasted because almost the entire body of text could be broken into indexable, searchable "tags" that can be retrieved almost instantaniously.