Thanks to a comment by Thomas Vanderwal I have gleaned some more insight about the specifics of a folksonomy…in my excitement I overlooked the real meaning.
This post is extending on a comment in that post, here it is:
At the moment in feedbite you can tag your Reading List, but this is not hyperlinked yet…so soon we can discover Reading Lists by author tags like in Feed Collectors…maybe you are right, these are author tags, not community tags, therefore not a folksonomy.
If you browsed Feedbite or Feed Collectors and decided to save a Reading List (created by someone else), you can’t tag it yourself, you have to keep the tags that the author of the Reading List created. (I don’t think Kinja allows you to save Reading Lists created by others).
NOTE: Feed Collectors has a friends section, all you can do is save a link to the user space, that’s it, you can’t save just a collection, and if you could…you wouldn’t be able to re-tag it.
Although I kind of see it inbetween, even though users are not tagging content - indeed the authors of the Reading List are doing the tagging - so the vocabulary is not defined by the host but by the people that contribute Reading Lists (which are kind of users in a way)
…but I do understand that it is not a full-fledged folksonomy, as others cannot re-tag other peoples Reading Lists.
So in essence the community is not tagging an evolving vocabulary.”
Even though people that contribute Reading Lists are users, they are more considered as authors, therefore the tags they apply to their Reading Lists are author-defined tags.
At the same time these authors can also be users, they may browse the same service (eg. Feed Collectors) and decide that they would like to save a Reading List created by someone else, which they can do in the friends section….but you cannot apply user-defined tags when you save other people’s Reading Lists.
This means that a tag cloud would consist of author-defined tags only…but it still is a community cloud of some sort.
I’m not sure of the term to use, but I see it as an author-defined vocabulary, as people who create the Reading Lists get to apply the tags, the service (eg. Feed Collectors) doesn’t get involved in indexing each Reading List with a subject term or tag.
NOTE: tags don’t have to be subject terms
Is there a need for others to tag other people’s Reading Lists?
If I discovered a Reading List I would save it and tag it with a term I like to use for personal reasons
…at the moment the places I could save and tag it are in an RSS Reader (eg. BlogBridge), an outliner (eg. OPML Workstation), etc…
Why not the same in the public arena, I could save someone else’s Reading List in Feed Collectors and tag it with my own tags (for personal reasons, or for public reasons - to emerge a vocabulary).
Then we could discover a Reading List by author and user tags combined…maybe there could be two tagclouds..this could confuse.
The problem is that if someone at a later date edits their Reading List, the tags they applied may also have to change…this is OK…but, if the public have also tagged this Reading List, they will not be aware the contents has changed, and their tags may no longer be appropriate.
Even if they could be notified, they have to react to this notification, if they don’t bother the tags may continue to be misleading.
This is where the potential of a Reading List folksonomy is different than a bookmark folksonomy, there is a greater chance that the aboutness of a bookmark (webpage) won’t really change that much…in contrast, a Reading List is more organic and volatile, it has a greater potential to change as the author’s interests change.
There may be two scenarios:
1. The author may change some feeds, then change the tags slightly to reflect the different feed set, but they are generally under the same topic.
eg. the author may have initially tagged this Reading List: web2.0, wiki, rss, blogs…later on they may have deleted the feeds relating to “wiki”, so they consequently removed the “wiki” tag
…it would then be appropriate for user tags for this Reading List to also delete the “wiki” tag, as it is misleading, but there is no way this can be enforced.
2. The author may change all the feeds and tags, and re-name the Reading List.
The user tags would now be misleading altogether…leading to bad browsing experiences.
In the end are user tags appropriate for webpages that may change their aboutness?
In a centralised vocabulary or author defined only vocabulary as long as the author changes the tag, the system stays clean, it only has to be done once, as the tags for that item have only been applied once.
Folksonomies may not always be the appropriate management or discovery portal for all types of objects…as much as I love them!