Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cuusoo Advice: Tags

Ok, so I promised a Chapter 7: "How to make a successful project" a while ago now. I have realized I am not going to finish it in one go so I am going to publish it in sections and them compile them when they are all published.

 I see so many projects that are really great but hidden away in the depths of Cuusoo.  How does this happen?  Well, a lot of them have improper tag usage or no tags at all.  So here is a explanation of why tags are important and how to pick the best tags for your project. 

The Importance of Tags


For the first few days after a project is created, it has the benefit of being showcased as a new project and is thus easy to find by anyone who casually visits Cuusoo.  Additionally, the initial "flurry" of supporters and commenters also keeps the project bubbling up in the "Right Now" feed.  Once your project gets kicked out of the "new" folder though and the initial surge dies down,  people can only find your project in Cuusoo in one of the following ways:

  • They spot your project on the front page when someone interfaces with it
  • They follow you as a creator and notice the posting in their Activity Feed
  • They page though all the projects and see your project 
  • They look at someone's feed or profile that contains your project
  • They search a word or phrase that your project includes
  • They do a tag search that includes one of your tags 
  • They look at another project and see your project as a related project 
  • They support another project and see your project as a recommended project 
 That looks like a long list, but the vast majority of it relies on random happenstance or the actions of other users.  The only ones you have direct control over are the bottom three, and those are all related to Tags. 

What are Tags


Wikipedia has a great description of Tags so I won't reinvent the wheel here:

"a tag is a non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned to a piece of information. This kind of metadata helps describe an item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching. Tags are generally chosen informally and personally by the item's creator or by its viewer, depending on the system."

In Cuusoo, Tags are found at the very bottom of a project.  A project can have up to 10 tags.  If you click on a tag in a project or on the Discovery page, it will initiate a search based on that tag which you can sort by recent, most supported, most commented or most viewed.

Cuusoo also uses the Tag system to find "Related Projects".  Each time a project is presented in a browser, an algorithm goes out and finds other projects of various support levels which have matching tags and randomly brings back up to five of them.

When you support a project a similar algorithm kicks off to show you the "Here are some other projects you may like" window.  This tag search however uses support as a metric.  While the "Related Projects" tends to be very random within a tag, the post-support suggestions will show you the most supported projects that have that tag.  For instance, any project with the sculpture , artwork, or miniature tags are likely to show you Small Yellow as it is the most supported project having each of those tags 

Setting Tags 


Setting tags is relativly easy but the interface is not exactly intuitive to people who are not used to using tags.

When you type in your project's tags and you are satisfied with a word or phrase, press the comma key or the enter key.  This terminates your tag and starts a new one.   Each individual tag will be displayed in an oval.  While you are editing your project there will be an "X" at the end of each tag.  Clicking on that "X" will delete that tag.

Many people make the mistake of not splitting up their tags so they end up with one giant tag that does nothing for connectivity.   For instance someone might end up with the single tag "Star Wars The Clone Wars Anakin Skywalker" instead of "Star Wars" "The Clone Wars" "Anakin Skywalker". Do note however that small tags will actually throw you in with larger tags that contain them.  So the tag "Wars" WILL link you with "Star Wars" tags. 

You can have up to ten tags and they can technically be any word or phrase you choose.  You should however avoid phrases like Lego and Cuusoo

Setting Good Tags


Find the projects your project should link to and use their tags     

This is the easiest way to get a good tag.  Find a project that embodies the "Tag" you are trying to come up with and see what they are using.  Remember, Tags are about community.  So if you are making a power suit project, check the Exo Suit project.  Its tags are:
Click on each tag and see what comes up.  If the projects that come up in the search match the feel for the tag you are looking for...well, you have found your tag! Make sure you spell it correctly though.

Note, that tag searches are not in real time.  There is a database that is generated of all the tags and that is searched when you perform a tag search.  That may sound confusing but the point of it is that if you change your project to have the tag Exosuit, you will not immediately find your project in a search of Exosuit.  It takes a bit of time for your new tags to be uploaded into the larger collective of tags, sometimes hours.  

Create your own Label

Although this sounds initially counter-intuitive to advice of not making a Unique tag, if you have more than one project, or a community of like-minded creators, create a new tag that all your projects share.  For instance, all my projects use the tag GlenBricker and TexLug.  GlenBricker for myself and TexLug for the community of creators I am a member of.  This allows your more popular or well known projects lead to your lesser known projects more effectively than any other method available to you in Cuusoo.

Avoid Self Worship 

There are awesome project and there are projects that say they are awesome.  Some project with tags like "Awesome" and "Cool" are just that, but many more are not.

The fact is that descriptors like these are totally up to the eye of the beholder.  Some potential supporters are turned off by improper use of these tags so use them with caution if at all.  

Don't Spam

Each project creator is free to put whatever tag they want on their project and some of them abuse the privilege in an attempt to force their projects on a wider audience.  They do this by putting tags on their projects that are popular but totally unrelated to the project.   Minecraft and Star Wars are often abused in this fashion.

This activity shows poor etiquette, lack of respect for other Cuusoo users, and in the long run has little return for the project.

Unfortunately as a Cuusoo user there is nothing you can do directly about this activity.  When you do encounter it you can politely ask project creators to refrain from this activity.

Review your Tags 

Regularly check your Tags.  Tags are "living" networks that drift and change over time.  Keep them up to date and see what is going on.

Biggest is not Always Best

Many people make the mistake of trying to make all their Tag the most popular ones.  This ensures that you are a little fish in a small pond.  There are a huge number of projects that use the "Space" tag for instance.  This means that your project will only rarely show up on other Space projects.  Try to throw in some moderately sized tags as well, ones that are likely to come up, but still have a respectfully small population. 

Suggested and "Corrected" Tags

The "No IP" tag

Many people seem to be interested in supporting projects that are totally original.  They want to support projects that are not dependent on licenses and express a higher level of originality.

I suggest if you have one of these project that you put the tag "No IP" on the project so that these supporters can find you more easily.

"New Part" tag

If you have a new part, please put the tag "New Part" in it so that you can be cataloged and found more easily.

"Star Wars" not "Starwars"

A few Star Wars projects use the tag "Starwars" but the vast majority use "Star Wars."  If you have a Star Wars project you might want to double check this. 

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