I remember the rise of tagging “folksonomies” and the rush to add them to blogging software at the time (2005ish, per the original article). Because of how they were implemented there was always a tension between organising content through categories vs tags, which meant some blogs didn’t use them, while others went “all in.”

For myself, I’ve found myself drifting away from using either. I used to categorise posts into a particular theme, and then tag with more fine-grained keywords. Back when your “content” and “niche” “mattered”. Now I almost never bother explicitly setting either; I blog for myself, so I don’t feel I necessarily need to define everything into a taxonomy that helps other people make sense of things. Maybe I should put more effort into this, for the day my memory starts failing me?

Between tags and post kinds/formats, are “categories” considered redundant when organising a blog? I have a bunch of legacy posts which have some high-level categories assigned, but the vast majority of posts end up in the default category (notes), and I can’t remember the last time I went out of my way to set the category on anything (other than this post) – because most of the time I’m quick-posting from a tool which doesn’t even have the option to set categories.

Categories seem to be very much de-emphasised these days.

But then I come back to a time before we had tags, before post types, and when categories were all we had. They were useful and helped us structure our blogs so visitors could find stuff they’d be interested in. Serious planning was sometimes put into a categorisation scheme. I think of how I would use categories to label “asides” before there was an Aside post format (or even an <aside> HTML tag), “bookmarks” before there was a Bookmark post kind. Then I wonder if they’re worth maintaining as the “lowest common denominator” of organisation and data portability. Another blogging tool might not have native support for “post kinds” – but it’s almost certainly got some sort of category system.

I’m also trying to think about this from an aspect of theming WordPress. How much space or emphasis should be placed on each of the ways of describing a particular post? Should they be listed in some contexts, but not others? Autonomie only shows the post kind in list pages, but adds in category and tags on the the post’s page. K showed only an icon for the type, and tags if they were set.

Even as I’m thinking and writing this out, I’m not sure if I’m talking myself into or out of going through and properly categorising ~1400 blog posts (850 published, the rest pending review). Do I move everything into the default bucket? Or do I create and assign a robust categorisation scheme? What would that scheme look like?

One to ponder a bit further, I thinkπŸ€”