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Tagging and Folksonomy

Outfoxed uses tagging for several purposes. It implements some of the features of, for example allowing users to see all pages which have been given a certain tag.


(NOTE: The following features are not yet supported in the release versions of Outfoxed.)

Outfoxed uses tags to help resolve conflict within the database. If two equally-trusted informers give conflicting reports on a page, tags can be used to break the tie. When a user adds an informer, they can add tags indicating particular areas where this informer is trusted (or not trusted). For example, if your friend Bob is a good car mechanic but with very different political views from you, you might give him the tags "car repair auto -humor -funny". This means that his reports will take preference on pages tagged as auto, repair, or auto, and that his reports will be deprecated on pages tagged as humor or funny.

Outfoxed also uses tags to enhance searching, by checking for any pages tagged with words from the search phrase. For example, if you searched for "History of baseball", in addition to the normal search results you would also get returned a list of pages which were tagged with history, baseball, and history and baseball together.

What social networking brings to tagging

Tagging systems are currently enjoying a wave of popularity, but can this success continue with increased growth? The current situation mirrors that of early usenet, when the relatively small body of users was quite homogeneous: computer-savvy, intelligent, young, and generally liberal. (A survey of the most popular tags shows that this is true.)

However, as the body of users grow, one can no longer trust the opinion of the majority, and the system becomes vulnerable to googlebomb-style attacks. Imagine if suddenly had a million users using it to find good pages. What do you think would be the top result for "britney spears", or "games"? The system would almost certainly be clogged with porn companies.

A social networking system like that used in Outfoxed can combat this problem by only trusting the tags of people within the network. Commerical and fake users would be weeded out.