Tagging Free For All

What if anyone could assign tags to photos in Flickr? Also, what if they can already and I just can't find that feature? :)

How much of the metadata free-for-all would be "good" metadata? Where good is defined as useful. Is there such a thing as useless metadata? I argue there isn't, as long as you know the context. For instance, if you know who (as in, FOAF) assigned the metadata (using the word tag from now on) then it doesn't matter what the tag is. The whole point of the semantic web is to allow anyone to say anything about anything. Trust networks emerge, either implicit through certain algorithms, or explicit through group memberships. These trust networks allow weights to be associated to tags. Therefore, the same tag can be both useful and useless to different people.

Due to the use of URIs, external systems can be built to created these Tag free-for-alls. Flickr is very close to allowing URIs and RDF graphs between the page about the photo and the photo itself. Once that happens, and they start exposing the tags in the RDF about the photo, we are in a position to build the tag free-for-all.

The cost of generating metadata is very high. By distributing the workload across everyone who views the image, much much more metadata is generated.

I think the minimum step would be for Flickr to publish some RDF for the photo image itself, from the photo's homepage. Once that is done, these external systems can be built.

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