Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Folksonomy -- another idea for content labeling

Folksonomy is a term proposed by the “wiki” world to describe the capability of content customers to label the content, both in terms of quality, and particularly with respect to suitability for minors.

Taxonomy would, by contrast, comprise classification and labeling provided by the author, publisher, or distributor of content. Movie ratings would probably fall somewhere between these two concepts.

In a sense, the ability that Amazon and Netflix offer to rate books and movies (with numbers of stars) and then present the composite ratings, is a kind of folksonomy. Amazon even allows viewers of book reviews to rate the reviews as to helpfulness.

Content labeling, as described so far, would be applied by authors or publishers in a system of voluntary compliance. A more sophisticated mechanism could be proposed to allow visitors or parents to supply ratings to some kind of escrow company, which then might be able to apply the appropriate labels to sites of members.

This is another concept that could apply in the developing debate over reconciling the needs for free speech for adults with the protection of minors on the Internet.

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