Using groups as "tags"

Something occurred to me recently as I’ve been more deeply exploring what can be done with the Groups feature:

Groups can be (ab)used to allow users to “tag” individual posts.

This behavior could even be encouraged by creating groups that:

  • Everyone can see
  • Everyone can mention
  • No one can message

Unlike tags, which are only topic-level, groups can be @mentioned anywhere within a post.

Like tags, I still have the benefit that I can see a list of posts where that group has been mentioned.

The group can even have 0 members and still be used to gain the above benefits.

But with these additional settings, people can publicly “watch” these pseudo-tags:

  • Everyone can join
  • Everyone can leave

“Joining” the group is like watching a tag. It is also a more public way to do so, as people can see these members on the group’s members page.

(I also like the fact that joining/leaving groups is a simple toggle rather than the more complicated notification level drop-down)

Another advantage over tags is that the groups have a section for a description.

I’m starting to think that groups may make better tags than tags for some things…

One group setting that I think would be nice to help this even further is to have the ability to set the default tab for the groups page. In this case, I’d likely set it to /activity/mentions


Sure, definitely for some things, but if we’re talking about building out large and complicated IAs using tags – think the kinds of architectures used in LMS – then I don’t think this approach would work (or make sense).