User tags for expansions

An area for discussing new ideas and additions to Oolite.

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User tags for expansions

Post by Fififionek »

I recently discovered and installed Oolite. I played Elite on my C64 back in nineties until I ran out of missions. Now I took the tutorial to check that the basics are the same. I decided to install some expansions to get the most variable gameplay, but found out there are some 250 expansions (installable ingame) with very limited overview. Soon I realized, that the categories may be misleading because many bigger expansions fall in multiple categories. Also, many of the expansions will probably make the game much easier, which I would not like.

In this thread I learned there is a plan for filtering by expansion author created tags. The thread also makes it clear this won't help much, because more than one author refuses to tag their work and different authors will probably understand same tags differently.

I think it would help, if every player could add tags to any expansion. The expansion manager would display the most frequent tags (or use some more sophisticated method), players could search/filter expansions by any tag. Some tags might be used for overall ratings, others for classification, and others for anything the players decide. Different understandings of a tag by different people would hopefully even out by the number of users.

I understand this might be too ambitious. It would require a server to manage the tags. Someone could spam the system by useless or misleading tags. As a simpler alternative, it could be implemented offline. Any player could add tags to his/her local list of expansions and export and import functions would allow an exchange of annotated lists of expansions. These user provided lists would have the benefit of consistency, because single person created them.

Now I see myself spending many hours reading many expansion wiki pages, since this is currently the only way to decide which expansions to use. But even after that, I would appreciate some possibility to somehow annotate those expansions with the ability to filter and search by it inside the expansion manager. 250 expansions is more than enough to not remember them all.
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Re: User tags for expansions

Post by cim »

Welcome to the forum, Fififionek.

Sorry for not replying to this for a couple of days - it's an interesting idea and I need more time to think about it. The "tags" property was added to the original specification for expansion metadata because it seemed like it might be useful in future; unlike all the other properties I didn't have a clear idea myself exactly what it would be used for.

A few questions for people to help with the thinking. Some of these questions I have my own opinions on, of course ... as usual, I don't intend to say what those opinions are for a while:

1) Assuming that tag filtering is available in the OXZ manager, would you contribute to user tagging of OXZs, and if so, what sort of information would you add tags for?

2) If you would add tags, would you find it useful to be able to add the tags and upload them from within the OXZ manager screens?

3) What sort of information that isn't currently in the OXZ manager screen would you like to be able to search on? (Or put another way, what information would you like other people to tag expansions with?)

4) There will need for a couple of technical reasons to be a separation between author and user tags. Would you like that separation to be visible in the manager?

5) If you write OXPs, how do you feel about the possibilities of user tags from an author perspective?

Going a little more generally: a set of user tags can be seen as a (very short) review of an OXP ("This OXP contains ships, military lasers, and references to pointillist art; Bob liked it but Alice was less interested"). As far as I can tell, reviews of OXPs basically don't exist at the moment, except for comments here and there (mainly from people who played an OXP in its own thread, occasionally comments from people who thought a particular OXP did something relevant to another thread well or badly). So ...

6) Why do you think reviews of OXPs don't exist? Is their non-existence a good or bad thing? Do you think this has any implications for a user tagging system?
Fififionek wrote:with very limited overview.
One thing I do plan to do to help with this is to add a "long_description" field to the index for the next version, which will give room for a page or so of readme file. This might help a bit on that side.
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Re: User tags for expansions

Post by Neelix »

User tagging is an interesting concept but I can see some potential problems...

One of the issues with such a system as I see it is that if you allow a user to enter arbitrary tags you're likely to see lots of variation in the tag names, which will make them less useful. For example I can easily picture various mission OXPs some tagged as 'Gal 5' others as 'Galaxy5' and others as 'Sector-5' which would make using such a system to search for new mission OXPs in preparation for your next galactic jump somewhat hit and miss.

My suggested solution to this would be to have a moderated tag list. Allow users to add tags from a preset list set by the OXZ manifest server. That way it would be possible to add tags to the list by request, but avoid some of the pitfalls of allowing arbitrary user content to be attached.

- Neelix
Talaxian Enterprises: [wiki]Vacuum Pump[/wiki] [wiki]Waypoint Here[/wiki]
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Re: User tags for expansions

Post by Lone_Wolf »

4) There will need for a couple of technical reasons to be a separation between author and user tags. Would you like that separation to be visible in the manager?

Sorry, no opinion on the other questions for now.
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