I'm creating a website were users can post tutorials. They can follow other people, so they can get their feed.

Right now there are two fields: title and content.

I'm not very sure whether to add a tag or a category field. And I wonder if users then will act as some sort of sub-category; different users will write something more specific than a category, (e.g. I may find in the Programming category someone who writes Rails tutorials, and decide to follow him).

I think this is how Twitter works? (I'm not very sure).

Some pro and cons that I can think of:



  • It forces users to select a organized set of categories.
  • Having categories and subcategories is cleaner than having a bunch of tags (at least in my opinion).


  • I have to create them myself (I would like the site to be as community-driven as possible).



  • Any user can create a tag.
  • They are not restricted to a set of categories.


  • I can't sub-categorize them (less organized)
  • There may be duplicate tags

What is the best way to go in this case?

  • You might find some useful arguments in these questions, if you haven't already read them: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/5920/… and ux.stackexchange.com/questions/6949/….
    – Matt Obee
    Nov 22, 2012 at 12:24
  • @Matt Obee Thanks, I did. I updated my answer to address something a little bit different.
    – wyc
    Nov 22, 2012 at 12:27
  • It's an interesting one. I'm not too sure why the fact that members can follow each other makes a difference to the tag versus category argument. What do you mean by "...if users then will act as some sort of sub-category"?
    – Matt Obee
    Nov 22, 2012 at 12:34
  • @Matt Obee Well, each user will write something more specific than a category, in that case they act as a sort of sub-category (not very sure if my right, though).
    – wyc
    Nov 22, 2012 at 12:37
  • @Matt Obee I added an example in my question.
    – wyc
    Nov 22, 2012 at 12:39

1 Answer 1


What do you think about using both?

Using predefined categories for the main structure and user defined tags for the subcategories?

  • 1
    But then how it is decided which tags go to which category?
    – wyc
    Nov 22, 2012 at 12:20
  • didn't know who you targeting... An example would be stackexchange, the main categories will be tex, ux, physics and so on and the tags are choosen in every category
    – Megachip
    Nov 22, 2012 at 12:22
  • 1
    Well, they are different sites. Mine is only one.
    – wyc
    Nov 22, 2012 at 12:24
  • 2
    thats a point of view... all use the same backend, you got notified for all... which type of tutorials should be posted there? e.g. Programming, you could categorize the programming language and use tags for different modules/frameworks or something
    – Megachip
    Nov 22, 2012 at 12:28
  • OK, I'll consider that.
    – wyc
    Nov 22, 2012 at 12:30

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