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I'm in the process of developing a video sharing site which would require users to tag each video they upload, however, users have a tendency to create tags to drive traffic rather than making their tags relevant to their content. As you can imagine, this reduces the precision of the search function for the site.

Other than requesting users to apply relevant tags aka honor system, is there any way to indirectly force users to apply relevant tags?

I'd like to encourage users by providing suggestions, but being video, how does one help in identifying relevant tags for their content?

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Short Term

Trend spamming probably wont be a problem early on, you'll have trusted users who'll build good content. At the start the people using your site will be early adopters, supportive friends and product evangelists who will be more interested in using your product rather than trying to spam with it

I'd advise that in early stages you concentrate on building up these users and observe their behaviour to see how they tag and ask them about the process. Spamming of any sort only real works if there's high volume and I'm deducing from the phrase 'in the process of developing' that you are not at this stage. Definitely don't annoy early users by putting in place a system that hinders their legitimate use of the site.

You can always directly remove any troublesome users at any stage.

Long term

The best thing to do long term is to allow community moderation to take place. Let the users vote stuff up and float that to the top of searches, that way any poorly tagged stuff is more likely to sink and be harder to find. Users will then be free to tag as they like but encouraged to tag nicely. Reward users who tag well and remove privileges from, or even delete those who tag poorly.

You could set a barrier to tag entry too where a user has to have a certain level of trusted status before they are allowed to add new tags that aren't in a predefined set. The same trusted status can allow the ability to re-tag anything that is poorly tagged. this means new users will have to behave to a good standard amongst their peers to use the site to it's full potential.

Crowd sourcing this sort of thing from your human users is a much better way than trying to mechanically restrict or suggest.

The best example of this is Stack Exchange.

  • I do like the idea of reputation framework behind SE, but I thought it would be too difficult to implement. Would you happen to have any suggestions in how I can emulate a SE like framework? – digitamize Jan 26 '15 at 2:38
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If the user is required to add tags, it would be great to apply a couple tags automatically for them in the tag section. (You could "force" them to use these tags by not letting the user delete them, but you should make sure if you implement that way that you have a very accurate system for automatically assigning tags). Then, you can give the user the option to add new tags if they'd like. Perhaps you could prevent if a user is "spamming" the tags limiting the number of tags they can put? But a "tag spammer" will likely try to find other ways around this. Not sure if you'd create frustration to users who are using the system honestly by trying to prevent abuse of the tags.

From a technical perspective, I'm not sure how to help identify relevant tags for their content. It probably depends on how you've built your system.

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Maybe you can just plainly explain to the users, why you need them to precisely tag the videos (i.e. for the video search function). Also provide tag hints and prompt a window, just after the user uploaded a video, to make this process as fast as possible.

Another idea is ask relevant questions (for eg. "What words would best describe your video?"), to aid the user's mental process.

You could also check the title of the video with the tags, the user chooses and ask, if inappropriate tags are being given.

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