A Breakthrough In Taxonomy?
User count continues to grow, new communites spring up, new sources of business value are identified and celebrated — it’s all good, there’s just nothing really “new” to talk about.
The Great Taxonomy Debate
As I wrote about a while ago, one of the great philisophical discussions that we wrestled with early on was the idea of a taxonomy — a nice, orderly (and externally imposed) schema to help people find things.
On one side of the debate (we’ll call them the traditionalists), there were sound arguments about how messy, chaotic environments were off-putting to new users — and we wanted people to climb on board and enjoy the experience. People expected some sort of categorization scheme — if we didn’t meet those expectations, bad things would happen.
On the other side of the debate (we’ll call them the emergents), there were sound arguments that attempting to categorize something that was spontaneous, organic and user-driven was an exercise in corporate futility, to say the least. The high-value conversations were precisely the ones that didn’t fit neatly into a traditional approach.