Jack Baty / Scribbles
April 3rd, 2024

Trees vs Tags...fight!

Garrit Frank, Fuck Trees, Use Tags:

I believe that these tree-like directory structures are inherently flawed, and that tagging systems are superior in almost every way.

I assumed this post was an April Fool's joke because no one actually prefers tags, right? 😘

I believe that the tags vs trees preference is based on two things: the type of content and the personality of the person doing the organizing. There's nothing inherently flawed about either of them.

My personality prefers trees. Even though, sure, I sometimes don't know where something should go. However, once I've decided, that's where it is. Done. The limitation of one-place-per-thing is why I like trees. It's a feature.

Given a choice, I use both. Ideally, a file "belongs" in one place permanently, but can also be tagged with as many tags as necessary. Here's how I (loosely) define them:

Category (or folder) = what it is
Tags = what it's about

So a receipt for my car insurance would go in my /Receipts/YYYY/ folder and would be labeled (aka tagged) with #auto, #money, and #insurance. Multiple tags are admittedly handy.

Categories are plural and tags are singular.

Of course, I'm not above duplicating a file and putting it in two places 😆.