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Ability to tag contexts Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
After extensive use of a few of tagging systems over the past year or two (primarily in Yojimbo and Things), I still prefer hierarchical structures. They allow me to visualize my data more easily and find my way in a spacial environment rather than a cognitive one (tagging is a high-level cognitive function, often leading to distraction and additional mental effort).

But that is not to say that tagging is without merit. On the contrary, tagging is an extremely useful tool in the right circumstances. It makes perfect sense in a large reference library, for example. But in a GTD app, I think it adds unnecessary complexity (which I think was the gist of Merlin's argument against tags).

But I also appreciate jvas' call for moderation, for a middle ground. And the flexibility afforded by a "Tag" field in OmniFocus sounds like it would help out a lot of people (maybe satisfying the desires of the "priorities", "multiple contexts", and "additional metadata" camps all at once).

So with that in mind, I'd begrudgingly accept a tag field in OmniFocus. Whether I would personally use it depends largely on implementation and if other supporting features came with it (like smart folders or view bar filters with AND/OR/NOT logical operators).

What I don't want is a partial implementation like Things has. In Things, tags can only be filtered in a very basic manner and the system quickly breaks down under any reasonable load. There's no good way to manage or use any significant numbers of tags; no way to create or preserve the more sophisticated combinations that are required to make the system truly useful. But maybe Things suffers from this deficiency because it relies almost entirely on tagging for all organization, which wouldn't be the case in OmniFocus.

-Dennis
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toadling View Post
After extensive use of a few of tagging systems over the past year or two (primarily in Yojimbo and Things), I still prefer hierarchical structures. They allow me to visualize my data more easily and find my way in a spacial environment rather than a cognitive one (tagging is a high-level cognitive function, often leading to distraction and additional mental effort).
True! I've come to the same conclusions - the tags/metadata model was so attractive at first (with files, bookmarks, tasks), until it became clear that someone had to analyze all these granules and apply the tags. Yikes!

In the absence of functional auto-tagging, the value of hierarchy as primary system of organizing is now clear to me.

Tags are very valuable when they can be sprinkled here and there as needed, though.

Also - it looks like that's where OF is going, so rock on! I'd rather have the iPhone integration first, anyway. Welcome to the future: population you.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven View Post
Also - it looks like that's where OF is going, so rock on! I'd rather have the iPhone integration first, anyway.
I completely agree. As more is revealed, it's clear the Omni Group has their priorities straight and has been making the right decisions (at least in my opinion).

Rock on, indeed!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case View Post
Our plan all along has been to allow people to create their own columns of metadata, which they can use however they want: with generic tags, or with specific columns for priority, people, etc. (We have this capability in OmniPlan, OmniOutliner, and OmniGraffle.) We just didn't have time to do it for 1.0, and we won't for 1.1 (which has to focus on synchronization so it can be ready to synchronize with the iPhone).

Hopefully in 1.2.
Thanks for the response, and sorry about being a year behind everyone in the future metadata -awareness.

Within the last year, seems like every time I visit the forum, there's been a steady noise about tags implemented in OF.

suggest: add sticky in OF forum covering the already-revealed intended feature set.

Maybe combine "Forum Moderation" and "Forum FAQ" if you must minimize sticky count...

I may be wrong in my assessment; maybe the response is "user should search more vigorously". ...if so, never mind! :-)

Great job on everything else; I'm a very satisfied customer.
 
I like the middle-of-the-road solution, with support for advanced searching and smart lists. Of course, the tag field should be optional.

I could definitely see myself using tagging, although I prefer the hierarchical structure over a tag-heavy interface. I just converted to OF from RTM because it's just too difficult to tag everything. It's still an important feature, although I do agree with the premise of Merlin Mann's statement. The system shouldn't be reliant on tags, period.
 
OK, I agree that the time it takes to tag is possibly too much, BUT i really need to attach PEOPLE, i.e. multiple individuals to actions. Because while contexts are place or resource related, PEOPLE may be available in more than one context. And actions need people.

The ability to discuss different contexts with a person when you happen to be with them is essential in most work situations. Is it just my failing brain or do others find themselves meeting colleagues and thinking, "I just know there was something I needed to ask you apart from that".

So as a special tag just give me a "body tag".

Ta.
 
I make those people into contexts. My boss is a context. My husband is a context. Then whether I'm on the phone with my husband or sitting on the couch next to him, I can check what I needed to talk to him about.

I don't understand why you would want to discuss a context with a person. A discussion with someone for me is an action. "Ask boss for vacation days."
 
I use contexts for people too but I also have a "discuss" context where I put various tasks that needs to be discussed during meetings at work. i.e. it's not really connected to a specific individual.
 
I guess I will throw in my change to the "tag" discussion.

Tags are great for correlating things that have very few values and range in types. The best example are photos. I tag the hell out of my photos, because it is a way to categorize them that doesn't come naturally to a picture. Documents would be another example. The actual file has meta-data but it is uniform or easy to get to so if you tag multiple documents, you can create simple or complex groupings.

OmniFocus which includes folders, tasks and contexts already has a lot of ways to categorize, sort, filter and view your projects and tasks. Adding tags might help some but it will create that extra bit of work when doing capture.

Remember that one of the key points to GTD that DA stresses is that simplicity of adding to it. If you are even slightly reluctant to add things to a system, you won't. If you have to think about a folder, a project a context, a start date, a end date and a tag all just to remember to "buy milk" your brain will say "Ahh.. forget it, I will just try to remember."

GTD is about simplicity and strives to get to that perfect point between a simple system and something that can expand and hold complex things.

I personally still miss the days of entering in something like "Buy milk > single @ errands" into a little widget and having Kinkless do the rest for me.

BZ
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve View Post
I think that I have abandoned the idea that I would want to tag next actions. However, I would be interested in tagging projects.
I've read through this entire thread and can see this is a heated debate indeed so here are my 2 cents.

I pretty much organize all my projects in a hierarchy according to my high-level goals and aspirations. I've recently discovered how to use Perspectives (thank to the screencast!) to focus in on personal and work projects.

I still feel a need to tag projects to make the process of setting up and maintaining my perspectives a bit easier and to make it easier to find certain projects that honestly can get buried.

My only guess is for us Google Apps users, tags are a natural extension to labels in gmail and folders in docs.

OmniFocus has always been a powerful "lump of clay" with the ability to configured to one's own process - I think tags would be a welcome feature leaving it up to the users whether or not they wish to take advantage of it.

That said, I'm glad to hear the developers have their tabs on this - I've been pleased as of late with the overall direction of OF (both desktop and iPhone) and it's helped tremendously over the past few months - more kudos to the team!
 
 


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