Saturday, April 19, 2008

Categorizing Blog Posts

I'm having trouble working out how to carve this blog at its joints -- or, if it doesn't have natural "joints", how to categorize the posts most usefully. A couple of principles suggest themselves:

1. Avoid vertical redundancy, i.e. between general and specific categories. If a post is on 'modality', don't bother to tag it as 'metaphysics' in addition. Leave the broader category so that my other (non-modal) metaphysics posts are easier to find. But cross-categorize horizontally, e.g. with 'language' or 'epistemology', if appropriate.

2. Avoid overcrowding a category. The sidebar navigation only loads 8 posts at a time, so it'll take a painfully long time to find an early post in a category of 80+. Better to split it into more specific sub-categories. Though there is some trade-off with the annoyance of an excessively long list of categories. I think the ideal balance would be to have as few categories as possible whilst maintaining a maximum category size of about 40 posts.

Question - would the navigation be easier if subcategories were bundled nearer together? E.g. have 'ethics - applied', 'ethics - metaethics', etc., rather than 'applied' and 'metaethics' distantly separated on the alphabetized list.

Difficult cases. It's quite hard to know how to split things up, especially some of my advocacy (applied ethics or politics) type posts.

- I previously had posts on the Internet and copyfight issues categorized under 'media', though I've now made a new 'Internet' category, and shifted some intellectual property stuff over to the 'property' category, leaving the 'media' category more for howling at journalists. Does that sound like a more intuitive and user-friendly categorization?

- Another recent change was to dismantle the 'democracy' category, shifting the more theoretical posts into 'political theory', and the advocacy/metapolitics stuff into a new category: 'civics'. This also helped empty out my 'politics' category slightly. I might further subdivide out 'electoral politics'.

- A new category on '2-Dism' could clear a lot of room out of 'modality' and 'language'.

- I'm not sure whether the 'links' posts are worth including at all. Maybe I should just let them melt into the archives uncategorized, only preserving any especially good ones under the 'quotes' category?

- Maybe I should split up 'favourite posts' too, perhaps according to whether they're aimed at a general or advanced academic audience?

- 'Applied ethics' is a mess. I'm not entirely clear on whether policy prescriptions belong here or under 'politics' -- maybe I need a new 'policy' category, and leave the 'ethics' stuff for ethical questions relating to private conduct? In addition, there's 'the good life' which typically concerns theories of well-being; the ironically titled 'family values' which concerns the ethics of sex, relationships, children, etc. If I'm not careful, this may overlap with 'identity politics' on gender/feminist issues, though the latter also addresses racism and such.

I think I just need to get a clearer idea of what sorts of posts go where. (E.g. is abortion a matter for 'family values', or general 'applied ethics'? If I made a new 'bioethics' category, would it belong there instead?)

- 'Moral theory' needs to be split up. 'Action theory' currently contains posts on agency / moral psychology. I wonder whether stuff on 'reasons' belongs there too, or maybe in a whole new category of its own. 'Utilitarianism' probably deserves its own category too. What about 'rationality'? (I've posted a bit on global rationality and indirect utilitarianism, how should that be categorized?)

Suggestions welcome!


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