All Categories are Local
Dave Sifry comments about the draft specification of Easy News Topics 1.0 (ENT), proposed by Paolo Valdermarin and Matt Mower.
Dave is concerned that a category standard would fall prey to the problems of ambiguity and scamming that killed HTML META tags.
As I noted in comments on his post, Dave is absolutely right at the scale of the web or the blogosphere.
However, I think that categories will be much more valuable at the community level. For example, Austin has a meta-blog, aggregating posts related to Austin. People in other cities are starting to do the same. If we could map sub-categories, we would be able to create a cross-regional directory. There are local editors who keep the system from being spammed, and make decisions about how to map categories.
So, I think that the system can work in the context of defined groups and defined applications.
The only thing that ENT is missing is a way to alias categories — Austin’s “music events” maps to Ann Arbor’s “concerts.” Presumably this could be implemented at the application level.