Different blog publishing systems (the ones that put your blog pages where others see them) have different ways of labeling posts for various purposes.
I want to use categories as a place to separate posts on a particular theme and to allow that theme to be subscribed to in feed readers. That way, thematic posts can be syndicated to other places without having to read all of the blog, whatever the variety of themes are.
That was a little trickier to figure out than I had hoped.
I think of categories as a way of subdividing the blog archive by topic, so that topical posts can be found by topic and the collection under a given topic can be viewed and reviewed together. Blogger calls them labels. WordPress calls them tags in some places and categories in other places. My someday-soon migration to Movable Type has them separate but it only appears to hold onto the more-recent posts in a category. (I think there is some configuration adjustment I have not learned to make.)
I am accustomed to think of tags as flagged terms that are placed in posts that link to global services where blog posts and web pages can be found using the service. One tag service was Technorati, though that quit working the way that I could use it some time ago. De.licio.us (now delicious.com) is another way, sort of.
To add to the confusion, some blog publishing systems provide separate RSS feeds by category. Others provide a single feed but the category identifications are included and can be filtered. WordPress provides individual RSS feeds for the full blog, for the articles in a single WordPress category, and for the articles having a single WordPress tag. The category (or categories) is where a WordPress post is described as being posted. I will go with that.
The capstone to my confusion is the fact that I use a single blog authoring tool for all of the blogs (and their blog publishing systems) that I post articles to.
That applies to this post, being created here in Windows Live Writer. Windows Live Writer will configure what it is I see and how my post is published by extracting information from the blog site itself. In this image, Windows Live Writer is adjusted to the style of the Orcmid’s Live Hideout blog on WordPress.com, and it will publish to that blog when I say so:
Along with changes to the Windows Live Writer interface over the span of releases, it did not occur to me that the categories and the tags items near the top ribbon were both specific to WordPress. I thought the Set tags entry was a way of setting tags for tagging services. No, that’s not them. Those are also available, but in a different place:
The insert menu has the provision for insertion of tags that have nothing to do with WordPress tags. (This was once on the right sidebar of the Live Writer window, and no longer.) These are the tags I want to set as tags.
And the WordPress categories are the categories I want to use and to offer individual RSS feeds for. For my Movable Type blogs, I will have to keep investigating.
I’m not using the WordPress tags. Here are the kinds of tags I had in mind: