I have been experimenting with using tags on the message board. When you are posting a thread, you have the option of adding a "tag" that describes the thread. I believe the most useful tags are abstract phrases that indicate something that interests you about that thread and will also apply to other threads that interest you in the same way.

As an example, I created the thread "small wonders" to describe my interest in 10 and 12 size higher grade gentlemen's watches. I am in the process of documenting my collection of these watches. If I browse to any of my threads that include that tag, I can click on it and see a list of all the threads that use the tag.

The advanced search facility also has a field for tag search that can be used for the same purpose. As you start to type a tag name, the system supplies a list of possible matches to choose from.

Using advanced search also provides the opportunity to subset the results from the tag search. If you enter a keyword in the keyword field prefixed by a "+", that keyword must be found in the listed results. For example, I have currently listed Illinois, Hamilton and Rockford "small wonders." If I put +Hamilton in the keyword field and select small wonders in the tag field, the list will only include threads that contain a reference to Hamilton.

We have been building the tag data from thread titles for a long time. Those tags are in the "tag cloud" and may be used to find threads that contain the words there. While those tags work, they are mostly useful for seeing which words are most popular in thread titles since those are emphasized in the cloud that shows the top 150 words by the frequency that they appear in titles. The words are alphabetical in order, but the font size indicates the frequency.

I think the explicit abstract tags are more useful and would encourage everyone to try them.