Are tags kinda different way of viewing folders?


So I’m playing around with different ways of organizing my notes. I’m currently using the P.A.R.A. method. And I am not particularly convinced with it. So thinking outside of P.A.R.A. right now.

I was thinking how tags work in obsidian. It turns out tag hierarchy is kinda inferred rather than having a place for determining the hierarchy yourself.

#parent/child is the relationship for a tag. Which also shows them as a hierarchy in the tag pane. This makes the hierarchy just like folders.

Let me share an example,

I want to have #drama as a tag. I want to use this tag for books and movies both. Now if i want to create hierarchy, I could do #movie/drama or #book/drama. This will allow me to see these in hierarchy of the tag panel.

If I want to use #genre as a parent tag and instead have #drama inside it, that’s not readily possible. I could create a #genre/drama to have a different hierarchy but that means I no longer have movie and book hierarchical.

Isn’t this similar to having a movie folder and a drama folder inside it?

I could have multiple tags and a note may appear under different tag trees so it’s not exactly the same but not having independent tag hierarchy feels somewhat limiting.

Am I thinking about it right? Or is there a plug-in, way of working which I don’t know about?

Thank you for reading this.

You could of course make the tags hierarchy just as you like them, so whether you put this under that or that under this, that’s entirely your choice. If you want true independency you don’t use nested tag, but keep them all at the main level.

Alternatively, you just need to find a way, which works for you, were you’ve got the “correct” top level tags. Like the example you state, I would switch it around, and have a tag like #genre/drama/movie, which would allow for me to search for stuff in the #genre/drama, and if needed I could specify further if it was a book or movie.

Another option would be to separate the tags more into different areas, like if you often would like to search by genre, then have the genre tag, if you need to search for media type, you keep that also as a separate tag…

The point I’m trying to make is that opposed to folders, which is a one-to-one connection, if it’s in this folder, then it’s just in this folder. Whilst tags you can choose how hierarchical it is, or not, and you can have multiple tags denoting varying aspect of your notes.

Related to P.A.R.A, it might make sense to have a Project tag, an Area tag, a Resource tag, and an Archive tag, that you can’t do with folders. (Disclaimer: I’ve not used the P.A.R.A. method myself, just thinking out loud here). I do however believe, it would possibly make sense to have nested tags for each of the spheres you think about your notes in, whether that would be the P.A.R.A. spheres, or others which make more sense for you.