This is more of a gearhead type question from one IT guy to another.
Currently the site handles categories by way of wiki markup in the bio text. That works great, but since the hierarchy of categories is still in flux and the structure seems to be morphing quickly, it seems that there's an opportunity for early adopters to get burned. The reason I say this is due to the fact that categories have to be edited manually on each profile, so that if a category that has been associated with many profiles is changed there is the need to now go and touch all of the affected profiles.
I'm wondering if it might be possible to head this off by having the system propagate changes to a category name to the linked profiles. With it currently being in the bio text, I know that's probably going to be more of a pain. Would the category system possibly be more extensible if they were moved to a separate attribute within the profile? It might make it easier for folks to add categories to a profile as well, since you might then be able to incorporate a drop-down, or if you're feeling saucy, (and the DB can take the load) an AJAX search box.
The other thought I had on categories was whether it might be possible to add a search function for categories. It might help if we could tag categories as well, so that if someone were to search for "civil war veterans", for example, it could return not only categories with the search term in the name, but also ones with associated keywords, as well as possibly "next door neighbor" categories linked to name matched categories.
I know, easier said that done, but just brainstorming trying to think of ways to help speed the adoption of categorization and preventing some of the pains that may come with it.