The way it's currently implemented, anyone can create a tag (or an interest). Just go to your profile and add your interests separated by commas. If the word you enter already exists, you get associated to that tag. If it does not, the tag will get created.
Maybe some moodle users find it important to restrict certain roles from creating tags... that's why I'm asking for feedback !!
Currently, there's a capability associated with editing the tag description. That way, only certain chosen roles have the ability to change tag descriptions and related tags entries.
The idea is that, in the future, tags will be used all over the place in moodle. Users, files, blog entries and resources will be easier to share and find by associating them with tags... Using tags to describe user interests is a starting point.
Concerning the different approaches for 'social networking in moodle'.... My view is that courses are a good way to group people with similar interests, even though there's not really a course going on. Moodle offers good tools for interaction in a course (wiki, blogs etc..).
However, the interests/tags approach has some advantages:
1) it's more informal and spontaneous. This encorages users to describe their interests, thus making it easier to find people with a certain interest. The more users in a moodle site use the tags functionality to describe their interests, the more valuable it becomes.
2) Interests groups don't get mixed with courses. (In a university moodle site, we generally expect that a course in moodle corresponds to a real course)
3) Tags are more flexible than courses... In the future, anything in a moodle site could be associated with a tag (files, events, resources, courses, even tags themselves), not only users.
I hope this makes some of the ideas more clear...
And again.. suggestions and feedback are welcome!