The New Frontpage Design & Opening Tag Creation!

We just pushed a new frontpage design that we’ve been sitting and iterating on for a while, and we also just enabled the ability for everyone to create tags and edit the descriptions of existing tags.

New Frontpage design

A week ago we asked for your thoughts on the new frontpage design, and generally received quite positive feedback on the new design (and also almost the full LessWrong team has switched towards using the new design because we like it so much better).

I do think that pretty radical visual changes to a site can be distracting and break habits, and think that in this case it’s worth that disruption, but generally want to be quite careful with doing redesigns like this to often, and don’t want to force you all to reorient to a new design and visual language every time you visit the site.

The goal of this redesign was to make the frontpage a lot less visually cluttered, and make it easier to parse the structure of the site by adding more clear boundaries between foreground and background. This meant combining a bunch of elements in the Recommendations section, getting rid of a bunch of vertical dividers that were cluttering up the space, and using negative space more effective to communicate information without adding visual complexity.

The biggest change that comes with the new design is a lot more emphasis on our core tags and our frontpage selective filtering system that should allow you to personalize your frontpage, hide posts you don’t want to see, and increase the frequency of topics that you are interested in. As a quick reminder, here is how to use the system:

Increase the karma of posts that are tagged with certain tags by hovering over the core tags and selecting the appropriate modifier

When you hover over one of the core tags on the frontpage, or a tag you added yourself to the filter list (by clicking the “+” icon on the right), you can add a karma modifier to all posts that are tagged that way, hide them completely, or mark a tag as required, hiding all posts that don’t have that tag. I personally have a karma modifier of +10 on “Rationality” content and on “World Modeling” content, and a −10 to “Community” content.

I expect that over the next few weeks we will make changes to some more pages (most notable the frontpage) to bring it in line with the new visual direction of the site, and are also going to be running some experiments to make the new design feel a bit less droopy (while the bright white background gave me a bit of eye-strain that I am glad to be rid off in this new design, the grey background does feel a bit depressing and I’ve been experimenting with whether we can improve that somehow by maybe using more images or gradients or some kind of texture, but I don’t know yet where that will go.

Overall, I am excited about the new design, and please feel free to leave any feedback in the comments here, or via the Intercom!

Opening up tag creation

Starting today, lasting for at least a few weeks, we are opening up tag creation to all registered users on the site. The goal is that by the end of the month we will have tagged most of the important historical posts with good tags, and have created all the new tags that are necessary to make it so that you can reliably find good related posts, and use the tagging system to orient around all the content that is on LessWrong.

To do that, we are running a strategy of letting new tags grow whenever any LW user feels like they want a tag. It’s on the LW team to prune them down, merge them, organize them, and make sure they have good descriptions. I.e. we will take care of most of the busy work of maintaining a tag system, and want you to do the fun parts of creating new tags and organizing content however you find most useful.

The first thing you can do, if you have written any posts on LessWrong, is to tag all of the posts you have written with the existing tags, and to create any tags that you think are missing. See New Tag Guidelines for some rough tag-guidelines about what makes a good tag. In very short summary, if you think there is an important topic or concept that has three good posts by at least two distinct authors on it, feel free to create a tag for it.

You can create new tags by clicking on the “add tag” menu on any post and selecting “Create tag” or by directly going to​tag/​create.

Click on “Create Tag” in this menu to go to the new-tag page

If you want to get an overview over what tags already exists, and what posts are tagged, you can go to https://​​​​tags/​​all, which both has a quick table of all the tags, and a long list of all the tag descriptions, with the ability to edit them right there on the page:

The All Tags table, allowing you to get a quick overview over all the tags that exist in alphabetical order
The Tag Details list, allowing you to quickly see and edit the descriptions of all tags, in a list sorted by how many posts each tag contains

I am also quite excited about the tagging system, and have found that it has already helped me orient to the massive amount of writing that exists on the site, and am really looking forward to what things will be like when we have a tag for all important LessWrong concepts, and have most posts appropriately tagged with them.

Added by Ruby: You can see some of our best tags so far in the July Featured Tags. (These tags have many posts, but that’s not necessary to be a great tag. A great tag might be for an important concept with only a few posts.)