[Site Meta] Feature Update: More Tags! (Experimental)

Edit: We’re specifically seeking feedback right now on the tag relevance voting system, please chime in if you can. Thanks!

A month ago, the LessWrong team launched our new tagging system...with a whopping whole entire single tag. We rushed it out quickly to give people a way to manage the deluge of Covid-19 posts which had grown to 50% of new posts by mid-March.

Now we’re ready to trial the tag system generally with all kinds of tags. With this launch people can now 1) use tag pages to find posts about their interests, and 2) filter their Latest Posts section on the frontpage for the content they’re most interested in. Soon tag filtering will applicable to Recent Discussion and All Posts page, as well as it being possible to subscribe to tags.

How experimental is this?

Very. The team is figuring out all kinds of questions related to tag ontology and tagging UI, and it’s all subject to change. We’d greatly appreciate feedback and user interviews (comment on this post or use the usual channels!)

Warning! For the next while, if you help us by tagging posts or voting on tag relevance, it’s possible you will lose your effort if we later decide to delete the tag due to our evolving tag policy. We appreciate anyone who tags anyway since this helps us develop the tagging system.

For example, we’ve created the World Optimization high-level core tag for everything which is about concretely improving the world. But the name isn’t great– it doesn’t imply that personal improvement is included. So we need to figure out a better name or maybe split the tag up.

Tagging Mini-FAQ

See the Quick Guide to Tagging for slightly more detail.

How do I use tags to filter content in our out?

  1. Click on the tag filter gear icon next to Latest Posts.

    1. Note the option for “soft filtering” which lets you titrate the amount you see posts with a given tag from Never through Normal Amount to Exclusively. (We’re still working to make this UI intuitive.)

  2. Click on a Tag on the bottom of a post page to visit its Tag Page and find related posts.

  3. Visit the Tag Index (Beta) page to see the list of high-quality existing tags.

Filter Options for Latest Posts
Tags at the Bottom of Post Page

Who can tag things?

Anyone can tag a post with an existing tag.

Ideally tags have a definition paragraph which explain when they do and don’t apply, but as we ramp up not all posts will contain this.

Who can vote on tags?

Anyone can vote on how relevant a tag is to a given post. This helps order posts on a tag page. Users’ “tag relevance” voting power is the same as their normal karma voting power See Quick Guide to Tagging#Tag-Relevance for more detail.

Who can create tags?

Right now, only LessWrong moderators can create tags. If you really want a particular tag to exist, comment here or contact us via Intercom, email, or our FB page. See Quick Guide to Tagging#Propose-tags for criteria for good tag proposals.

Why isn’t this in beta?

Usually it would have been, but since we rolled out the beginnings of the tag system already, we decided to launch this unfolding experiment directly to everyone.

What are the Core Tags?

We’ve decided upon six tags that cover the most important categories which LessWrong posts typically fall under. We hope to soon ensure that these tags have complete coverage of all posts on LessWrong (accurately tagged for all posts).

The core tags are:

See the Core Tags post for more detail.

The Vision behind Tagging

Members of the LessWrong have slightly different takes here, but this is it my (Ruby’s) words:

LessWrong has the goal of causing intellectual progress on important problems. That requires being more than a “news site” where people read posts when they’re published and then a week later those posts are forgotten. Rather, people need to able to find the valuable posts of yesteryear so they can learn from them and build upon them in steadily growing, “shoulders-of-giants”-style accumulation of communal knowledge.

Tagging, along with search, wiki, and pingbacks/​citations, are key tools for ensuring past content remains easily findable to those who ought to find it. Tagging enables the following:

  • People who read a post they like on a topic can easily find other posts on that topic.

  • A researcher catching up on the “conversation” in an ongoing research area can get up to date more quickly by finding the most important posts for a concept.

  • People can filter their frontpage/​All Post experiences to show them the content they want to see, increasing the individuals Signal-to-Noise ration on the site.

  • People can subscribe to tags to stay up to date on topics of their interests [coming].

It’s possible that major tags might even get something of a “subreddit treatment” and have their own discussion sections or at least Open Threads.


Yes please! Comment here or contact us via the usual channels (Intercom, email, questions, FB) if you’ve got thoughts or are willing to do a user interview via Skype/​Zoom.

What do you think of the UI so far? Which tags do you really want? Which use-cases and features matter most to you? Or tell us about the tag systems you love from elsewhere. More generally, tell us how you like to find content you value on LessWrong and elsewhere.