[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.