LW Team Updates—November 2019 (Subscriptions & More)

This is the once-monthly up­dates post for LessWrong team ac­tivi­ties and an­nounce­ments.


This month we launched 1) a com­plete sub­scrip­tions over­haul, 2) book­marks, 3) ping­backs (ex­per­i­men­tal opt-in only) [full an­nounce­ment of those fea­tures here]. Soon we’ll re­lease our new ed­i­tor, LessWrong Docs into beta. Lastly, we made a post ex­plain­ing why we spent Q3 op­ti­miz­ing for karma and how that went.

Re­cent Features

Sub­scrip­tions Overhaul

At long last we have re­leased our sub­scrip­tions over­haul. You can now sub­scribe to pre­cisely what you want to see (users, posts, com­ments, events) and get no­tifi­ca­tions on-site and/​or by email batched at a fre­quency of your choos­ing.

Sub­scrip­tion op­tions for a post

See the an­nounce­ment post for com­plete doc­u­men­ta­tion.


It is now pos­si­ble to book­mark posts and ac­cess these on their own page and/​or as a list at the top of your home­page. Use the triple-dot drop down menu to book­mark any post.

Ap­pear­ance of the Book­marks page

Use the gear icon in the Recom­men­da­tions sec­tion of the home­page to con­figure. Full doc­u­men­ta­tion here.

Ping­backs [Ex­per­i­men­tal Opt-In]

When a post has been linked to by an­other post on LessWrong, the ping­back fea­ture will list any refer­enc­ing posts at the bot­tom of the post page. “Ping­back” is equiv­a­lent to “cited by”.

When ping­backs are en­abled, they are dis­played at the bot­tom of post pages. Cur­rently not all his­tor­i­cal URL for­mats are sup­ported and so many ping­back lists are in­com­plete. This will be fixed be­fore full-re­lease.

Ping­backs dis­played at the bot­tom of a post

To view ping­backs, you must be opted into ex­per­i­men­tal fea­tures. This can be done in your ac­count set­tings.

Up­com­ing Features

LessWrong Docs

We’ve been promis­ing the new ed­i­tor for a few months now and it’s get­ting closer and closer to beta re­lease. This very an­nounce­ment was writ­ten in it.

Look of the new ed­i­tor, LessWrong Doc­s

We hope the new ed­i­tor will provide an over­all im­proved ex­pe­rience from Draft-JS, but more im­por­tantly, it in­tro­duces many of the fea­tures peo­ple are used to from Google Docs such as col­lab­o­ra­tive edit­ing and in­line com­ment­ing.

Ex­pect to hear about this once we’ve ironed out a few more bugs.


We’re work­ing on a new tag­ging sys­tem for posts. The idea is sim­ple yet re­quires care­ful de­sign to en­sure the rele­vance of tags and dis­play them in use­ful ways.

I’m hop­ing the tag­ging sys­tem will provide a new way to ac­cess LessWrong’s large cor­pus of his­tor­i­cal posts and help peo­ple find posts of in­ter­est and rele­vance. We are over­all work­ing to make LessWrong to be more than just “news site” where peo­ple read the lat­est posts and last month’s con­tent gets for­got­ten. Our Recom­men­da­tions fea­tures were a step in this di­rec­tion too, as is the library page.

The tag­ging sys­tem will likely be un­der de­vel­op­ment for a while and might be re­leased early in 2020.

Gen­eral Updates

Q3 was met­ric quar­ter: we op­ti­mized for karma

As men­tioned last month, we spent Q3 op­ti­miz­ing for a sin­gle met­ric based on karma given out. I’ve writ­ten a post de­scribing this ex­per­i­ment, why we did it and how it went. Read the post here.

Weekly Karma Met­ric Values + Tar­get Growth Lines

Cu­rated Emails are work­ing again!

Last month we noted that we were hav­ing some trou­ble with Cu­rated emails. Those are now work­ing again.

Ways to Fol­low LessWrong

We’ve been ex­pand­ing the num­ber of ways peo­ple can con­sume LessWrong con­tent be­yond the site. Th­ese now in­clude:

The Face­book, Twit­ter, and LinkedIn ac­counts re­ceive reg­u­lar up­dates M/​W/​F of a mix of cu­rated posts, top all-time con­tent, and out­stand­ing new con­tent.

Feed­back & Support

The team can be reached for feed­back and sup­port via: