Mod Note: Tagging Activity is Not Private

by Ruby1 min read11th Jul 20205 comments

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We don’t yet have UI for it, so this isn’t obvious (hence the announcement), but it seemed good to clearly communicate that if you tag a post or vote on the tag relevance of a tag-post combination, this information may be viewed by other users and/or the mod team (after we built the relevant UI).

Tagging activity is unlike normal (karma-related) voting, for which the LessWrong team is fully committed to maintaining privacy for. 

Karma voting expresses a judgment of quality and/or approval, and it makes sense that for users to vote honestly, they need to feel that their votes will not be scrutinized or judged by others. In contrast, tagging activity – both tagging and tag voting – is an act of content creation for the community. In the same way we want to know the authors of posts and comments, we want to know the “authors” of the tags and tag pages that arise from tagging activity.

Knowledge of the content creators for tagging helps us both in positive ways, i.e. giving credit to those who make valuable contributions, and also in “negative” ways by making it easy to catch abuse/vandalism of the system. And by making it clear who is tagging in what way, it also becomes easier to have discussions about which tags apply where, which are good tags, etc.

A step beyond all this is that possibly the tagging feature will be extended into a full-fledged wiki feature. Obviously, wiki activity (creating and modifying wiki pages) needs to be linked to whoever is making changes. That makes it naturally the case that the tagging system (almost a proto-wiki) needs to link activity to user accounts.

All of the above makes it seem correct for tagging activity to not be private, unlike regular karma-related voting. We will soon launch the expanded UI for tagging that contains a history for each tag which will more clearly display what information is getting shared and how.

Sorry for not having been clearer about this earlier. If you have any concerns about this, don’t hesitate to reach out. Also if you made any activity in the last few weeks that you really don't want to be public, feel free to ping us and we can make sure that those stay private (DM, Intercom, or team@lesswrong.com are all good for reaching out about this.)

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The 'any one can edit' feature/aspect seems like it might be useful for sequences.

Yeah. I think for that we'd need to make a distinction for privately-owned vs collectively-owned sequences. I do think we want to give authors a way to collect and group their own posts how they want without inteference. However, making sequences optionally editable by anyone is conceivable. (As is making certain kinds of "posts", which we've thought a bunch about.)

Both tags and sequences are just collections of posts. The bid advantage sequences have over tags is order, i.e. "sequencing" :P

Unfortunately, the current UI for editing sequences is not very good at all.

In the short term, I'd be interested to see people use tags in place of sequences for some use-cases, and publicly maintain. E.g. I might create a tag for the Alignment Newsletter and all the historical posts for it.

Yes.

Both tags and sequences are just collections of posts. The bi[g] advantage sequences have over tags is order, i.e. "sequencing" :P

Some of the discussion around the way voting could work for tags suggested something like "sequencing" could be good for tags. (For cluster similarity or value to cluster, I think.)

 

Unfortunately, the current UI for editing sequences is not very good at all.

Maybe something like this stuff could be done on the wiki, although I'm not sure if that fits with the point of the wiki.

(Which isn't read/used as much, and having (public) pages with things called 'sequences' over there that aren't over here could be small source of confusion.)

making it easy to catch abuse/vandalism of the system

This suggests that even the admins don't know who upvoted which post. Do they?

We have the ability to look, but we only do so when something about voting patterns seems actively suspicious, and in those cases usually we have only a single dev look at the votes, and report back the minimal set of information that lets the team make a decision. (For example, they might report ‘all these votes were made by the same person’ without saying who the person was)