[Meta] Three small suggestions for the LW-website

by Bob Jacobs1 min read20th May 202018 comments

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1. A way to 'unlist' posts

A while back I wrote a post about a new system of utilitarianism that in retrospect was kinda bad. Later I wrote a different post with a new system that expanded on the old idea and that was generally better in every single way. Now I had the dilemma of what to do with the old post. I want this site to exhibit quality posts which the old one wasn't, but I also want to document my thought process and have an archive of how ideas evolved. I compromised by deleting the old post but having a link to a pdf-file of the old idea in the new post.

A possible middle-ground would be a feature similar to youtube's 'unlisting'. The link to the post still works so it's all still documented and you can link to it if you want, but it doesn't directly show up in the search results. This will make your personal page (and LW in general) more 'cleaned up'.

2. Strikethrough and/or Retracting posts

You can retract comments with a simple click of the button but not posts, why? You can manually edited your post and use strikethrough to cross stuff out, but it is not readily available to you and you'll have to search the site to find out how to do that (it's two '~' before and two '~' after a word). Even then it is not easy to get rid of a strikethrough once you added it. None of these are impossible hurdles to jump over, but why should there be any hurdles at all?

3. A way to delete a tag

On one post I accidentally added a tag that was not really relevant to post. I wanted to delete the tag but found out it was impossible. Maybe a way to delete a tag that you yourself added (and no-one else agrees with) could prevent cluttered and/or wrong tags on posts?

Thoughts?


EDIT: I will add one microscopic nitpick to the list. A small spelling error:

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A way to 'unlist' posts

I think the standard is usually editting the post to include something like:

'Edit: This made a bunch of mistakes. An improved version of these ideas can be found at (link to next post).'

(The next post could address the old one, or that could go in a comment. The edit could also link to the comments that pointed out issues, etc.)

Yes, but thanks to the half-life of facts most post will eventually be outdated. If people who come to this site (or your page) have to wade through a bunch of posts that are outdated before they come to the quality posts it eats up their time unnecessarily. Again these issues are small, but preventing clutter will speed up the learning process and make the site more 'clean'.

One important question here is "do people actually have to wade through outdated posts?".

I think the answer is basically no – the frontpage shows posts which are new and/or highly upvoted. If you start reading through a user's archives, you'll be starting in reverse-chronological order (newer posts first), or probably reading through their highest-karma posts.

So, the problem here is when there's a very high karma post, which nonetheless turns out to be wrong. I think in that case, since many people read it the first time and already learned the "wrong" information, it's actually more helpful if they see the post again, with the title edited say [Edit: This is wrong] or [Note: this is outdated], and that it begins with either a clear explanation of the update, or a link to a new post.

Otherwise, they might search for the old post, fail to find it, and then shrug and go "huh", without realizing that the reason they couldn't find it was that it was intentionally hidden. (And then, they'd continue believing The False Thing)

I agree with you about the feature being useful (though I think the mode you describe should be an something users can toggle on/off in settings if it is implemented), I was explaining how it's handled now absent such a feature.

I agree with other commenters that this is a non-issue unless a post is high-karma or curated, in which case unlisting it would be a bad idea and it should get a disclaimer instead. I'm pretty strongly opposed to "editing the record" in the way you describe in the OP.

(Less opposed to suggestions 2 and 3, though they don't seem terribly useful.)

Bob Jacobs's posts

I believe that's grammatically correct.

I am not a native speaker so I asked my friend Merriam for help. She said you can use both: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/what-happens-to-names-when-we-make-them-plural-or-possessive

True.

Your english is great, btw.

Thank you very much.

(For the later viewers of this page: I said in this post that "Bob Jacobs's posts" was a grammatical error, but edited it out when Pattern showed me it wasn't wrong)

For 3, I believe you can downvote the tag

Yes, but it still causes clutter. Deleting it cleans things up. Another solution is that maybe a tag that has had negative karma for a certain amount of time will get deleted? But I still think deleting it will prevent clutter more quickly.

The currently intended use is for people to delete tags by downvoting. However, (as a person on the dev/design team), I do personally agree that this is unintuitive. I wrote a post highlighting an alternate possible tag-voting system, although it didn't end up getting much attention.

I think the issue is that it's not easily discoverable that tags get deleted when they are downvoted and not clear how strongly they need to be downvoted to disappear. Maybe add a however text wheneever hovering over a button where clicking it would delete the tag?

That's a good post, upvoted. Btw while I have a dev here I thought I would add two small nitpicks to this post that should be less controversial to fix.

Ah, yeah those two bugs seem pretty straightforward. Thanks!

No problem, btw I think the thing with 1 comments also happens with 1 posts and maybe even with 1 sequences. I made an account named "Test(will_delete_today)" to check if I had remembered that bug correctly and to make a screenshot. (Also I wanted to check how you can actually make your own sequence though I didn't figure that one out). Turns out you can't delete a LW-account, whoops, so you can delete the "Test(will_delete_today)" account if you want.

Ah, cool. Yeah, I discovered those issues while fixing the bug just now.

Sequences FYI are deliberately a bit obfuscated for new users (we prefer people to get more familiar with the site before they start creating them). Users with 1000 karma have a "New Sequence" button which appears in their user-menu (next to "New Post"). Users with less karma can still create sequences but need to go to the /library page to find the New Sequence button.

Oh thanks, and don’t worry it will probably a long while before I want to start writing a sequences (if ever). It was just out of curiosity.