Tagging Open Call / Discussion

There will be an online Tagging Progress Bar Completion Talk  + Party on Sunday, August 30th at 12:00PM PDT. We'll start with a public conversation between Oliver Habryka (LW team lead) and Jason Crawford (author of Roots of Progress) on the topic of intellectual progress, followed by a freeform party in Gather.town or Topia.


Probabilities can't be 100%, but progress bars can be. 

I am delighted to announce the Tagging Progress Bar which has graced the LessWrong front page for three weeks is now gloriously full. Every post with over 25 karma now has at least one tag applied to it, most having several. 

Top among of the goals of tagging was to explicitly shape LessWrong more towards long-term intellectual progress: with a major pass at tagging the archives completed, it is now vastly easier to see what LessWrong has discussed over the years, find things you didn't know to search for, locate posts based on interest rather than recency or karma, catch-up on everything said on a topic to date, and generally continue the conversation on topics not currently on the frontpage.

Authors and commenters will hopefully now post to LessWrong secure in the knowledge that their posts and comments will not be forgotten after a week or two. Instead, the best content on each topic will be discoverable for years to come.

Thank you, taggers!!

An enormous shout-out goes out the tagging contributors. Everyone who tagged posts, created tags, wrote tag descriptions, voted tags, or just offered feedback. Tagging is not something the LessWrong team could have rolled out on our own, we needed your help and all users of the tagging system are indebted to you.

The Tag Numbers

To give you a sense of what was accomplished, here are some basic numbers (as of publishing):

  • 14,028 tags applied
  • 7,427 posts have been tagged
  • 419 active tags created

Top Taggers

The tagging system doesn't yet have good recognition and reward systems in place, so unfortunately these taggers haven't gotten the karma they deserve. Still, everyone should know these are the folks whose efforts brought us success.

Top Tag Appliers

Top Tag Creators & Description Writers

As thanks, these top taggers will each receive the professionally-edited, physical five-book set of posts from the 2018 Review. A fitting prize, since that project was also about long-term intellectual progress.

Party time!

We're overdue for a party regardless, this occasion definitely deserves an event.

Please join us Sunday 30th Augusts at 12:00 PM PDT. We're planning a two part event:

1) A public conversation on Intellectual Progress between Oliver Habryka (LW team lead) and Jason Crawford (author of Roots of Progress) on the topic of intellectual progress. This stage of the event should run approximate for any hour.

2) Following the talk, we will have a freeform in Gather.town or Topia.

Stay tuned for event post / links.

This isn't even my final forum

Giving all historical posts above 25 at least one tag is a huge milestone but, like a credence, Tagging isn't something that reaches 100%. There's more to be done.

  • Each day, users are finding new concepts or clusters of posts worthy of having their own tags. There are 400 tags right now, and my personal guess there are many, many more to still be created.
  • Some tags should be merged, others split into two or more. Especially some of the large tags harbor several sub-clusters within them that could be identified and separated.
  • Many tagged post don't have every appropriate tag. The most appropriate tag might not have been created.
  • Most tags haven't had their posts list carefully sorted to the best and most relevant posts at the top.
  • Most tags do not have even good basic descriptions. Either there is no description, the description is a poor explanation, or the description fails to link to other relevant tags.
  • Keeping the tagging system high quality means doing "maintenance" by removing bad tags and tags that don't really apply to posts.

If tagging is to succeed long-term, it'll depend on the ongoing effort of those generous enough to make it good even when it's no longer in the spotlight.

I think we'll have to give trusted users Tagging Moderator privileges that lets them merge/split/delete tags as part of doing the needed work.

Tag Discussion/Talk Pages

I've promised them in several places, and they're nearly here. Soon, tags will have discussion pages on which users can discuss that tag: What should it be called? what's the actual definition? Should this post be included? Those kinds of questions.

I hope this will make it much easier for taggers to coordinate with each other, and for others to see the tagging efforts and offer feedback on them.

Tagging Activity in Recent Discussion Feed

We've also done some work to have tagging activity such as major edits to tag descriptions appear in Recent discussion as something that commented and voted upon. Hopefully, that works out, giving more ongoing visibility into tagging work.

Final thanks

Hard to say it too many times, so thanks yet again to everyone who's made tagging awesome. You're awesome.

New Comment
2 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

Tagging is indeed awesome! That was a big milestone. Thanks, everyone.

I'd be interested in another Progress Bar for all posts with 30 (50?) or more comments. In the old days they may not have reached 25 karma but were very active.

Lots of things to do.


Oh, that's an interesting idea! I have thought several posts were worth tagging for the comments more than the post body.

Yesterday, the team debated whether we could successfully pull of a progress indicator for getting every tag to have a quality basic description.

Though probably we should take a break to enjoy our success so far before asking everyone to do yet more work!