[Site Meta] Quick Guide to Tagging

by Ruby2 min read22nd Apr 20203 comments


Site Meta

So you want to be a tagger, eh?

There are three main ways to contribute to LessWrong’s new experimental tagging system: 1) tagging posts, 2) voting on tag relevance, and 3) proposing new tags.

1. Tagging Posts

At the bottom of the text of a post, just above the comments section, there is an +Add Tag button. Click it and you can search for existing tags which you can apply to the post.

  • Before you apply a tag to a post, it is best if you a) read the tag description for the tag, b) look at examples of other posts which have been tagged. Ideally the tag titles are sufficiently descriptive, but sometimes they’re not. Careful tagging will maintain a high quality and useful tag system.
  • You can use the Tag Index page to explore the existing tags you might apply to posts.
  • If you are an author, it would be great if you went and tagged your posts with appropriate tags. This will help your posts have increased ongoing visibility. If a tag you want doesn’t exist, see 3. Proposing tags, below.
  • If you’re an expert (or have major interest) in a topic, consider tagging all the best posts you know with that topic.

2. Voting on Tag Relevance

Tags have their own voting system which is distinct from ordinary karma. The tag relevance score between a tag and post measures their strength of the relationship. It captures how much the tag applies to the post, and also how much the post is a good and important representative of the tag.

For any tag that has been applied to a post, you can vote on the tag relevance. Upvotes mean “this tag really applies to this post / this post is a top post for the tag”. Downvotes mean the opposite. Users get vote strength in proportion to their karma, like with ordinary voting.

If a post is the very best explanation of a topic, e.g. Bucket Errors, it should have a high tag relevance for the Bucket Error tag. If a post makes use of a concept alongside many other concepts and isn’t really about it, then it ought to have a lower tag relevance score for that concept.

The hope is that the best posts for a given tag will rise to the top of the tag relevance scores, keeping the tags themselves high quality.

3. Propose new tags

Update: We're thinking about how to add a submission form for proposed tags which we'll then review. In the meantime, contact us via the usual channels.

While the LW admins are still figuring out what makes for good ontology and good tags, only admins can create new tags on the site. However, we are excited to receive proposals for new tags from users.

We’re still figuring this out, but a good tag has at least some of the following properties:

  • Captures a natural grouping of content that users might either to explicitly filter for or filter out, e.g. economics is a good tag. Posts starting with the letter D is not.
  • The tag links together related material. It might create a link between Post A and Post B where readers of A would be pleased to also find B. Or it links together post which were part of a “single conversation” on a topic.
  • There are several good quality posts that the tag would apply to.
  • The tag is for a concept that is either repeatedly used on LessWrong or a distinct concept to LessWrong/rationalist community, e.g. Meta-Honesty or Moloch
  • There’s a clear 1-2 paragraph introduction which defines the bounders of the tag clearly. This paragraph would be the opening of a wiki entry for the concept.

To suggest new tags to the LessWrong team, comment on this post or use the usual channels (Intercom, email, questions, FB). 

If you were up for a Skype/Zoom with thoughts on the tagging system, that’d be great. Drop us a line.


3 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 10:59 AM
New Comment

so.. uh... how do i remove a tag if i accidentally applied it? don't know if I'm the first one it happens to, but surely not the last :)

Awesome feature btw, a few tag suggestions:


Projects (To see either project ideas, personal projects people work on / shared, and projects looking for collaborators)


group rationality

communication / Interpersonal communication

Soft skills


To remove a tag, just downvote (it might look like it's gone to -2, which is fine, upon refresh it will be gone).

Yeah, some of those definitely seem like good tag. I've had the idea for Coordination/Cooperation, Group Rationality, and Communication.

The others I think we'd want to ensure there isn't too much overlap with existing things. There's a programming tag, does that do the thing for Software? And then curious about what you seeing going in tools vs the existing techniques (which might also cover "soft skills")

It's good to see all these suggestions though. Even if we don't make a tag because of an existing one, soon we might send up "redirects" for terms towards things that are almost the same, or at least the closest match.

Oh so that's why it vanished so fast! i downvoted it after applying it to make sure it doesn't go above anything else.

My tools suggestion was about actual tools, not techniques, could be online tools software, physical tools. anything that's both a tool and relevant to lesswrong