Tag Grading Scheme

See also: Tagging FAQ

To encourage the creation of the best tags possible, and generally help people find either the best tags or tags in need of work, we're introducing a Tag Grading Scheme. Most tags are valuable but some can be truly outstanding resources. 

A good tag covers a valuable topic, has a clear name, and includes some decent posts. A truly great tag has the following properties, listed in decreasing order of importance:

  • It captures a valuable topic/concept on which LessWrong does or should have a lot of content. It is not a duplicate (or approximate duplicate) of an existing tag. It fits well within the overall tag ontology and appropriately complements neighboring tags.
  • It has a clear name that, to the greatest extent possible, accurately communicates what the topic is about in a few words.
  • It has a posts list that includes a) high-quality posts, and b) almost all relevant existing posts on LessWrong. The posts have been tag-relevance voted on to display that most relevant and best posts first.
  • Its description provides a clear explanation of the topic being covered that is well-written and engaging. The highest quality tags become wiki-like in giving breakdowns of their subject with major subtopics, theories, and models described.
  • The tag description contextualizes the concept relative to neighboring concepts/tags. For example, by having a See Also section that links to related tags and the description explaining what goes in this tag vs others.
  • The description provides guidance on material relevant to the tag, e.g., it lists the best introductory content, landmark contributions, relevant sequences, and notable external/offsite resources.

As a tag possesses more of these properties, it will ascend the tag grade hierarchy. All tags start out with a default grade of Stub. At this time, only moderators can change the grade of a tag. If you believe a tag should have a different grade, please say on the tag’s Talk Page [coming soon] or the Tags Discussion/Talk Thread. We may change this once the system is more established. 

See the Making Awesome Tags section of the Tagging FAQ for guidance on tag names and descriptions.

Where can I find the tag grade? How can I use it?

The tag grade is displayed in the row of icons beneath the tag title.

The tag grade can also be used to filter the displayed tags of the Tag Details section of the Concepts page.

Lastly, all tags and their grades are viewable in the Posts + Tags Spreadsheet (updates every 5 minutes).

Note: since we just introduced the system, we have not yet caught up on grading all existing tags. Most still have the default grade of Stub.

The tag grade is displayed in the tag buttons row beneath the title.

A really helpful thing to do on LessWrong is to look for tags that you can improve. A good strategy is to use Tag Details or the Tag Spreadsheet to find Stubs, C-Class, and B-Class tags.


The Scheme



This tag possesses all of the properties of a great tag and is a terrific resource. It covers a valuable topic, has a clear name and a great, lively explanation of its topic (perhaps with some quotes or humor), it lists many top-tier posts, any subject ambiguity is addressed, posts have been relevance-voted upon to create a good ordering, there are links to neighboring tags, guidance is provided on what to read, and external resources are linked to.

A user unfamiliar with the concept can use the tag to quickly understand the concept and find the most important content. A user already familiar will find their knowledge enriched as content they weren't aware of brought to their attention. Any writer would want to direct a reader to the tag as the best place to start learning what this concept is.

Example: Impact Measures


This tag is a solid resource. It has a clear name, great explanation, and great posts. Someone looking for the latest or best content on the topic, or just a clear explanation, is well-served by this tag. However, the tags lack the contextualization, extra content guidance, top-notch writing quality, or top-tier posts needed to be A-Class.

Example: Postmortems & Retrospectives (as of 2020/7/22)

Actions: Improve the explanation (length, depth, engagingness), explain how this tag relates to neighboring tags, expand the tag description to identify key posts related to the tag (introductory and/or landmark), and point to good external resources if relevant.


The tag has a basic adequate description for defining/explaining the concept and 5-10 posts of decent quality have been tagged. [Tags on definitely important concepts for which there simply aren't many posts might be given C-, or even B-Class status, despite not having many posts tagged.]

A user can get a basic idea of a concept from this tag and find some related resources; however, the explanation is only basic and key material is not necessarily identified, tagged posts may not be especially good. The description may be a little flat.

Example: Conservation of Expected Evidence (as of 2020/7/22)

Actions: tag more high-quality posts relevant to the concept, write a more engaging or helpful description, provide a See Also section that references related tags. Identify key posts and introductory material


 This is the default grade of a tag. To move up, it will need to have a decently good description and have at least a handful of good posts.

A tag may also be designated a stub if has grown to contain too many posts without an adequately clear connection to a coherent concept. This is a way in which higher grade tags may revert to stubs. Conversely, a tag with a very strong posts list might be designated C-Class even before it has a good description, if the topic is fairly clear.

Although limited, a Stub is still a useful resource. A stub with a clear name and a few of the right posts can 1)  help someone interested in a specific topic find related material, 2) be a clear signal that there's interest a topic.

Example: Alief (as of 2020/7/22)

Actions: write better description, rename for more clarity, merge with existing/split, add more posts.


This classification is to identify tags that have a serious issue such as being a duplicate or covering a possibly unsuitable topic, e.g., the 2020 Election.
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