Status

This page is about the status notices (or tags) that are displayed at the top of pages of this site. The status efficiently communicates to the reader at what stage of development a particular page is. In practice, it’s mostly useful as a shorthand for something to the effect of “This page is a draft, so the content on here might be incomplete, unpolished, incorrect, or otherwise not up to the same level of quality as finished pages.”

History

I took the idea of status tags from gwern. Here is his original explanation, though my use (explained below) differs slightly.

The “status” tag describes the state of completion: whether it’s a pile of links & snippets & “notes”, or whether it is a “draft” which at least has some structure and conveys a coherent thesis, or it’s a well-developed draft which could be described as “in progress”, and finally when a page is done - in lieu of additional material turning up - it is simply “finished”.

Tag definitions

Below is how I use status tags:

Notes
Same as gwern, i.e. for pages that are just collections of links and quotes. I also use this for brief posts in general; one can treat them like Facebook status updates, except that they might eventually build up to something more.
Draft
Same as gwern, i.e. for pages that have a rough direction but aren’t solid.
In progress
Same as gwern, i.e. for pages that are fairly solid but aren’t very polished or meticulous.
Mostly finished
For pages that I consider mostly done, needing only minor corrections.

Commentary

I compose several different kinds of documents:

Some tricky things with categorizing pieces of writing with the above:

Some related ideas that try to communicate the “where I’m coming from” idea:

I prefer to think of my writings as continuously improving drafts, partly because I might obtain better feedback. For instance Anne Ruggles Gere writes (quoted in “Shutting Down Tolkien” by Brandon Rhodes):

[W]hen participants in writing groups read “finished” writing, the language of the group often became acerbic or vacuous because members felt (perhaps unconsciously) that they had no purpose.

See also Brian Tomasik’s advice on agile projects, which encourages early feedback:

When it comes to writing a paper or planning a campaign or picking a cause to focus on, a little bit of feedback at the beginning is worth hundreds of micro-edits or small optimizations later on. The topic that you write about can matter more than everything else in your whole article. If you complete a research paper about something unimportant, it doesn’t much matter how well written and well researched the piece is (unless your goal is to establish prestige as a writer or build an audience that you can then direct toward your more important essays).

This is why I like to leave even completely empty pages on this site, so people can give me feedback on which pages I should work on more.

See also