Notes and essays should clearly indicate their epistemic certainty

Originally drafted August 18, 2022 and last tended May 16, 2023 by Matt McElwee.
(See Revision History).

In Gwern Branwen’s website they use an element of metadata called “certainty tags” to indicate how well-supported an idea is. This allows them to externalize a concept and learn in public. This futher operates as a way of disclosing how deeply you care about a topic, and how much you’ve thought about it.

We want to adopt this same concept, along with their available tags. This should allow us to indicate a growing certainty as a piece of documentation is tended, but also allows us to get new, uncertain ideas out into the world so we can start to explore and tend them.

Certainty Tags

  1. “certain”
  2. “highly likely”
  3. “likely”
  4. “possible”
  5. “unlikely”
  6. “highly unlikely”
  7. “remote”
  8. “impossible”