A Section for Innovation?

post by Mindey · 2018-12-26T12:37:36.048Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW · 2 comments

Rationality is about a type of optimality, and optimal states are often found only after multiple steps within a domain of a function explored. There are communities running these processes (e.g., halfbakery.com), and encouraging them through things like humor, that leads to exploration of new extremes, eventually arriving at something more optimal than what was originally posted.

I wonder, if we could support something like that on LessWrong, where, say, someone comes up with a new mechanism or invention to do something (e.g., an invention of a new kind of immutable database using a pseudo-random number generator, initial seed, salting data, or some other sort of theoretical invention), that one believes that the invention should help us become more rational, yet the poster doesn't have much time to elaborate very deeply, has not had time to complete the invention, and is not entirely sure of the viability of the invention, and whether it makes sense with respect to all possible aspects which community cares about.

Currently, in such a situation, the most sensible thing on LessWrong is probably writing a draft, and leaving it there until the time when one has more time to finish the writing.

However, in this fast-pacing world, it may well be that sharing early or sharing something is way better than sharing nothing. So, just like we have a section for "meta", maybe we could have a section for sharing ideas, and encouraging more relaxed discussion, that is focused on humor and pragmatic correctness (exploration of possibilities), more than technical correctness (hygiene of reasoning)?

2 comments

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comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2018-12-26T15:49:48.744Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I agree with this. This is something we've talked about in the form of a "short-form feed" for a while. Let me see whether I can find what we publicly wrote about it in the past:

  • Ray's shortform feed [LW · GW] (as an experiment to test how this feels and works)
  • Some discussion here by lahwran's [LW · GW] and responses by the team
  • A short section in the Frontpage Commenting Guidelines:
We may build features in the future that are for more short-form and clearly ephemeral content on LessWrong. If so, this will be in a new section of the site built to be less like a repository of timeless information and discussion, and more like (e.g.) a Facebook feed.

I am still not sure about what the exact best implementation of this is, and would be interested in thoughts and feedback. We are right now working on some larger reworks of the frontpage, so now might be a good time to discuss this again.

comment by Mindey · 2018-12-27T12:54:27.994Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's great that we already had these ideas before. The "short-form" would definitely be of interest to some. In addition, it doesn't have to necessarily be ephemeral. For example, on the Halfbakery mentioned above, posts (even if short) continue to function (e.g., I can comment on something from the last century), even if it was just a short post.