How to handle large numbers of questions?

post by Raemon · 2019-07-04T18:22:18.936Z · score: 13 (3 votes) · LW · GW · 6 comments

Within a few weeks, I expect to have gotten the Related Questions feature up to a standard where it makes sense to start using it a lot.

Even if I were the *only* one using it extensively, I'd expect to generate very large numbers of questions. (For two frames of reference, imagine if every answer to the Open Problems in Human Rationality [LW · GW] had been a related question. For another, see Ruby's Space Colonization: What can we do and how do we know? [LW · GW] post (which has 8 related questions)

The currently planned tools will let people set whether each related question appears on the home page or not (but, to have all related questions appear in recent discussion).

I feel sorta differently-worried about each way to turn this knob. Either related questions won't get enough visibility for people to actually see the ones that are interesting to them, or it'll get so much visibility that it'll drown out the site. The "optionally make related questions on home page" helps somewhat, but still leaves me with a sense that a lot of related questions will end up not getting seen by people most inclined to answer them.

6 comments

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comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2019-07-04T20:42:52.922Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Was this supposed to be a question?

comment by Raemon · 2019-07-04T21:14:10.091Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Nah

comment by johnswentworth · 2019-07-04T18:36:40.492Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Feels like the right answer looks less like a newsfeed as the main visibility mechanism, and more like tvtropes. I don't know how to translate that into actual design, but I guess think about ways to encourage moving around a graph locally rather than accessing everything from the home page?

That would probably be a good thing to think about in general, too, since a more graphical model would better leverage LW's massive pool of evergreen content - newsfeeds aren't so good for that.

comment by Raemon · 2019-07-04T18:43:04.358Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah. One of my worries is the interim period where people haven't gotten used to navigating around tvtropes style. How do you bootstrap that?

A possible eventual goals for for the /questions page is to design it as a very different landing page that's optimized quite differently. But my guess is people still wouldn't use it, by default.

comment by johnswentworth · 2019-07-04T19:17:40.824Z · score: 9 (4 votes) · LW · GW

As a concrete example to think about: suppose there were a highly visible "related" sidebar on every content page. Related questions, related posts, what have you. (Not necessarily advocating this, it's just something concrete to think around.)

This wouldn't be mutually exclusive with the main home page, or any other centralized discovery page. It could become more important over time, as people click on things out of curiosity. People wouldn't need to learn a new navigation habit all at once; it could just happen organically. Indeed, it would probably be pretty minor at first, until the recommendation algorithm got sorted out.

Any method of making links in posts/questions more actionable would serve a similar role - e.g. that preview thing wikipedia has when you hover over a link.

comment by Raemon · 2019-07-04T19:48:22.071Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, each of those are things that are in the pipeline, and maybe they'll just be sufficient. I guess I'm just worried they won't be enough, but maybe they'll incrementally improve this sort of thing at roughly the same rate that question volume goes up.