Open & Welcome Thread – March 2021

post by Yoav Ravid · 2021-03-03T12:27:10.378Z · LW · GW · 31 comments

If it’s worth saying, but not worth its own post, here's a place to put it.

If you are new to LessWrong, here's the place to introduce yourself. Personal stories, anecdotes, or just general comments on how you found us and what you hope to get from the site and community are invited. This is also the place to discuss feature requests and other ideas you have for the site, if you don't want to write a full top-level post.

If you want to explore the community more, I recommend reading the Library, [? · GW] checking recent Curated posts [? · GW], seeing if there are any meetups in your area [? · GW], and checking out the Getting Started [LW · GW] section of the LessWrong FAQ [LW · GW]. If you want to orient to the content on the site, you can also check out the new Concepts section [? · GW].

The Open Thread tag is here [? · GW]. The Open Thread sequence is here [? · GW].


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2021-03-08T23:16:01.069Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Job Ads Thread

I've recently had a few different people ping me about putting up job ads on LessWrong. I liked the job ads, and I think LWers will be interested in them too, so here's a thread for them. Feel free to put your job ads (or related ads) here.

Replies from: Dunja, Alexei, jungofthewon, lincolnquirk, Xodarap
comment by Dunja · 2021-03-09T00:07:58.256Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hi all (and thanks Ben for starting this thread),

Our group (Philosophy & Ethics group, TU Eindhoven, The Netherlands) has a call for three PhD positions which might be of interest to some of you (the deadline is very soon though - March 10). All three positions are fully funded and for a period of 4 years. Please feel free to get in touch or send me a PM if you'd like some additional info on them!

PhD Position A: Norms of Explainable AI
PhD Position B: Cognitive Science of AI
PhD Position C: Philosophy of Science/Social epistemology

comment by Alexei · 2021-03-10T00:30:10.077Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

About three years ago, I started a quantitative cryptocurrency hedge fund with my brother and Satvik [LW · GW]. We have been doing pretty well, and in addition to raising more $$ this year, we have decided to expand our team. We're looking for a few potential roles:

  1.  Quants: expected background in quantitative trading + some engineering skills
  2.  Developers: at least 5+ years of experience; familiarity with AWS, ETL, data quality assurance and writing fast code are plusses
  3.  Researchers: we give you the data / problem and you do your magic; this role can be part-time / consulting; expected background: PhD or similarly deep understanding of your "magic"

You can PM me on this website (or email me).

If you don't fit these buckets, but you're very interested and you think you could help us, PM me anyway.

comment by jungofthewon · 2021-03-10T02:23:42.660Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ought is building Elicit, an AI research assistant using language models to automate and scale parts of the research process. Today, researchers can brainstorm research questions, search for datasets, find relevant publications, and brainstorm scenarios.  They can create custom research tasks and search engines.  You can find demos of Elicit here and a podcast explaining our vision here.  

We're hiring for the following roles:

Each job description contains sample projects from our roadmap. 

Research is one of the primary engines by which society moves forward.  We're excited about the potential language models and ML have for making this engine orders of magnitude more effective. 

comment by lincolnquirk · 2021-03-09T01:19:28.261Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My company, Wave, is building mobile money in the developing world ( We are a for-profit company helping mostly-unbanked people get access to money and digital markets. Besides the usual software engineering jobs, I’ve had particular trouble finding great senior product managers (3+ yrs experience in entrepreneurship, Product at tech companies, or engineering leadership) and head of information security (5+ yrs, ideally with some security certification experience). Not all of these roles are posted on our website so email me privately if you are interested! My email is lincoln at our url :)

comment by Xodarap · 2021-03-10T23:12:07.993Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The Centre for Effective Altruism is hiring a full stack developer and our partner organization Giving What We Can is hiring a developer/technical product manager.

For the developer position, we are piloting a Tour of Service model: we think that a qualified candidate could transform the community’s online infrastructure in a short, focused period, and we encourage you to apply even if you might only want to stay for 1-2 years.

I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about the role.

comment by adamShimi · 2021-03-22T12:03:32.464Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is a common complaint, so maybe I shouldn't voice it again, but I would really like to be able to use footnotes in the draft js editor. I can't be bothered using the markdown editor (because now I usually share my draft before hand as a gdoc instead of just writing it for myself in markdown using Vim), but I feel regularly stifled by the impossibility to add footnotes to my post.

Replies from: steve2152, habryka4, Yoav Ravid, SaidAchmiz
comment by Steven Byrnes (steve2152) · 2021-04-06T13:56:28.714Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm thinking of experimenting with this google docs to markdown converter, next time I really want footnotes.

But there are a lot of other things I like about the WYSIWIG editor that I'd be sad to abandon.

Replies from: adamShimi
comment by adamShimi · 2021-04-06T14:06:39.037Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for the link!

But yeah, I like using the WYSIWIG, at least if I have to edit on LW directly (otherwise vim is still my favorite probably)

Replies from: habryka4
comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2021-04-06T20:47:40.432Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, I really want to get around to this. I am sorry for splitting the feature-set awkwardly across two editors!

Replies from: adamShimi
comment by adamShimi · 2021-04-06T23:29:36.251Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

To be clear, I was just answering the comment, not complaining again about the editor. I find it's great, and the footnote is basically a nitpick (but a useful nitpick). I also totally get if it takes quite some time and work to implement. ;)

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2021-03-23T04:00:22.284Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yep, agree, also want this. Just a bit complicated tech-wise and UI-wise, so it's a reasonably large investment.

comment by Yoav Ravid · 2021-03-22T12:30:54.804Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It would also be great if it showed a hover preview of the footnote like in this post [LW(p) · GW(p)] that used comment footnotes.

Replies from: adamShimi
comment by adamShimi · 2021-03-22T13:01:47.129Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I mean, what I really want is a modern footnote system where I click on the footnote and it appears where I'm at, instead of having to jump around. But I would already be quite happy with being able to have footnotes at all.

comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2021-03-22T19:34:32.439Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But it’s not an “impossibility”. It’s an “unwillingness”—on your part! You could use the Markdown editor to add footnotes, very easily.

comment by Rad Hardman · 2021-03-04T12:36:54.868Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am a high school student currently living in Singapore. I was brought here from reading Scott Alexander's blog. I am particularly interested in the practice of rationality as a "martial art", and how to apply techniques from it.

I was interested in rationality because I had a quarter life crisis as to what to do with my life. My parents and I are planning to immigrate to the US sometime this year, and I am planning to attend college there. I am interested in how learning rationalist techniques could help me navigate making complex life choices.

Replies from: Viliam
comment by Viliam · 2021-03-04T20:29:45.588Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am interested in how learning rationalist techniques could help me navigate making complex life choices.

Have you already found some useful answers?

In my opinion, the greatest value usually comes from a few rather simple techniques, assuming that you actually do them. In other words, the typical failures are "not even trying" and "thinking about what needs to be done (and reading about it), but never actually doing it".

A few simple techniques:

  • actually spend 5 minutes by clock trying to answer the question
  • ask a smart and trusted person
  • use Google (to find answers to factual questions)
  • write a letter to an imaginary smart advisor, imagine their response (e.g. asking for more details, or making an obvious conclusion "well if you say X is better, why aren't you already doing X?"), write another letter, etc.
  • imagine it is actually your friend having the problem, what would you advise them?
  • imagine you chose X and later you regretted the outcome. why? (say the most likely reason)
  • decide by flipping a coin (actually flip the coin), now contemplate how you feel about the outcome
comment by drmantistoboggan · 2021-03-13T03:45:55.039Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hello! I found my way onto here from SSC. Currently on a gap year before starting university in the fall. Interested in rationality as a method of making the most of college education. I've been reading sequences and description of certain classes (cough AP cough) as "guessing the password" really put words to frustrations I've felt in school. Any suggestions on where to go from here?

Replies from: Pattern
comment by Pattern · 2021-03-22T22:07:57.810Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Since you haven't gotten any responses, here's some stuff I remember that seems somewhat related:

*There was a post by American Breakfast that seemed good, no that's AllAmericanBreakfast [LW · GW] (and the search was awful at finding that) but I don't remember which one. This one maybe? [LW · GW] They also seem to write a bit about this topic so maybe something they've written will be useful.

comment by CraigMichael · 2021-03-11T23:14:07.990Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hey - started posting in January but haven’t introduced myself yet. I’m an old man, but trying to pretend that I’m younger.

Have read LW occasionally since the late 2000s and SSC since 2015 or so.

There are a few islands of the Internet left that feel like the Internet felt when I first experienced it in the 90s (called BBSes before that).

In some ways I feel like the Internet was mostly aspiring rationalists (and porn) until around 2007. Now we’re a minority.

Replies from: Rana Dexsin
comment by Rana Dexsin · 2021-03-15T17:15:17.903Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would guess more “Gray Tribe” ~ “increased likelihood of being technology early adopters” rather than “aspiring rationalist” specifically.

Replies from: CraigMichael
comment by CraigMichael · 2021-03-15T19:04:09.211Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not specifically by name. It was more of a world of mistake theorists rather than conflict theorists, or scribes rather than actors.

I could have conversations with just about anyone about evidence or entertaining an argument about almost anything. Most people would discuss whatever it was in good faith, and they almost certainly wouldn’t try to dox you and try to get you fired. (There were some exceptions, but they were exceptions and not the rule, they were usually scandals in communities when they happened and the predominant opinion was generally against the person doing it).

Now not only are there not many good faith discussion forums, so many topics are verboten and the consequences of discussing can be so dire.

If you post controversial things long enough in the wrong places and have a sufficiently large audience, you can expect real world consequences now. It’s not a “there’s a small chance you’ll have a minor disruption” it’s “if you haven’t bulletproofed your life, expect to lose your job—at least.”

Replies from: ChristianKl
comment by ChristianKl · 2021-03-15T21:56:18.860Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's more to being an aspiring rationalist then having discussions about evidence. It's also about actually doing things in real life because of what you believe. 

comment by Yoav Ravid · 2021-03-03T16:33:35.755Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm looking for beta readers for a post on Gossip. It explores harms and benefits from gossip for each party, as well as gossip and deception, meta-gossip and what would be a good gossip norm. Let me know if you're interested, thanks!

Current status: Published. Thanks lsusr and demp for beta reading :)

(I'll update the status as i get replies)

Replies from: lsusr
comment by lsusr · 2021-03-06T01:55:56.358Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I can proofread it. You can send the draft to me via private message.

comment by DanielFilan · 2021-04-06T21:53:37.269Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think there should be a tag along the lines of commerce/trading, but I'm not sure what exactly it should be. I was sort-of-humorously going to apply it to this post [LW · GW]. Thoughts on what tag in this realm should exist?

comment by lsusr · 2021-03-29T04:16:29.601Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is is possible to embed YouTube videos in Less Wrong posts? If so, is it possible to do so via the Markdown editor?

Replies from: Raemon
comment by Raemon · 2021-03-29T23:24:21.787Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You should be able to paste youtube links into the default editor and it'll automatically work. I'm not sure about the markdown editor.

comment by sxae · 2021-03-23T16:24:09.972Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hello all, my name is Sean. I enjoy discussing philosophy, technology, politics and all the things I see here, and it seems a lot less toxic than some other communities on the internet. So I'm hoping, at the very least, to have somewhere to vent my dumb ideas into the void. I've been a software engineer for coming up on 6 years now, currently working with compilers and developer tools, software testing, all that fun stuff. My confidence will almost definitely outstrip my intellect, so I've got that going for me!

comment by OracleMachine · 2021-03-13T13:54:38.550Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hey there. 

I am quants in crypto. I work as the director of the liquidity department in a crypto exchange (were I trading against retail investors? kinda, but the main goal is to provide liquidity, so basically still a man of integrity. It is the market-making strategy to blame if I win some money with the utmost goodwill in this zero-sum game).

I really love LW. The community ethos of sharing ideas and being constructively critical strongly resonates with me. I am putting up a group of LWer which interested in crypto, investing, and topics of decision-making with incomplete information. You are welcome to join. Wanna bring up a fight of growth vs value investing? That is good. Reignite a war of frequentist vs bayesian? Even better.

A little more about me: I do both algo trade and seasonal trading driven by on-chain data analytics. I am experimenting with an augmented intelligence trading system, aka, machine + human trading. My current researching project including applying the stock valuation method to Defi project with the duneanalytics gimmick, the crypto pricing process under the cross-influence of the spot and derivative market mechanism. Let me know if there is anything I can help. It feels good when somebody is stuck by a hard problem and I happened to have the simple answer.

Hit me up with PM and join me in the Telegram group. 1 Why hunt for random ideas? I'd like to share some words from Adam Robinson:

"My approach to markets is simply this, to wait for different groups of investors to express different views of the future and to figure out which group is right. I look for differences of opinion strongly expressed, and decide which one is right."