↑ comment by Viliam_Bur ·
2014-07-20T19:10:34.686Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I guess I agree with you on some more meta level. LessWrong as it is now, is not optimal. (Yeah, it is very cheap to say this; the problem is coming to a solution and an agreement about how specifically would the optimal version look like.) LessWrong as it is now is a result of a historical process, and technical limitations given by almost unmaintainability of Reddit code. If we tried to design it from the scratch, we would certainly invent something different, with the experience we have now.
But I guess a part of the problem is general for web discussions, and seems to me somehow analogical to Gresham's law: "lower-quality content drives out higher-quality content". Specifically, people say they prefer higher-quality content, but they also want quantity on demand. However high quality there would be on a website, if people come a week later and find no new content, they will complain. But if there is a new content every week, people will learn to visit the site more often, and then they will complain about not having new content every day. There will never be enough. And the supply of the high-quality content is limited. If the choice is given to readers, at some point they will express preference for more content, even if it means somewhat lower quality. And then again, and again, until the quality drops down dramatically, but each single step felt like a reasonable trade-off.
There is also a systematic bias, that people who spend more time procrastinating online have more voice in online debates... for the obvious reasons. So the community consensus for "how much new content per day or per week do we actually need?" will be mostly given by the greatest online procrastinators, which means the answer will pretty much always be "more!"
So it would seem the solution for keeping the quality level is to remain very selective in accepting new content, even when it is met with disapproval of majority of the community. Which will provide not just anger, but also hundreds of rationalizations. (If we don't have in average three new articles in Discussion every day, it means LessWrong is dying, and something must be done! Let's post all Open Thread comments as separate articles.) But there is another problem...
It's not just about readers, but also about writers. Writers want readers. Also, new writers are born from (a small minority of) readers. When the readers move to a different place, the old writers will start feeling lonely. And the new writers, they will publish even their high-quality content at the new place, because now this is their place. The tribe has moved elsewhere.
Something similar to what you want already exists. It's here: the MIRI blog. But there is no debate there, because the tribe is not there: it's at LessWrong. -- Okay, this is probably not exactly what you wanted. But my point is: Imagine that tomorrow, LW will split into two website: LW1 will contain exactly what you want, and LW2 will contain everything else. At the first moment, you will be satisfied. Most of readers will move to LW2, because there will be more content and more debate. They will check LW1 homepage once in a day, then once in a week, then once in a few months. And then, gradually, even the LW1 writers will slowly switch to publishing on LW2... because that's where most of the readers will be; and the authors want to have readers. And after some time, the LW1 will be practically dead, and LW2 will be exactly what Less Wrong is now, and with the same complaints.
What if we link LW1 and LW2 together, so that everyone who has a user account on LW2 will automatically have a user account on LW1, and also LW2 homepage will display new articles on LW1 and vice versa. That will keep the lower-quality debate on LW2 and yet every new content on LW1 will immediately attract all LW2 readers. Writing for LW1 will have the same audience as LW2, just higher status! Isn't that a best-of-both-worlds solution?
Unfortunately, I have just reinvented "Main" and "Discussion". Which, as we already know, is not satisfying.
At this moment, I simply don't know what to do anymore. I mean, I could try to come up with some plausible-sounding ideas, but I don't trust them anymore.
Replies from: Sarunas, NancyLebovitz, Capla
↑ comment by Sarunas ·
2014-07-25T13:30:20.970Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
It seems to me that what XiXiDu wants are not just any high quality posts and the classification of Lesswrong posts into high and low quality buckets fails to capture what he/she tried to convey.
It seems to me that XiXiDu talked about the lack of problem solving posts, the typical titles of which could be something like "Problem 123: Let's brainstorm for possible angles how to attack it" or "Problem 456: Let's try an unexpected approach 789 and see if it leads somewhere" (not unlike the aforementioned Polymath Project or maybe even Mathoverflow). Currently neither "Main" (which is mostly about presenting arguments that are already polished), nor "Discussion" (which is a mish mash of mostly links, open threads and posts, that are considered too short to be posted in Main) contains many posts of such type.
↑ comment by NancyLebovitz ·
2014-07-30T02:02:11.679Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
One solution might be a reputation net-- people who liked this also liked that. With luck, there'd be a cluster of people who want the same sort of thing you do.
↑ comment by Capla ·
2014-11-24T02:41:47.121Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
If we tried to design it from the scratch, we would certainly invent something different, with the experience we have now.
Why don't we?