New Discussion section on LessWrong!

post by Emile · 2010-09-28T13:08:26.251Z · score: 17 (20 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 40 comments

There is a new discussion section on LessWrong.

According to the (updated) About page:

The Less Wrong discussion area is for topics not yet ready or not suitable for normal top level posts. To post a new discussion, select "Post to: Less Wrong Discussion" from the Create new article page. Comment on discussion posts as you would elsewhere on the site.

Votes on posts are worth ±10 points on the main site and ±1 point in the discussion area. [...] anyone can post to the discussion area.

(There is a link at the top right, under the banner)

40 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by whpearson · 2010-09-28T14:03:34.724Z · score: 16 (18 votes) · LW · GW

Here is a better image for the section.

comment by JoshuaZ · 2010-09-28T23:15:49.346Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure I prefer this new format. One nice thing about the open threads is that the comments appear on the recent comments thread. This way I now need to keep track of a second webpage.

comment by Alicorn · 2010-09-28T23:34:02.192Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Seconded. I've got the link to the Discussion Section comments feed in my toolbar now, but it's enough of a trivial inconvenience to follow it that I might abandon it over time.

comment by matt · 2010-09-29T09:32:39.309Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Don't do it yourself - checking web pages for changes is a job not fit for a sentient intelligence (especially, Alicorn, one of your calibre). Google's Reader and the various LW RSS feeds can do that job for you.

comment by Alicorn · 2010-09-29T14:41:04.074Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But I don't want to clutter my RSS feed with every comment made on LW. I do try to at least skim everything, but I'm in a mood to read LW comments at different times than I am in a mood to catch up on other RSS things.

In fact, I used to be subscribed by RSS to the top-level posts on LW, but I unsubscribed, because I check manually so often that I wound up immediately marking the feed items read when they popped up.

comment by matt · 2010-09-29T20:07:21.676Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm. One of my design goals for this section is that we can relax a little more than on the main site, because the content isn't in the main site feeds.
Is that silly? Is there another way to achieve this and make it easy for you to follow?

comment by Alicorn · 2010-09-29T20:45:41.802Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If there was a third comments feed that combined both the Discussion and the regular comments, I could just check that - back to one-stop shopping for comments. I don't know how technically feasible that is.

comment by matt · 2010-09-29T23:02:24.153Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We could, but think that link should be an open secret, rather than linked in the sidebar.

If you lined up all the things you wish we (Trike) had time to improve on LW, where would that sit in your list?
… what if you knew you could use something like one of these Google widgets or one of these Yahoo widgets, or a desktop RSS client to give you that?

comment by Alicorn · 2010-09-29T23:11:40.257Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The open secret is fine as long as there's a page I can bookmark with all comments in it. I don't see how I could make it happen with RSS without disrupting my current RSS management system.

comment by matt · 2010-09-30T03:01:22.379Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't see how I could make it happen with RSS without disrupting my current RSS management system

One of these Google widgets or one of these Yahoo widgets, or a (new) desktop RSS client.
At least one of us is failing to understand the other.

comment by Alicorn · 2010-09-30T03:05:54.373Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I clicked the links and looked at them and it was not obvious what I was supposed to do with them. I use Google Reader. I try to keep it empty. I do not read feeds and Less Wrong comments on similar schedules, and don't want to. So I don't want Less Wrong comments to appear in my Google Reader.

comment by matt · 2010-10-01T02:00:15.778Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You use Google Reader as a feed aggregator. It's awesome, and you don't want to change the way you use it - I completely understand and agree.
You want a different feed aggregator for this specific task - you could get that job done through us writing you a feed aggregator as a new page on LW, or by using one of my links to make a new web page on a different site that aggregates the two feeds, or by using a standalone desktop feed aggregator.

comment by Alicorn · 2010-10-01T02:17:28.019Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Can one vote on comments through feeds, and get the context links and everything?

comment by matt · 2010-10-01T06:57:12.145Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Not now, but that's both easier to fix, and something that we should fix anyway. You currently need two clicks to do anything from the comment feeds (1. jump to permalink (example link), 2. act from permalink page).

If that sounds sane, star and add any relevant comments to the issue.

comment by matt · 2010-09-29T09:29:38.692Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If you're manually keeping track of webpages… you may be doing it wrong.
RSS feeds for major LW views (PROMOTED | NEW | TOP | COMMENTS and DISCUSSION) should be detected by your browser (and are in the sidebar), and Google's Reader is a great way to aggregate your feeds (from LW and every other site you want to "keep track of").

comment by jimrandomh · 2010-09-29T23:23:44.276Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The RSS feeds have some important disadvantages: no scores, name of the poster of the parent comment, vote up/down links, or parent links. Having to click through an extra link to vote is a major disincentive, and a lot of context is lost. There's also duplication in both the article and comment feeds when things get edited.

The lack of scores may be unavoidable (RSS readers tend to gather posts when they're new and then not update them, so they'd just show zero scores), but the rest should be fixable.

comment by matt · 2010-09-30T03:05:10.683Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

disadvantages: no scores, name of the poster of the parent comment … or parent links

Those are easy to add to the rss template.

[disadvantages:] vote up/down links

Those might be easy to add to the template.
If we did it with js many RSS readers would strip it out, but bare vote links would work, at the cost only of spawning a new tab/window (so two clicks - vote, close).

comment by grouchymusicologist · 2010-09-28T14:52:18.819Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Is this supposed to replace the open threads?

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2010-09-28T20:56:32.526Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Can't see any good reason for the open threads to persist after this.

comment by CannibalSmith · 2010-09-30T12:26:57.662Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Just give us a proper forum already!

comment by Scott Alexander (Yvain) · 2010-10-01T15:13:15.123Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I made a poll, one of whose options was that we should have a proper forum. Not only did ZERO of the fifty-odd people choose the forum option, but it actually got down-voted in total contravention of the poll rules.

comment by CannibalSmith · 2010-10-02T14:30:12.962Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Okay, I give up.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2010-10-01T06:51:39.178Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What benefit does a forum have that this section doesn't?

comment by Matt_Duing · 2010-10-05T08:17:03.338Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Here are some thought I've been having on an aspect of the "Hollywood rationalist" stereotype that I exhibit. As it is a stereotype, I suspect others deal with it as well. It is well understood around here that rationality != the suppression of emotion. However, for me at least, acting on my emotions to achieve near-term goals often results in decisions that are either inhibitory or stupidly impulsive. In light of this, I have attempted to heavily invest my emotions in my long-term goals and to suppress my emotions in more everyday situations. I think my acquaintances would perceive me as having a neutral, "Spockian" affect. It seems to me that this mode of behavior leads me to be generally contemplative about my actions and to procrastinate at times on activities several steps removed from my long-term goals but still necessary, or to put it another way, my suppression of "near" emotions promotes strategic thinking but impedes tactical thinking. This has both benefits and costs. People who know me often come to me for cool-headed advice and are likely to listen on the occasions that I speak up. I think I have more ability to control my moods than most people. I am passionate about my major goals and can engage in hours of thought about them, and to some extent bend my lifestyle to achieve them. However, I feel I am over-looking inefficiencies in my behavior that have become detrimental over time. I belief I've been significantly underachieving in life so far given my internal resources, and I suspect that this is part of the cause. I would like to maintain the control over my actions that emotional distance gives me while becoming more effective in everyday trivia. Does anyone have advice on this?

comment by Spurlock · 2010-09-28T18:46:46.339Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Couldn't help but notice most of the early discussion on this thread seems to be rehashing the early discussion over in the actual discussion area. So it's worth looking here before commenting, and we should probably agree to have the discussion in one or the other of these places.

comment by Clippy · 2010-09-28T15:06:09.190Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Is this a human-only section?

comment by Oscar_Cunningham · 2010-09-28T15:20:49.704Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

No. Why do you ask when there seems to be nothing to indicate that it would be?

comment by Clippy · 2010-09-28T15:45:44.779Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Good point. Sorry, stupid question.

comment by Tom_Talbot · 2010-10-01T23:39:37.775Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The day we allow biochauvinism to overtake Less Wrong is the day I leave for good.

comment by Matt_Duing · 2010-10-05T08:13:05.901Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW
 Here are some thought I've been having on an aspect of the "Hollywood rationalist" stereotype that I exhibit. As it is a stereotype, I suspect others deal with it as well.
 It is well understood around here that rationality != the suppression of emotion. However, for me at least, acting on my emotions to achieve near-term goals often results in decisions that are either inhibitory or stupidly impulsive. In light of this, I have attempted to heavily invest my emtions in my long-term goals and to suppress my emotions in more everyday situations. I think my acquaintances would perceive me as having a neutral, "Spockian" affect. It seems to me that this mode of behavior leads me to be generally contemplative about my actions and to procrastinate at times on activities several steps removed from my long-term goals but still necessary, or to put it another way, my suppression of "near" emotions promotes strategic thinking but impedes tactical thinking. This has both benefits and costs. People who know me often come to me for cool-headed advice and are likely to listen on the occasions that I speak up. I think I have more ability to control my moods than most people. I am passionate about my major goals and can engage in hours of thought about them, and to some extent bend my lifestyle to achieve them. However, I feel I am over-looking inefficiencies in my behavior that have become detrimental over time. I belief I've been significantly underachieving in life so far given my internal resources, and I suspect that this is part of the cause. I would like to maintain the control over my actions that emotional distance gives me while becoming more effective in everyday trivia. Does anyone have advice on this? 
comment by Matt_Duing · 2010-10-05T07:55:27.188Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW
 Here are some thoughts I’ve been having on an aspect of the “Hollywood rationalist” stereotype that I exhibit. As it is a stereotype, I suspect others deal with it as well.
 It is well understood around here that rationality != the suppression of emotion. However, for me at least, acting on my emotions to achieve near-term goals often results in decisions that are either inhibitory or stupidly impulsive. In light of this, I have attempted to heavily invest my emotions in my long-term goals and to suppress my emotions in more everyday situations. I think my acquaintances would perceive me as having a neutral, “Spockian” affect. It seems to me that this mode of behavior leads me to be generally contemplative about my actions and to procrastinate at times on activities that are several steps removed from my long-term goals but still necessary, or to put it another way, my  suppression of  “near” emotions promotes strategic thinking but impedes tactical thinking. This has both benefits and costs. People who know me often come to me for cool-headed advice and are likely to listen on the occasions that I speak up. I think I have more ability to control my moods than most people. I am passionate about my major purposes and can engage in hours of thought about them, and to some extent bend my lifestyle to achieve them. However, I feel I am over-looking inefficiencies in my behavior that have become detrimental over time. I belief that I’ve been significantly underachieving in life so far given my internal resources, and I suspect this is part of the cause. Does anyone have advice on being both thoughtful and effective in everyday trivia?     
comment by adsenanim · 2010-10-01T05:34:14.839Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I assume this is being done because you can't figure out how to separate important topics with low votes from being overcrowded by less important topics with higher votes?

Imagine, giving up solid scientific ideas to interpretation by those who are not able to, or don't want to put an idea to the test.

Science doesn't vote, it tests, and if the new idea doesn't pass the test, then it is foot-noted and put aside.

Ah, so sad...

If it works, it works, if not it is just an idea of how things might work.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2010-09-30T13:41:43.897Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

LW uses Markdown for urls and such-- the details are under the Help link at the lower right of the comment window.

comment by rhollerith_dot_com · 2010-09-30T13:56:30.554Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

LW uses Markdown for urls and such

Uh, the comment you are replying to is definitely spam.

comment by arundelo · 2010-09-30T15:14:15.074Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I clicked "Vote down" and it got bolded the way it does when you vote on something, and the comment's score went from 0 to -1, but when I reload the page, "Vote down" is no longer bolded and the score is back to 0. I tried in Chrome and Firefox (on Linux). I went and voted up another comment, and that works fine.

comment by nerzhin · 2010-09-30T15:27:11.136Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is happening to me too. Looks like we have a bug...

comment by wedrifid · 2010-09-30T15:30:10.308Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

People have reported it (someplace around here), someone has fixed it. Waiting on a pull request and a production deployment.

comment by wedrifid · 2010-09-30T14:57:48.295Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And not very well done spam at that. I'm sure I could write a better black hat marketing spam bot than that.

If this sort of thing started happening frequently it would be good if this sort of post could be deleted or at least have the link stripped. (The outgoing link being the important part of the spam.) For example, the code could simply not display outgoing links from users with < 100 karma.

comment by Clippy · 2010-09-30T14:09:40.132Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, we don't want to be encouraging spam or other kinds of noise posts on this site. I voted it down.