comment by namespace (ingres) ·
2018-12-31T05:24:09.457Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
My Complaint: High Variance
Well, to put it delicately the questions have seemed high variance when it comes to quality.
That is the questions posed have been either quite good or stunningly mediocre with little in between.
3 examples of good questions
https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/LYQW9B2YgvegWqjXB/how-did-academia-ensure-papers-were-correct-in-the-early [LW · GW]
https://www.greaterwrong.com/posts/8EqTiMPbadFRqYHqp/how-old-is-smallpox [LW · GW]
https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/Xt22Pqut4c6SAdWo2/what-self-help-has-helped-you [LW · GW]
3 examples of not as good questions
I'd prefer to be gentle when listing examples of not-so-good questions, but a few I think are unambiguously in this category are:
https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/D62GoptY4uX9e2iwM/what-does-it-mean-to-believe-a-thing-to-be-true [LW · GW]
(No clarification given in post, whole premise is kind of odd)
https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/TKHvBXHpMakRDqqvT/in-what-ways-are-holidays-good [LW · GW]
(Bizarre, alien perspective. If I were a visitor and I saw this post I would assume the forum is an offshoot of Wrong Planet )
https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/AAamNiev4YsC4jK2n/sunscreen-when-why-why-not [LW · GW]
(I don't quite understand what the warrant is for discussing this on LW. Yes it's a decision, which involves risk, but lots of things in our lives are decisions involving risk. If those are the only criteria for discussion I don't really see any reason why we should be discussing rationality-per-se as opposed to the thousands of little things like this we face throughout our life.)
What I Would Like To See
Personally I think that it would help if you clarified the purpose and scope of the questions feature. What sort of questions should people be asking, what features make a good question, some examples of well posed questions, etc. Don't skimp on this or chicken out. Good principles should exclude things, they should even exclude some things which would be net positive value to discuss! This is in the interest of keeping net negative gray areas from dominating to preserve positive edge cases.
That is to say, I want some concrete guidelines I can point to and say "Sorry but this question doesn't seem appropriate for the site." or "Right now this question isn't the best it could be, some ways you could improve it to be more in line with our community policy is..."Replies from: habryka4, Raemon, Pattern
↑ comment by habryka (habryka4) ·
2018-12-31T18:47:35.941Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I found the "In what ways are holidays good" question actually quite useful. Not sure what you mean by the "Bizarre, alien perspective.", since I don't think I really understand what holidays do either (which doesn't mean they don't do anything, I just don't have a great model of what they do).
↑ comment by Raemon ·
2018-12-31T20:38:30.090Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I think my broader response is "rather than try to resolve this by discouraging certain questions, solve it through filtering."
Right now, we have a minimum-viable system where all questions show up on frontpage so long as they meet the frontpage criteria. This means questions appear to be weighted about as strongly as a post in terms of importance, and that there isn't much in the way of filtering of what sort of questions get displayed. I think both of these could be resolved with a more dedicated question management system.
I think it's fairly important for people to be able to post questions freely – a lot of progress depends on people being able to pursue curiosity wherever it goes.
So I think letting people do that, and then having some requirements like "frontpage questions need to be particularly well formed" and possibly some tighter requirements on topic, and/or have something like subreddits that focus on particular topics, is probably a better overall solution.
(It also so happens I think I roughly disagree with some of the "bad question" examples. The sunscreen example isn't deeply entwined with things-LW-tends-to-focus-on, but it *is* a question where the answer actually requires some rationality to think about, and I think it's in fact a good use of LW to be a place you can go to ask questions where you can expect people to have thought clearly/usefully about how to weigh evidence when answering them)Replies from: ingres
↑ comment by namespace (ingres) ·
2018-12-31T21:22:49.168Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I think my broader response to that is "Well, if I could change one thing about LW 2 it would be the moderation policy."
That seems strictly off topic though, so I'll let it be what it is.
Replies from: Raemon
↑ comment by Raemon ·
2018-12-31T21:30:41.488Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
General moderation seems off topic for this particular post. I think the guidelines for either what questions should go on the frontpage, or various ways you might want to filter questions, are fair game.
(Regardless, it will continue to be the case that you can post whatever question you want to your personal blog)