Announcement: Writing Day Today (Thursday)

post by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2019-08-22T04:48:38.086Z · score: 31 (11 votes) · LW · GW · 5 comments

The MIRI Summer Fellows Program is having a writing day, where the participants are given a whole day to write whatever LessWrong / AI Alignment Forum posts that they like. This is to practice the skills needed for forum participation as a research strategy [LW · GW].

On an average day LessWrong gets about 5-6 posts, but last year this generated 28 posts [LW · GW]. It's likely this will happen again, starting mid-to-late afternoon PDT.

It's pretty overwhelming to try to read-and-comment on 28 posts in a day, so we're gonna make sure this isn't the only chance you'll have to interact with these posts. In the coming weeks I'll post roundups, highlighting 3-5 of the posts, giving them a second airing for comments and discussion.

5 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Zachary Robertson (zachary-robertson) · 2019-08-22T23:26:17.456Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It seems as though the posts could’ve been released on a schedule instead of all at once.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2019-08-22T23:46:38.472Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · LW · GW

This is true in most cases, like when we did the Alignment Forum sequences we released them over a longer schedule.

The goal of the day at the event I'm at is for the participants (who mostly are not used to writing blogposts on the internet) to get comfortable with / practise the whole experience of writing, publishing, and getting feedback (in person too!). There isn't enough time left in MSFP to have them write on multiple days. And more importantly, I think for practising getting comfortable publishing (for which many folks aren't) inserting a delay until after the event for it to be published can make it much less good, like delaying for a week on sending an email you're worried about sending.

I think the roundups will mostly mitigate the costs of having lots of posts on one day, but agree it would be better if somehow they were distributed on multiple days.

comment by Wei_Dai · 2019-08-23T16:42:22.385Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe it would also be a good idea to let the participants know that the level of online engagement on their posts is probably greatly lowered compared to if they did a post normally (without so many other posts competing for attention), so that they don't get too discouraged from making future posts.

Also the quality of the comments may be reduced because the situation is so "out of distribution" for the forum regulars. (I keep switching back and forth between different posts instead of focusing on one and writing down my thoughts about it, in part due to too many posts vying for attention and I guess in part due to anxiety about doing a good job onboarding new participants under time pressure, and kind of have to force myself to actually comment instead of it just happening naturally.)

comment by Raemon · 2019-08-22T23:33:05.037Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In principle they could, but it’s nontrivial amount of work (either logistical or coding).

comment by Pattern · 2019-08-30T17:15:30.581Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That depends on how much you want it spread out. Twice as spread out? Day 1: Everyone flips a coin, and calls it in the air. If you called it, you publish. Day 2: You publish if you didn't on Day 1. As long as everyone knows to do it, further communication isn't required.