April Fools: Announcing LessWrong 3.0 – Now in VR!

post by habryka (habryka4), Ben Pace (Benito) · 2020-04-01T08:00:15.199Z · LW · GW · 19 comments

Contents

  Experience the future
  UPDATE
None
19 comments

On this April 1st, we at LessWrong face two problems.

  1. According to Michael Nielsen, software is a way to develop transformative tools for thought. Things like Anki and collaborative editing allow us to think new thoughts. But at LessWrong, we argue that this doesn’t go far enough.
  2. Secondly, everyone is socially isolated [LW · GW], so we need to make LessWrong a far more social environment. We need to make a space that is superior to normal social reality in every measurable way.

The answer? Replace LessWrong with VR.

We’re now proud to announce the new LessWrong Frontpage, built entirely in Mozilla Hubs: 

The new landing page, where you can read the core readings of the site: The Sequences, The Codex, The Methods.
The new community page, and a showcase of the amazing social interactions you can have on this platform.

And, the part you've all been waiting for: The new LessWrong Frontpage, where you can read the best recent posts.

So we’re using Mozilla Hubs. Why? Because you hear all the things about Mozilla Hubs that you do about any startup about to take off. Words like “Unusable”, “Irritating” and “An all-round terrible UI experience”. If people are saying this about your product and still using it, that means it’s got to be good.

To give some hard data on this, in a survey of a recent academic conference held on the Mozilla Hubs platform, the attendees reported the following genuine data (emphasis added):

With support from the co-chairs of the 2019 ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) and the Hubs by Mozilla internal product team, we surveyed the motivations and experiences of remote attendees and discovered:

92% of all Social VR attendees would like to repeat the experience of attending a conference remotely using Hubs.

69% of all remote attendees rated the experience as very good or mostly good.

[...]

[Many] respondents reported difficulty hearing audio, poor visibility of the presentations, and lags in the presentation.

Only half of participants claimed they understood how to use the technology.

So, to be clear, of the attendees of this conference, half didn't know how to use the actual software, but almost all of them (92%!) would like to repeat the experience anyways! How much of a burning need does a product need to fill that at least 42% of your users want to continue using your product, whilst claiming not to know how to actually use your product? To us, this signals amazing product-market fit, and I think we should jump on the bandwagon as early as possible. 

What are its other selling points? In Mozilla Hubs you can visit the site in 3 dimensions. You'll also be able to see the other visitors, and engage in all of the social primate behaviours humans normally do at parties like talking, laughing, and continuously saying “is my microphone working?”, “can anyone hear me?” and “how does walking work again?”.

Have you ever wanted to be in a room with more than 25 people? No? Neither have we, so all rooms have a limit of 25 people who are allowed to enter. In addition, as we approach 25 people, the room will slow down on all devices and become significantly more laggy, causing the conversation to naturally slow down to prevent it from spiraling out of control.

If you've been part of LessWrong for any significant amount of time, you know how much effort we've spent thinking about how to avoid the problem of eternal september. Recently, after looking at our analytics for multiple minutes, we found out that a lot of users we don’t want have much slower computers, or are using their phones to browse LessWrong. 

So, by making LessWrong basically unusable on those devices, we are ensuring a continued high-quality discussion experience on the site, by filtering only for rational people who spend exorbitant amounts of money on their computer hardware. We've already had great success with this strategy when we drastically increased the processing power necessary to run LessWrong 2.0 by moving everything to a javascript based web-app architecture, so we consider this a natural next step for us to take.

(As a continuation of Karma 2.0 [LW · GW] we are working on a feature in which your avatar size can scale with your karma, such that users with the most karma can signal their superiority even better, and truly tower over their intellectual contemporaries.)

So it has come to this. For April 1st Day 2020, we give you the LessWrong 3.0 Homepage, in open beta only for today.

Experience the future


UPDATE

After fixing some performance issues with LessWrong 3.0, it now should run smoothly on most (many?) devices. To celebrate we are holding a surprise online meetup there tonight at 6:30 pacific time. We might or might not do a dramatic reading of HPMOR.

Link is here: Expert Truthful Congregation v3.1

19 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Unnamed · 2020-04-01T08:50:51.188Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is now my favorite way to read HPMOR. I love the Star Wars feel.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2020-04-01T19:00:16.209Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have to mention that Mozilla Room names get autogenerated when you make them. You can change them, but they pick the initial name. And the name of the room we built, a name we did not pick, was automatically selected to be "Expert Truthful Congregation". The kabbles are strong with this one, as Ray says.

comment by Raemon · 2020-04-02T00:40:11.951Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I confess that "Expert Truthful Congregation v3.1" was selected by me on purpose tho.

comment by Rafael Harth (sil-ver) · 2020-04-01T14:31:02.343Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Strong upvote from me. This new technology has helped me view the existing content from a different angle.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2020-04-01T17:59:55.130Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(I added your linked image to your comment.)

comment by FactorialCode · 2020-04-01T18:18:43.637Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is absolutely unacceptable.

How could they give us something so visually unappealing. So antithetical to this website's primary purpose of giving it's users social super stimulus? How could the mods have put in all of this work and overlooked the most crucial aspect of a VR room system? I am outraged, and frankly appalled that this was overlooked. How could they have built a VR platform that doesn't let me present myself using an anime girl avatar? We'll need to get started on GreaterWrong 2.0 just to fix this glaring UI issue.

If you've been part of LessWrong for any significant amount of time, you know how much effort we've spent thinking about how to avoid the problem of eternal september. Recently, after looking at our analytics for multiple minutes, we found out that a lot of users we don’t want have much slower computers, or are using their phones to browse LessWrong.

So, by making LessWrong basically unusable on those devices, we are ensuring a continued high-quality discussion experience on the site, by filtering only for rational people who spend exorbitant amounts of money on their computer hardware. We've already had great success with this strategy when we drastically increased the processing power necessary to run LessWrong 2.0 by moving everything to a javascript based web-app architecture, so we consider this a natural next step for us to take.

Ok but like, for real though.

comment by TurnTrout · 2020-04-01T12:37:15.387Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Amazing call. In these scary times, it's comforting to be reminded just how smart the LessWrong mod team is.

comment by bfinn · 2020-04-02T23:27:33.731Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Despite all the obvious signs and the date, it took me a while (well, a couple of minutes) to figure out this was entirely an April Fool's Day joke.

comment by ioannes_shade · 2020-04-01T18:50:09.654Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
As a continuation of Karma 2.0 [LW · GW] we are working on a feature in which your avatar size can scale with your karma, such that users with the most karma can signal their superiority even better, and truly tower over their intellectual contemporaries.

lol

comment by Raemon · 2020-04-02T01:28:31.610Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The LessWrong 3.0 Launch Party is happening now. Please put on your headphones before joining.

comment by Raemon · 2020-04-02T02:49:44.010Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It has now concluded

comment by lifelonglearner · 2020-04-01T17:34:35.289Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What a fantastic product. Reminds me of the 3-d Reddit museum app.

run LessWrong 2.0 by moving everything to a javascript based web-app architecture, so we consider this a natural next step for us to take.

Okay, but actually, though, I'm still hoping for the day where lesswrong.com loads more comparably to greaterwrong.com.

comment by Raemon · 2020-04-01T21:27:00.320Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Due to this feedback, I have gone and optimized LessWrong 3.0 to LessWrong 3.1, such that instead of loading a bunch of 10mb images the screenshots are actually sort of usable by a regular-person-computer.

Behold, Expert Truthful Congregation v3.1

Also, tonight at 6:30pm will be an official meetup held there.

comment by lifelonglearner · 2020-04-02T00:13:25.927Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wow. I'm running 3.1 now, and my laptop's fan isn't running at all. Wild!

comment by Raemon · 2020-04-02T06:50:14.104Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wow. I'm running 3.1 now, and my laptop's fun isn't running at all. Wild!

ouch

comment by lifelonglearner · 2020-04-02T07:34:50.682Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh no, that was a bad typo. It has now been corrected.

comment by Raemon · 2020-04-02T08:24:05.754Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Heh, no worries.  :p

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2020-04-01T17:37:45.868Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, I agree and I do apologize deeply for things not being as fast as they should be.

comment by Filipe Marchesini (filipe-marchesini) · 2020-07-18T06:28:37.248Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Very interesting. When I stopped teaching in person due to pandemics, I started to research the best platform to teach online. When I saw this post [LW · GW] comparing the options, and then looked YouTube videos using each one, I became absolutely religious after testing Mozilla Hubs, and started shouting out for all directions that this thing is completely awesome and I was all in. Today, I use this platform every week. The students love it! And now I discovered LessWrong is using it too. It couldn't be different.