Feedback on LW 2.0

post by Viliam · 2017-10-01T15:18:09.682Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 92 comments

What are your first impressions of the public beta?


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Daniel_Burfoot · 2017-10-01T17:17:11.189Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

First, I appreciate the work people have done to make LW 2 happen. Here are my notes:

  1. Strong feeling - the links and descriptions of the Sequences, the Codex, and HPMOR (while good) should not be at the top of the page. The top should be the newest material.
  2. Please please please include a "hide subthread" option to collapse a comment and all its responses. That is a dealbreaker for me, if a site doesn't have that feature, I won't read the comments.
  3. Current LW has a really nice alternating color scheme for comment/reply. One comment will have a grey background, the comment below it will have a beige background. That is a key feature for visually parsing a comment thread.
  4. I liked the concept of having a main section and a discussion section, where the bar for posting in the latter is lower. For whatever reason, people seem to get angry if you post something that they feel is low quality or not relevant.
  5. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but somehow I don't quite like the default font. It may be that I like a different font for reading on dead tree paper vs on a computer screen?
  6. It may be slightly evil, but the karma display on the right side of the screen makes the site more addictive, because people love to see if they get upvotes or comment replies.
  7. It seems weird to allow people to upvote/downvote an article right from the home page, do you really want people to vote for an article without reading it?
Replies from: Habryka, casebash, Raemon, Raelifin, adamzerner, adamzerner
comment by Habryka · 2017-10-02T20:15:12.762Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Strongly agree with 1. I have a plan for a separate thing at the top of the frontpage for logged-in users that takes up much less space and is actually useful for multiple visits. Here is a screenshot of my current UI mockup for the frontpage:

The emphasis continue to be on historical instead of recent content, with the frontpage emphasizing reading for logged-in users. If you don't have anything in your reading-queue the top part disappears completely and you just have the recent discussion (though by default the HPMOR, The Sequences and The Codex are in your reading queue)

Replies from: cousin_it, gjm, Viliam, SaidAchmiz, Lumifer
comment by cousin_it · 2017-10-05T16:06:31.665Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it'd be nice to have one main view that everyone visits, organized as a list of posts sorted chronologically or by magic. Writing my mathy stuff on a website and showing it to friends would be easier if the website didn't have a big banner saying go read this Harry Potter fanfiction or that social issues blogger (much as I love both HPMOR and Scott). Maybe you could put these links in a sidebar instead?

Also as a longtime user I don't really care if people have read the Sequences. I don't see much correlation between "this person has read the Sequences" and "this person is interesting" that isn't screened off by "this person was interested in stuff like the Sequences to begin with".

comment by gjm · 2017-10-03T12:07:22.431Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So ... a new LW2 participant will by default be presented with a front page suggesting to them that they're supposed to read all of HPMOR and that not having done so means they haven't yet done their duty? I strongly advise against this.

Better, if feasible: (1) by default a new user has an empty reading queue; (2) by default a new user is presented with a thing saying "Go here to set up your reading queue"; (3) making that go away without actually adding anything to your reading queue is easy, but (4) adding things like the Sequences or HPMOR to your queue is also easy.

Replies from: Lumifer
comment by Lumifer · 2017-10-03T15:00:05.100Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


I, too, recommend avoiding the "Continue eating your veggies. You have eaten 4 out of 25 turnips. Your progress in eating turnips is 16%" nagware, especially at the top of the front page.

comment by Viliam · 2017-10-08T21:53:32.776Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think an important thing is that the first screen of the first page should contain the most important things both for the newcomers and for the regular readers.

For newcomers, it's the links to HPMOR, The Sequences and The Codex (and anything else that may be later included). Should be at the top, but don't need to take much space vertically.

For regular readers, it's the new articles and featured articles. Perhaps in two columns. This way the whole first page could fit on an average monitor.

The "progress" part feels quite forced. Having the links displayed, either people will read the stuff, or they will not. If they decide not to read it now, no need to rub their faces in it.

EDIT: For people who are logged in, the part for newcomers could be collapsed. If they have an account, they have already see it. But there should be a way to show it again.

comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-04T21:16:47.727Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I, too, would advise against doing this.

comment by Lumifer · 2017-10-02T21:00:46.273Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Will logged-in users be able to switch off this "top of the frontpage"?

It looks quite condescending: Continue eating your veggies. You have eaten 4/25 turnips. Your progress in eating turnips is 16%. Or start eating another veggie... YOU WILL SEE MESSAGES ABOUT TURNIPS EVERY TIME YOU LOAD THE PAGE UNTIL YOU EAT ALL OF THEM.

comment by casebash · 2017-10-02T10:41:53.543Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree that people should not be able to upvote or downvote an article without having clicked through to it.

I also find the comments hard to parse because the separation is less explicit than on either Reddit or here.

comment by Raemon · 2017-10-01T22:39:25.045Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Much of this is stuff that's on the development team's agenda (either to change or to think about).

One thing that's a significant change that was very intentional is the "Opening up with the sequences, codex, and HPMOR" (albeit with a lot less certainty with HPMOR being included there).

We do plan to have an "All Posts" page that ends up being the primary way you consume the site (with newest content first). And for people who've already read the sequences et-al, that'll be the preferred way for them to interact with the site.

But for newcomers, a major shift with Lesserwrong is essentially, "since the glory days where most good content is from were way back when, and since understanding the sequences really is important for being able to engage productively with the site, we want to be encouraging newcomers to first engage with that content rather than treating it as a forum where newcomers can show up and start posting immediately." If you don't have that, then the discussion won't really have the elements that make Less Wrong particularly valuable.

Replies from: adamzerner
comment by adamzerner · 2017-10-02T00:35:48.493Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But for newcomers, a major shift with Lesserwrong is essentially, "since the glory days where most good content is from were way back when, and since understanding the sequences really is important for being able to engage productively with the site, we want to be encouraging newcomers to first engage with that content rather than treating it as a forum where newcomers can show up and start posting immediately." If you don't have that, then the discussion won't really have the elements that make Less Wrong particularly valuable.

I agree. But how about trying to only show it to newcomers? Perhaps anyone less than 200 karma for starters.

Later on, maybe track page views + time spent on each page in order to infer whether or not users have read the sequences (probably needs to be thought out some more, but something like that).

Replies from: ChristianKl
comment by ChristianKl · 2017-10-18T11:14:23.882Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree. But how about trying to only show it to newcomers? Perhaps anyone less than 200 karma for starters.

People who aren't newcomers can use a bookmark to go directly to another page.

comment by adamzerner · 2017-10-02T00:31:32.909Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

For 6, I think users who want to minimize temptation should at least have the option of disabling this. Relevant:

comment by adamzerner · 2017-10-02T00:31:09.180Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

2, 3 and 7 all seem like pretty noncontroversial and doable things.

comment by Viliam · 2017-10-01T15:24:49.769Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't know if there is a Schelling point for providing feedback, so I made this thread.

Speaking for myself, my reaction to LW 2.0 could be summarized as: "This is so confusing and so difficult to figure out, that I'll just... leave it for later." Before I get to the individual complaints, here is the meta one:

If you want to change dozen things about a website, don't change them all at the same time. For the user, some of them will feel like an improvement, and others may feel like an opposite of improvement; but all of them feel like an extra cognitive burden. So even if of those dozen changes 7 are in the positive and 5 in the negative direction, the overall impression may still be negative. Also, consider loss aversion; people will be more annoyed by losing a feature they liked.

Now the details:

The font seems to be bigger, and the spaces between lines also seem bigger. (I didn't actually measure it; this is my impression from looking at the page.) As a result it feels like there is much less content on the screen, which makes it more difficult to perceive as a whole, reduces my efficiency of speed reading, and makes me push Page Down more often. In general it creates what I call a "Facebook experience", where you keep pressing Page Down till your fingers hurt.

The font is blurry, and gray instead of black. So despite the text being larger, the smaller contrast makes it actually more difficult to read. Ironically, the only thing that should be less visible against the background -- the upvote and downvote buttons you didn't click -- is visible enough, so I have a problem to quickly see whether I did or didn't vote on the article.

The screen area containing the text is not limited, making it more difficult for my eyes to scan the lines. (Yes, this is a repeated topic in my complaints: it feels as if the page was optimized in various aspects to slow down my reading speed.) On LW1, the parts of the screen containing the text has white background, the sides have a light gray background; when reading the text I am barely aware that those sides exist. On LW2 the text is floating in the large ocean of white background; I am reading on a wide monitor, and my eyes are constantly jumping to the edges of the screen. (No, I am not going to change the size of my browser window to fit LW2; all other websites are okay with me keeping the window maximized.)

The new content is displayed in a what seems like a random order. Yeah, it can be changed. But then I will create a bubble for myself where what I see is quite different from what other people see, so I hesitate about that.

The comments don't have boxes, so it is difficult to see where one comment ends and another comment starts, or which comment replies to which one.

...I guess this is enough complaints for one comment. Trying to be a bit more constructive, I guess the easiest solution for my problems would be to create a CSS stylesheet which would try to make LW2 visually as similar as possible to LW1. Like, seriously, look at LW1, look at Hacker News, look at Slashdot, look at Reddit... all those websites use small fonts with sharp edges. It probably happened for a reason.

Replies from: Habryka, adamzerner
comment by Habryka · 2017-10-02T20:07:53.820Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Can you send me a screenshot of your text, together with your browser version and OS? I've noticed some OS and browser issues with how the font renders, and this has at least caused some people to see the font as much thinner and grayer than intended.

comment by adamzerner · 2017-10-02T00:52:22.046Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The font seems to be bigger, and the spaces between lines also seem bigger. "On the web, the op­ti­mal size is 15–25 pixels.". "line spacing 120–145% of the point size"

Looks like LW 2.0 is using a 20px font size, and 25px line height, which is in range of what is recommended.

The font is blurry, and gray instead of black.

NN Group supports what you're saying, although the text on LW 2.0 looks plenty dark to me.

The comments don't have boxes, so it is difficult to see where one comment ends and another comment starts, or which comment replies to which one.


Replies from: SaidAchmiz, Jiro
comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-02T01:35:37.528Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Looks like LW 2.0 is using a 20px font size, and 25px line height, which is in range of what is recommended.

Correction: the body text has font size 19px, line height 32px (ratio of ~168%). This is definitely too widely spaced.

Replies from: Habryka, adamzerner
comment by Habryka · 2017-10-02T19:15:38.777Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, this was a bug I accidentally seem to have introduced a bit ago. I apologize. The correct ratio I wanted to use was the one that Tufte CSS uses, which is 21px size to 30px height, which is a much more reasonable ratio. (This will be fixed in the next few days)

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2017-10-06T09:16:02.130Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is fixed now.

comment by adamzerner · 2017-10-02T02:10:05.451Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It might depend on screen size.

Replies from: SaidAchmiz
comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-02T03:11:22.825Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It does not.

Replies from: adamzerner
comment by adamzerner · 2017-10-02T05:50:46.765Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

At, when I open up Chrome's dev tools on my 13 inch Macbook Pro with a macOS Sierra OS, the computed value of font-size for the paragraph of main text is 20px, and the computed value of line-height is 25px. But on I'm getting the same values you mentioned. So I assume it at least depends on what type of post is being displayed.

comment by Jiro · 2017-10-11T19:35:54.583Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Looks like LW 2.0 is using a 20px font size, and 25px line height, which is in range of what is recommended.

Is "what was recommended" similar to "mistakes were made"? It blames it on someone else, while leaving the "someone else" unnamed.

Existing recommendations about text size (and particularly, about not fitting too much text on a line) do not consider that Lesswrong has a different usage pattern than most sites. There are references dating back to 1971, but I can't figure out if any scientific studies were actually conducted at the time to determine this, and at any rate, printed text is not the web.

Also, beware of using some recommendation just because it's easy to measure.

This is basically breaking the site in order to fit "recommendations". LW 2.0 is bad, and everyone involved should feel bad. It is fundamentally designed around a bad idea.

Replies from: gjm, username2
comment by gjm · 2017-10-12T16:30:59.433Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It is fundamentally designed around a bad idea.

That seems rather extreme. What specific bad idea do you mean?

(Context here suggests that it's something like "the idea that typographical choices for LW2 should match those for the web as a whole", but even if LW2's design makes that assumption and even if it's a bad assumption it doesn't seem fundamental enough to justify your last paragraph.)

Replies from: Jiro
comment by Jiro · 2017-10-12T20:45:16.898Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Context here suggests that it's something like "the idea that typographical choices for LW2 should match those for the web as a whole"

The idea that the study of typographical choices for the web is a mature science whose (nontrivial) recommendations can all be taken at face value.

Replies from: gjm
comment by gjm · 2017-10-15T14:58:32.674Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So LW2 (as a whole, it seems) is bad and everyone involved should feel bad ... because the people who designed it think that web typography is a mature science whose recommendations can be taken at face value?

Maybe I'm being dim, but that seems really strange to me. It isn't clear to me what even makes you confident that they think that; I'm not sure what it means to say that something is designed around that idea (it can be designed via a process that assumes that idea, I guess, but that really isn't the same); and getting from there to "LW2 is bad and everyone involved should feel bad" seems like an enormous leap.

I wonder whether I'm missing some vital context here.

comment by username2 · 2017-10-12T09:41:09.079Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The recommendation by "someone else" is anything but anonymous, adamzerner's comment quotes and links directly from Matthew Butterick, author of the online book that provides said guidance (and also explicitly makes the point about print vs. online).

While I fully agree with you about strong distaste for the visual design of LW2 (at least using default display settings in the current beta) you have failed to make a valid argument here.

comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-02T06:44:14.815Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hi all,

I made a pair of Stylish themes (for use with the Stylish browser extension, for Chrome, Firefox, etc.) that address some of the appearance / usability / typography concerns that people have been mentioning, in this thread and elsewhere. Here they are:

Stylish themes for LessWrong 2.0

(There are two versions of the theme: the first version uses a serif font, the second uses a sans-serif variant. Pick whichever you like, they're identical otherwise.)


What these themes do:

  • Better choice of body text font (more readable, especially on Linux and Windows machines, and on lower-end displays)
  • Text color is black instead of grey (i.e. fully opaque instead of partially transparent)
  • Alternating background colors for comment boxes (LessWrong 1.0 style)
  • More clearly readable comment headers, especially commenter names
  • Much more distinctive highlighting for activated upvote/downvote buttons
  • Content column visually separated from contentless margins
  • Removed all CSS transitions, which should make many parts of the page UI feel snappier (and be a little less hardware-intensive)
  • Some other minor changes…

UPDATE: The latest version of the themes adds these features:

  • Visually distinctive highlighting for new comments
  • Improved blockquote styling
Replies from: gjm, Habryka, ChristianKl, Raemon
comment by gjm · 2018-07-04T00:44:11.855Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It turns out that the Stylish browser extension is, since January 2017, basically spyware. Firefox has just blacklisted it. LWers who, like me, installed it at some point to experiment with Lesser Wrong or Greater Wrong CSS should seriously consider uninstalling it. There's probably nothing you can do retroactively about having had every single URL you visited since installing Stylish sent off to SimilarWeb's servers (and from there presumably to SimilarWeb's customers).

comment by Habryka · 2017-10-02T20:10:16.699Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Awesome! I will install this myself and see what we might want to steal for the main LW 2.0 stylesheet.

comment by ChristianKl · 2017-10-08T23:12:28.209Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This looks like a great improvement. I would like it to become the default UI.

Replies from: SaidAchmiz
comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-08T23:46:18.175Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thank you! That's kind of you to say, and I appreciate the feedback (in general, by the way; whether it be positive or negative).

I agree that it would be an improvement to make this the default UI, though an even better approach (and one that would account both for site visitors who prefer my modifications, and those who prefer the aesthetics of the current site), would be to offer site visitors a choice of theme.

There are several unobtrusive and fairly low-effort (both for the site's designers and for users) ways of doing this. One of my goals in creating these themes was to demonstrate that (contra certain worries I've seen expressed previously) it is very possible to create alternate themes, with different fonts and colors and even some differences in layout, that nonetheless break nothing and in no way ruin the site's usability. I hope this encourages the LW 2.0 team to seriously consider the possibility of adding UI customizability to the site!

comment by Raemon · 2017-10-08T21:53:32.951Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is the stylish style actually available somewhere?

Replies from: lahwran, SaidAchmiz
comment by lahwran · 2017-10-08T22:03:56.943Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

the large text is a link

comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-08T22:15:57.838Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, click the big words that say "Stylish themes for LessWrong 2.0" :)

Replies from: Raemon
comment by Raemon · 2017-10-09T04:19:10.933Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, t'was not at all obvious that was a link.

Replies from: SaidAchmiz
comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-09T04:27:25.331Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Unfortunately, Markdown's capacity to control what text actually looks like is tremendously underwhelming. (Is there a way to make text big, and also underlined? If so, I can't see it. :( )

comment by 9eB1 · 2017-10-01T20:04:25.935Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I love that the attempt is being made and I hope it works. The main feedback that I have is that the styling of the comment section doesn't work for me. One of the advantages of the existing LessWrong comment section is that the information hierarchy is super clear. The comments are bordered and backgrounded so when you decide to skip a comment your eye can very easily scan down to the next one. At the new site all the comments are relatively undifferentiated so it's much harder to skim them. I also think that the styling of the blockquotes in the new comments needs work. Currently there is not nearly enough difference between blockquoted text and comment text. It needs more spacing and more indenture, and preferably a typographical difference as well.

comment by Dustin · 2017-10-01T15:57:31.401Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As has been mentioned a couple times already...I don't know how I'm supposed to use the site.

I go there and then I'm just like "now what?".

  1. It looks like there's different places I can go to read different subsets of all available posts. How do I know I'm not missing any posts?

  2. When I go to, there's a huge section at the top of stuff I've already read and it's always there. I have to scroll below the fold to see new content.

  3. So the first section I see when I scroll down is called "Featured Posts". What makes these posts featured?

  4. Next section is "Recent Frontpage Posts". What's a "Frontpage" post? Am I missing some sort of non-frontpage posts by just reading this section?

  5. Under the "Frontpage" posts heading there's a couple of links that look like they're supposed to filter the posts. Maybe I should be reading the "see all posts" link. Does that mean all "frontpage" posts and leaves out non-frontpage posts? I dunno.

Replies from: adamzerner
comment by adamzerner · 2017-10-02T01:02:37.584Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I too am confused about what a frontpage post is. Is it the same as a featured post? I'd guess so, but the fact that two different words are used makes me question myself.

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2017-10-02T19:23:45.311Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Intended structure of the page is (which is not yet that clear): There are featured posts which are promoted by moderators and very high karma members, there are frontpage posts, which are posts that are addressed to everyone, and then there are posts on your private user page which can only be found on the "all posts" page and by people who are subscribed to you.

The goal is to make it easy to get the best content on LessWrong for multiple levels of investment. I.e. if you just want to read the 5 best posts in a week you can just read the featured posts, if you want to actively participate in the communal discussion you read the frontpage posts, and if you want to discover new content you go to All Posts and subscribe to authors who write interesting things.

The default on the new LessWrong is not to post something to everyone, but to post something to your own private page, and if it gets popular enough or a moderator promotes it, does it end up visible to everyone.

Replies from: gjm
comment by gjm · 2017-10-03T12:16:54.773Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Old-LW makes it easy to see everything in something like chronological order, and therefore to know you haven't missed anything you'd want to have read. I think this is a very important feature for something that's trying to be a community and not merely a social news aggregator like Hacker News: if I miss something interesting, I also miss the discussion that happens in its comments and lose the context it provides for future discussion.

At present, LesserWrong doesn't (so far as I can see) make it at all easy for me to see everything that's been posted and to know I've seen everything. I think this is my single biggest gripe about the site.

Replies from: Lumifer
comment by Lumifer · 2017-10-03T14:57:12.833Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There is this for all posts arranged by day, and there is this for all comments which you can sort by time.

Replies from: gjm
comment by gjm · 2017-10-03T15:50:11.602Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh yes, so there are. The first one is available via the dropdown from "LESSWRONG" at the top left. How does one get to the latter, other than entering the URL by hand?

Replies from: Lumifer
comment by Lumifer · 2017-10-03T15:52:30.048Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you scroll down the front page until you see the "Recent comments" section, there is a small link to "see all comments" underneath the section heading.

Replies from: Jiro
comment by Jiro · 2017-10-03T19:12:24.613Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not only is that obscure, it's shows the comments as abbreviated and doesn't let you reply to them. It's not so much as a list of comments as it is a list of things that you can use as comments if you take a couple of extra steps.

comment by username2 · 2017-10-02T12:20:44.741Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I find it very difficult to find and follow discussions on the new site. The content is very slow to load for me (on various devices) and I've given up rather than trying to work my way down.

The scoring system doesn't make sense to me but this may just be a matter of getting used to it / users settling into some kind of routine. Anyway easy enough for me to select "most recent" and squint past the scores based on other users' ratings for now.

I'm also embarrassed by the term "Sunshine Regiment". I can see what you're trying to do but it has an incredibly strong negative impact on me whenever I see it.

Replies from: Lumifer
comment by Lumifer · 2017-10-02T18:44:32.252Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm also embarrassed by the term "Sunshine Regiment"

Yeah, that.

My associations tell me that this expression stands for a militarized police unit with a newspeak name (its main purpose is to disappear undesirable comments and posts, is it not?)

comment by Manfred · 2017-10-01T17:21:44.825Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You say impressions, but I'm assuming this is just the "things I want changed" thread :)

Vote button visibility and responsiveness is a big one for me. Ideally, it should require one click, be disabled while it messages the server, and then change color much more clearly.

On mobile, the layout works nicely, but load / render times are too long (how much javascript is necessary to serve text? Apparently, lots) and the text formatting buttons take up far too much space.

First time, non-logged in viewers should probably not see the green messaging blob in the corner, particularly on mobile.

I agree that some kind of demarcation between comments, and between comments and "write a new comment", would be nice. Doesn't have to be 2009 internet boxes, it can be 2017 internet fading horizontal lines or something.

Replies from: Gunnar_Zarncke
comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2017-10-03T10:18:49.976Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It took me some time to notice that the up-down buttons are not for some kind of chapter back/forth navigation but for voting...

comment by namespace (ingres) · 2017-10-01T19:23:49.645Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hi, over here at the LessWrong Survey team we've also been collecting reactions to LW 2.0:

comment by lifelonglearner · 2017-10-01T15:43:36.610Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I feel like the site is not well laid-out. It's not easy to tell where to click to see the ongoing discussions. The grey font (as opposed to black, and also the post layout) and lack of clear demarcations is not visually pleasing (to me), and it's also not as readable as it could be.

comment by korin43 · 2017-10-05T15:10:40.866Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One feature makes it worth it on its own: People are posting stuff without worrying as much about if it's "good enough" or fits the theme as well (suddenly we're getting posts from everyone again).

The site itself is kind of annoying though, so my main interactions are reading the article in my RSS feed, opening the page, voting, then closing the page.

I like the bigger font size, but agree that might be excessive (16px seems about right to me).

Commenting needs some serious UX attention. The comment box doesn't look like a comment box and the text is massive.

The front page doesn't make any sense. I understand showing top content for people who aren't logged in, but once someone is logged in, the front page should be new articles.

The site seems overly fancy with JavaScript load and whatever. Loading a page with nothing but text should be instantaneous but somehow manages to take several seconds.

comment by skeptical_lurker · 2017-10-28T11:50:39.219Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I haven't posted on LW for a while now, but after posting to LW2.0 I got banned (till 2021) very quickly. My posts were also deleted. I was not told why I was banned, although I assume it was because I entered a fake email (I was annoyed that the new site required an email and not just a username). I asked why I got banned, and received no response.

Well, I'm sorry for using a fake email. I wasn't trying to spam, or sockpuppet or anything, but I think a 3 year ban without any sort of warning or explanation seems a little excessive. I'm happy to provide an email that works if required. I also considered setting up a new account with a real email, but I don't want it to seem like I'm sockpuppetting.

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2017-10-28T13:41:18.230Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Alas, I haven't been super much on top of support lately, so sorry for not responding.

Sorry for this happening. I mistook you for Eugine_Nier, who was spamposting with a bunch of highly political stuff right at the minute you made your first few comments. It looks like you accidentally posted a comment twice, and the one that you posted twice was one that commented on the relationship between the MTG wheel and Nazism (actually making an OK point, but my pattern match system immediately matched it to Eugine's other spam comments). That, together with the fact that your email address was a fake email led me to the false belief that you were one of Eugine's sockpuppets.

I unbanned you, and will try to be more on top of support in the future.

comment by PECOS-9 · 2017-10-10T19:12:29.805Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The "Daily" page seems to be the one that is most useful to regular users (it's the one I bookmarked), but it's relatively hidden. I think it should be linked directly on the top navbar or somewhere else on the front page instead of hidden inside the hamburger menu in the navbar.

Replies from: Viliam
comment by Viliam · 2017-10-14T22:43:53.078Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Very useful indeed. Bookmarked. Thanks!

comment by adamzerner · 2017-10-02T00:40:45.911Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One obvious thing I really like is that the site is responsive! On this current site, I can't read the text when I make the window half the size of the screen (13 inch laptop).

Replies from: korin43
comment by korin43 · 2017-10-05T15:04:49.445Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is huge for me: The site is actually usable on a phone. It's annoyingly slow, but LessWrong v1 is unusable on anything with a small screen (note: This could have been fixed in v1 also, but the two pull requests to fix it have been ignored for around a year).

comment by turchin · 2017-10-01T19:35:20.345Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I posted there 3 comments and got 6 downvotes which resulted in extreme negative emotions all the evening that day. While I understand why they were downvoted, my emotional reaction is still a surprise for me.

Because of this, I am not interested to participate in the new site, but I like current LW where downvoting is turned off.

Replies from: gjm, gjm
comment by gjm · 2017-10-03T14:56:24.602Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It may be worth noting that "6 downvotes" need not mean that 6 people downvoted you. LW2 has "weighted voting" which means that the number of points your upvotes/downvotes change the victim's karma by depends on your own karma level. So maybe you were downvoted twice by weight-3 users, or three times by weight-2 users; in any case, losing 6 points probably corresponds to <6 downvotes.

Replies from: Jiro, turchin, Viliam
comment by Jiro · 2017-10-03T18:34:32.754Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Weighted karma is a system that heavily violates user expectations and is a bad idea for that reason alone.

Replies from: AspiringRationalist
comment by AspiringRationalist · 2017-10-08T03:41:11.088Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What if weight were capped at 1?

comment by turchin · 2017-10-03T21:03:22.839Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Two my comments got -3 each, so probably only one person with high carma was able to do so.

Thanks for the explanation. Typically I got 70 percent upvoted in LW1, and getting -3 was a signal that I am in a much more aggressive environment, than was LW1.

Anyway, the best downvoting system is on the Longecity forum, where many types of downvotes exist, like "non-informative", "biased" "bad grammar" - but all them are signed, that is they are non-anonymous. If you know who and why downvoted you, you will know how to improve the next post. If you are downvoted without explanation, it feels like a strike in the dark.

comment by Viliam · 2017-10-08T22:09:19.203Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't disagree with weighted votes per se, but saying "6 downvotes" really is misleading, if there were actually less than 6 votes.

I wonder whether it would be helpful to display the karma in analog form, for example as a line, where longer line would mean more total votes (not in linear proportion, but in a way where infinite number of votes asymptotically corresponds to the full width of the used part of page), and the line has a green part and gray part whose length ratio represents the upvotes/downvotes ratio. And of course tooltip for number, but the idea is that people would get the right idea without seeing the numbers.

Replies from: gjm
comment by gjm · 2017-10-09T00:27:34.166Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree that it's misleading. One thing that's been mooted -- I don't know whether it's in any way likely to happen, but it seems like it would be an improvement -- is changing from "a level-n user's vote is worth n points" to "a level-n user can vote up to n times on anything". Then if you wanted to use your awesome multi-voting power (1) you'd have to expend at least a little extra effort, (2) you would have the option of giving intermediate numbers of votes, and (3) it would no longer be wrong to say "this got 7 upvotes and 3 downvotes" or whatever.

The analogue-karma-display idea is intriguing. My immediate feeling is that it would be really hard to make this comprehensible, though.

comment by gjm · 2017-10-03T14:04:48.978Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There is a user on LW2 with your username but no recent comments that I can see. Did you do this with a different username?

(Feel free not to answer if you would rather keep those identities separate. I'm just curious.)

Replies from: turchin
comment by turchin · 2017-10-03T20:53:23.639Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I reregistered as avturchin, because after my password was reseted for turchin, it was not clear what I should do next. However, after I reregistered as avturchin, I was not able to return to my original username, - probably because the LW2 prevent several accounts from one person. I prefer to connect to my original name, but don't know how to do, and don't have much time to search how to do it correctly.

Replies from: gjm
comment by gjm · 2017-10-03T22:02:07.076Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I suspect the answer, if you want to do it, is to contact an admin. I think the LW2 admins are generally helpful, and it's much easier for them to change things than it is for the old-LW admins.

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2017-10-06T09:18:40.555Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That is correct! I've been a bit less responsive in the last week, but usually get back to people within half an hour to an hour, and have helped dozens of people migrate their accounts, fix bugs, change email addresses, etc.

comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-08T03:02:20.949Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hi all,

I made a userscript (for use with TamperMonkey or a similar userscript manager) that makes content on LessWrong 2.0 take up the whole browser window, rather than being confined to a fixed-width column.

Script to make the text on LW 2.0 take up the whole browser window

(Aside: a fixed-width, short-line-length text column is best for slow, in-depth reading, but it is sub-optimal for skimming or scanning for specific or new content, such as one might do when re-visiting an already-read post to skim for new comments, or when looking for specific bits of text or quote in a long post. So this userscript isn't meant to suggest that the current layout is wrong, but to offer an alternative option for folks who prefer it.)

Edit: I think the ideal case would be one where there was some sort of a widget (in the vein of the one at the top of this page) that toggled between full-width and fixed-width view.

comment by pcm · 2017-10-04T20:27:37.586Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's something about reading the new style that makes me uncomfortable, and prompts me to skim some posts that I would have read more carefully on the old site. I'm not too clear on what causes that effect. I'm guessing that some of it is the excessive amount of white, causing modest sensory overload.

Some of it could be the fact that less of a post fits on a single screenful: I probably form initial guesses about a post's value based on the first screenful, and putting less substance on that first screenful leads me to guess that the post has less substance. Or maybe I associate large fonts with click-baity sites, and small fonts with more intellectual sites.

The editor used for writing comments is really annoying. E.g. links expand to include unrelated text, or unexpectedly stop being links.

I want a way to enter html and/or markup that I can cut and paste after writing them in an editor with which I'm more comfortable. Without that, I'll probably give up on writing comments that are more thoughtful than Facebook comments.

I presume the new karma system will be an important improvement. I'm unhappy that it's bundled with such large changes to aspects of the UI that were working adequately.

Replies from: PECOS-9
comment by PECOS-9 · 2017-10-10T22:46:05.379Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think your point about less information per screen identifies what has been bothering me. It makes it much harder to skim or to refer back to previous paragraphs.

comment by Jiro · 2017-10-03T19:03:07.208Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Trying the site right now from work using Chrome, Firefox, and IE 11:

  • Firefox fails to load images for the magnifying glass used for "search" at the top of the page, and the "expand _ less" and "expand _ more" arrows. Otherwise it mostly works.
  • Clicking the capitalized "LOG IN" on the home page does nothing on IE.
  • On IE (but not Firefox) going to Codex briefly puts up the actual page, then it disappears and switches to a different page "Sorry, we couldn't find what you were looking for." The location bar still shows This page has a mixed case "Log in" at the top.
  • Going to a featured post doesn't make it actually disappear, but it starts as a properly formatted post (title centered, uppercase LOGIN) then switches to one improperly formatted with the title on the left and the mixed case "Log in". It does not show comments, instead endlessly throbbing the o o o at the bottom of the page.
  • Clicking the mixed case "Log in" produces the normal login box, which lets me type in a username and password and click "SIGN IN", except that it is too far to the right (going off the page if I don't stretch it) and I can't actually click the "SIGN IN". When I hover over it I get a slashed circle and clicking it produces no response.
  • Neither Firefox nor IE produces the "hi, welcome to lesswrong 2.0" at the bottom right of the page, or shows a red number in the conversations icon there.
  • Chrome has no problems.

Only Firefox is restricting any cookies (and I already unrestricted the one I need to log in).

comment by lahwran · 2017-10-03T01:51:03.057Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Something I'm noticing: almost all the feedback in this thread is easy stuff. UI changes and etc are all pretty easy. The problem that I expect is that the dev team won't get to the easy stuff because the hard problem of making the page load fast will take their attention.

Replies from: SaidAchmiz
comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-03T02:03:08.304Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don’t disagree in general—certainly UI changes are easier than infrastructure changes—though there is a caveat, illustrated by the old story about the repairman who took a large repair fee to fix a complicated piece of machinery, and then gave the thing a good thwack, whereupon it worked again; to the client’s protestations that such an easy “fix” was hardly worth the hefty bill—after all, all the guy did was hit the machine once!—the technician replied “yeah, but you gotta know where to hit it…”.

So with UX: many of the changes are easy to make, it’s knowing which ones to make and how, that’s the trick of it.

As for what to prioritize—this is something to consider: (though not to try and apply unreflectively!)

Finally, implementation details (including infrastructural ones) can make it harder or easier to make changes to the UI and layout and so on. (For example, the CSS component of the LW 2.0 codebase is a , which makes it actually not very easy to make many of the sorts of changes which should be easy to make.)

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2017-10-06T09:21:19.290Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

We actually just cleaned up our CSS a bit, but agree that we probably want to make that part cleaner in the long run. Though I haven't found making changes particularly difficult.

Replies from: SaidAchmiz
comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-07T02:01:47.526Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's good to hear, and I wish you success in your efforts to that end! Here is a very simple heuristic, which is very helpful in evaluating how clean your CSS is:

How many times does !important appear in your codebase?

The ideal number is very, very small. (There is a reasonable argument for using it on buttons, and similar utility classes with complex and very specific and universally immutable styling; doing a once-over of a typical LW 2.0 page, I see no cases that fit this profile.) "Zero" is a typical number of instances of !important in a well-maintained CSS codebase.

Currently, that number, for the CSS that goes into an ordinary LW 2.0 post, is 623.

(This is not the be-all and end-all of CSS code quality metrics! But it is, as I said, a very good heuristic.)

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2017-10-07T12:35:20.266Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah, i agree that that is usually a good heuristic. In our case it's a bit different though.

We are currently using the Material-UI frontend framework, which is great on a really large set of dimensions, but does all of it's styling in the form of inline CSS (the latest version is moving away from that, but that is currently only in prerelease).

In our case, the vast majority of the !important statements are there to override one specific lowest level material-UI inline style, and are not there to override any other styles in our own CSS files. This makes the impact of those statements significantly less bad than they would usually be. Still not happy about having to use the important tags that way, and it does definitely have some cost, but overall the cost is much lower than one would naively expect.

Replies from: SaidAchmiz
comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-07T18:20:40.190Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In our case, the vast majority of the !important statements are there to override one specific lowest level material-UI inline style

Why not remove/disable that one specific style?

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2017-10-08T00:39:43.739Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because that would add a whole different level of complexity to our code, where now instead of just managing CSS styles, we would need to both manage css styles in one section of our page, and JS-inline styles in another section of the page. Since the interface by which you change the material-UI inline-styles is by passing style-objects to the relevant React components.

We tried this for a bit, but this made things much harder to maintain and keep clean than having important-statements in some parts of the CSS.

In the long-run I want to move towards a styled-components approach, where all styles live in the component files, which we can do after the current @next branch of material UI reaches maturity and feature parity with the current one.

comment by G Gordon Worley III (gworley) · 2017-10-02T20:38:16.302Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interesting. I realize comments here may be selected for disliking the new site, so I'll just chime in that I'm pretty happy with LW 2.0 so far. I want it to be faster, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with its greater vibrancy and more scalable post promotion scheme.

comment by casebash · 2017-10-02T11:08:10.137Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What are the plans for the Wiki? If the plan is to keep it the same, why doesn't Lesser Wrong have a link to it yet?

Replies from: Habryka
comment by Habryka · 2017-10-02T20:16:54.482Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The plan is to keep the wiki but to not integrate it particularly much into the site. Old links will continue working, but it won't be something that's prominently linked from the site anymore.

It probably makes sense to rework the wiki as well and then integrate it into the site more properly, but until then we are probably going to deemphasize the wiki but otherwise leave it as is.

comment by pwno · 2017-10-27T15:11:20.240Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

LW 2.0 is a good example of trying to fix something that isn't broken and ending up breaking it further.

Replies from: gjm
comment by gjm · 2017-10-27T15:41:45.680Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

LW is broken. It's broken socially (there's a serious shortage of high-quality new material here, and quite a shortage of any material at all) and it's broken technically (the best the moderators were able to do about our resident neoreactionary downvote-abuser was to disable all downvoting).

(Whether Lesser Wrong is a good solution to those problems is a separate question.)

Replies from: Elo
comment by Elo · 2017-10-27T18:53:26.937Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by username2 · 2017-10-06T13:15:52.904Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I can't get a rss feed specifically for featured posts right now can I ?

comment by username2 · 2017-10-03T11:35:47.194Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My vision is not great and I simply cannot see the difference between quoted text and normal text in comments.

Replies from: SaidAchmiz
comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) · 2017-10-03T17:25:24.724Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Try installing one of these themes—they make the blockquotes easier to distinguish!