Open Thread - Jan 2022 [Vote Experiment!]

post by jimrandomh · 2022-01-03T01:07:24.172Z · LW · GW · 88 comments


  Experiment: Reaction-Ballot Voting
    This open thread is using an new experimental voting system: reaction-ballot voting.
    Please tell us what you think! Love it/hate it/think it should be different? Let us know.
  Regular Open Thread Boilerplate

Experiment: Reaction-Ballot Voting

This open thread is using an new experimental voting system: reaction-ballot voting. 

In addition to voting on a comment's overall quality, you can also vote separately on a number of axes, and apply a small set of emoji reactions. Try out and discuss this voting system here! Notes:

Please tell us what you think! Love it/hate it/think it should be different? Let us know.

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Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Zach Stein-Perlman · 2022-01-03T14:30:47.798Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Please tell us what you think! Love it/hate it/think it should be different? Let us know.

I think it's a fine experiment but... right now I'm closest to "hate it," at least if it was used for all posts (I'd be much happier if it was only for question-posts, or only if the author requested it or a moderator thought it would be particularly useful, or something).

  • It makes voting take longer (with not much value added).
  • It makes reading comments take longer (with not much value added). You learn very little from these votes beyond what you learn from reading the comment.
  • It's liable to make the more OCD among us go crazy. Worrying about how other people vote on your writing is bad enough. I, for one, would write worse comments in expectation if I was always thinking about making everyone else believe that my comments were true and well-aimed and clear and truth-seeking &c.

If this system was implemented in general, I would almost always prefer not to interact with it, so I would strongly request a setting to hide all non-karma voting from my view.

Edit in response to Rafael: for me at least the downside isn't anxiety but mental effort to optimize for comment quality rather than votes and mental effort to ignore votes on my own comments. I'm not sure if the distinction matters; regardless, I'd be satisfied with the ability to hide non-karma votes.

Replies from: __nobody, mikkel-wilson, Gunnar_Zarncke
comment by __nobody · 2022-01-11T00:48:56.287Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I largely agree with this. Multi-axis voting is probably more annoying than useful for the regulars who have a good model of what is considered "good style" in this place. However, I think it'd be great for newbies. It's rare that your comment is so bad (or good) that someone bothers to reply, so mostly you get no votes at all or occasional down votes, plus the rare comment that gets lots of upvotes. Learning from so little feedback is hard, and this system has the potential to get you much more information.

So I'd suggest yet another mode of use for this: Offer newbies to enable this on their comments and posts (everywhere). If the presence of extended voting is visible even if no votes were cast yet, then that's a clear signal that this person is soliciting feedback. That may encourage some people to provide some, and just clicking a bunch of vote buttons is way less work than writing a comment, so it might actually happen.

Replies from: mikkel-wilson
comment by MikkW (mikkel-wilson) · 2022-01-11T12:12:23.501Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I broadly agree, but I'd say I consider myself a regular (have been active for nearly 2 years, have deeper involvement with the community beyond LW, have a good bit of total karma), and I still expect this to provide me with useful information.

comment by MikkW (mikkel-wilson) · 2022-01-11T12:13:36.329Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree that it should be an option to turn this off for oneself, but I currently feel that this will be net-positive for most users

Replies from: __nobody
comment by __nobody · 2022-01-11T23:00:35.528Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Defaults matter: Opt-in may be better than opt-out.

For opt-out, you only know that people who disabled it care enough about not wanting it to explicitly disable it. If it's enabled, that could be either because they're interested or because they don't care at all.

For opt-in, you know that they explicitly expended a tiny bit of effort to manually enable it. And those who don't care sit in the group with those who don't want it. That means it's much more likely that your feedback is actually appreciated and not wasted. Additionally, comments with extended voting enabled will stand out, making them more likely to catch feedback. (And there will probably still be plenty of comments with extended votes for passive learning.)

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2022-01-03T17:56:47.008Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The ability to disable the voting by the user is valuable. An alternative would be to make it optional to enable for authors. Or require a minimum karma.

comment by Adam Zerner (adamzerner) · 2022-01-05T00:12:24.568Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was talking to a friendly recently who is an experienced software developer looking to get into AI safety. Both of us have been reading LessWrong for a long time, but were unclear on various things. For example, where can you go to see a list of all job and funding opportunities? Would jobs be ok with someone with a software engineering background learning AI related things on the job? Would grants be ok with that? What remote opportunities are available? What if there is a specific type of work you are interested in? What does the pay look like?

These are just a few of the things we were unclear on. And I expect that if you interviewed other people in similar boats, there would be different things that they are unclear on, and that this results in lots of people not entering the field of AI safety who otherwise would. So then, perhaps having some sort of comprehensive career guide would be a high level action [LW · GW] that would result in lots more people entering the field.

Or, perhaps there are good resources available, and I am just unaware of them. Anyone have any tips? I found 80,000 hours' career review of AI safety technical research and johnswentworth's [LW · GW] post How To Get Into Independent Research On Alignment/Agency [LW · GW], but neither seems comprehensive enough.

Edit: As an alternative, we could also have some sort of page with a list of people in the field of AI safety who are willing to chat on the phone with those who are looking to enter the field and answer questions. Now that I think about it, I suspect this would be both a) more effective at "converting" new "leads", and b) something that those in the field of AI safety would be more willing to do.

Why do I believe (a)? Having a career guide that is comprehensive enough where you get all of your questions addressed is hard. And there's something about speaking with a real person. Why do I believe (b)? Chatting with people is fun. Especially when you are able to help them. It also is low-commitment and doesn't take very long. On the other hand, writing and (especially) maintaining a guide is a lot of work.

So then, here is a Google Doc:

  • If you're in the field of AI safety, it would be awesome if you added your contact info.
  • If you know someone in the field of AI safety, it would be awesome if you brought this to their attention.
  • I just threw this together haphazardly. If someone is willing to take over the project and/or make the doc a little nicer, do something better in Notion, or create a real website for this, that would be awesome. I'd pursue this myself if there was enough interest (I'm a programmer and would build a real website de
  • If you are a LessWrong moderator, it'd be cool if you considered linking to this prominently. I feel like that might be a necessary condition for this succeeding. Otherwise it feels like the sort of thing that would rely on word of mouth to know that it exists, and that it probably wouldn't spread well enough to survive long enough.
  • If you are someone looking to get into the field of AI safety research, it would be great if you could share your thoughts and experiences, positive or negative, so we can update our beliefs about what the pain points really are.
Replies from: Chris_Leong, korin43
comment by Chris_Leong · 2022-01-17T14:33:51.034Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Are you aware of AI Safety Support? You can book a call with Frances Lorenz or JJ.

Replies from: adamzerner
comment by Adam Zerner (adamzerner) · 2022-01-17T17:31:50.803Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am not, it looks awesome, thanks for sharing! I will pass it along to my friend.

comment by Brendan Long (korin43) · 2022-01-05T01:15:15.127Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for posting this!

Yeah, my experience has been that there's a lot of posts talking about how AI safety companies want engineers, but it seems like it's all wanting engineers who live in Berkley, San Francisco, or NYC, or wanting people to retrain as researchers coming at problems from a specific direction. The "How to get into independent research" post is more useful, but assumes you're financially-independent and/or have an extreme tolerance to risk (step 1: quit your job and self-finance education for a few months). I'm currently in the process of saving up enough money to be able to do this, but it seems like I must not be the only one stuck here.

comment by nmehndir · 2022-01-04T03:32:21.704Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by jimrandomh · 2022-01-03T01:24:06.604Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The idea behind this voting system is to act as a culture-shaping tool: the ballot you see when you hover over the vote buttons is meant to tell you what we think makes for good and bad comments. Ideally, this message comes across even if you aren't voting much.

I've given some thought to the specific axes and reactions, but they should still be treated very much as a first draft. I'm very interested in comparing other people's lists of axes and reactions, and in arguments about what should and shouldn't be included. What makes for a good comment? What should people be paying attention to? What have you wanted to communicate to authors, which you wish you had a button for instead of having to write a whole comment?

A big uncertainty I have about this voting system is how much of a problem the extra complexity is. Is seeing the extra score components on comments distracting? Does having a bunch of extra axes to vote on make voting too time consuming or overwhelming? Feedback on this is appreciated.

And of course, now that we have a setup in place where we can try out alternative voting systems, we're interested in any original ideas people have for different ways of voting on comments that we haven't thought of.

Replies from: MondSemmel, MondSemmel, MondSemmel, adamzerner, Ruby, John_Maxwell_IV, mikkel-wilson, Yoav Ravid, joseph-rocca
comment by MondSemmel · 2022-01-03T18:17:12.009Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


  • I do find the added complexity distracting and overwhelming.
  • But that's less of a problem if such a voting system would only become selectively enabled in contexts where the benefits are worth the cost of extra complexity.
  • And obviously that feeling of being overwhelmed is only partly due to the increased complexity, and partly because it's an experimental unpolished feature.
  • That said, four axes plus extra emojis really is a lot, and I'd imagine a final system would be more like 2-3 axes (or a dropdown with some orthogonal options) than as many as here.
  • Regarding that point, I do think it's important that all axes in such a system are reasonably orthogonal. General Upvote, Truth, Aim, Truthseeking, and Clarity all seem far too correlated to be on separate axes.
  • Also, I'm slightly wary that some of these votes maybe impute too much motive into a comment? If you vote "seeks conflict", that implies that you think the comment author was intentionally unvirtuous. Whereas if your vote was an Angry Face à la Facebook's system, that's obviously at least partly about your own state of mind, and your reaction to the comment. (Not that Facebook's system would be particularly aligned with the desired LW culture.)
  • Regarding my impression of this current specific implementation of the voting system, the True-False axis being abbreviated as Truth makes sense, as does the Clear-Muddled->Clarity axis. But the Hits-the-Mark-Misses-the-Point axis being abbreviated as Aim feels incredibly confusing, and same with Seeks-Truth-Seeks-Conflict becoming Seeking.
  • Regarding the icons, Empathy and Surprise seem reasonably clear to me, whereas I could not identify the meaning of the Skepticism and Enthusiasm icons just from their icons.
  • Also: The current popup has virtues on the left and vices on the right, whereas the LW voting system is downvote-upvote, not upvote-downvote. So I'd prefer these axes to be flipped in the popup. One could also do something like: <Truth>, <Clarity>, <Truthseeking>, ...; and then the "<" is a downvote on the Truth value, and hovering over it gives you a tooltip that explains that this vote means the comment is False. (That said, multiple nested popups and tooltips are a no-go, of course.)
Replies from: Pattern, hamnox, mikkel-wilson
comment by Pattern · 2022-01-03T21:58:04.354Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Regarding that point, I do think it's important that all axes in such a system are reasonably orthogonal. General Upvote, Truth, Aim, Truthseeking, and Clarity all seem far too correlated to be on separate axes.

It took a while to read this, because I'd have said 'hits the mark/misses the point' and clear/muddled were the ones that seemed perhaps too similar. Then I noticed that you mentioned those - processing what these words mean quickly is going to take a bit to get down.

A comment, or post, could be clear, and yet, the point might not be. (And I might comment asking there.)

Also: The current popup has virtues on the left and vices on the right, whereas the LW voting system is downvote-upvote, not upvote-downvote. So I'd prefer these axes to be flipped in the popup.


I'm fine with the complexity now, but in a big thread, with loads of comments, that are very long...that's going to be more challenging. Hopefully the new system will make some things more clear, so that the process of understanding gets easier, but at first? It'll be a lot.

comment by hamnox · 2022-01-16T14:25:13.458Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Agree it's overwhelming.

Agree it'll get better if limited to relevant contexts and polished up.

Agree the axes are difficult to distinguish from one another. True speech, truth-seeking speech, precisely specified speech, and accurately aimed speech are all distinctly important! buuuut they're strongly correlated so the distinctions are usually only useful to point out on the extreme ends of the quality spectrum, or on very short comments.

There's an axis? reaction? that is not quite muddled or conflict-seeking or missing the point or false, nor does it warrants skepticism or surprise. It's just... an ugh field. It's the category of too much text, too far outside my base context, too ugly, too personally triggering, too why I should even try.

My browser shows does not display the skepticism or enthusiasm icons, I too have great difficulty identifying their meaning.

Replies from: MondSemmel, hamnox
comment by MondSemmel · 2022-01-16T17:54:21.530Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There's an axis? reaction? that is not quite muddled or conflict-seeking or missing the point or false, nor does it warrants skepticism or surprise. It's just... an ugh field. It's the category of too much text, too far outside my base context, too ugly, too personally triggering, too why I should even try.

Good point. I would not consider all those quite the same axis, but they're sure orthogonal to the axes we have here.

Here are some potential word pairs to name this axis: Energizing/Inspiring<->Exhausting, Enjoyable/Joyful<->Ugh, Polished<->Mess(y)/Unfocused/Meandering.

comment by hamnox · 2022-01-16T15:05:56.576Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

if i had to redesign the system right now based on these thoughts, I'd go for 3 sections of feedback.

First, reactions: Skepticism, Enthusiasm, Surprise, Empathy, Ugh, Wrath

Second, upvote/downvote.

Third, rubric breakdown. this is collapsed by default, if you voted Strong in either direction then it automatically opens. 

  • False | True
  • Muddled | Clear
  • Irrelevant* | On the Mark
  • Seeds Discord | Truth Converging

*-possible alternative: out of bounds?

comment by MikkW (mikkel-wilson) · 2022-01-11T12:57:57.599Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Personally, I don't find these 4 axes to be too much to handle. I don't necessarily agree that the axes have to be very orthogonal. The point of this system is to promote LW's desired culture of seeking truth, so it makes sense that the axes are going to have that all in common. The important thing is that each axis should have some significance that is not communicated by any of the other axes- which I feel at least 3 of the 4 axes accomplish ("true" is about whether something is actually true, "clarity" is about how well the thoughts are expressed, regardless of the truth, "seeking" is about demonstrating proper epistemic hygine, (Which overlaps slightly with clarity, but clarity is more about having a line of thought that can be followed, with less emphasis on the quality of the tools of reasoning, while truth-seeking emphasizes using tools that give good results, with less focus on how clear their use is, or the actual resulting thesis).

I'd say I have the hardest time distinguishing "aim" from "truth", because ultimately something that hits the mark is true, though "misses the point" seems not quite the same as "false". Actually, now that I think about it, "hits the mark" and "misses the point" don't really feel complementary to me- 'hits the mark' is basically about agreement, while 'misses the point' seems to be more about how well the thoughts in a comment understand and relate to the conversation it is a part of.

I would maybe suggest trying to adjust "hits the mark" to also be on this axis- highlighting not just truth, but relating to the broader context of the conversation in a good way.

comment by MondSemmel · 2022-01-05T09:00:46.932Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Bug: So apparently in my Android smartphone's Firefox browser (v95.2.0), the Skepticism emoji is rendered as a grey rectangle.

The other three emojis display fine, though they look different than on my desktop Firefox. (Which means they probably look different in other browsers too, right? It seems slightly weird to let browsers decide part of the aesthetics of one's website.)

comment by MondSemmel · 2022-01-05T09:02:57.522Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Trying new voting systems in open threads is a fine idea, but it has the unfortunate side effect of crowding out normal Open Thread comments. That seems bad to me, since these threads have a legitimate purpose of being the place where new users can introduce themselves, ask basic questions, etc.

comment by Adam Zerner (adamzerner) · 2022-01-04T01:58:20.056Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My biggest thought is that the bar for experimenting is a lot lower than the bar for, say, committing to this site-wide for 12 months. And with that said, it's hard for me to imagine this not being promising enough to experiment with. Eg. by enabling it on select posts and seeing what the results and feedback are.

comment by Ruby · 2022-01-03T01:27:54.583Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My first experience trying to react to your comment was feeling that none of the axes felt applicable, but then "enthusiasm" did capture how I felt; however, the icon for it felt discordant since I associate party-hat/streamers with "celebration" rather than "enthusiasm". I don't know what icon I'd use for enthusiasm.

Replies from: jimrandomh, Gunnar_Zarncke
comment by jimrandomh · 2022-01-03T01:45:08.403Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Some possibilities: Clapping hands, sparkles, smiling face with open hands, 100

I'm a bit worried about having too many yellow-circle-face icons, because they're hard to tell apart when they're small.

Replies from: Ruby, Gunnar_Zarncke, hamnox, mikkel-wilson
comment by Ruby · 2022-01-03T03:15:20.773Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think for any lasting system I want zero yellow-circle-face icons if for no other reason to preserve LessWrong's aesthetic (or my sense of it).

Replies from: TurnTrout, Ruby
comment by TurnTrout · 2022-01-03T18:20:07.213Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In addition, maybe any emoji should be grayscale so as to be less distracting?

Replies from: Pattern
comment by Pattern · 2022-01-03T21:54:55.974Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A user setting to toggle off the grayscale would be useful as well, though it makes things more complicated.

Replies from: mikkel-wilson
comment by MikkW (mikkel-wilson) · 2022-01-11T12:34:25.232Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I generally think having toggles is good design, as long as things function well for everybody without needing to use toggles

comment by Ruby · 2022-01-04T11:50:50.970Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I notice that I am uncertain how to interpret the "hearts" on this comment. Do they mean that people have empathy for my feeling or that they "love" this comment (a la strong upvote) with the meaning that heart reacts have in other places?

Replies from: hamnox, mikkel-wilson
comment by hamnox · 2022-01-16T13:39:26.903Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I interpreted it as "vibing with this" or "mood". Feeling a moment of connection with another human being through their words, either because it matches your own experience or because they painted a foreign vista vivid enough to inhabit.

comment by MikkW (mikkel-wilson) · 2022-01-11T12:35:21.939Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree that ❤️ and "empathy" don't really match with eachother

Replies from: tomcatfish
comment by Alex Vermillion (tomcatfish) · 2022-01-13T22:22:19.454Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think that the heart matching "empathy" makes me think it's intended to show emotional support for someone, like if I had a post about my dog dying or something. You might not "agree" since there might not be anything factual going on, but it would still be nice to be able to somehow make me know you noticed.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2022-01-03T02:12:54.846Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Don't use 100 for enthusiasm. Numbers should be reserved for numeric stuff like e.g., 100% of smth.

comment by hamnox · 2022-01-16T13:20:42.022Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am getting rectangle boxes for both Enthusiasm and Skepticism.

comment by MikkW (mikkel-wilson) · 2022-01-11T12:41:50.034Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think sparkles works well, clapping hands is also okay (and I'm actually personally fine with the 🎉 icon). 100 doesn't feel like it matches "enthusiasm" very well. Hugging face kinda works, but I prefer the others (aside from 100), and I agree that yellow faces should be minimized (though I'm probably less opposed to it than Ruby)

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2022-01-03T02:09:24.799Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I also used Enthusiasm, though mostly because of the post, not the comment. I am delighted to see a voting mechanism added. I missed the old polling feature from LW 1.0. 

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2022-01-23T04:14:53.024Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wrote a comment here [EA(p) · GW(p)] arguing that voting systems tend to encourage conformity. I think this is a way in which the LW voting system could be improved. You might get rid of the unlabeled quality axis and force downvoters to be specific about why they dislike the comment. Maybe readers could specify which weights they want to assign to the remaining axes in order to sort comments.

I think Agree/Disagree is better than True/False, and Understandable/Confusing would be better than Clear/Muddled. Both of these axes are functions of two things (the reader and the comment) rather than just one (the comment) and the existing labels implicitly assume that the person voting on the comment has a better perspective on it than the person who wrote it. I think the opposite is more likely true -- speaking personally at least, my votes tend to be less thoughtful than my comments.

Other axis ideas: Constructive/nonconstructive, important/unimportant. Could also try a "thank" react, and an "intriguing" or "interesting" react (probably replacing "surprise" -- I like the idea of reinforcing novelty but the word "surprise" seems like too high of a bar?) Maybe also reacts for "this comment should've been longer/shorter"?

comment by MikkW (mikkel-wilson) · 2022-01-11T12:28:22.460Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wish the buttons for 'truth' said 'agree / disagree' instead, because while sometimes the truth is objective, other times comments are more subjective, and I desire to communicate that I disagree ('false' feels more icky, because I feel they are honestly communicating what they feel, I just don't agree with their perspective)

In the case that some people say 'true', and an equal number say 'false', I would appreciate it if the 'truth' box (same for the other boxes) was still visible, and said 'truth 0', instead of disappearing. That way, one can distinguish between no box (Which means no-one has expressed an opinion), and a divided opinion.

Replies from: hamnox
comment by hamnox · 2022-01-16T15:40:43.603Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Polar opposite opinion on the truth buttons.

Agree / Disagree is not a relevant axis of quality on Lesswrong.
True / False is so relevant, when a comment contains explicit or implicit claims about reality to fact check.

I tentatively infer that the use case you're thinking of is some kind of Quick Poll, where someone shares subjective anecdata and others can quickly chime in with whether their anecdata is alike or in contrast of that example. This would be an incredibly valuable tool; I really want to have that. What I don't want is to have that tool in the place of a quality control system.

comment by Yoav Ravid · 2022-01-03T14:04:56.702Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wasn't clear to me what "aim" was referring to. Based on seeing "seeking" too I can guess that it's for hits the mark / misses the point, but otherwise it's not clear.

Replies from: mikkel-wilson
comment by MikkW (mikkel-wilson) · 2022-01-11T12:45:18.931Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I believe 'aim' refers to "hits the mark / misses the point"

comment by Joe Rocca (joseph-rocca) · 2022-01-08T12:40:15.760Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I really like this experimentation. Some thoughts:

  • Regarding finding the ideal set of axes: I wonder if it would make sense to give quite a few of them (that seem plausibly good), and then collect data for a month or so, and then select a subset based on usage and orthogonality. Rather than tentatively trying new axes in a more one-by-one fashion, that is. You'd explicitly tell users that the axes are being experimented with, and to vote on the axes which seem most appropriate. This might also be a way to collect axis ideas - if the user can't find the axis that they want, they can click a button to suggest one. Relying on the in-the-moment intuitions of users could be a great way to quickly search the "axis space".
  • I really like the "seeks truth/conflict" axis. A comment has an inherent "gravity" to it which makes it inappropriate/costly for pointing out "small" things. If a comment is very slightly hostile, then there's a kind of social cost to pointing it out, since it really isn't worth a whole comment. This results in a threshold under which incivility/conflict-seeking can simmer - being essentially immune to criticism.
  • One weird experiment that probably wouldn't work, but which I'd love to see is for the reactions to be more like a tag system, where there are potentially hundreds of different tags. They're essentially "quick comments", and could be quite "subtle" in their meaning. It would be a bit like platforms that allow you to react with any emoji, except that you can be much more precise with your reactions - e.g. "Unnecessary incivility" or "Interesting direction" or "Good steelman" or "Please expand" or "Well-written" or "Hand-wavy" or "Goodhart's Law" (perhaps implying that the concept is relevant in a way that's unacknowledged by the author). There could also be some emergent use-cases with tags. For example, tags could be used as a way for a commenter to poll the people reading the comment by asking them to tag a digit between 1 and 5, for example.
    • There are lots of ways this idea could end up being a net negative - in particular it may be that any level of subtlety beyond a few basic voting axes really would benefit from a comment in almost all cases, and then that comment essentially becomes the "tag" that people can vote on. Still, I'd love to see an experiment.
  • This isn't about this experiment specifically, but: One problem with showing an absolute vote count is that it relies on people explicitly not voting on something if they think it has reached an appropriate level of upvotes/downvotes. E.g. if a comment that you think is kinda bad has a score of +10, you might downvote it, but if it already has a score of -3, you might leave it because to downvote further would be "too harsh". This obviously isn't ideal, because a couple of hours later that -3 comment could have climbed to +5 and so it turns out you should have actually downvoted it. There are a few ways to solve this - e.g. use more of a star rating system, or cap the upside and downside (but keep the real votes so that e.g. if a comment gets to -10, only -5 is displayed and reflected in the user's karma, but it would require 6 upvotes to get to -4), display as a ratio plus total number of votes, etc. - they all have their trade-offs though, so I'm not sure there's a clear solution here. This is another place where tags are interesting, because if everyone things a comment is just slightly conflict-seeking, then they can use the "Slightly conflict-seeking" tag, and they can all vote on that without giving the comment author the impression that everyone thinks their comment is extremely conflict seeking.

Like I said, I love this experimentation - please keep at it! I think this topic is completely underappreciated by basically every social platform.


comment by khafra · 2023-05-08T22:15:32.948Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Twitter has announced a new policy of deleting accounts which have had no activity for a few years. I used the Wayback Machine to archive Grognor [LW · GW]'s primary twitter account here. Hal Finney's wife is keeping his account alive. 
I do not know who else may have died, or cryo-suspended, over the years of LW; nor how long the window of action is to preserve the accounts.

comment by Adam Zerner (adamzerner) · 2022-01-03T23:34:10.440Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Feature idea: Integrating into the editor so that users can quickly and easily draw sketches and diagrams. I have been doing so a little bit, eg. this diagram in this post [LW(p) · GW(p)].

I'm a big fan of visual stuff. I think it is pretty useful. And their GitHub repo says it isn't that hard to integrate.

Try out @excalidraw/excalidraw. This package allows you to easily embed Excalidraw as a React component into your apps.

Replies from: donald-hobson, Radamantis
comment by Donald Hobson (donald-hobson) · 2022-01-22T01:31:10.669Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Its a vector drawing package. I don't think it's the best one out there. There are quite a few pieces of software people might use. A majority of the users won't use this feature because their favourite software is better in some way. I mean if you have unlimited developer time, go for it. But I think the delta usability/ delta dev time is low. The software needs to have all the basic features and have a good UI before it starts offering any advantage at all. And half your users will still use other software, because that's what they know how to use, or it has some obscure feature they like.

Replies from: adamzerner
comment by Adam Zerner (adamzerner) · 2022-01-22T01:39:35.988Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A majority of the users won't use this feature because their favourite software is better in some way.

I'm not clear on what you mean here. It sounds like you are saying that even if Excalidraw was integrating into the LW text editor users would still find their favorite drawing software and use it instead. But that almost never happens currently, so I don't see why adding Excalidraw would change that.

But I think the delta usability/ delta dev time is low. The software needs to have all the basic features and have a good UI before it starts offering any advantage at all.

If what they said in the docs is correct, it wouldn't actually require too much dev time. Usability-wise, I've found Excalidraw to be one of the rare pieces of software that is intuitive to use out of the box, and doesn't have much of a learning curve.

Replies from: donald-hobson
comment by Donald Hobson (donald-hobson) · 2022-01-22T17:05:07.336Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

But that almost never happens currently, so I don't see why adding Excalidraw would change that.

From my experience of making a few diagrams for my posts, most of the work is in thinking what you want to represent, and making it. Not in saving and uploading a file. So I am predicting the rise in diagrams to be fairly small. Maybe as much as 50% more. 

Ok, if you are planning to copy and paste existing software, that could involve less dev time. Or it could be integration hell. And the learning curve on it is pretty shallow. Such a feature would encourage more quick scribbly diagrams.

Replies from: adamzerner
comment by Adam Zerner (adamzerner) · 2022-01-22T17:57:26.362Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My prediction is that the rise in diagrams would be much larger, based on the following model. 1) Making diagrams is currently not a thing that crosses peoples minds, but if it were an option in the text editor it would cross their minds. 2) Having to save and upload a file is a trivial inconvenience [LW · GW] that is a large barrier for people.

Replies from: donald-hobson
comment by Donald Hobson (donald-hobson) · 2022-01-22T20:37:01.189Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You may have a point. The trivial inconvenience effects are probably large for some people.

comment by Ruby · 2022-01-03T01:14:52.603Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is a test comment. You may react to it with impunity! Vote at will!

Replies from: MondSemmel
comment by MondSemmel · 2022-01-04T10:54:36.722Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, apparently you can (strong-) upvote all new categories for your own comments. What a deeply true, clear, and truthseeking comment this is. And boy does it hit the mark!

Replies from: tomcatfish
comment by Alex Vermillion (tomcatfish) · 2022-01-13T22:25:47.906Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Darn, I tried to strong surprise-react and it didn't take. Color me... surprised

comment by MikkW (mikkel-wilson) · 2022-01-11T12:20:11.961Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd appreciate it if clicking on the regular upvote / downvote didn't open the more complex dialog, and rather just did a simple up / down vote, and instead there was a button to access the more detailed voting. That way, by default, voting is easy and I can ignore the more nuanced system unless I deliberately wanted to use it.

(Also, since we're on the topic of the voting UI, I've mentioned to multiple members of the LW team that strong upvoting is broken on iPad, since the OS says long press = select text. On iPhone, a different gesture is used, but it's activated based on screen size, so it doesn't work on iPad. This should be easily fixable by simply adding a check for OS that makes the double-tap always work on iOS (though things are often not as simple as one may expect). I'm a little frustrated that this hasn't been fixed yet, though I also understand that dev resources are limited)

comment by steven0461 · 2022-01-03T22:23:39.484Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It took a minute to "click" for me that the green up marks and red down marks corresponded to each other in four opposed pairs, and that the Truth/Aim/Clarity numbers also corresponded to these axes. Possibly this is because I went straight to the thread after quickly skimming the OP, but most threads won't have the OP to explain things anyway. So my impression is it should be less opaque somehow. I do like having votes convey a lot more information than up/down. I wonder if it would be best to hide the new features under some sort of "advanced options" interface.

"Seeks truth" and "seeks conflict" aren't always opposites. For example, it's common for comments to seek harmony instead of either truth or conflict.

If there's going to be a small number of emojis, they should probably be very different colors, like red/yellow/blue/green.

comment by Measure · 2022-01-03T13:29:16.886Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's easy to write a comment that's net positive overall. It's hard to write one that's separately net positive on each axis. I expect a system like this would lead to me spending more time crafting my comments and posting fewer (better) comments overall.

comment by iceman · 2022-01-03T22:30:46.896Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

After this and the previous experiments on jessicata's top level posts, I'd like to propose that these experiments aren't actually addressing the problems with the karma system: the easiest way to get a lot of karma on LessWrong is to post a bunch (instead of working on something alignment related), and the aggregate data is kinda meaningless and adding more axis doesn't fix this. The first point is discussed at length on basically all sites that use upvote/downvotes (here's one random example from reddit I pulled from Evernote), but the second isn't. Given an example post, what does it mean that, say, 15 people upvoted it and 3 people downvoted it?

It means nothing.

There is an assumption that this aggregation actually is useful to the user and I'd like to push back on that. Even ignoring sockpuppeting (hi Eugene) and offsite brigading (hi [REDACTED]), how is a total score of "12" supposed to help me? How does a score of 12 predict whether I'd like this comment or not? Adding a separate agree/disagree sum (like on jessicata's posts) or a set of additional tags (like here) doesn't address this.

Here's a more interesting experiment that's admittedly much more disruptive and difficult to pull off: leave the upvote/downvote buttons, but completely hide total karma scores entirely from the user. Then do something like surface the comments in the order that LessWrong predicts the viewing user will upvote/take no action/downvote. My downvote might uprank a comment for someone else, making voting more valuable for everyone. This still feels vaguely Goodheart-y and is more of a starting point, but seems much more valuable than the current system.

Replies from: MondSemmel, mikkel-wilson
comment by MondSemmel · 2022-01-04T20:31:34.321Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't think it's a problem that people can get karma by posting a bunch? The only reward a user gets for having tons of karma is that their votes are worth a bit more; I don't know the exact formula, but I don't expect it to be so egregious that it would be worth farming karma for.

And it's certainly not the intention on the content-agnostic Less Wrong website that alignment posts should somehow be privileged over other content; that's what the alignment forum is there for.

As I understand it, just like on Reddit, the primary goal of the karma system is for content discoverability - highly upvoted content stays on the frontpage for longer and is seen by more people; and similarly, highly upvoted comments are sorted above less upvoted comments. Upvoting something means stuff like "I like this", "I agree with this", "I want more people to see this", etc. However, this breaks down when people e.g. want to indicate their appreciation (like an act of courage of speaking out), even if they believe the content is low quality or something. In that case, it seems like one voting axis is obviously not enough.

I understand that sockpuppeting and vote manipulation is a big problem on Reddit, but why do you think it is a relevant problem on LW? I'd expect this kind of thing to only become an important problem if LW were to get orders of magnitude more users.

Replies from: iceman
comment by iceman · 2022-01-06T01:38:55.637Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The only reward a user gets for having tons of karma is that their votes are worth a bit more

The only formal reward. A number going up is its own reward to most people. This causes content to tend closer to consensus: content people write becomes a Keynesian beauty contest over how they think people will vote. If you think that Preference Falsification is one of the major issues of our time, this is obviously bad.

why do you think it is a relevant problem on LW?

I mentioned the Eugene Nier case, where a person did Extreme Botting to manipulate the scores of people he didn't like, which drove away a bunch of posters. (The second was redacted for a reason.)

comment by MikkW (mikkel-wilson) · 2022-01-12T15:16:12.042Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I hadn't seen the experiments on Jessicata's posts before, and I assume others will have not as well, so here's a link [LW · GW] to one of the posts featuring the experiment. (It's a two-axis thing, with 'overall' and 'agreement' as the two axes. Part of me prefers that setup to the one used in this experiment)

comment by Jon Garcia · 2022-01-03T04:23:13.919Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I like the idea of using the Open Thread for testing new karma systems.

Adding multidimensionalilty to it certainly seems like a good idea. In my experience, karma scores on comments seem to be correlated not just to quality of content but also to how well it aligns with the community narrative, to entertainment value, to the prior status of the commenter, and even to the timing of the comment relative to that of the post. Disentangling these would be helpful.

But then, what is it we really want karma to represent? If community members are not vigilant in how we rate things, the karma system is ripe for Goodharting. It's easy to feel compelled to try whatever it takes to get that karma counter to increment.

In my opinion, karma ought to represent how much a comment or post should be seen by other members of the community, in terms of how useful it is for promoting good ideas specifically or rational thinking/behavior generally. Upvotes/downvotes are only (somewhat weak) Bayesian evidence for or against this.

comment by MondSemmel · 2022-01-13T21:21:01.380Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Some tiny bugs on this Walled Garden [? · GW] LW page:

  • Clicking on the "Walled Garden" banner leads to this URL [? · GW], which doesn't exist.
  • The second sentence here is incomprehensible: "If you have an event invite link, please use that to enter. If you have been granted full-access, to log in."
comment by Rafael Harth (sil-ver) · 2022-01-03T17:36:48.003Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Some thoughts on the individual axes:

  • True/False -- this seems not always applicable and similar to agree/disagree in the cases where it is? Could be missing something, but I don't think I like this.
  • Hits the Mark/Misses the point -- SlateStarCodex had the "two of {true/kind/necessary}" policy; going off topic was fine as long as it was kind and true. My impression has been that something like this is true on LessWrong as well, which seems good? I don't think this one is a good idea at all, at least not if people vote on it all the time.
  • Clear/Muddled -- better; seems like a relevant axis and a universal good. That said, it's much harder to be clear on some topics than others, so I feel like people ought to vote on relative clarify and I don't know if they will.
  • Seeks Truth/Seeks Conflict -- better for the same reasons as above and doesn't have the same problem
  • Emojis -- honestly no idea yet

Overall, I feel like 5 axes & emojis are obviously going to be too much. I also echo Zach Stein-Perlman wrt the negative effect on anxiety.

I quite like the 2-axis system of overall & agreement. I guess what I would like to see more is something like that system plus maybe parts of [this minus the first two axes] if there is a way to make it far less complex. Spitballing an idea here, perhaps you could tweak the interface such that voting on the other axes is not the norm. Maybe if you first have to click a button to do it and then it's only shown above vote strength 5 or something, so it needs two people or you need to strong-vote, and the people who disagree that the post is unusual along that axis can vote into the opposite direction to make it disappear again. That way, if you really think a post is too conflict-seeking, you can express that anonymously, but it doesn't clutter up every post.

I also think it should preferably always be possible to avoid negative scores if you try, for anxiety reasons, which is perhaps an argument against the clear/muddled axis but not the conflict/truth one.

Either way, I enthusiastically support the experiment!

comment by hamnox · 2022-01-21T07:20:39.349Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Epistemic Status: groping around at an event idea I hope others are interested in

I don't know how to communicate this yet, but there's a ritual I want to do with friends this summer. The following describes some inspirations and gestures toward the general aesthestic.

  • It was part of my step-family's lore to learn camping skills and wilderness survival, at one point even giving little "merit badges" for demonstrating mastery. With a similar spirit they would also host summer 'art shows' where'd we'd learn about a different culture and put things we made that year (or day) on display for the family to see.
  • Judaism has this week-long celebration that involves building a simple outdoor shelter which one eats in, sometimes sleeps. The shelter itself symbolizes the fragility and transience of life and one's dependence on God.
  • Burning Man is a temporary Art-themed city that springs up for a week in the middle of the nowhere and gets torn down cleanly at the end. The standard middle of nowhere happens to be in a freaking desert, so it's got this strong ethos of pushing one's limits individually but also looking out for each other. It emphasizes raw experiences and co-creation, eschews symbols of consumerism. Whole lot of drugs, music, sex, and weirdness.
  • Midsummer bonfires or maypoles. For drinking, dancing, singing around. Associated with "fertility", aka event of the year for flirting and/or hookups.
  • How To Make Everything youtube series: "Everything we use comes from 8,000 generations of collective innovation and discovery. But could an average person figure it all out themselves and work their way from the stone age to today?".
  • snippets from the sequences
    • Making History Available [LW · GW] - "I should immerse myself in history, imagine living through eras I only saw as ink on paper. ... I had to overcome the false amnesia of being born at a particular time. I had to recall—make available— all the memories, not just the memories which, by mere coincidence, belonged to myself and my own era. ... So many mistakes, made over and over and over again, because I did not remember making them, in every era I never lived . . ." 
    • What is Evidence [LW · GW], Entangled Truth, Contagious Lies [LW · GW] - rationality as entangling oneself with truths, and truths being heavily entangled with each other.
    • Truly Part of You [LW · GW] - "How much of your knowledge could you regenerate? From how deep a deletion? ... A shepherd builds a counting system that works by throwing a pebble into a bucket whenever a sheep leaves the fold, and taking a pebble out whenever a sheep returns. If you, the apprentice, do not understand this system—if it is magic that works for no apparent reason—then you will not know what to do if you accidentally drop an extra pebble into the bucket. That which you cannot make yourself, you cannot remake when the situation calls for it."
  • Doing stuff badly and having fun with it, like a child. Your work is going to suck. But it's yours in a way many hyper-optimized alternatives are not.
  • Hackerspace/Makerspace: Community-operated work spaces where people with common interests (often in technology, science, and digital art) can meet, socialize, shbrare infrastructure, and collaborate.

Am stalled on figuring out what the minimum viable parts are

comment by Alexander (alexander-1) · 2022-01-20T20:53:28.362Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don’t like this voting feature on mobile. It makes it impossible to press the normal vote arrow without zooming in because I keep fat-fingering something other than the regular vote arrow.

comment by Chris_Leong · 2022-01-17T14:30:18.360Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not a fan of this voting system tbh. I guess I just find it too distracting.

comment by Adam Zerner (adamzerner) · 2022-01-03T18:56:34.339Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Reaction-ballot voting has a "you make what you measure" feel to me.

  1. You make what you measure.

I learned this one from Joe Kraus. [3] Merely measuring something has an uncanny tendency to improve it. If you want to make your user numbers go up, put a big piece of paper on your wall and every day plot the number of users. You'll be delighted when it goes up and disappointed when it goes down. Pretty soon you'll start noticing what makes the number go up, and you'll start to do more of that. Corollary: be careful what you measure.

If people can vote on your comments along an axis of eg. seeking truth vs conflict, I expect that users will spend more effort to seek truth rather than conflict.

However, there is a risk of unintended consequences. For example, the presence of the truth vs conflict axis might push people away from babble-y and contrarian comments. I actually expect that this would happen in a non-trivial way with the current axes. But if there was an additional axis like "bold vs timid", I think that would offset the effect. Eg. in the sense of how sticking your neck out is a rationalist virtue, as opposed to using language like "X might be the case".

Replies from: tomcatfish
comment by Alex Vermillion (tomcatfish) · 2022-01-13T22:30:08.785Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the contrary, I wonder if this might be useful in highlighting "true but conflict-seeking" things or whatnot. When I see a user with -10 because they were being a jerk, maybe now they could be at -20 conflict and +10 truth.

To note: I do kind of expect people to (accidentally?) correlate on the axes (like a halo-effect sort of thing), but the current system FORCES that at all times, so I think it would still be better to be 75% correlated instead of 100%

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2022-01-03T02:18:48.704Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I love it. 

I reviewed my voting proposal [LW(p) · GW(p)] and see my suggestions covered except for the checkmark suggestion.

Replies from: hamnox
comment by hamnox · 2022-01-16T15:48:10.575Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I read through your proposal, and I don't understand how all your suggestions are covered. Can you run through which of your proposed elements

  • lightbulb: is used for surprising or insightful information
  • exclamation mark: is used to warn about something that requires attention
  • question mark: flags open questions that should be answered
  • trend (up/down): information about a general positive/negative trend
  • checkmark: Different from an up-vote; indicates that something was completed and does not need further attention

you see as corresponding to which elements in the current setup?

Replies from: Gunnar_Zarncke
comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2022-01-16T17:02:03.010Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
  • lightbulb: surprise
  • exclamation mark: Skepticism or Hits the Mark
  • question mark: Seeks Truth
  • trend (up/down): Up/Down - if indicated by the OP to be used that way - though I agree that messes with the karma system
  • checkmark: missing

Reflecting a bit more on it, I think my original excitement must have clouded my judgment: I no longer think that the mapping is obvious or even halfway clear.

comment by nmehndir · 2022-01-18T08:36:53.014Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hi, would anyone be interested in being accountability partners? I haven't figured out the specifics, but I'd like to call on a daily basis (morning & evening) and potentially have longer check-ins each week/month to discuss our goals and the progress we've made towards them.

Context about me: I'm in CST (UTC-6) and I will start my undergrad in physics this Fall. I don't have much external accountability since I'm on a gap year, and I'm hoping that having an accountability partner will help with ensuring that I'm making real progress in my computational physics research and self-study projects (+ other stuff like weightlifting, running, and writing).

Feel free to comment or PM me if interested. I'd also be interested in any meta thoughts, e.g. if there's more information I should provide or if you have any insights about arrangements like this.

Replies from: Dirichlet-to-Neumann
comment by Dirichlet-to-Neumann · 2022-01-18T11:43:24.861Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd be interested although I'm in France, UCT+1 so it may be a bit difficult to arrange a meeting twice a day.
I'm a PhD student in mathematics.

Replies from: nmehndir
comment by nmehndir · 2022-01-20T19:37:44.441Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by Dirichlet-to-Neumann · 2022-01-16T22:37:35.384Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I kind of feel like there should be a funny/not funny axis. Sometimes I read a good joke or a fun take in a comment, and I would like to signal I liked it, but the overall karma does not seems like a good way to signal that.

Also true and hits the mark do not seem orthogonal to me. Can something be false and still get the point ?

comment by Pattern · 2022-01-03T21:47:43.293Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

1. Experiments

The missed opportunity to be able to vote on the post itself this new way stands out - so I'll put it here: 🎉!


The old voting problem is still present: Roughly, the longer the comment (or post), the more likely the same person has different views of parts.


The (modular) anonymity aspect (and the dichotomy aspect) limit some combinations as being clearly from the same person.

Seeks Truth/Seeks Conflict

Combine both and you can get something. Seeks Cruxes? (Currently blocked by exclusive restriction.)

Skeptical + Enthusiastic*

Not quite the same as 'important if true'. Maybe: 'if this works out it could help progress (think cruxes)', or 'I'm not sure that'll work, but if it does it'll be amazing.'

Also could be Experiment/experiment related. (In that there's a sense it could go both ways.)

(Currently blocked by exclusive restriction.)

*I read these as being intended as opposites, though they weren't set to be exclusive. Empathy/Surprise, less so, but still a little bit.

Hits the mark + Misses the point:

You hit the dead center...of a different target.

I could see these being tricky, in that, people arguing about what the point is, happens. Also sometimes a really unusual definition is employed, but not given, and that throws off everyone discussing the implications. (Not that this happens a lot, but I saw it happen recently. Another case of 'important stuff in the comments, that the post should be edited to reflect, if only via a 'Edit: by _ I meant _.' added to the end of the post.)

comment by MondSemmel · 2022-01-20T16:45:51.373Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Another weird bug, found here [LW(p) · GW(p)]. Also see the comment by Zack_M_Davis.

The bug: this is an intentionally broken unclickable link. It's supposed to link to "http:// asdf", and it seems like leaving a space in it is enough to make it unclickable.

comment by MondSemmel · 2022-01-19T14:51:30.601Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Tiny bug with the LW 2020 Review [? · GW] progress bar: The dates on the progress bar disappear depending on horizontal window size. At its full size, the bar ends on "Feb 1st"; at a slightly smaller window size, the bar ends on "Final Voting", with "Feb 1st" out of view; and once the window is small enough, and the progress bar is displayed at the top, then it no longer displays dates at all.

Here is a gif of the problem.

comment by hamnox · 2022-01-16T18:11:29.305Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

epistemic status: felt sense poetry

Think about a tree. A tree with roots going deep into the ground, and leaves spread out to catch as much sun as it can. Hold that tree in mind.

We often dream of leaving the earth and solar system under our own power. It's an important goal. It's not, however, immediately achievable. We are, for now, tied to this pale blue dot. Sol III, Terra, the world that birthed us. And when we do leave, we will take much of it with us. Some of it we will take intentionally, because we're sentimental like that. But some we will take in the marks of growing up on this pale blue dog, in *what kind of beings our first world made us*.

I want to dedicate a time of the year to think about the environment that we live in, how it shapes us and how we shape it. We ought to know the soil we grow in, and know it well. A general purpose rationality must produce local knowledge, specialized to the time and space and life we are living. We must dig our roots deep, and spread our leaves wide.

We talk a lot about the general theory of rational agents. It informs how you learn true things and make good choices. But, you are not the general example of an agent. Your mind did not spring up from first principals. Evolutionary history, cultural memetics, and human institutions also play a role in the way you learn true things and make good choices. That which is at your roots effected what the truth to be found and good choices to be made even are, thousands of years later.

The tree is a metaphor. Grand forces of optimization have existed before you, and will likely exist after you. Seek them out. Use what they can give you. Dig your roots deep.

And spread your leaves wide. Plants are often portrayed as passive; that's incorrect. They move. They move a great deal, efficiently and slowly, in order to catch the sun. In the spirit of a plant, you need not chase after every opportunity. You can position yourself well, and take the chances as they come to you. Have patience, not passivity. And spread your leaves wide. Catch every ray of sunlight and harness it. Drink in the present moment, and turn it into something awesome.

  • What's something you know about the environments that you live in, or that shaped you? Your city. Your ecosystem. Your history. Your economy. Your community. What don't you know about them that you would like to?
  • What serendipitous chance might you hope to catch, this month? What would you be prepared to act on if it happened?
comment by MondSemmel · 2022-01-15T20:04:39.840Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Bug: In this [? · GW] post, there's one footnote, but its return-from-footnote link does not work. That is, when I click on it, the browser screen doesn't move back to the footnote link. However, when I load that return-from-footnote link [? · GW] in a new tab, it does correctly center the screen on the footnote link.

comment by gjm · 2022-01-14T16:34:24.116Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My immediate (kneejerk System-1-ish emotional) reaction to the experimental voting popup is along the lines of "meh, too much effort, won't bother".

My slightly less immediate reaction turns out to be much the same. So e.g. I think "I should give this a try", take a look at the comment currently presented to me first, and ... well, there are now 9x as many things to decide about it as before (overall opinion, 4 "axes", and 4 possible reaction emoji), and all but the first feel as if they require substantially more mental work to arrive at a useful opinion about, and I just don't wanna.


In practice, the way I usually use the LW karma system (other than "implicit" uses like reading the comments in the order the UI presents them to me in, which is affected by karma) is something like this: I vote only when something I read strikes me as especially good or bad, in which case I consider briefly whether it's good/bad enough to be worth voting on, and whether if so it warrants a strong up/down-vote. This process seems like it might cope fine with the more complex interface -- if I've been particularly impressed or unimpressed by something I'll have some sense of what about it is impressive or unimpressive to me, and having a finer-grained way to express that seems like a gain rather than a loss.

So it may be that the answers to the questions "is explicitly deciding what to do with a particular post or comment easier or harder with this experiment?" and "is voting as I actually do it easier or harder with this experiment?" are substantially different.

[EDITED to fix an inconsequential typo.]

comment by gjm · 2022-01-14T15:42:28.638Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not sure what it says about LW that in the current Open Thread there is only one comment that isn't either (1) about the voting-system experiment or (2) deleted.

(And I slightly suspect that that one comment may have been inspired at least slightly by the voting-system experiment, not that there's anything at all wrong with that.)

comment by Alex Vermillion (tomcatfish) · 2022-01-23T19:11:40.784Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I actually really enjoyed these voting axes.

I wouldn't be opposed to them being rewritten, but I really liked being able to separate these things out. I will say that not knowing whether or not I voted on an axis from overview is annoying (like how you can see green or red arrows on a post when you regular-vote it.

comment by Zian · 2022-01-17T22:18:22.039Z · LW(p) · GW(p) (bias: authors include employees of one of the companies being evaluated, Xpert) might help us choose between all the different tests floating around for sale. It was published on July, 2021 and discusses products from the following firms:

  • Accula
  • BioFire
  • cobas
  • Cue
  • ID NOW
  • Lucira
  • Xpert
  • Visby (Bias: "Cue Health provided readers and cartridges for the study.") was published on May 2021 and evaluates Cue Health.

comment by PeterL (peter-loksa) · 2022-01-17T13:46:54.944Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree that voting might be little bit annoying. 

On the other side, it could potentially make the search for specific qualities of comment much easier if automated (by sorting). (E.g. "Now I am not in the mood for solving difficult concepts so I want something with high clarity evaluation." or "Now I am too tired to argue/fight so I want something empathic now.")

comment by Nnotm (NNOTM) · 2022-01-14T12:06:38.994Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is there a post as part of the sequences that's roughly about how your personality is made up of different aspects, and some of them you consider to be essentially part of who you are, and others (say, for example, maybe the mechanisms responsible for akrasia) you wouldn't mind dropping without considering that an important difference to who you are?

For years I was thinking Truly Part Of You [LW · GW]was about that, but it turns out, it's about something completely different.

Now I'm wondering if I had just imagined that post existing or just mentally linked the wrong title to it.

Replies from: hamnox
comment by hamnox · 2022-01-16T16:26:27.460Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't remember reading anything like that. If I had to make a wild guess of where to find that topic I'd assume it was part of the Luminosity sequence.

Replies from: NNOTM
comment by Nnotm (NNOTM) · 2022-01-22T08:09:22.230Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I haven't read the luminosity sequence, but I just spent some time looking at the list of all articles seeing if I can spot a title that sounds like it could be it, and I found it: Which Parts are "Me"? [LW · GW] - I suppose the title I had in mind was reasonably close.

comment by MikkW (mikkel-wilson) · 2022-01-11T12:38:04.126Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The UI for the reactions works pretty well on iPhone, the only issue is that it's tricky to dismiss the dialog, though it can generally be done with less than 10 seconds of fiddling (usually closer to 1 or 2 seconds). If there was a button to dismiss the dialog, that could make it a lot smoother to use (and should work well on other platforms as well, even if it's not strictly needed on other platforms)

comment by MondSemmel · 2022-01-04T10:52:50.759Z · LW(p) · GW(p)