LW Team Updates - September 2019

post by Ruby · 2019-08-29T22:12:55.747Z · score: 43 (12 votes) · LW · GW · 16 comments

Contents

  Recent Features
    Shortform
  Upcoming Features
    Subscriptions Overhaul
    Link Previews [DONE]
    New Editor Option, including Collaborative Editing and In-Line Comments
    Convert Comments to Posts
  Other Updates
    MIRI Summer Fellows Program Writing Day
    LessLong Launch Party in Berkeley
  How to reach the team for feedback or support
None
16 comments

To better communicate site updates, we’re going to experiment with a once-monthly updates post. We’ll pin this post pin on the homepage for roughly a week and then continue to post updates here throughout the month.

Please also feel free to use the comments section on this post as a Schelling point to give feedback, file bug reports, or ask questions you have about the site. (You can also email us, ask a question [LW · GW], or use Intercom.)

Recent Features

Shortform

The major feature announcement for August was the launch of the Shortform beta [LW · GW] (aka www.lesslong.com).

Shortform is for:

Writing that is short in length, or written in a short amount of time. Includes off-the-cuff thoughts and brainstorming.

Shortform content can be seen in Recent Discussion on the homepage, on www.lesslong.com/shortform, and on the All Posts page using the Daily view [LW · GW].

Anyone can create their own shortform by clicking New Shortform in their dropdown menu, clicking the New Shortform Post button on the homepage above Recent Discussion, or via the text box on the Shortform page.

See the announcement post here [LW · GW] with full explanation of the philosophy behind Shortform and full instructions on how to use it. We’ll also be having a party on September 7 in Berkeley to celebrate the launch of Shortform. Details [LW · GW].

Upcoming Features

Heads up on new features which should arrive in September:

Subscriptions Overhaul

We have a planned overhaul of LessWrong’s subscription system which will allow you to subscribe to posts, comments, users, and private messages thereby receiving notifications and/or emails.

Link Previews [DONE [LW · GW]]

Soon, when you hover over a green link [LW · GW] on a LessWrong page that leads to another LessWrong page, you’ll see a pop-up preview of what’s on the other side plus extra info like the author and karma of the post being linked to.

New Editor Option, including Collaborative Editing and In-Line Comments

Currently, you can write comments and posts using either the Draft.js or Markdown editor [LW · GW]. Soon, we'll enable a new experimental editor that should be more powerful and include features like collaborative editing and in-line comments in the style of Google Docs.

Convert Comments to Posts

Sometimes, you write a comment, and then realize it turned out to be a self-contained essay. Soon comments will have a create draft post option that will create a copy of it in draft form. You can make any additional edits you’d like, and then publish it like normal.

If you do use this on your top-level shortform comments, you’ll also have the option of moving it’s comments to the new post once you publish it.

Other Updates

MIRI Summer Fellows Program Writing Day

MSFP [LW · GW] held a writing day [LW · GW] on Thursday, 22nd August and produced several dozen posts. You can use the All Posts page to easily rewind and see the great AI Safety content they produced.

LessLong Launch Party in Berkeley

We’ll be hosting a Shortform launch party [LW · GW] in Berkeley on September 7. See the LessWrong event [LW · GW] or FB event for details.

How to reach the team for feedback or support

Lastly, if you’re looking to get in touch with the LessWrong team, the following are good ways:

16 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2019-08-30T03:34:00.995Z · score: 28 (7 votes) · LW · GW

We have a planned overhaul of LessWrong’s subscription system which will allow you to subscribe to posts, comments, users, and private messages thereby receiving notifications and/or emails.

Sweet! Not sure how mature development is, but if it's still in an immature state, here are some feature ideas:

  • A view of the number of subscribers to a particular thread, so I can figure out if it's worth my time to leave a comment even if the thread is pretty old.
  • A user configuration option that allows me to subscribe to what I read by default, and opt out if I'm uninterested in following the discussion going forward.

I think there are some benefits of moving to more of an equilibrium where people are subscribing to discussions by default, so then there is less pressure to check the forum frequently if you want to write comments people will actually see.

comment by Raemon · 2019-08-30T22:06:16.382Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, something like this seems good and quite doable.

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2019-09-05T02:17:49.356Z · score: 15 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Update: We just added the ability for individual users to add themselves to the group and events map in the community section. The goal of this is to facilitate the formation of new local groups and generally help people find others with similar interests nearby. This is part of my efforts to help with the SSC Meetups Everywhere event this year. 

We also added an option to subscribe to the creation of nearby events and groups nearby, as well as notifications if there are more than X other people who have added themselves to the map within a radius that you specify. 

I also added a bunch of quality of life improvements to the meetup system, like the ability to mark groups as inactive, and an additional "show all groups" page, which should both go live tomorrow. 

We are also likely going to feature the meetup map on the frontpage again during the month of September, as part of the SSC Meetups Everywhere effort. 

comment by Alexei · 2019-09-04T20:00:10.784Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

On mobile, I often click+hold a link to bring up the iOS menu to open a new link. Now when I do this the LW pop up appears and doesn’t go away, until I find a safe spot to click away from it.

comment by Ruby · 2019-09-04T22:03:53.492Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for flagging that. We're going to disable hover link-previews on mobile since they don't work very well there; should be fixed soon. (And thanks for being opted into beta features.)

comment by Alexei · 2019-09-06T03:11:42.845Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Looks like it’s now fixed by the iOS menu showing up before the pop up.

comment by Alexei · 2019-09-04T23:38:40.755Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Actually I wasn’t opted in. But now I changed my settings to opt in.

comment by Raemon · 2019-09-04T23:53:19.579Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This is as good a time as any to note that the Opt Into Beta flag will now show you "Hover previews" for links to lesswrong posts (i.e. if a link would go to a LW post you'll see the title/author/karma/highlight)

comment by Ruby · 2019-08-29T22:26:02.412Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Hints & Tips

Some good things to know:

  • LessWrong has a Frontpage Post vs Personal Blogpost [LW · GW] distinction that helps ensure the relevance of content shown to users by default. If you want to see more content (including community-specific and niche-interest posts), you can enable the Include Personal Blogposts checkbox on the homepage.
  • Want to regularly get LessWrong's Curated Posts [LW · GW] in your inbox or RSS reader? You can subscribe on the homepage beneath the Recently Curated section.
  • Don't like the recommendations you're seeing at the top of the homepage? Click the gear icon to modify or hide the From the Archive and Continue Reading sections.
  • Generally have site questions? Try the FAQ [LW · GW] or comment here.
comment by Ruby · 2019-09-20T00:50:10.596Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

UPDATE

  • Link Previews are now live. [LW · GW]
  • Subscriptions and New Editor are still being worked on. The new editor will hopefully hit the "opt into experimental features" status soon.
  • Convert Comments to Posts is hitting some difficulties.
comment by Raemon · 2019-09-05T23:48:21.425Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Quick note that we've added the community map to the frontpage to help support Slatestarcodex Meetups Everywhere. We'll have this up for the next few weeks.

We've also added the ability to add yourself (as an individual person) to the map. The most important use case here is so that people who don't live near major hubs can more easily find each other.

You can turn off the frontpage map in your user settings.

comment by Pattern · 2019-08-30T18:23:04.108Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
Soon will enable a new experimental editor that should be more powerful

Who is Soon? Jokes aside,

Anyone can create their own shortform by clicking New Shortform in their dropdown menu, clicking the New Shortform Post button on the homepage above Recent Discussion, or via the text box on the Shortform page.

Should people with a pre-existing shortform do this, or has that already been done? (And is there going to be an automatic version of the Shortform Sequence?)

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2019-08-30T19:56:56.971Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Should people with a pre-existing shortform do this, or has that already been done? (And is there going to be an automatic version of the Shortform Sequence?)

We converted all the existing shortform posts we could find. I just converted yours, since it seemed we missed that one.