LessWrong moderation messaging container

post by Raemon · 2023-04-22T01:19:00.971Z · LW · GW · 13 comments

This is a shell post for various comments which I'm using as the source-of-truth for some moderation messaging (currently, what a new user sees when they go to make their first post or comment).

It seemed good to make it public so people could comment on it if they wanted. I'm particularly unsure about how to handle things like "not being familiar with background material." I think it's easy to overdo and make it feel very burdensome, but also man it sure is annoying having a bunch of people showing up missing a lot of context.

(You can comment on this post, the two initial comments are just used as the text-source for some places in our codebase)


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Raemon · 2023-04-11T21:35:55.929Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Moderators will evaluate your comment before it appears publicly, for criteria including:

  • Understand rationality fundamentals. Try to reason probabilistically [LW · GW], get curious about where you might be wrong [? · GW], avoid arguing over definitions [? · GW], etc. Moderators may reject content that seems to be making reasoning mistakes covered in The Sequences
  • Be careful when making assumptions about people's motivations. Try to argue about ideas rather than people. 
  • Easy to engage/argue with. If you disagree, try to state your reasoning and what would change your mind. Make concrete predictions. 
  • Understand the context of the parent post. Many posts are assuming some background knowledge, and most post authors don't want to rehash a lot of 101 debates every time they're building off an existing argument. If your comment seems to be ignoring background context (or simply ignoring/misunderstanding the text of the original post), moderators may ask you to post it elsewhere.

You can read more advice about how to make a good first comment in the new user's guide [LW · GW].

Replies from: Ruby
comment by Ruby · 2023-04-24T21:45:46.531Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Argue about ideas, not people.

I reckon this one isn't an issue often enough to be in this list.

comment by Raemon · 2023-04-11T21:34:23.392Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Note: LessWrong has high/specific standards for first posts

We think of LessWrong as somewhere in between a forum and a university or academic journal. Your first post is a bit like an application to said university. Established users can write on a variety of topics, but new users should focus on communicating clear, succinct models/evidence/arguments that are relevant to LessWrong. (We recommend avoiding fiction or poetic posts until you've gotten some upvoted object-level posts)

Understand rationality fundamentals. Try to reason probabilistically [LW · GW], get curious about where you might be wrong [? · GW], avoid arguing over definitions [? · GW], etc. Moderators may reject content that seems to be making reasoning mistakes covered in The Sequences

Write a clear introduction. Your first couple paragraphs should make it obvious what the main point of your post is, and ideally gesture at the strongest argument for that point. Explain why your post is relevant to the LessWrong audience. 

Address existing counterarguments (if applicable). We try to avoid rehashing debates that have been covered significantly. If your post seems to be ignoring important arguments that have already been made on a topic, mods may ask you to do more background reading.

AI content is held to a particularly high standard. There's a large wave of AI content. Ideally, we'd give a lot of feedback and guidance to each individual. Unfortunately we don't have bandwidth to do that. We're working on some posts to give people a better sense of how to get started. Meanwhile in some cases we may ask you to do some more background reading or comment in the AI Questions Open Thread [? · GW].

You can read more advice about how to make a good first post in the new user's guide [LW · GW].

Replies from: Zach Stein-Perlman, Gunnar_Zarncke
comment by Zach Stein-Perlman · 2023-04-22T02:03:14.755Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If I was a new user reading "Your first post is a bit like an application," I would delay making a first post longer than would be optimal: I would spend too much time revising my first post or even discard several possibilities until I had a post idea I was ~sure was good.

Replies from: Richard_Kennaway, Raemon
comment by Richard_Kennaway · 2023-04-22T07:08:30.208Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Um, hypothetically working as intended?

Replies from: Raemon, Zach Stein-Perlman
comment by Raemon · 2023-04-22T07:35:01.524Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A bad-thing-to-avoid is that the people who are most scrupulous about reading messages like this, who (maybe) are also more likely to have written fine posts in the first place, end up overly anxious about it and delaying longer unnecessarily.

comment by Zach Stein-Perlman · 2023-04-22T07:36:09.689Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Um, no; see "longer than would be optimal."

Replies from: Richard_Kennaway
comment by Richard_Kennaway · 2023-04-22T08:54:54.434Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Suboptimal for what, though? If you audition for a place in an orchestra and you're accepted, does that make the audition a suboptimal waste of time? If an aspiring musician lacks the confidence to apply, that is their problem, not the orchestra's.

comment by Raemon · 2023-04-22T02:51:11.066Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am worried that, although also it’s been up for a week and not obviously reduced the number of posts.

Replies from: zrkrlc
comment by junk heap homotopy (zrkrlc) · 2023-04-22T07:45:38.178Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Have you scaled up the moderation accordingly? I have noticed fewer comments that are on the level of what gets posted on r/slatestarcodex these days but I'm not sure if it's just a selection effect.

Replies from: Raemon
comment by Raemon · 2023-04-22T07:49:14.551Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

For the past couple weeks we've been checking each new comment and rejecting ones we think fail the criteria in the comment warning [LW(p) · GW(p)]. (This ends up being something like 9 comments a day. For comparison, there's like 2-3 comments from newish users each day that actually seem to meet the bar)

We'll hopefully have the "rejected" section of the site up soon so that people can evaluate whether they think we're making reasonable calls here.

(To be clear, when I say "not reduced the number of posts", I mean "reduced the number of people submitting posts", not "posts that get accepted." We've also been rejecting a few new posts a day)

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2023-04-22T22:41:14.190Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It would be nice to have some examples of firsts that were short and met the bar. 

comment by Ruby · 2023-05-18T18:28:17.295Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

LessWrong ain't your typical web forum

All first-time comments get reviewed by moderators to ensure they're productive contributions that fit with LessWrong's particular culture/values/goals. New users start our rate limited to 3 comments per day and one post per week (but you'll get more commenting privileges as you gain karma).

Learn more at: