Closed Beta Users: What would make you interested in using LessWrong 2.0? 2017-06-19T06:28:20.728Z · score: 6 (6 votes)
Why you should attend EA Global and (some) other conferences 2015-07-16T04:50:31.624Z · score: 19 (28 votes)
HPMOR Wrap Parties: Resources, Information and Discussion 2015-03-04T19:49:13.983Z · score: 18 (19 votes)


Comment by habryka on LW Migration Announcement · 2018-03-23T01:06:42.807Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

All activity between now and 7:00PM on the page will be lost.

Comment by habryka on Leaving beta: Voting on moving to · 2018-03-14T20:21:04.488Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, you can see all recent posts on /daily on the new LW.

Comment by habryka on Leaving beta: Voting on moving to · 2018-03-14T20:20:23.547Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry for not being around more! We launched the Community/Meetup interface just before we announced the vote, so I've been busy polishing that up and making sure everything for that works.

Now that that system works more stably, I will be more responsive in answering questions about the vote and the transition, etc. And in general I check LW2 more often than here, so if you have questions asking over there will probably get you a faster response.

Re password reset: Yep, everything you said is correct, and it does seem reasonable to have a page with both developer contact info and password reset functionality that is accessible without fancy JS. But I don't know how much I can promise yet for that, since it might just end up being a big pain to make the Meteor password reset work without any JS whatsoever. But we should test it so that it at least works in IE 9+.

Comment by habryka on Leaving beta: Voting on moving to · 2018-03-14T20:15:04.313Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, huh. I didn't realize this as a bug. Thanks for pointing it out!

We have plans to allow people better filtering options for comments and posts in general, somewhat similar to what greaterwrong has to show posts sorted by month and year. So that would fix this problem. I am hesitant to allow the serve to return more than 1000 comments on a single graphQL request though, simply because of server-load reasons. So a proper pagination approach would help with this, which would come with the better filtering and sorting I am imagining.

In general, I think it's very important to make the old content on the site discoverable and findable, and I definitely want to make sure we fix the kinds of bugs you brought up here.

Comment by habryka on Leaving beta: Voting on moving to · 2018-03-14T20:10:30.742Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The site should now work properly on Firefox 48. Are there any other browsers you use on which it still breaks?

Comment by habryka on Leaving beta: Voting on moving to · 2018-03-14T02:58:08.113Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, we are working on browser compatibility. I actually just figured out what was causing your specific bug, so that one should be fixed within at least the next two or three days.

Some navigation aspects are definitely hard to make work with javascript completely disabled (example: The hamburger menu), but we should be able to make it so that the site fails gracefully when some javascript stuff doesn't work.

Comment by habryka on An alternative way to browse LessWrong 2.0 · 2018-02-20T23:57:28.532Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yep, I agree with this. I've learned quite a few things from the GreaterWrong design and overall think that the LW2 UI will be significantly better because of that. It's great to have a platform that experiments in a very different direction from the main site.

Comment by habryka on 11/07/2017 Development Update: LaTeX! · 2017-11-07T23:06:15.880Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · LW · GW

(i.e. There should be no further issues with LaTeX not rendering)

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Open Beta Live · 2017-10-31T23:56:41.614Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, that's a bug. I am planning to remove the whole website field soon anyways.

Comment by habryka on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-28T13:41:18.230Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

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 habryka on Open thread, October 16 - October 22, 2017 · 2017-10-19T21:58:30.606Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We actually have plans for a more chat-like section of the site, though we haven't yet fully converged on an implementation. Here is the relevant section from the LessWrong 2 strategy doc:

Shortform (implementation unclear)

Many authors (including Eliezer) have requested a section of the site for more short-form thoughts, more similar to the length of an average FB post. It seems reasonable to have a section of the site for that, though I am not yet fully sure how it should be implemented.

Comment by habryka on Open thread, October 16 - October 22, 2017 · 2017-10-19T21:55:52.061Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yep, though I do expect this to happen at least in its basic functionality by the end of the year, though we might not be able to get full feature parity before we move over towards the new site. I would be interested in getting a list of the most important features you see for our meetup functionality.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Open Beta Live · 2017-10-19T04:22:00.600Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You can now also deactivate Intercom on your profile. I really wish Intercom wouldn't do the horrible thing with the tab-title.

Comment by habryka on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-08T00:39:43.739Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

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 habryka on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-07T12:35:20.266Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

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.

Comment by habryka on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-06T09:21:19.290Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

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.

Comment by habryka on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-06T09:18:40.555Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

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 habryka on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-06T09:16:02.130Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This is fixed now.

Comment by habryka on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-02T20:16:54.482Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

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 habryka on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-02T20:15:12.762Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

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)

Comment by habryka on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-02T20:10:16.699Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

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

Comment by habryka on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-02T20:07:53.820Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

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 habryka on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-02T19:23:45.311Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

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.

Comment by habryka on Feedback on LW 2.0 · 2017-10-02T19:15:38.777Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

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)

Comment by habryka on LW2.0 now in public beta (you'll need to reset your password to log in) · 2017-09-26T18:54:11.469Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I apologize. Getting a complete copy of the database requires us to coordinate with Trike Apps and is a lot of work for everyone, so we are limiting the number of complete ports to 2 (i.e. one three months ago, and one on launch).

I am working on a merge-accounts feature, so while I can't absolutely guarantee one, it's very likely you will have the ability to merge your old LW account with any temporary account you create now.

Comment by habryka on LW2.0 now in public beta (you'll need to reset your password to log in) · 2017-09-23T21:11:57.994Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

We have a copy of the database from 3 months ago (will be updating to a more recent one on launch), but this means that if you added an email to your account later than that we might not have it.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-23T00:01:47.301Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sure, happy to change the email address associated with your account!

Just send me a pm with the email you want it changed to, and I will make the modification.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Open Beta starts 9/20 · 2017-09-22T07:57:19.220Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think I've figured it out. Some email servers have very strict spam requirements, and I hadn't set up our MX records properly ( This caused the emails to go through for a large majority of users, but not some who had custom domain setups with strong spam filters. This should be fixed now.

Really sorry for the trouble.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Open Beta starts 9/20 · 2017-09-21T19:16:06.910Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, there was a miscommunication at an earlier point. We did not send out password-reset emails to everyone, however you can request a password-reset email in the login form on the new LessWrong, which should work well.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Open Beta starts 9/20 · 2017-09-21T19:14:57.228Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, maybe you had a different email registered than the one you are checking? Can you send me a PM with your preferred email? I am happy to change it to that then.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Open Beta starts 9/20 · 2017-09-21T02:19:11.173Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, is there anything in particular that is not working? We fixed a few bugs over the last few hours, but the page should have been functional since 4PM.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Open Beta starts 9/20 · 2017-09-21T02:14:52.941Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I apologize!

I noticed a bug with your user account in particular in our logs, though I am not exactly sure what caused it. I fixed it now. Sorry for the inconvenience. Requesting another password reset email now should work well. And if anything else goes wrong, always feel free to ping us on Intercom in the bottom right corner, we are currently on high-alert and so are responding within 5 minutes (and usually respond within the half hour)

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Open Beta starts 9/20 · 2017-09-20T18:51:02.166Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Update: Open beta will happen today by 4pm Pacific time. At this point you will be able to sign up / login with your LW 1.0 accounts (if the latter, you should request a password-rest email, as we did not copy over your passwords).

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T19:20:45.815Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, that's cool! I didn't know that.

This does update me towards the wiki being important. I just pinged Malo on whether I can get access to the LessWrong wiki analytics, so that I can look a bit more into this.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T19:15:20.706Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Apparently me and Ben responded to this at the same time. We seem to have mostly said the same things, so we are apparently fairly in sync.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T19:13:51.255Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"Can anyone make a personal page? Are there any requirements for the content -- does it need to be "rationality" themed, or can it be whatever the user wants (with the expectation that only LW-appropriate stuff will get promoted to the general frontpage)? Can a user get kicked off for inappropriate content (whatever that means)?"

Current answer to all of those is:

I don't have a plan for that yet, let's figure it out as we run into that problem. For now having too much traffic or content to the site seems like a less important error mode, even if that content is bad, as long as it doesn't clog up the attention of everyone else.

I would probably suggest warning and eventually banning people who repeatedly try to bring highly controversial politics onto the site, or who repeatedly act in bad faith or taste, so I don't think we want to leave those personal pages fully unmoderated. But the moderation threshold should be a good bit higher than on the main page. No other constraints on content for now.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T19:05:40.523Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Wow... yes. This is the second time in this comment thread that I forgot to add a "dis" in front of a word.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T02:51:10.447Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the recommendations!

"This is a slightly odd comment, if only because "hierarchical or tag-based structures" describes almost all extant websites that aggregate / archive / collect content in any way!"

Well, the emphasis here was on the "more". I.e. there are more feed based architectures, and there are more taxonomy/tagging based architectures. There is a spectrum, and reddit very much leans towards the feed direction, which is what LessWrong has historically been. And wiki's very much lean towards the taxonomy spectrum. I feel we want to be somewhere in between, but I don't know where yet.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T02:48:45.638Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We are planning to leave the wiki up, and probably restyle it at some point, so it will not be gone. User accounts will no longer be shared though, for the foreseeable future, which I don't think will be too much of an issue.

But I don't yet have a model of how to make the wiki in general work well. The current wiki is definitely useful, but I feel that it's main use has been the creation of sequences and collections of posts, which is now integrated more deeply into the site via the sequences functionality.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T02:40:51.465Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"How does this incentivise downvoting?"

Sorry, my bad. I wanted to write "disincentivize", but failed. I guess it's a warning against using big words.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T02:35:44.671Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

"Are you sure that the set of people that are being recruited to the community via HPMOR, and the set of people whom we most want to recruit into the community, have a lot of overlap?"

I agree that this is a concern to definitely think about, though in this case I feel like I have pretty solid evidence that there is indeed large amount of overlap. A lot of the best people that I've seen show up over the last few years seem to have been attracted by HPMOR (I would say more than 25%). It would be great to have some better formatted data on this, and for a long time I wanted someone to just create a spreadsheet for a large set of people in the rationalist community and codify their origin story, but until we have something like this, the data that I have from various surveys + personal experience + being in a key position to observe where people are coming from (working with CFAR and CEA for the last few years) I am pretty sure that there is significant overlap.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T00:05:58.868Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think this roughly summarizes my perspective on this. Karma seems to work well for a very large range of online forums and applications. We didn't really have any problems with collusion on LW outside of Eugine, and that was a result of a lack of moderator tools, not a problem with the karma system itself.

I agree that you should never fully delegate your decision making process to a simple algorithm, that's what the value-loading problem is all about, but that's what we have moderators and admins for. If we see suspicious behavior in the voting patterns we investigate and if we find someone is gaming the system we punish them. This is how practically all social rules and systems get enforced.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T00:02:18.001Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

"This won't work, for the same reason PageRank did not work"

I am very confused by this. Google's search vastly outperformed its competitors with PageRank and is still using a heavily tweaked version of PageRank to this day, delivering by far the best search on the market. It seems to me that PageRank should widely be considered to be the most successful reputation algorithm that has ever been invented, having demonstrated extraordinary real-world success. In what way does it make sense to say "PageRank did not work"?

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-16T23:59:18.680Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

1) I think this would be great, but is also really hard. I feel like you would need to build a whole wiki-structure with conflict resolution and moderation norms and collaborative editing features to achieve that kind of thing. But who knows, there might be an elegant and simple implementation that would work that I haven't thought of.

2) Arbital-style greenlinks are in the works and should definitely exist. For now they would only do the summary and glossary thing when you link to LW posts, but we can probably come up with a way of crowdsourcing more definitions of stuff without needing to create whole posts for it. Open to design suggestions here.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-16T23:56:18.935Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Agree with this.

I do however think that we actually have a really large stream of high-quality-content already in the broader rationality diaspora that we just need to tap into and get onto the new page. As such, the problem is a bit easier than getting a ton of new content creators, and is instead more of a problem of building something that the current content creators want to move towards.

And as soon as we have a high-quality stream of new content I think it will be easier to attract new writers who will be looking to expand their audience.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-16T23:53:37.360Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that I really want a Robin Hanson collection in a similar style to how we already have a Scott Alexander collection. We will have to coordinate with Robin on that. I can imagine him being on board, but I can also imagine him being hesitant to have all his content crossposted to another site. He seemed to prefer having full control over everything on his own page, and apparently didn't end up posting very much on LessWrong, even as LW ended up with a much larger community and much more activity.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-16T23:50:40.738Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I feel that this comment deserves a whole post in response, but I probably won't get around to that for a while, so here is a short summary:

  • I generally think people have confused models about what forms of weirdness are actually costly. The much more common error mode for online communities is being boring and uninteresting. The vast majority of the most popular online forums are really weird and have a really strong distinct culture. The same is true for religions. There are forms of weirdness that prevent you from growing, but I feel that implementing the suggestions in this comment in a straightforward way would mostly result in the forum becoming boring and actually stinting its meaningful growth.

  • LessWrong is more than just weird in a general sense. A lot of the things that make LessWrong weird are actually the result of people having thought about how to have discourse, and then actually implementing those norms. That doesn't mean that they got it right, but if you want to build a successful intellectual community you have to experiment with norms around discourse, and avoiding weirdness puts a halt to that.

  • I actually think that one of the biggest problem with Effective Altruism is the degree to which large parts of it are weirdness averse, which I see as one of the major reasons why EA kind of hasn't really produced any particularly interesting insights or updates in the past few years. CEA at least seems to agree with me (probably partially because I used to work there and shaped the culture a bit, so this isn't independent), and tried to counteract this by making the explicit theme of this years EA Global in SF about "accepting the weird parts of EA". As such, I am not very interested in appeasing current EAs need for normalcy and properness and instead hope that this will move EA towards becoming more accepting of weird things.

I would love to give more detailed reasoning for all of the above, but time is short, so I will leave it at this. I hope this gave people at least a vague sense of my position on this.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-16T23:42:13.090Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, the design of the commenting UI is sufficiently different, and more optimized for mobile that I expect this problem to be gone. That said, we are still having some problems with our editor on mobile, and it will take a bit to sort that out.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-16T23:41:13.582Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This already exists! You can see an example of that with Elizabeth's blog "Aceso Under Glass" here:

We set it up so that Elizabeth has a tag on her wordpress blog such that whenever she adds something to that tag, it automatically gets crossposted to LessWrong. We can do this with arbitrary RSS feeds, as long as the RSS feeds export the full html of the post.

Comment by habryka on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-16T23:35:15.300Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Being aware that this is probably the most bikesheddy thing in this whole discussion, I've actually thought about this a bit.

From skimming a lot of early Eliezer posts, I've seen all three uses "LessWrong", "Lesswrong" and "Less Wrong" and so there isn't a super clear precedent here, though I do agree that "Less Wrong" was used a bit more often.

I personally really like "Less Wrong", because it has two weirdly capitalized words, and I don't like brand names that are two words. It makes it sound too much like it wants to refer to the original meaning of the words, instead of being a pointer towards the brand/organization/online-community, and while one might think that is actually useful, it usually just results in a short state of confusion when I read a sentence that has "Less Wrong" in it, because I just didn't parse it as the correct reference.

I am currently going with "LessWrong" and "LESSWRONG", which is what I am planning to use in the site navigation, logos and other areas of the page. If enough people object I would probably change my mind.