Comment by raemon on Clothing For Men · 2019-01-17T19:07:05.215Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW
Having such a t-shirt will not increase my social status

Depending on t-shirt quality I think this is just false?

Comment by raemon on Disadvantages of Card Rebalancing · 2019-01-16T19:49:04.238Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

BTW it turns out the answer to the last question is "Minecraft", which I will now fairly confidently describe as "the best game." :P

Comment by raemon on What are the open problems in Human Rationality? · 2019-01-16T04:01:43.851Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I do agree with group rationality generally, and probably agree with LWers being self-selected for contrarian individualism. I don't know that taking-so-long to rebuild the forum is that great example – it took someone deciding to make it their fulltime project and getting thousands of dollars in funding, which is roughly what such things normally take.

Comment by raemon on What are the components of intellectual honesty? · 2019-01-16T03:53:52.199Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I like this answer, but it made me think about this post on privacy, which argues that radical honesty can end up leading you to start self deceiving so that you don't accidentally reveal damaging things. This isn't precisely an argument against your frame, just something to consider as you go about trying to cultivate intellectual honesty.

Comment by raemon on What are the open problems in Human Rationality? · 2019-01-15T08:46:56.408Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

We have some vague plans to build something that’d make that process cleaner. I’m not sure if we’ll get to it soon, but meanwhile don’t think it’s that urgent to split the answers up.

Comment by raemon on What are the open problems in Human Rationality? · 2019-01-14T08:13:20.974Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you, this is great!

Comment by raemon on What are the open problems in Human Rationality? · 2019-01-14T00:52:13.167Z · score: 32 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I'm still interested in general answers from most people, but did want clarify:

I'm particularly interested in answers from people who have made a serious study of rationality, and invested time into trying to push the overall field forward. Whether or not you've succeeded or failed, I expect people who've put, say, at least 100 hours into the project to have a clearer sense of what questions are hard and important. (Although I do think "100 hours spent trying to learn rationality yourself" counts reasonably)

My sense is that many answers so far come more from a place of sitting on the sidelines or having waded in a bit, found rationality not obviously helpful in the first place, and are sort of waiting for someone to clarify if there's a there there. Which is quite reasonable but not what I'm hoping for here.

Background thoughts

In physics, I don't consider a major source of importance "how valuable is this to the average person?" – it's not physics job to be valuable to the average person, it's job is to add fundamental insights of how the universe works to the sum of human knowledge.

Rationality is more like the sort of thing that could be valuable to the average person – it would be extremely disappointing (and at least somewhat surprising) if you couldn't distill lessons on how to think / have beliefs / make choices into something beneficial to most people.

Rationality is maybe better compared with "math". The average person needs to know how to add and multiply. They'll likely benefit from thinking probabilistically in some cases. They probably won't actually need much calculus unless they're going into specific fields, and they won't need to care at all about the Riemann Hypothesis.

Everyone should get exposed to at least some math and given the opportunity to learn it if they are well suited and curious about it. But I think schools should approach that more from a standpoint of "help people explore" rather than "definitely learn these particular things."

That's roughly how I feel about rationality. I think there a few key concepts like "expected value" and "remember base rates" that are useful when making significant decisions, that should probably get taught in high school. Much of the rest is better suited for people who either find it fun, or plan to specialize in it.

Professional Rationality

I think "How to Measure Anything" is a useful book to get a sense of how professional rationality might actually look: it was written for people in business (or otherwise embarking on novel projects), where you actually have to take significant gambles that require reasonable models of how the world works. A given company doesn't need everyone to be excellent at calibration, forecasting, model building and expected value (just as they don't need everyone to be a good accountant or graphic designer or CEO). But they do need at least some people who are good at that (and they need other people to listen to them, and a CEO or hiring specialist who can identify such people).

It's a reasonable career path, for some.

[I don't mean How to Measure Anything as the definitive explanation of what "professional rationality" looks, just a take on it that seems clearly reasonable enough to act as a positive existence proof]

So, what open questions are most useful?

A few possible clusters of questions/problems:

  • What are specific obstacles to distilling rationality concepts that seem like they should be valuable to the average person, but we don't know how to teach them yet?
  • What are specific obstacles, problems, or unknown solutions to problems that seem like they should be relevant to a "rationality specialist", who focuses on making decisions in unknown domains with scant data.
  • What are genuinely confusing problems at the edge of the current rationality field – perhaps far away from the point where even specialists can implement them yet, but where we seem confused in a basic way about how the mind works, or how probability or decision theory work.

What are the open problems in Human Rationality?

2019-01-13T04:46:38.581Z · score: 59 (17 votes)
Comment by raemon on Why is so much discussion happening in private Google Docs? · 2019-01-12T21:01:50.603Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, yeah I think I'd feel the same if I were invited to docs that were either beyond my current reputation/social standing, or just, with a new group of people I don't know as well. Especially if I considered it high stakes to keep getting into future similar discussions.

I think it's a dramatically different experience when I invite or get invited to docs where I already know the people well, and already feel confident that I know how to contribute.

Comment by raemon on Why is so much discussion happening in private Google Docs? · 2019-01-12T19:58:47.343Z · score: 15 (4 votes) · LW · GW
I don't see 'comments going to waste' issue as the greatest challenge

I think this underestimates the challenge. Empirically, people don't crosspost those comments. Periodically saying "hey it'd be good if you crossposted those private comments" won't change the underlying incentive structure.

(Similarly, the fact that one 'could' keep an eye out for posts and comments from outsiders won't change the fact that people generally don't)

Comment by raemon on Why is so much discussion happening in private Google Docs? · 2019-01-12T11:22:25.274Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I do think these are generally good ideas, but I think they need a combination of things going on at once in order to work well.

Google docs works for people who already have a network of peer reviewers, who already want to opt into that. I think your mark-up comments in google docs felt a bit out of the blue for people who weren't planning to opt into it, so didn't work as smoothly. (In google doc editing, you're already in a draft mindset so revision-oriented comments feel more welcome)

Comment by raemon on Why is so much discussion happening in private Google Docs? · 2019-01-12T11:16:58.163Z · score: 20 (7 votes) · LW · GW

This is a major issue the LessWrong team has thought about a lot. Building off ESRogs' and Elo's answers, the two main reasons are:

1) Privacy, comfort, and filtering.

2) Google Docs has great features and the best collaborative exobrain product.


I think google docs ends up having the best overall conversation, but there is even a marked difference in feel between public LessWrong discussion and, say, Facebook discussion (holding participants constant).

Part of this is privacy concerns like ESRogs notes. If you represent an org maintaining a reputation, or you are discussing infohazardy material, or you have semi-secret information, you simply can't chat freely in public – you have to think carefully about the ramifications of sharing your ideas. This makes sharing ideas harder, and sometimes unpleasant, so people end up doing it less. (semi-private venues like facebook, and many google docs, obviously carry at least some risk, but the risk feels a lot less pronounced).

But I think for a lot of documents, it's less about literal secrecy or organizational PR, and more about an overall sense of safety/trust/filtering. In private you don't have to worry as much about being wrong.

And, to some degree, "fear of being wrong" is something worth getting over. But there are practical matters that mean public discussion will always have some downsides.

In a public space, if you make an off-the-cuff remark that's not fully defensible, you'll often get people critiquing you who miss the point of what you're actually trying to say, or (worse) are just actively trying to take you down a peg for social reasons. And you have to either spend a bunch of time arguing about something that wasn't even the main idea you were trying to clarify or hash out, or not reply and look/feel like you're ignoring a critic.

(And because of inferential distance, the critique might look reasonable to an onlooker, whereas you've already had this conversation 10 times and know the various arguments and counterarguments, and don't feel like patiently explaining it again).

Abram's recent post on intellectual cultures explores the details here. There's a rough hierarchy of discussion that goes something like:

  • 0. Open Verbal Combat
  • 1. Face Culture.
  • 2. Intellectual Debate
  • 3. Mutual Curiosity
  • 4. Exchanging Gears

Venues like LessWrong have a mix of people, some of whom are trying to do intellectual debate, some mutual curiosity, some exchanging gears (and occasional people doing pure verbal combat). Google docs lets you filter for people who are trying to do the kind of conversation you're looking for.

Collaborative Exobrain Technology

Google docs is legitimately great. Important features include inline commenting, realtime collaboration, suggesting text, version history, etc.

These individual features are good, and they add up to a really powerful "group exobrain tool." As of now Google Docs are simply much better than most other forum / blogpost technology for maximizing group-working-memory, and alternating between the "generation" step, "critique and discussion" step and the "distill" step of intellectual progress.

Some things that work better on google docs than many alternatives:

a. Peer Review.

The use case it sounded like you were most referring to. You can write up an initial paper exploring an idea. You invite smart people to comment on it. You might invite disparate groups of people at once, or you might take turns sending it to different groups of people who you think will do a good job of critiquing different aspects of the idea, or bring different perspectives.

The comments are attached to specific parts of the essay. In addition to immediately seeing the context of a given comment, I think there's something like "humans using physical space to augment their working memory" (similar to memory palaces) where having a "location" for each comment helps people keep track of everything going on.

You can also give people the ability to suggest text, and then have people comment on those suggestions. So brainstorming and critique seamlessly flow back into the rewrite process. Whereas on a blog, if people comment, then the author needs to set aside time and activation energy to turn all those comments into a second draft, and then wait for further comments on whether that second draft actually addressed the issues.

(Plus, there's something that feels "final" about posting something publicly, so doing a "second draft" feels a bit weird in the first place)

On google docs, the second draft happens sort of invisibly as you go along.

b. Planning.

Andrew Critch has been a huge proponent of using Google Docs to develop plans –if you have a course of action, be it a life plan, new project, or whatever, you can write it down.

Initially, writing it down forces you (at least somewhat) to notice what assumptions you've made, and make sure each step of the plan actually follows from the previous step.

Then, you show it to a couple people. At first it may not be very good so you just share it with one or two people as an overall sanity check. If you can find 4 people with different perspectives to vet the plan, and check assumptions you missed the first time, you can be a lot more confident that the plan makes sense.

The brainstorm/critique/distill/next-draft cycle applies to plans as well as idea-based-writing. But, in this case, the final product is not a paper to read – it's a course of action that people can commit to. If a plan calls for multiple people to commit to a particular role, then part of the drafting process is to make sure each role makes sense... and to find people who would be willing to do it.

Just like a google-docs paper ends with you suddenly realizing that you have a finished draft, with little activation energy required to commit the final comments, ideally a google-docs plan ends with you realizing you have a viable strategy and a bunch of buy-in from people who helped shape it and are ready to start turning it into actual reality.

So what do we make of this?

I still think you're right, that keeping all these comments hidden in drafts is wasting a lot of potential. I think there are potential solutions, but they require a fair bit of work, and accepting some of the constraints. People want the privacy and filtering while they're hashing their ideas out.

The main thing lacking with google docs is the ability to turn, not just the finished writeup, but all the corresponding comments, into a publicly accessible work, with a click of a button.

(The LessWrong team is looking into some options for making LessWrong posts more google-docs-like, so that people and orgs can use it for internal documents while significantly lowering the barrier-to-entry to sharing them eventually, but it's a big chunk of work and not something we can promise in the immediate future)

Comment by raemon on What makes people intellectually active? · 2019-01-12T01:03:09.470Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I am a person who (in at least some domains) don't feel a lack of creativity/idea-generation. But, there are definitely domains (science, model building) where I don't generate ideas by default – I have to actually remember to boot up the brainstorming module, and it's a bit rusty like an unused muscle.

It seems to me that generating ideas is a learnable skill that not everyone has.

Comment by raemon on Book Recommendations: An Everyone Culture and Moral Mazes · 2019-01-11T00:01:54.256Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This makes reasonable sense, with a caveat:

I've worked at an early-stage startup inspired by Bridgewater culture. It was aspiring to be "radical honesty + compassion."

There were a number of issues with the company (some of them my fault). But in general, the company didn't succeed at making radical honesty feel safe (meanwhile, I've heard that Bridgewater is an incredibly stressful place to work at, although some stories made it seem more like "the first year feels sort of like hazing, after that it feels reasonable.")

In Ray Dalio's Principles book, he says that there were severe growing pains as Bridgewater transitioned from small-to-big. In the earlier years, they were small enough and everyone knew each other well enough for the radical honesty thing to work. As they grew, many new employees constantly felt like they were getting yelled at, and eventually Dalio's colleagues told him he was stressing everyone out and needed to change. What they ended up doing was developing principles that made the radical honesty stuff more systematized, with clearer expectations.

My overall take is that this sort of direction is probably good, but requires either a lot of internal alignment and existing trust (i.e. small teams), or requires a lot of skill on the part of managers to make it actually feel (and be) safe.

Main point being, if you're an aspiring company founder, don't assume going this route will be easy.

Comment by raemon on What are questions? · 2019-01-10T02:03:17.414Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

fwiw, I think this'd make for a good actual answer. (And you can should now be able to promote it yourself from comment to answer)

Comment by raemon on Open Thread January 2019 · 2019-01-09T22:36:10.264Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Nod. Not sure about the causal mechanism here but seems fine. Done.

Comment by raemon on Open Thread January 2019 · 2019-01-09T22:35:35.975Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW


LW Update 2018-1-09 – Question Updates, UserProfile Sorting

2019-01-09T22:34:31.338Z · score: 30 (6 votes)

Open Thread January 2019

2019-01-09T20:25:02.716Z · score: 24 (6 votes)
Comment by raemon on I want it my way! · 2019-01-08T19:53:07.794Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

First, just wanted to say congrats on getting started on posting!

I found the post generally engaging – one somewhat meta level feedback was that somewhere around half way through I found myself not quite sure where it was going. I think this is a post that'd benefit somewhat from headings + the new table of contents feature, to give me a sense of how far I've progressed through it and where it's going. (Although then again it seemed like it might have been a bit intentional about moving from anecdote to anecdote in a sort of circumambulatory fashion)

Comment by raemon on A rationalist view on productivity book genre · 2019-01-08T19:48:29.309Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Note: I had trouble reading this because of the formatting. Splitting into paragraphs would help significantly.

Comment by raemon on No option to report spam · 2019-01-08T18:54:39.975Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, that means spam just shows up regularly in the All view. (In general, changes made to LW views do not affect greaterwrong, although views based on manual-curation still work because we don't put spam on frontpage or curated)

The initial version of the "must be approved by admin" filter just applied it to the LessWrong frontpage views (among other things, because we wanted new users to at least be able to find their posts on their personal page).

The upcoming patch moves the filter into the default view (so it'll affect GreaterWrong), and then instead manually removes it from the user profile view.

The spam filter in general seems to be working okay-but-not great (part of why we went ahead and implemented the "must be approved by admin" requirement)

Admins receive notifications for all new users so going forward I don't expect spam posts to be too much of a problem.

We haven't yet implemented the "admin approval" requirement for comments, largely because there isn't currently a wave of comment spam so we just haven't gotten around to it, but if comment spam becomes a problem we'll prioritize it.

Comment by raemon on No option to report spam · 2019-01-08T18:17:54.308Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

(Instead of minimum karma people just can’t have their posts appear on the home page until they’re approved by an admin)

Comment by raemon on No option to report spam · 2019-01-08T18:17:09.627Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

FYI, we’ve added both of these since this post, although they don’t affect greaterwrong yet since they use different views than we do. (An upcoming patch will change that)

Comment by raemon on Disadvantages of Card Rebalancing · 2019-01-07T00:55:32.226Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Just wanted to note, while I'd generally been enjoying this series, this post did a good job of prompting me to ask whether (both the issues in this post, and some raised elsewhere in the series) were more applicable outside of the realm of game design. Still mulling that over, not sure if it'll output anything useful yet.

In a weirder way, I also felt some sense of "this prompts me to figure out what my opinions actually are." A lot of games I enjoy in different ways and I'm sort of okay with experiencing them as a particular kind of novel art or something. I can tell what games grip me, but often that's less about my opinions and more about "did they do a good job skinner boxing". What makes a game that I deeply respect, for reasons somewhat idiosyncratic to me?

Comment by raemon on Does anti-malaria charity destroy the local anti-malaria industry? · 2019-01-06T22:50:19.329Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I assume (or, hope?) that GiveDirectly has investigated this a bit. Or at least that it should be possible to compare, say, death rates of people being given GiveDirectly cash transfers vs receiving malaria nets.

Comment by raemon on What is a reasonable outside view for the fate of social movements? · 2019-01-06T02:15:14.910Z · score: 27 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I feel like a lot of the answers so far are starting from a position of "things you have heard of", which comes with survivorship and or sensational failure bias. I think a useful approach would be to assemble a list of social movements from a given decade (using some algorithm that outputs a bunch of movements you hadn't necessarily heard of), and then seeing how many of them seemed to fall into this fate.

Comment by raemon on Does anti-malaria charity destroy the local anti-malaria industry? · 2019-01-06T02:12:56.451Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Subquestions I'd probably want to answer if I were trying to figure this out from scratch (not sure how much Givewell has covered already, haven't read much of Lanrian's links), include:

  • A. What countries have significant malaria problems?
  • B. What countries have had significant anti-malaria aid?
  • In countries listed in A, what locally-founded organizations (for-profit, non-profit, or government-sponsored) have existed to address malaria?
  • Can we get data on how those companies/orgs have grown or shrunk in spending as foreign aid has grown.

One reason this might not be a correct track is that general ecosystem of aid may have already distorted things by the time you got to malaria programs. So it might also be useful to look into local orgs treating similar health issues that also received foreign aid in the past century.

Comment by raemon on Thoughts on Q&A so far? · 2019-01-06T01:57:30.063Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A couple recent questions made me want to make "subquestions" more tightly coupled into the process.

On the "Does Anti-Malaria Charity Destroy Local Anti-Malaria Industry?" question, an obvious (to me) sub-question is "what local anti-malaria organizations exist in malaria-prone regions?" Once you have some sense of what local companies or nonprofits exist, you can start asking questions about how they have grown or shrunk in the past decade.

Similarly, for What is a Reasonable Outside View on the Fate of Social Movements, I think a useful subquestion would be "what is a reasonably representative list of social movements, not selected for survivorship bias?".

My guess is that the default frame of the questions prompts people to think more from the standpoint of "what can I easily armchair reason about?" rather than "what is the most epistemically useful way to approach this problem?". I think it might be fair important to set things up such that refactoring the question is easier.

Comment by raemon on Two More Decision Theory Problems for Humans · 2019-01-04T23:10:06.689Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, I think it's not very hard (even in our circles) to find people doing consequentialism badly, looking only at short-term / easily observable consequences (I think this is especially common among newer EA folk, and some wannabe-slytherin-types). It seemed likely Zvi meant a stronger version of the claim though, which I'm not sure how I'd operationalize.

Comment by raemon on Thoughts on Q&A so far? · 2019-01-04T19:41:09.574Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yuppers, the permalink exists in an upcoming branch, we just haven't deployed it yet for Reasons.

Comment by raemon on What exercises go best with 3 blue 1 brown's Linear Algebra videos? · 2019-01-03T18:55:05.270Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That does make sense.

Comment by raemon on Events in Daily? · 2019-01-03T01:59:32.403Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, this was part of the reason I thought including them by default might be a good idea.

Comment by raemon on Electrons don’t think (or suffer) · 2019-01-03T00:27:51.877Z · score: 11 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Nod. I don't know if I can articulate this rigorously, but I have a sense that for a thing to suffer, the thing needs to have "internal variable state". So a system-containing-electrons can (possibly) suffer but an electron can't.

Comment by raemon on Thoughts on Q&A so far? · 2019-01-02T23:46:48.447Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Something that strikes me is that since people are often posting things as comments that they later realize really could have been answers, a "move to answer" and "move to comments" button that admins can use, and that users can use for their own comments, seems pretty useful.

Comment by raemon on Electrons don’t think (or suffer) · 2019-01-02T21:51:40.218Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Mild addenda: my current understanding is that a single electron can't suffer because electrons don't have states that vary (and I agree with at least that bit of the OP that things need to have different states for moral patient-hood), but it's at least possibly-plausible that a small group of electrons could be a (low weight) moral patient.

Comment by raemon on What exercises go best with 3 blue 1 brown's Linear Algebra videos? · 2019-01-02T21:48:58.390Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This is certainly optimal for me, assuming reasonable skill trade is possible. I need to figure out my schedule for the new year a bit but may reach out soonish about this.

It still feels like humanity is collectively leaving a sizeable chunk of value on the table by not having exercises that are reasonably tailored associated with the 3blue1brown content – obviously having a teacher is better than no teacher, but textbooks still exist and still strive to be relatively complete collections of concepts + opportunities to practice those concepts. I expect random person finding 3blue1brown on the internet to benefit a lot from having things to check their skill before continuing.

But the idea of working through this together and in the process creating some hopefully-longer-lasting resources sounds pretty good.

Comment by raemon on Generalising CNNs · 2019-01-02T21:17:44.421Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think this could use an opening line or paragraph roughly indicating who the post is for (from the looks of it, people with some background in neural networks, although I couldn't specify it in more detail than that)

Events in Daily?

2019-01-02T02:30:06.788Z · score: 16 (5 votes)
Comment by raemon on What exercises go best with 3 blue 1 brown's Linear Algebra videos? · 2019-01-01T23:16:46.523Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW


But, I've attempted that and mostly bounced off it because it felt too much like work. It might be the answer is "if you want to actually learn this thing you have to do the actual grownup thing" but by default I'm orienting around something like "the thing that seemed fun except that I didn't quite have enough resources to grok it, can I make it work better?" than "how do I seriously pursue learning math?"

(At least for the calculus videos I'm also skeptical about whether the "mastery is assumed" problem is especially bad, although I can imagine this being true for many of the more advanced stuff)

Comment by raemon on What observations do you as a customer would expect to matter, if your experience was 1000 times "stronger"? · 2019-01-01T22:18:33.891Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

To clarify, is this for bookshops in particular, any other retail experience, or other?

What exercises go best with 3 blue 1 brown's Linear Algebra videos?

2019-01-01T21:29:37.599Z · score: 30 (8 votes)
Comment by raemon on Thoughts on Q&A so far? · 2018-12-31T21:30:41.488Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

General moderation seems off topic for this particular post. I think the guidelines for either what questions should go on the frontpage, or various ways you might want to filter questions, are fair game.

(Regardless, it will continue to be the case that you can post whatever question you want to your personal blog)

Comment by raemon on Thoughts on Q&A so far? · 2018-12-31T20:50:23.991Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW


Re: "titles", there were a couple things we were worried about with that, still a bit unsure about:

  • if titles were required (or optional, but featured prominently) people might feel obligated to come up with one, and in many cases the answer might not have an obvious title, and this might discouraging people from writing an answer in the first place.
  • even if fully optional, titles might shift people into a mindset that's less conversational and more formal, and we had some sense that people actually do a better job of tailoring answers to questions in a conversational setting.

I do still think that, at least some of the time, an answer does seem to have an obvious summary/short-moniker that makes it easier to handle, which would help with skimming or using the table of contents. I'm not sure the best way to enable that sort of thing in the cases where it's appropriate without having slightly-stifling effects the rest of the time.

Comment by raemon on Thoughts on Q&A so far? · 2018-12-31T20:38:30.090Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think my broader response is "rather than try to resolve this by discouraging certain questions, solve it through filtering."

Right now, we have a minimum-viable system where all questions show up on frontpage so long as they meet the frontpage criteria. This means questions appear to be weighted about as strongly as a post in terms of importance, and that there isn't much in the way of filtering of what sort of questions get displayed. I think both of these could be resolved with a more dedicated question management system.

I think it's fairly important for people to be able to post questions freely – a lot of progress depends on people being able to pursue curiosity wherever it goes.

So I think letting people do that, and then having some requirements like "frontpage questions need to be particularly well formed" and possibly some tighter requirements on topic, and/or have something like subreddits that focus on particular topics, is probably a better overall solution.

(It also so happens I think I roughly disagree with some of the "bad question" examples. The sunscreen example isn't deeply entwined with things-LW-tends-to-focus-on, but it *is* a question where the answer actually requires some rationality to think about, and I think it's in fact a good use of LW to be a place you can go to ask questions where you can expect people to have thought clearly/usefully about how to weigh evidence when answering them)

Thoughts on Q&A so far?

2018-12-31T01:15:17.307Z · score: 25 (6 votes)
Comment by raemon on Boston Solstice 2018 Retrospective · 2018-12-29T21:11:24.033Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Also, curious if there's a polished recording out there somewhere? I tried googling and failed somehow.

Comment by raemon on In what ways are holidays good? · 2018-12-28T06:17:40.363Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I assume that Daniel doesn't currently travel, is thinking about it but it seems expensive and is trying to build up a model of whether he'd get anything out of it.

Comment by raemon on In what ways are holidays good? · 2018-12-28T06:12:13.262Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Is it the case that you basically have not taken any vacations? If so, then I think a better question to ask is "what are some suggestions on how I might rapidly learn which sort of vacations are valuable to me and for which reasons, on a limited budget", since it's going to be pretty idiosyncratic.

Comment by raemon on Resist the Happy Death Spiral · 2018-12-27T23:20:20.414Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW


Comment by raemon on Solstice Album Crowdfunding · 2018-12-27T22:22:17.528Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There are 5 days remaining! If you have friends you think might like the Solstice Album, it might be worth sending them a reminder. :)

Meanwhile, people have begun weighing in on what bonus songs they want. (You should have received an email if you donated enough to suggest a bonus song)

Currently, the bonus songs suggested (ranked by number of supporters)

1. Somebody Will (5 supporters, $265 donated)
2. Beautiful Tomorrow (4 supporters, $245)
3. Stopping in the Woods (3 supporters, $275)
4. Level Up (1 supporter, $400)
5. Little Echo (1 supporter, $50)
6. Fire in the Sky (1 supporter, $50)
7. Top of Clouds (1 supporter, $15)
8. Architects of Fate (1 supporter, $15)

For people's first choice, I assigned the full amount of their donation for purposes of totaling the financial support for the song. For second choices I assigned the total amount minus $35, representing the amount above the basic "all the things" funding level.

This was a bit ad hoc (if lots of people start submitting multiple requests and it comes down to the wire of what bonus songs to record, I may ask people more specifically for the rank-ordering of their songs).

The final decision on bonus songs will still depend on a number of factors – in particular on whether there are performers available who are willing to record a given a song. Some songs require a studio in order to do a good job with it, some songs are easier to get away with a living-room recording session.

Can dying people "hold on" for something they are waiting for?

2018-12-27T19:53:35.436Z · score: 27 (9 votes)
Comment by raemon on Boston Solstice 2018 Retrospective · 2018-12-23T20:10:34.510Z · score: 20 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Glad to see how this came out, and thanks for the writeup!

Relighting the candles took long enough that some people got bored, and it would have worked better if we started Brighter than Today while people were still passing the light around.

When I have gotten to do candles, the way I do it FYI is to have the first candle lit during Brighter Than Today (with the match struck on the line "till she saw the spark of light") and then have the candles get lit during the song, which leads to nice effects of a) nobody being bored, and b) the song growing brighter over the course of it.

Comment by raemon on Solstice Album Crowdfunding · 2018-12-19T19:35:07.492Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If you donate $15 you can get the lyric/songchart PDF. Otherwise, lyrics are available for all the songs on the internet but won't be directly included.

Comment by raemon on Solstice Album Crowdfunding · 2018-12-18T21:45:02.745Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hopefully fixed now.

Solstice Album Crowdfunding

2018-12-18T20:51:31.183Z · score: 39 (11 votes)
Comment by raemon on LW Update 2018-11-22 – Abridged Comments · 2018-12-13T22:40:31.984Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, nod. The original version of the truncation did actually do something more similar to that, but it came with a different set of technical challenges and annoyances and at the time it had seemed to me that the truncation system would be less annoying. (I thought "not being able to see comments at all" and thus not knowing what the thread structure even looked like" would be worse)

I am curious whether the various people who've expressed dislike of the abridgment would feel fine with a version that showers fewer comments rather than less-of-each-comment.

Comment by raemon on Should ethicists be inside or outside a profession? · 2018-12-12T01:41:55.141Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · LW · GW

(This is the last of the re-released series of Eliezer posts on bioethics)

How Old is Smallpox?

2018-12-10T10:50:33.960Z · score: 39 (13 votes)

LW Update 2018-12-06 – All Posts Page, Questions Page, Posts Item rework

2018-12-08T21:30:13.874Z · score: 18 (3 votes)

What is "Social Reality?"

2018-12-08T17:41:33.775Z · score: 24 (7 votes)

LW Update 2018-12-06 – Table of Contents and Q&A

2018-12-08T00:47:09.267Z · score: 57 (13 votes)

On Rationalist Solstice and Epistemic Caution

2018-12-05T20:39:34.687Z · score: 59 (22 votes)

Anyone use the "read time" on Post Items?

2018-12-01T23:16:23.249Z · score: 21 (6 votes)

Winter Solstice 2018 Roundup

2018-11-28T03:09:44.938Z · score: 55 (17 votes)

Upcoming: Open Questions

2018-11-24T01:39:33.385Z · score: 43 (14 votes)

LW Update 2018-11-22 – Abridged Comments

2018-11-22T22:11:10.960Z · score: 12 (8 votes)

[Beta] Post-Read-Status on Lessestwrong

2018-10-25T23:13:00.775Z · score: 23 (5 votes)

Open Source Issue Roundup

2018-10-06T20:09:32.257Z · score: 25 (7 votes)

Being a Robust Agent

2018-10-04T21:58:25.522Z · score: 66 (29 votes)

LW Update 2018-10-01 – Private Messaging Works

2018-10-01T21:28:47.017Z · score: 34 (8 votes)

Modes of Petrov Day

2018-09-20T18:48:59.140Z · score: 67 (22 votes)

LW Update 2018-09-18 – Email Subscriptions for Curated

2018-09-19T00:30:57.974Z · score: 32 (8 votes)

Moderation Reference

2018-09-12T19:06:57.443Z · score: 31 (12 votes)

[Feature Idea] Epistemic Status

2018-08-21T20:22:45.687Z · score: 39 (14 votes)

How to Build a Lumenator

2018-08-12T05:11:06.715Z · score: 43 (15 votes)

Strategies of Personal Growth

2018-07-28T18:27:06.763Z · score: 111 (51 votes)

LW Update 2018-07-27 – Sharing Drafts

2018-07-28T02:54:36.835Z · score: 34 (12 votes)

Replace yourself first if you're moving to the Bay

2018-07-22T20:57:25.903Z · score: 58 (32 votes)

Announcing Beta

2018-07-10T20:19:41.201Z · score: 71 (34 votes)

Stories of Summer Solstice

2018-07-08T07:16:10.473Z · score: 56 (17 votes)

LessWrong is hiring

2018-06-19T01:38:56.783Z · score: 75 (23 votes)

Strong Votes [Update: Deployed]

2018-06-01T21:03:23.457Z · score: 114 (33 votes)

*Another* Double Crux Framework

2018-05-28T23:30:32.891Z · score: 48 (11 votes)

Visions of Summer Solstice

2018-05-21T05:50:55.736Z · score: 47 (12 votes)

LW Open Source – Getting Started

2018-05-06T23:28:25.642Z · score: 83 (20 votes)

Thoughts on the REACH Patreon

2018-04-30T20:51:11.407Z · score: 80 (19 votes)

Does Thinking Hard Hurt Your Brain?

2018-04-29T18:56:35.325Z · score: 50 (15 votes)

The 3% Incline (

2018-04-27T00:56:30.869Z · score: 43 (12 votes)

Funeral Ritual

2018-04-20T01:40:02.925Z · score: 90 (22 votes)

Musings on LessWrong Peer Review

2018-03-18T21:47:56.362Z · score: 97 (23 votes)

The Steampunk Aesthetic

2018-03-08T09:06:40.436Z · score: 85 (26 votes)

Meta-tations on Moderation: Towards Public Archipelago

2018-02-25T03:59:32.243Z · score: 173 (56 votes)

Factorio, Accelerando, Empathizing with Empires and Moderate Takeoffs

2018-02-04T02:33:42.863Z · score: 76 (23 votes)

"Taking AI Risk Seriously" (thoughts by Critch)

2018-01-29T09:27:03.941Z · score: 171 (58 votes)

Demon Threads

2018-01-07T03:48:09.310Z · score: 102 (44 votes)

Writing Down Conversations

2017-12-28T22:08:54.031Z · score: 95 (34 votes)

Melting Gold, and Organizational Capacity

2017-12-11T19:16:53.897Z · score: 119 (47 votes)

Sunset at Noon

2017-11-29T14:52:45.889Z · score: 154 (59 votes)

Writing That Provokes Comments

2017-10-04T02:48:58.563Z · score: 96 (43 votes)