Linkposts now live!

by Vaniver1 min read28th Sep 201625 comments

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You can now submit links to LW! As the rationality community has grown up, more and more content has moved off LW to other places, and so rather than trying to generate more content here we'll instead try to collect more content here. My hope is that Less Wrong becomes something like "the Rationalist RSS," where people can discover what's new and interesting without necessarily being plugged in to the various diaspora communities.

Some general norms, subject to change:

 

  1. It's okay to link someone else's work, unless they specifically ask you not to. It's also okay to link your own work; if you want to get LW karma for things you make off-site, drop a link here as soon as you publish it.
  2. It's okay to link old stuff, but let's try to keep it to less than 5 old posts a day. The first link that I made is to Yudkowsky's Guide to Writing Intelligent Characters.
  3. It's okay to link to something that you think rationalists will be interested in, even if it's not directly related to rationality. If it's political, think long and hard before deciding to submit that link.
  4. It's not okay to post duplicates.

As before, everything will go into discussion. Tag your links, please. As we see what sort of things people are linking, we'll figure out how we need to divide things up, be it separate subreddits or using tags to promote or demote the attention level of links and posts.

(Thanks to James Lamine for doing the coding, and to Trike (and myself) for supporting the work.)
25 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 10:58 PM
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Awesome! This strikes me as a very good thing, especially with your suggested social norms. I have 3 additional suggestions, though:

  1. Add a social norm where commenters make short summaries, or quote a couple sentences of new info, without the fluff. The title of the link serves much the same purpose, and gives readers enough info to decide whether or not to click through. This is standard practice on the more intellectual subreddit, since they already have the background context and knowledge that 90% of the article is spent explaining.

  2. Add a social norm where the best comments get linked to. I enjoy Yvain's SSC posts, and the comments section often contains some gems, but digging through all of them to find the gems is tedious. I intend to quote or rephrase gems when I find them, and link to them in comments here.

  3. Maybe we should have subreddits on LW. I'm not sure about this one. Tags serve some of the same purposes, so perhaps what would be ideal would be to subscribe and unsubscribe from tags you're interested in. However, just copying the Reddit code for subreddits would be simpler. It would divide up the community though, so probably not desirable while we're still small.

Maybe we should have subreddits on LW.

Another reason not to do this is that there aren't nearly enough daily posts on LW to further subdivide them.

Add a social norm where commenters make short summaries, or quote a couple sentences of new info, without the fluff.

Posting links should be low-friction, and so it should be fine to post links without comment. That said, writing summaries in comments is very useful, and you should feel willing to do that even on links you didn't post.

Maybe we should have subreddits on LW. I'm not sure about this one. Tags serve some of the same purposes, so perhaps what would be ideal would be to subscribe and unsubscribe from tags you're interested in. However, just copying the Reddit code for subreddits would be simpler. It would divide up the community though, so probably not desirable while we're still small.

Different subreddits seem best when used to separate norms / rules of discussion rather than topics. (Topics are often overlapping, and thus best dealt with using tags.) I think something like 'cold' and 'warm' subreddits, where the first has a more academic style and the second has a more friendly / improvisational style, might be sensible, but this remains to be seen.

"Posting links should be low-friction, and so it should be fine to post links without comment" - I would like to encourage you to examine this assumption. It depends heavily on the exact context. When few people have links to post, link posting should be low friction in order to encourage more posts. When there are more people posting links, having link posting be low friction is of much less value as quality becomes more important than quantity - indeed quantity can interfere with quality by reducing the chance that these links are seen.

Posting links should be low-friction, and so it should be fine to post links without comment.

Maybe there could be an optional "summary" field, as a nudge for the link posters.

Add a social norm where the best comments get linked to. I enjoy Yvain's SSC posts, and the comments section often contains some gems, but digging through all of them to find the gems is tedious.

The biggest problem with SSC is there is no voting. Lesswrong allows the best comments to rise to the top, in principle at least. Still I think it's a good idea, interesting discussion can be buried in nested comments, or be better than the main post.

Maybe we should have subreddits on LW. I'm not sure about this one.

I really don't like this idea. I think the best model for lesswrong is something like Hacker News. Hacker news has no sections for different topics and it's just vague "things of interest to hackers" which includes almost everything. I'd like to see lesswrong become "things of interest to rationalists", which could be everything from SSC posts to genetics research to AI research. I think it would work out well.

Whereas reddit excludes a lot of things that don't neatly fit into the limited topic of any specific large subreddit, and most people don't' subscribe to non default subreddits even if some of the content there might interest them.

This is really awesome and could change the fate of lesswrong. I really think this will bring people back (at least more than any other easy to implement change.) I personally expect to spend more time here now, at least.

One thing to take note of is that lesswrong, by default, sorts by /new. As the volume of posts increases, it may be necessary to change the default sort to /hot or /top/?t=week. Especially if you want it to be presentable to newcomers or even old timers coming back to the site, you want them to see the best links first.

Agreed that it makes sense to change the default. I think it also shouldn't be too hard to have an 'unread' feed, which works off whether you've clicked through before or the post has attracted enough new comments since you last saw it.

I'm unable to edit past posts of mine; it seems that this broke very recently and I'm wondering if it's related to the changes you made.

Specifically, when I click the Submit or the "Save and Continue" buttons after making an edit, it goes to lesswrong.com/submit with a blank screen. When I look at the HTTP error code it says it's a 404.

I also checked the post after that to see if the edit still went through, and it didn't. In other words, my edit did not get saved.

Do you know what's going on? There were a few corrections/expansions on past posts that I need to push live soon.

I think this is probably due to the change; with my tests it was limited to posts in Main, but I haven't tested editing old posts in discussion. If you've got experience to report please put it here.

I confirm that I also experience this problem, but I don't have additional insight on the cause.

Thank you James Lamine, Vaniver, and Trike Apps.

I also wanted to quote something Vaniver has said, but that was unfortunately downvoted below the visibility threshold at the time:

I've pushed for doing things the right way, even if it takes longer, rather than quicker attempts that are less likely to work.

In feedly, I need to click once to get to the post and a second time to get to the link. Can you include a link within the body of the RSS so I can click to it directly?

I just noticed an issue that's almost the opposite: when looking through my comment history and seeing a comment made on a link post, the link goes to the piece outside LW, not to the LW discussion. So, there is no way to view the discussion itself without searching for the title.

Unrelated issue that's been driving me crazy for months: Whenever I click the "Create new article" or "Submit a new link" buttons, I get the following error page:

You have encountered an error in the code that runs Less Wrong. The site maintainers have been informed and will get to it is as soon as they can.

Am I correct in guessing that the site maintainers have not actually been notified?

Thanks for everything you've been doing for the site of late. :)

From here, scroll down until you see the comment on Crony Beliefs, then click the permalink button in the bottom right, then click comments. So it's doable, but I agree that it could be nicer.

Am I correct in guessing that the site maintainers have not actually been notified?

I'm not actually sure, but I don't think I've ever seen that before.

Thanks. I feel somewhat silly for roping off "permalink" in my mind as a tool for linking people to comments, and forgetting that the page also contains a link to the full article + all comments.

As for the other issue, it is present on my personal computer, work computer, and mobile, so it appears to be an issue with my profile in particular. It's just the submit/link URLs giving me issues. For me, the full page reads as follows:

[missing image with description text "Error encountered", linking back to the http://lesswrong.com page]

You have encountered an error in the code that runs Less Wrong. The site maintainers have been informed and will get to it is as soon as they can.

In the unlikely event that you've bumped into this error before and think that no-one is paying attention, please report the error and how to reproduce it on http://code.google.com/p/lesswrong/issues/list'

If the error is localised you might still find awesome Less Wrong content in the Main article area or in the Discussion area.

Let me know if there's anything I can do to help from my end. I can create a Github account and report it there if you'd like.

Let me know if there's anything I can do to help from my end. I can create a Github account and report it there if you'd like.

That seems best, since it'd let you respond to any follow-up questions there.

This is the error message for a 500 code, which is a generic internal server error, but the fact that it's linked to your account and not others suggests to me something went wrong with a database entry somewhere?

I'll submit the 2 discussed above.

Would you like me to submit a third one for the "The site maintainers have been informed and will get to it is as soon as they can." bit not being accurate? (If you/they are just busy and were in fact informed, then I don't want to be obnoxious about it.)

If so, I'll simply suggest that either the notification method be updated, or the text be changed to be representative of reality.

I am worried that this change may reduce self-posts even further. After all, they will now have to compete with a host of other low effort links. I think that there should be separate sections for links and self-posts.

My impression is that activity begets more activity--if there were 0 posts today, having your self-post be the post for the day is more bothersome than if there were 10 posts today. But we can look at this in a month and see how it turned out.

I don't think it is bothersome. It is a trade-off between getting less traffic because there are more posts to compete with for attention or getting more traffic because there are more visitors in total. In most sub-reddits with links and self-posts, links end up dominating

In most reddits images end up dominating because that's the lowest common denominator content. In subreddits where the content is mainly articles, I don't think self posts do badly. For instance, I just checked /r/math and they seem to be more self posts on the front page than links.

Thanks for this. This was a smart change, and I doubt you were paid for it. I appreciate it.

Early returns:

  • 12 Link Posts
  • 10 Total Comments
  • 7 of the 12 Link Posts have zero comments