About Less Wrong

byEliezer Yudkowsky10y23rd Feb 20093 comments


Edit: This post refers to the original version of LessWrong, which ran between February 2009 and March 2018. The About page referring to the period from March 2018 to the present can be found here.


Over the last decades, new experiments have changed science's picture of the way we think - the ways we succeed or fail to obtain the truth, or fulfill our goals. The heuristics and biases program, in cognitive psychology, has exposed dozens of major flaws in human reasoning. Social psychology shows how we succeed or fail in groups. Probability theory and decision theory have given us new mathematical foundations for understanding minds.

Less Wrong is devoted to refining the art of human rationality - the art of thinking. The new math and science deserves to be applied to our daily lives, and heard in our public voices.

Less Wrong consists of three areas: The main community blog, the Less Wrong wiki and the Less Wrong discussion area.

Less Wrong is a partially moderated community blog that allows general authors to contribute posts as well as comments. Users vote posts and comments up and down (with code based on Reddit's open source). "Promoted" posts (appearing on the front page) are chosen by the editors on the basis of substantive new content, clear argument, good writing, popularity, and importance.

We suggest submitting links with a short description. Recommended books should have longer descriptions. Links will not be promoted unless they are truly excellent - the "promoted" posts are intended as a filtered stream for the casual/busy reader.

The Less Wrong discussion area is for topics not yet ready or not suitable for normal top level posts. To post a new discussion, select "Post to: Less Wrong Discussion" from the Create new article page. Comment on discussion posts as you would elsewhere on the site.

Votes on posts are worth ±10 points on the main site and ±1 point in the discussion area. Votes on comments are worth ±1 point. Users with sufficient karma can publish posts. You need 20+ points to post to the main area and 2+ points to post to the discussion area. You can only down vote up to four times your current karma (thus if you never comment, you cannot downvote). Comments voted to -3 or lower will be collapsed by default for most readers (if you log in, you can change this setting in your Preferences). Please keep this in mind before writing long, thoughtful, intelligent responses to trolls: most readers will never see your work, and your effort may be better spent elsewhere, in more visible threads. Similarly, if many of your comments are heavily downvoted, please take the hint and change your approach, or choose a different venue for your comments. (Failure to take the hint may lead to moderators deleting future comments.) Spam comments will be deleted immediately. Off-topic top-level posts may be removed.

We reserve the right for moderators to change contributed posts or comments to fix HTML problems or other misfeatures. Moderators may add or remove tags.

Less Wrong is brought to you by the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. Neither FHI nor Oxford University necessarily endorses any specific views appearing anywhere on Less Wrong. Copyright is retained by each author, but we reserve the non-exclusive right to move, archive, or otherwise reprint posts and comments.

Sample posts:

Politics is the Mind-Killer Policy Tug-O-War Are Your Enemies Innately Evil?
The Affect Heuristic We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think Conjunction Controversy
Feeling Rational Knowing About Biases Can Hurt You Newcomb's Problem
Probability is in the Mind Absence of Evidence is Evidence of Absence Einstein's Arrogance
The Bottom Line Making Beliefs Pay Rent Tsuyoku Naritai

To read through Less Wrong systematically, use the Sequences.

Less Wrong was established as a sister site to the blog Overcoming Bias, where Eliezer Yudkowsky originally began blogging under the chief editorship of Robin Hanson, and contains many old posts imported from OB.

To some extent, the software of LW is still under development. The code that runs this site is forked from the open source Reddit base, and is hosted on Github. Our public issue tracker is hosted at Google Code. Contributions of code or issues are welcome and volunteer Python developers are cordially solicited (see this post). More information on how to contribute is available at the LW Github wiki.

Less Wrong is hosted and maintained by Trike Apps.