Coauthored by Alexandros and Unnamed
The suggestion to bring back the sequences in a format that is more similar to new blog posts was well received, so the two of us have been working to figure out how to make it happen, taking into account the feedback received on that thread. We've come up with a plan that is ready to be put into action right away, and are presenting it here for further feedback before getting started. Let us know what you think – both whether it's worth doing, and what specific changes could be made to improve on what we have so far.
The plan is to have a regular “Rerunning the Sequences” feature in the discussion section, with one post each day linking to one of Eliezer's old posts. We will go through all of Eliezer's posts in order, minus open threads, administrivia, and quotes threads, following the list here. Starting with "The Martial Art of Rationality" and finishing with "Practical Advice Backed By Deep Theories", we count 702 qualifying posts (with help from Alexandros's scraper), so almost two years' worth of continuous posting.
The new post isn't meant to contain original content, so it will follow a standard template (a draft of which is included at the bottom of this post). The template includes a one paragraph summary of the article (extracted from the wiki), a brief explanation of how it's part of the sequence reruns, relevant links, and a standardized format for the title and tags.
Like the rationality quotes threads, this is designed to be implemented by the community rather than by software. It will only work if people are interested and participating. Someone will need to make the new post each day, and a lot of the time it will need to be someone other than us two. We'll post an html version of the template with instructions to make it easy for anyone to make a post with just copy, paste, and a few quick edits. The other way that we'll need folks to contribute, besides making the posts, is by writing summaries of the posts. The LW wiki already has a lot of post summaries, including the first 28 posts, but many posts still lack summaries. Things will work more smoothly if those summaries get written in advance and added to the wiki before we get to them.
The main purpose of the Rerunning the Sequences series is to make it easier for people to read or re-read the sequences by putting them in a convenient format that's more like reading new blog posts. Hopefully, this project will also be complementary to other sequence-related projects. As we go through the old sequence posts, some people may be inspired to write condensed versions of them, create exercises for them, or even just to add better summaries to the wiki. And perhaps Eliezer will finally be able to get the karma he deserves for his pre-LW posts.
Another advantage of the sequence reruns series is that it creates a focal point for discussion of the material in the sequences. It's much easier to have discussions about old posts when a lot of people are reading the same post at the same time. We've gone back and forth on where this discussion should take place: on the original post or on the new post. The comments will be about the content of the original post, so it sort of makes sense for them to go there, and that will help keep all of the discussion about that post in one place. On the other hand, this is a fresh discussion taking place a few years after the original posts, and commenting on the new post would keep everything in the discussion section so that the main page “recent comments” feed doesn't get flooded with discussion of old posts. Right now the template is written to have comments go on the new post rather than the original post, but this could go either way. There's a poll on this in the comments; we should decide one way or the other, since haphazardly splitting the discussion between the two places is the worst option.
So, what do you think? Does it make sense to put these new posts in the discussion section? To do the whole Yudkowsky oeuvre rather than specific sequences? To have one post per day? Do you have a better name than “Rerunning The Sequences” (tag: sequence_reruns, title: [SEQ RERUN])? Does the post template look okay? Try to make comments actionable (polls are recommended) so that we can make changes over the next few days and then get started (assuming that there aren't major objections to the whole project).
Unless there are major objections, we'll try to get everything ironed out and start with the first post next Monday (4/18).
Why should we seek truth? Pure curiosity is an emotion, but not therefore irrational. Instrumental value is another reason, with the advantage of giving an outside verification criterion. A third reason is conceiving of truth as a moral duty, but this might invite moralizing about "proper" modes of thinking that don't work. Still, we need to figure out how to think properly. That means avoiding biases, for which see the next post.
Discuss here. [???]
This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was The Martial Art of Rationality, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag to follow the rest of the series.
Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it here, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, or summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki. See here for more details.