1. They are really easy to dive into.
  2. By making the interesting ideas easy and fun to digest, it is helpful therapy for people who have spent many years with the bad habit of throwing their mind away.
  3. It just seems to fit the human mind really well, in ways we don't fully understand, like the orchid that evolved to attracts bees with a flower that ended up shaped like something that fits the bee targeting instinct for a mating partner (even though worker bees are infertile):

    It might even fit the bee's mind better than an actual bee ever could. But we can't know for sure, because unlike humans and LLMs, we cannot ask bees questions
  4. Lots of difficult concepts actually don't require lots of words to explain, the reader's mind is already very well positioned to do most of the work themself. Yud's recent galaxy-brained tweet is an excellent example:

  5. The writer is basically prompt-hacking themself into deeply searching their own mind for extremely valuable concepts that are worth communicating (and worthy enough of including in the list). This often includes yielding new concepts in the space that no one has ever thought of before.

  7. If you think of new concepts a few days later, you can just post a Verson 2.0, and people will just read that one too, since it's only a minute and it's effortless to digest. As true optimized text should be.
  8. You are doing an extremely effective job at competing against all the paragraphs of smart-sounding idiocy on the internet.
  9. It doesn't necessarily attract people with short attention spans and repel people with long attention spans, like clickbait articles. Maybe the efficiency that it offers attracts people who are tired from a long day of searching the alignment space for breakthroughs. Or maybe it shortens people's attention spans, like social media does! We need data.
  10. You always have the option to write a long post afterwards, and have the list of 10 things be a really good tl;dr at the top (see 5).

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7 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 8:15 PM

Years back I heard that 10 is a bad number for this kind of thing.

The reasoning goes that because it's a round number people will assume that you chose it to be round and that at least some of your entries are filler to get up that number.

Whereas if you have 11 reasons or 7 or whatever, people will think that number is the actual number you needed to make all your points.

That's subject to being Goodharted. Having unusual numbers as list size is a sign of trustworthiness, up until people start deliberately creating such lists to be seen as trustworthy, which causes them to cease being so.

Good post. Are you familiar with the pioneering work of BuzzFeed et al (2009-2014) indicated that prime numbered lists resulted in more engagement than round numbers?

This is a good post.

worker bees are infertile

Only for social bees, like honey bees or bumblebees - > 90% of bee species are solitary, and most certainly fertile (if they are to have any chance of being successful evolutionary). Which I suppose only serves to support your point even more...

Short-form is a winning strategy when the content can be made short-form and be no/little worse off for it. Do you have any examples of content which you think would be better condensed into a top 10 list?

11. I like asking LLMs to write me lists of interesting things, please add more training data for that.