Within the next day or two, we'll be launching some features that give the "shortform" concept real infrastructural support. Shortform comments will appear on the All Posts page, on the new /shortform page, and it'll be easier to automatically generate a post to write shortform content.

The only potential issue is that, as "shortform" comments have gained traction... they... often aren't especially short.

I'd kinda like to finalize the name before it goes live.

Currently the team is looking at "Scratchpad" as a name, intending to convey "this is a place you write early stage, off the cuff ideas without stressing too much about whether it should be a post." Sometimes this turns out to actually be short, sometimes not. The main counterpoint right now is that scratchpad kinda implies a level of "ephemerality" or something that isn't necessarily true either.

I'm particularly interested in feedback from people who've either already made a shortform feed (i.e. mr-hire, hazard, DanielFilan and others) if they have any opinions about this particular bikeshed.

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8 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 1:41 AM

Quick thought (not about the name)

The Karma on shortform posts (not the comments) strikes me as a bit awkward; as it's basically a popularity contest. I imagine removing Karma on shortform posts could be pretty sensible.

If you need to replace it, one option could just be a sum of the karma of the top-level comments by that user on that post.

That seems plausible. (And I think it became a bit pronounced recently in a way that updates how worried I am about it)

We’re currently planning to remove short form posts themselves from the main post lists though (replacing that with other ways to engage with shortform) which may fix some of the problem though.

How I currently operate:

literal scratch paper -> for "scratch work" (aid to conversation, doing computation for an assignment). Thrown away

notebooks -> non-sacred capture ideas and grow/workshop as felt. Not thrown away

shortform -> collection of the smallest version of ideas/concepts/insights that recently crystalized for me

post -> worked on idea/tool/frame that I'm either using myself, or want others to know about (on LW or my own blog depending on relevancy to LW)

As I am now, I have my own groove with how I self organize developing ideas, and it's not very intelligible (partially because I very much write to myself). So there's a decent gap between whatever I'm thinking about and working on, and what I output. Currently, I wouldn't use a scratch pad (off the cuff, developing ideas, looking for others to chime in) much, but I also note that this is EXACTLY the sort of thing I've always wanted (have a bunch of interesting friends to always be bouncing ideas of, and low barrier to entry / shared context makes casual communication still effective)

Name suggestions, without reasons:




[User name]'s FEED**

Thoughts on why "Shortform" isn't short, and Possible Names to convey this.

1) The content isn't short - the amount of time spent on it is, and sometime that leads to it being long, and sometimes that leads to it being short.

Name: Quick Thoughts (Long and Short)

2) What starts out as a short comment sometimes grows as it's fleshed out and becomes long.

Names: Seeds, Garden, Writing with Haste, Nailing Down Ideas, Meme Genesis/Evolution, Whispers and Speeches[3], Too Long and Too Short, (That quote from Pascal - word for word, or shortened to an uncommon phrase)

Thoughts on "Scratchpad": If the issue is conveying that quality may vary, "Posts of varying quality" says that - if not in one word.

3) Some things are ephemeral, some things aren't.

Name: Bricks and Phantasms, Shades and Hues, Whispers and Nightmares, Dreams and Machines[4]

Alternative Solutions:

1) Keep shortforms short (or scratchpads rough) and give the option (feature) of moving* shortform posts to being posts. (Similar idea to how comments on questions can be moved to answers.)

2) It's the same kind of thing, but everyone can give it their own name.

*Or copying to drafts, with the original minimized by default, or something to indicate that it's a post now (because it's long/fleshed out).

**This name kind of fits with the feature mentioned above (AS#1), independent of whether the rest of it's description is the way things go.

[3] Because wheen you're whispering you do it quickly, but speeches can be really long

[4] Because Dreams aren't well fleshed out, but machines are.

Huh, "shortform" representing "things that are short, or things you put a short amount of time optimizing" actually addresses my primary crux of "I don't know how to write a description of it that isn't confusing."

I still weakly prefer scratchpad.

Curious if, of the ideas you listed, which you prefer? (Trying to make a decision soon)

[Note: I do expect to build a feature sooner or later that converts shortform posts into regular posts]

The one I'd really like would be: They're called "feed"s, but if someone wants to give theirs a name, they can do that. (Examples: a) "Pattern's feed - Bricks and Phantasms" b) [user]'s feed is the default name, but anyone can change it.) Failing that: "FEED"* or "Garden of Ideas"** or "[user]'s Feed".

*This word doesn't have much of a connotation for me in the way that "Scratchpad" or "Shortform feed" do. It's also nice and short.

*While some people might prefer to develop ideas more adversarially, I think having feeds be a place where people can thrash out ideas without worrying about criticism as much, is a good thing, and this name seems to represent that (if they all have to have the same name).

But if shortform posts appear in the All Posts page, then what's the difference between them and regular posts? And I mean formal difference, not just difference of intention.

Functional difference is that they don’t have titles, and are in sans serif.

Most of the intended difference is in how formal they come across.