Today we're announcing a partnership with Castify to bring you Less Wrong content in audio form. Castify gets blog content read by professional readers and delivers it to their subscribers as a podcast so that you can listen to Less Wrong on the go. The founders of Castify are big fans of Less Wrong so they're rolling out their beta with some of our content.


Castify
 Note: The embedded player (above) isn't live as of this posting, but should be deployed soon.

To see how many people will use this, we're having the entire Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions core sequence read and recorded. We thought listening to it would be a great way for new readers to get caught up and for others to check out the quality of Castify's work. We will be adding more Less Wrong content based on community feedback, so let us know which content you'd like to see more of in the comments.

For instance: Which other sequences would you like to listen to? Would there be interest in an ongoing podcast channel for the promoted posts?

 

Moderation Guidelinesexpand_more

Another comment prompted by the LW channel page...

you have six months to download the audio in the podcast (once downloaded they’re yours forever)

If one is free to keep the files forever after downloading them once, why not call this "buy" instead of "subscribe" and give people the right to re-download the files at any time? I doubt you'd lose much money from that, and I expect that it might actually net you more sales. A big reason why I'm happy to use various digital stores is the knowledge that I can always re-download the files at any time if I have a hard drive crash, and don't need to worry about one more thing that I should keep backed up. Or I can even go on a spending spree and buy a big bunch of things at once, knowing that I'll only download a couple of them now and can grab the rest whenever I have the time for them. If there was a time limit on when I needed to download my purchases, I'd be a lot less likely to do that, since I might forget about it.

If you call this "subscribe" and give people a limited amount of time to download the stuff, you're making their mental frame of reference to be to other subscription services, which I expect is going to evaluate unfavorably. Five dollars to subscribe invites an automatic comparison to Spotify, which I currently pay five euros a month to subscribe to, and which gives me access to a lot more content. (Yes, your five dollars is for six months not one, but that's a System 2 distinction and people tend to use System 1 for these kinds of decisions.) In contrast, if you're calling it "buy", my mind goes "wow, 29 articles by a professional voice actor for only $4.99? That's a killer bargain!"

That's pretty convincing. For some reason I had that limited access idea locked in my head. It just stuck for some reason. We will definitely have a chat about changing that very soon.

(Some background: We were going to launch initially with monthly subscriptions, where you get new content every month. In the end, we decided to start with a core sequence and gauge the feedback from everyone. So we had a subscription model "locked in" from early days.)

Update: This limitation and wording has now been removed. However, in our terms of service, we give you a minimum of two years to download the content. We'll keep it up as long as it's technically and financially feasible, or for two years, whichever comes later.

The founders of Castify are big fans of Less Wrong so their rolling out their beta with some of our content.

Twitch.

But seriously, this is great. I'm trying to get into the habit of using podcasts and recorded lectures to make better use of my time, especially while travelling.

I've been lurking on this site for a few months and seeing this in my RSS feed this morning was surprisingly shocking. I guess I just assumed that people trying to be more logical never made this kind of mistake. It was a good reminder that a mistake only invalidates the conclusions drawn from the mistake, so spelling and grammar errors should be pretty low on the list of offenses. It's kind of saddening that this kind of problem draws my attention much quicker than serious logical problems.

It's kind of saddening that this kind of problem draws my attention much quicker than serious logical problems.

To be fair, they're a hell of a lot easier to notice. Although there's probably a signalling issue involved as well - particular kinds of pedantry are good ways of signalling "nerdiness", and I think most LWers try to cultivate that kind of image.

Wow. This is fascinating.

You, Ezekiel, are basically saying 'I'm aware that a behavior expressing pedantry like that is a signalling thing, that it specifically signals "nerdiness", and that such a person is trying to 'cultivate an image'."

"Oh, and I just did that"

... Presumably you value signaling and cultivating an image with the aim of belonging in a nerdy LessWrong in-group.

facepalm What are we becoming?

P.S. On an unrelated topic, I think the site founder is wrong about some things. And I just thought you ought to know that I'm such a contrarian :)

In my experience, the people on this site don't perceive signalling as wrong or useless, even when it's superficial. I do not understand why that's so because I perceive most of signalling as a waste of resources and think that cultivating a community which tried to minimize unnecessary signalling would be good.

Which is why everyone should just provide the result of a certified IQ test, just so there's less incentive to signal intellectual superiority, with the lines already drawn.

(Heh, that was smart signalling!)

(Also, that last sentence.)

(And this one?)

(Diminishing returns probably.)

Darn it.

Even though you are talking explicitly about signaling, I still couldn't help myself from liking it.

I also like chaosmis' comment. It expressed what I should have.... Though his comment might also be a sinister meta-signaling-signaling trolling :P

God, I hate signaling.

(Wait, am I doing it right now?)

(Oh shit, and now.)

(THERE IS NO RELEASE FROM THE KRAKEN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE AND NEVER LOOK BACK!!)

Game theoretic models of signaling show that it can be either socially beneficial or wasteful depending on the details of the situation. It's hard to construct accurate models of signaling in real life, so we can't easily conclude whether any specific instance of it is wasteful. Having said that, I'm curious where you see the most wasteful signaling behavior occurring in this community and if you have any ideas what we can do to minimize them.

People make verbose and lengthy comments instead of short and simple ones. People always speak in a certain type of tone, signalling that they are smart but also that they are Reasonable and they are listening to the points of their opponents. People lace their comments with subtle disclaimers and possible lines of retreat. People take care to use an apologetic tone.

I think some of this is a somewhat rational reaction to the amount of nitpicking that happens on this site, which is something that I'm also opposed to. But some of this exists on its own and it shouldn't.

I'd prefer it if we just got to the point and stated in the argument as simply as possible. I don't know how to change the norms on this site and don't think any macro-action could do it. Individual people (no, no one specific) just need to relax and to be less personally involved in the site or in the things they say and the arguments that they make.

Also, the karma system may or may not be exacerbating this behavior, I'm not sure.

People make verbose and lengthy comments instead of short and simple ones. People always speak in a certain type of tone, signalling that they are smart but also that they are Reasonable and they are listening to the points of their opponents. People lace their comments with subtle disclaimers and possible lines of retreat. People take care to use an apologetic tone.

I'm not sure what the problem with any of these is.

  • Longer comments help reduce the effects of a large inferential distance: on the occasion that my comments tend towards the long, it's because I've noticed that short comments on similar topics tend to not be understood by people. A short comment implies that the person it was directed to could have realized it themselves, they just hadn't put all the pieces together; a long comment also supplies some missing pieces. Given that a good comment is useful not just to the person you're talking with, but everyone else on the site as well, it's generally better to supply more pieces and maximize the extent to which the comment is useful. Of course, you can go overboard with this, but I don't think the comments on LW are excessively long.
  • Everyone speaking in a standardized tone that lets others know they're reasonable and following community norms is good, as it reduces the probability of conflict.
  • People lacing their comments with subtle disclaimers is good epistemic hygiene that avoids communicating misinformation.
  • People lacing their comments with possible lines of retreat is also good, for the reasons Eliezer expressed in his original post about lines of retreat.
  • People taking care to use an apologetic tone, see my previous comment about tone.

In other words, what you call wasteful signaling, I'd call good rationality habits (or even good social skills). You say

Individual people (no, no one specific) just need to relax and to be less personally involved in the site or in the things they say and the arguments that they make.

But it's exactly things like leaving lines of retreat and using a polite tone that allows them to be less personally involved and not get caught up in things like having to "defeat" their "opponent".

1 Length is only good insofar as it adds to meaning. Most length on LessWrong doesn't do that. For example, I can summarize your first point as:

Long comments make arguments clearer and make communication faster. Good communication is good, within certain limits, and I think most comments fall within those limits.

I don't think any important information is lost there. I disagree with your assessment of communication practices on LessWrong.

2 I don't think we should react to differences in tone the way that we do. The fact that our community has different norms depending on whether or not you use certain tones is problematic. We should try to minimize the impact that things like tone have. Substantive issues ought to be a priority and they ought to dominate to the point where things like tone barely matter at all.

3 Disclaimers discourage argumentative clash and take extra time to think of beforehand. Simply putting down a disclaimer allows you to marginalize issues that others might have with your post, it makes relevant criticism superficially appear less relevant. A better practice that we should be cultivated is to simply concede things after those things are pointed out.

4 The mindset of lines of retreat seems to stem from the idea that arguments are soldiers meant to defend your social status. Mental lines of retreat might be good but discursive ones are generally a way of avoiding responsibility.

5 Cross apply my above response to your argument about tone.

You say that they are good social skills. I agree, given the social norms of this site. But I think those social norms are detrimental to cultivating rationality efficiently and so I want to go about changing the social norms of this site.

But it's exactly things like leaving lines of retreat and using a polite tone that allows them to be less personally involved and not get caught up in things like having to "defeat" their "opponent".

I don't think so. At best, we've just changed the nature of the game.

EDIT: Upon reflection, this last point is basically the essence of my criticism. We've just changed the game to make it more superficially rational, but that is more resource intensive and it masks the underlying mindsets that are bad instead of actually changing them.

Disclaimers discourage argumentative clash and take extra time to think of beforehand.

I like to think of possible holes in my arguments before I make them. Sometimes I discover minor holes that don't invalidate the whole argument but do reduce its force. (For example, the argument isn't universally valid but only if XYZ is true, and XYZ seems pretty likely to be true but we can't be sure yet.) Should I not point them out myself? Or are you thinking of some other kinds of disclaimers?

Sometimes these are bad, usually not. It's difficult for me to outline exactly what kind of disclaimers are bad because I think they're bad whenever they do more to prevent the earnest engagement of ideas than to help it, and determining which category specific cases fall in depends a lot on contextual things that I'm having a difficult time describing.

I know it when I see it, basically. It's easier for me to ask you to make recourse to your own experiences than it is for me to describe these kind of situations all by myself. Personally, lots of the time when I'm writing comments on LessWrong I spend about 30 seconds thinking up the points I want to go over, and then a couple minutes figuring out how to communicate that message in such a way that it will actually be persuasive to my audience. I feel like I spend much more time here trying to "dress up" my comments in the jargon of the site than I do actually learning things. I expect that many other people feel similarly or at least empathize with and understand my perspective on this.

Length is only good insofar as it adds to meaning. Most length on LessWrong doesn't do that. For example, I can summarize your first point as:

Length is good insofar as it adds to understanding. Humans are not logically omniscient: if they aren't very close to understanding a concept already, a mere summary of the concept isn't enough to make them understand it. They need examples and supporting evidence.

Simply putting down a disclaimer allows you to marginalize issues that others might have with your post, it makes relevant criticism superficially appear less relevant.

Is this actually a problem on this site? I don't recall seeing disclaimers being much used that way here.

Upon reflection, this last point is basically the essence of my criticism. We've just changed the game to make it more superficially rational, but that is more resource intensive and it masks the underlying mindsets that are bad instead of actually changing them.

It's much easier to change institutions than it is to change people, and it's likewise much faster to get people to adopt social norms than it is to make them change their thinking. "Change mindsets not norms" might work in a closed group, but not on a public site that has new people joining all the time.

I don't think we should react to differences in tone the way that we do. The fact that our community has different norms depending on whether or not you use certain tones is problematic. We should try to minimize the impact that things like tone have. Substantive issues ought to be a priority and they ought to dominate to the point where things like tone barely matter at all.

It's a big shift, for people to become unaffected by tone. Even if it was possible for community members to make it, it would be exclusive to outsiders, who would be affected by the tone of the discussions and would have trouble participating. Better just to use a tone that encourages good discussions.

EDIT: Or to put it another way, it's better to make comments in a tone that causes people to respond more intelligently, then to require them to be inhumanly unresponsive to tone.

I agree but also still think that tone is very overemphasized. We should encourage less reaction to tone instead of taking it as inevitable and a reasonable complaint in response to a comment, which is what I think that we currently do.

3 Disclaimers discourage argumentative clash and take extra time to think of beforehand. Simply putting down a disclaimer allows you to marginalize issues that others might have with your post, it makes relevant criticism superficially appear less relevant. A better practice that we should be cultivated is to simply concede things after those things are pointed out.

Disagree. I support using disclaimers to communicate your point clearly. I don't consider 'argumentative clash' to be an intrinsic good to encourage, especially not argumentative clash about points you could (and should) have conceded already. That distracts from the potential for useful discussion, that actually adds information that hasn't already been considered.

Making overgeneralized claims and deliberately refraining from putting in any clarifications or disclaimers is a terrible idea. It encourages arguments that achieve nothing more than force you to retreat to the sane position that you should have presented in the first place. Consider hiding disclaimers away in footnotes so as to not distract from the flow.

You say that they are good social skills. I agree, given the social norms of this site. But I think those social norms are detrimental to cultivating rationality efficiently and so I want to go about changing the social norms of this site.

I oppose your attempt to influence the social norms of this site in this manner. The influence is toxic.

2 I don't think we should react to differences in tone the way that we do. The fact that our community has different norms depending on whether or not you use certain tones is problematic. We should try to minimize the impact that things like tone have. Substantive issues ought to be a priority and they ought to dominate to the point where things like tone barely matter at all.

That's fucking bullshit! Tone matters. I don't know what the fuck is wrong with you that makes you so oblivious to the actual real world consequences of the proposals you are making but you really need to be slapped down like a bitch for the good of the tribe. Your influence and credibility needs to be crushed so these damn fool ideas of yours get no traction. Seriously, shut the fuck up until you get a clue. YOU ARE DANGEROUS AND IGNORANT. Observers, please grant chaosmosis no social status or leeway when it comes to violating the norms that he (or she, or it) wishes to oppose. Naive fucktard.

My claim here is that the tone in the above XML-tagged paragraph would be completely inappropriate and unhelpful in any situation where it was not illustrative. Nevertheless, there is nothing in the actual information conveyed by the insulting and vulgar presentation that isn't entirely reasonable. In terms of "substantive issues" the above paragraph is noble and virtuous. But tone does matter and, as a matter of general policy, that kind of tone should never be accepted, regardless of who the offender is.

At a more mild level, where the disrespectful tone is below the threshold of outright swearing and abuse, tone gives reliable indications of how the person is likely to respond to continued conversation. It's a good indication of whether they will respond in good faith or need to be treated as a hostile rhetorician that is not vulnerable to persuasion (or learning).

Useful discussion involves engagement with other people's ideas and the ability to engage other peoples ideas is lessened when you have to wade through layers of disclaimers in order to get there. I think there are legitimate and illegitimate uses of disclaimers, but that they're often used wrongly.

Your second point is stupid. There's a middle ground between the wholly impersonal and inefficient pedantry that often goes on in this site and between cursing out people. I also think that despite the somewhat ironic message of your paragraph your rudeness is intentional, you're trying to attack my status behind a stupid "ironically" donned mask. Don't be a fucking dick, in other words.

I think your disclaimer that the paragraph is "ironic" serves as a good example of how disclaimers can mask conflict and make it more difficult to straightforwardly engage other people's ideas. Spending my time addressing that "lolololz u suck just trolling but 4srs" type paragraph in which you were an asshole was way more inefficient than it would have been if you just said that you want me to have lower status and that you disagreed for the reasons you do.

At a more mild level, where the disrespectful tone is below the threshold of outright swearing and abuse, tone gives reliable indications of how the person is likely to respond to continued conversation. It's a good indication of whether they will respond in good faith or need to be treated as a hostile rhetorician that is not vulnerable to persuasion (or learning).

I view this as code for "whether or not they have in-status as a Yudkowskian Rationalist". Your point here can easily be interpreted as saying that if they don't talk like us then we can probably conclude that they're too stupid to learn, and that's what I think is wrong. Substantive argumentative content should be the litmus test here, minor differences in tone should barely matter at all compared to it. Your claim illustrates exactly what's wrong with the social norms of the site.

I'll just throw in a random (read: self-selected, personal, cherry-picked) datapoint here:

Your tone in this thread greatly annoys me, and disrupts my ability to correctly infer the meaning of the words and sentences you have written. What's more, the perception I get of your attitude make me model you as very confrontational, conflictual, rebellious, and deliberately inflammatory in an attempt to subvert group norms and appeal to emotional intuitions to reform the site's guidelines and said norms. All of this combined makes it difficult for me to engage directly with your main points and reason correctly, particularly how the automatic Type-1 emotional responses I have to your writing completely disrupt my thoughts and insert dangerous anti-epistemology straight into my stream of consciousness.

My first guess is that this is sufficient as an example of why tone is somewhat relevant. Again, I have quite a bit of difficulty in properly reasoning through your arguments and avoiding the typical pitfalls and mistakes (in a mental exercise, I caught myself strawmanning your arguments at least three times) without going up a level of meta like I'm attempting to do in this comment.

In what way am I deliberately manipulating people using their emotional intuitions? Can you give an example? I'm trying to frame myself in contrast to the norm, I agree with that. I don't think that should be perceived as a bad thing. I think that you perceive that as a bad thing is itself a bad thing.

Side note: why am I the one you chose to rebuke, and not Wedrifid? His comment is clearly more illustrative of the things that you are criticizing. My guess: status, and that's all. He's a tough target, but I'm not. I'm going to mentally flag this as a data point pointing towards my belief that LessWrong has an unhealthy level of preoccupation with status that is somehow unquestioningly accepted as normal and healthy. Just a more general point that I felt like making.

Your overall argument is that because it is difficult for you to engage my arguments rationally, I ought to change. I think that this mindset is backwards. I think that a much better option would be for you to work on changing what you're able to engage rationally. Most of the world does not speak in the same way that LessWrong does, but they still have valuable things to say. Recognizing that and adapting to it would be beneficial.

I think the problem here is much more you than me. There is a big problem when you strawman someone three times based only on tone. I especially think this is true since I see nothing in my comment similar to the kind of manipulations that you describe. I simply use terminology that comes easily to me (although more accurately, even now it's still being moderated a little bit; this moderation is towards the type of moderated rational discourse that you want, however, and not away from it). I don't see anything in my comments that you might be having problems with except their different-ness. If you're unable to engage different types of tones in rational ways, it would be productive for you to change that. Why am I the one at fault here?

In what way am I deliberately manipulating people using their emotional intuitions? Can you give an example? I'm trying to frame myself in contrast to the norm, I agree with that. I don't think that should be perceived as a bad thing. I think that you perceive that as a bad thing is itself a bad thing.

This itself is a good example of it. I wasn't even touching the concern of whether it should be perceived as bad, or whether my reaction was good. While I used the emotional impacts of the discourse as a datapoint towards a certain other argument, what I said was descriptive, and it wasn't my intention to have any prescriptive statements (other than the actual point of the grandparent, which the quote above has nothing to do with).

I also wasn't saying that I belief you do deliberately attempt to manipulate people with emotional intuitions. I'm saying that, as in the above example I just quoted, some of your statements and phrasings makes my model of you be formed towards "the type of person that deliberately manipulates people with emotional intuitions". Whether the model is accurate or not is a separate matter from that point. I'm inclined to believe that this default model is accurate, and had updated in favor of the opposite (i.e. you don't try to manipulate people using emotions), which in turn prompted me to respond to your comments.

Side note: why am I the one you chose to rebuke, and not Wedrifid? His comment is clearly more illustrative of the things that you are criticizing. My guess: status, and that's all. He's a tough target, but I'm not. I'm going to mentally flag this as a data point pointing towards my belief that LessWrong has an unhealthy level of preoccupation with status that is somehow unquestioningly accepted as normal and healthy. Just a more general point that I felt like making.

Completely irrelevant to the point I was trying to make in the grandparent; You were arguing that tone wasn't (and/or shouldn't) be important, I was offering a piece of evidence to the contrary.

If tone makes it difficult for members of one of the most elite communities of rationalists in the world to engage in dialogue, I doubt the issue can be waved away as "you should just get better at ignoring it".

Your overall argument is that because it is difficult for you to engage my arguments rationally, I ought to change.

It is not.

Most of the world does not speak in the same way that LessWrong does, but they still have valuable things to say. Recognizing that and adapting to it would be beneficial.

I doubt anyone disagrees on this. See above; this wasn't what I was arguing.

I think the problem here is much more you than me. There is a big problem when you strawman someone three times based only on tone.

Yes, there generally is a big problem when you strawman someone three times (regardless of cause). I doubt it was based only on tone, but now it's been long enough that I don't remember the specifics, and this particular comment I'm responding to doesn't seem to evoke the same subconscious responses.

I especially think this is true since I see nothing in my comment similar to the kind of manipulations that you describe.

There is an injunction against using this as evidence for anything, IIRC. Human brains are "designed" such that they would have this exact reaction either way, before it even enters your stream of consciousness. It is reasonable to be doubtful of such accusations when they happen, though. I don't remember making such an accusation explicitly, but I did imply it despite myself in the grandparent (in my description of how I perceived you subconsciously).

My apologies, I had no intent to point at you with specific accusations of manipulative behavior. I don't see any examples of these kinds of manipulations either. Only statements and phrasings that evoke the feelings that such manipulations evoke, and elicit (at least in me) similar reactions overall.

Most of the world does not speak in the same way that LessWrong does, but they still have valuable things to say. Recognizing that and adapting to it would be beneficial.

Your intended influence is not in the direction of making it more easy for the rest of the world to communicate effectively on lesswrong---in fact it is the reverse. DaFranker is already far more willing than most to attempt to communicate with you despite your manner and without reciprocating your debate tactics. The presumption you made is that DaFranker should be expected to push himself to implausible extremes of tolerance, patience and rational thinking so that he is somehow able to resurrect the possibility of communicating with you. This kind of expectation is the opposite of what it takes to adapt to communicating with normal people.

Most of the world cares about belligerent tone. Your argument undermines your position.

The presumption you made is that DaFranker should be expected to push himself to implausible extremes of tolerance, patience and rational thinking so that he is somehow able to resurrect the possibility of communicating with you. This kind of expectation is the opposite of what it takes to adapt to communicating with normal people.

That a belligerent tone precludes/hinders most people from parsing the actual content and limits them in their immediate rational thinking capacity is - to me - a clear failure mode which, as you say, is unfortunately characteristic for "normal people".

A belligerent tone does obviously in itself convey certain information, mostly relative to status squabbles, and should be filed away for future reference, not ignored. However, it shouldn't impede the reader's capacity to engage with the argument beyond that tone, and the simple fact that it does constitutes a bias - a cognitive impediment - to be overcome.

Engaging on important topics is hard enough and shouldn't be a training ground for "learning to deal with belligerently presented arguments on the content-level", however it's a useful skill that should be acquired. Otherwise we'd let emotions continue to cloud our judgement, as the Jedi would say.

I agree with all these points. (So it took me a while to conclude that it was not intended as a refutation of the grandparent and instead something that actually supports it then explores the tangent.)

Again, I'm not defending belligerent tone, I'm attacking overly apologetic tones. You tried that strawman once already. Stop falsely accusing me of doing the exact things that you actually are doing.

Be specific. What on earth am I doing that's so disingenuous? You both claim that I'm utilizing advanced level Dark Arts here, and I'm totally clueless on how that might be so. Your vagueness makes me think that maybe you are just blaming me for your own instinctive irrational responses to neutral differences in tones, instead of actually analyzing the (supposedly) manipulative persuasive tendencies in my comments.

I also want to dispute your framing. You frame it as though I'm demanding that DaFranker adjust to my norms, because I deserve it. I'm not. I'm saying that DaFranker would benefit from being able to accept everyone's tones more easily. It's still his choice, and I make no presumptions. Again, I use no Dark Arts, you just use Dark Arts framing tactics to make it look like I do.

Your beliefs about my intentions are wildly inaccurate. Am I supposed to be some kind of evil moron who has a secret plan to impede rational communication? Why would I want to do that? Why would anyone want to do that? What on earth are you basing this belief of yours on?

Overall, you're hiding behind a mask of rationality and politeness while engaging in egregious instances of the things that I criticize. Your criticisms of me are not only inaccurate but actually apply much better to your own comments. This seems like the perfect illustration of my above claim that "we've changed the game to make it more superficially rational, but [it's actually just] more resource intensive and it masks the underlying mindsets that are bad instead of actually changing them".

Be specific. What on earth am I doing that's so disingenuous?

There is not much more specific I can be than systematically quoting sentences and directly making criticisms below the quotes. As such, this insinuation about lack of specificity may be added to the list of disingenuous claims.

Overall, you're hiding behind a mask of rationality and politeness

Polite? You think I'm being polite? Hardly. I seem to be being crude, banal, aggressive and cavalier in my opposition to your influence. Surely any err here on my part would be in the lack of politeness, not a superficial overabundance of the same!

(For this reason if it had been the case that my replies were voted down it would only have been a minor annoyance. I can accept that people could in principle have downvoted me for failing to use the tone of a courtier while arguing against tone-indifference. However if chaosmosis's comments had been significantly upvoted I would have been shocked, appalled and disgusted---believing that the voters had unambiguous and objectively poor judgement. This is in contrast to most situations where social reception of my own contributions impact me more than the reception of whichever person happens to be wrong on the internet that day. In this case it seems that I fully endorse my position and arguments but am actually somewhat ambivalent about my stylistic choices.)

while engaging in egregious instances of the things that I criticize.

Also false. Some of the things that you criticize are actually things that I would probably be well served to have implemented in this case. But sometimes I allow wedrifid to fall short of Machiavellian signalling ideals and be more direct in his expressions of belief and preference than is necessarily optimal for maximizing his status.

You're not hiding behind a mask of politeness; I have no idea what I was thinking because that is clearly wrong. I do think you are hiding behind a mask of rationality though. For example, you basically just conceded that you have no ability to provide any form of evidence for your claims that I am being disingenuous, and you then claimed that my asking for you to do so is evidence that I am being disingenuous. That's both contradictory and suspicious.

The question about lack of specificity is not disingenuous because it gets at the important point that I don't think I've done anything disingenuous. Additionally, I'm justified in suspecting your motives, because every time I make a good point you ignore it in your next response and arguments fall by the wayside, but in reality I have made several good reasons already why you are being disingenuous.

Your above comment is a good example, you manage to totally gloss over my obviously true claim that you've strawmanned me repeatedly. You also gloss over the fact that I showed that your beliefs about my intentions are incredibly stupid. You are ignoring any arguments that you find inconvenient, you are not actually engaging me so much as you are utilizing guerilla tactics. You view me as an evil moron, obviously I have no reason to believe that you would actually conduct yourself with some sort of fairness during this exchange. No one else should believe that either, they should definitely be suspicious of you and your motives at the point where all of these arguments indict your credibility and yet are just pushed to the side.

You say that you are allowing yourself to engage in low status signalling. But I think that aggression is actually perceived as high status, and that you would be aware of this, and that you are falsely portraying yourself as nobly enraged so that you garner even more sympathy. Also, your aggression serves to mask your guerilla tactics, which I think is another reason you are using it.

For example, you basically just conceded that you have no ability to provide any form of evidence for your claims that I am being disingenuous

I actually did the opposite that---that the specificity is blatantly obvious---most of sentence in question consisted of a direct link to the most notable examples. Reality and your description thereof do not seem to be terribly well correlated at this point.

You say that you are allowing yourself to engage in low status signalling.

No, I'm not actually. That conclusion would follow if it was assumed that the optimal way to gain and maintain high status was to exclusively and unthinkingly execute what improv sources describe as 'high status behaviors' and behaviors that lower another's status. But this is definitely not the case. My reference was to the behavior of courtiers and to Machiavellian ideals. That dance for power and status is far more nuanced and extensively exploits low status moves as well, taking the most advantage from each situation.

Taking a step back, as I sometimes do, my evaluation of wedrifid's interactions in this thread is that they display acceptable social competency but aren't masterful or shrewd. He took social risks he did not need to and they could easily have backfired on him if the environment was slightly more hostile or most observers were not already themselves disgruntled with the person he engaged in conflict.

But I think that aggression is actually perceived as high status, and that you would be aware of this, and that you are falsely portraying yourself as nobly enraged so that you garner even more sympathy.

Aggression is too crude an act to work as a signal at the highest echelons of status. The ideal is to make it seem that everyone does what you want without you having to spend anything but the tiniest application of effort or attention. But more importantly aggression has the chance to backfire. In this case the real risk wedrifid took is that he made himself vulnerable to the will of all onlookers. If he had sufficient enemies looking for an opportunity, if chaosmosis had sufficient allies or if observers all somehow thought chaosmosis behavior and influence attempt was actually beneficial and that wedrifid wasn't making valid points then they had the opportunity to portray wedrifid as a villian and eagerly attack him themselves.

A skilled player doesn't expose themselves to potential social judgement without good cause. They make their moves in such a way that they can't be criticized or when they have completely confidence in their ability to play the crowd. They would make insinuations and leave impressions rather than directly stating "this influence is toxic and should be crushed".

I'll concede all of the above, with the qualifier that you're not nearly as sophisticated as you'd like to pretend.

What I'd like to focus on, instead, are the things you've chosen not to talk about. You, once again, have selectively quoted my comments and ignored any points that made you look bad but that you didn't know how to answer. You've conceded that your understanding of my intentions is obviously irrational, that you've utilized strawmen often throughout this discussion, and that you're using guerilla type argumentative tactics against me.

Overall, I don't believe that this conflict is about the merits and risks of a reliance on tone at all, but rather it's about you wanting to make a status grab at the expense of actually furthering rational communication on this site. It is also about your desire to ruin my status, which I believe exists not for the reasons given in these comment trees but rather for reasons that I don't quite understand yet.

If I had to guess, you're just a bully who enjoys bullying whenever they get into a context they can get away with it. You feel powerful when you portray yourself as engaging in the tactics of Machiavelli, or when you remind yourself that you have friends on this website and I don't. You seem seriously messed up. Because of all this, I think you are a danger to LessWrong, and that your ego will increase existential risk by a significant amount.

I hope someone situated in a position to better analyze and respond to your behavior sees my comments, so that they can watch you with this perspective in mind. Take it with a grain of salt, please, but don't dismiss it out of hand either. Hopefully, his influence will be curbed before he does something dangerous with it.

You seem seriously messed up. Because of all this, I think you are a danger to LessWrong, and that your ego will increase existential risk by a significant amount.

Oh, that's just patently ridiculous. Nobody here (with very few exceptions) has any significant effect on existential risk.

your ego will increase existential risk by a significant amount.

Seriously? You believe that a lone LW regular can significantly affect x-risk?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can destroy the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

I think that even very small amounts of x-risk increases are significant. I also think that lone LWers have the most impact when they're dealing with things like community attitudes.

You've conceded that your understanding of my intentions is obviously irrational, that you've utilized strawmen often throughout this discussion, and that you're using guerilla type argumentative tactics against me.

Still lies. I have directly said the opposite of that. Please leave lesswrong and go elsewhere.

and that your ego will increase existential risk by a significant amount.

If nothing else I suppose I am flattered that you believe I'm that relevant, that I have that much power to influence existential outcomes one way or the other. It seems appropriate to harness this kind of absurd lament as if it is a positive exhortation. A challenge consider what difference I could have, to evaluate what Good (whatever that means) my allegedly significant power could be harnessed towards.

If I had to guess, you're just a bully who enjoys bullying whenever they get into a context they can get away with it. You feel powerful when you portray yourself as engaging in the tactics of Machiavelli, or when you remind yourself that you have friends on this website and I don't.

I know you intend nothing more than slander but I am once more prompted to consider just what this information would mean to me were it true. If I was a bully, someone who thrives on abusing power against others and who presumably has been practiced the skills of the bully throughout my life then that would imply a certain skill-set that is valuable in certain contexts. It is a crude, distasteful skillset that I happen to find viscerally abhorrent down to the very core of my being but one that I must nevertheless acknowledge use instrumentally useful to those who use it well. Experience using Machiavellian tactics is even more useful, being far more general and adaptable than competency with petty bullying.

If I were so fundamentally instinctively orientated towards bullying and Machiavellian scheming toward power---and I credit myself with the intellect and resourcefulness to become quite proficient in whatever I'm instinctively driven to do if given three decades of experience---then that would give a very clear indication of just what my comparative advantage would be likely to be. Namely it would mean I should be making use of my natural drives being just one more asshole in a high paying and cutthroat workplace and industry (such as the pharmaceutical industry or something finance related). I would then be able to harness the economic bounty of my exploitation to achieve things I care about.

(As it happens your model of me is wrong so my development history and so comparative advantage is very different to what would be the case in the counterfactual world that operates using your assumption as a premise.)

You have repeatedly falsely portrayed my arguments as defending belligerent tone, you've used that as an excuse to curse at me, you've defended an absurd model of my intentions, you've shifted the topic of the discussion over and over again and repeatedly ignored points that you find inconvenient. You have never produced a valid response to these objections, you continue to omit them over and over and to instead redirect the topic onto personal attacks on me.

This is all evidence for my belief that you're portraying your motives here dishonestly. The repeated aggression that you've shown, given the additional fact that there's a complete lack of warrants to support it, is strong evidence for my belief that you enjoy being a jerk. You claim that you would have gone into a different line of work if that were the case, but I think that's only incredibly weak evidence.

It's not as though I should have a low prior on a human being an asshole, even if they're not in finance. It's also not as though I should privilege your assertions as to what a counterfactual world would look like over your actual observable behavior within these comments.

I view this as code for "whether or not they have in-status as a Yudkowskian Rationalist".

This would be untenable as an actual interpretation of the words written. Your straw man use here is unambiguous and intentional. People you communicate with here in the future should beware that you will not communicate in good faith.

Your point here can easily be interpreted as saying that if they don't talk like us then we can probably conclude that they're too stupid to learn, and that's what I think is wrong.

No. The quoted point cannot be interpreted as saying that (easily or otherwise) by someone who comprehends English and is intending to truthfully represent the words.

Your claim illustrates exactly what's wrong with the social norms of the site.

I maintain that your intended program of influence is toxic and shall oppose it wherever possible for the reasons specified. I simultaneously lower the credence I assign to the sincerity of your previous statements (given the strong discord between observed behaviors and exhortations.)

The below words are yours:

At a more mild level, where the disrespectful tone is below the threshold of outright swearing and abuse, tone gives reliable indications of how the person is likely to respond to continued conversation. It's a good indication of whether they will respond in good faith or need to be treated as a hostile rhetorician that is not vulnerable to persuasion (or learning).

You said that moderate differences in tone were good indicators of whether or not someone was rational enough to be capable to learn. You were vague about what specifically these indicators would be. I felt like that vagueness was suspicious, and could be used to justify over privileging commenters who sound familiar. This is not me arguing in bad faith, this is me attempting to fill in a blank spot in your argument. Admittedly, I framed it with words that made you sound wrong. However, I still believe this is your belief, more or less.

If I'm wrong in my belief about your belief, fix your argument; fill in the blank spot. Which parts of moderate differences in tone are so useful that they can clearly show us when someone is incapable of learning?

If my comment isn't a wholly accurate portrayal, it still gets the general picture across. You responded to none of its content, choosing instead to dismiss it all as irrelevant and a strawman, and you chose to use this as a reason that people should stop listening to my arguments. But my comment was at worst unfair and my comment illustrates very well the potential dangers of your position and so I don't think it should be ignored. People should take it with a grain of salt, perhaps, but don't tell them to ignore it.

No. The quoted point cannot be interpreted as saying that (easily or otherwise) by someone who comprehends English and is intending to truthfully represent the words.

You literally said that "tone... [is] a good indication of whether they... need to be treated as a hostile rhetorician that is not vulnerable to persuasion (or learning)." You think that tone alone is enough to tell us whether or not someone can learn. You think that people with certain tones can reliably be considered stupid.

I don't exactly agree. I think that tone has very limited use in assessing intelligence, and that evaluating argumentative content is a much more straightforward way of doing so. I distrust your and even my own intuitions about tone, also. I think that it's very probable that you dismiss legitimately smart people based simply on neutral differences in tone.

You never stated that you think that people who speak like us are the smart ones. But I believe that you believe that, and I honestly wouldn't trust you if you claimed otherwise, since it's basically human nature to rally around things like tone. However, if similarity isn't the brightline you're using for evaluating what kinds of tones are good and what kinds of tones are bad, I still think the discussion would benefit from you specifying exactly what is.

You literally said that "tone... [is] a good indication of whether they... need to be treated as a hostile rhetorician that is not vulnerable to persuasion (or learning)."

You think that tone alone is enough to tell us whether or not someone can learn. You think that people with certain tones can reliably be considered stupid.

I think neither of those things. This isn't about stupidity or intelligence. This is about how people will behave within a conversation. More intelligence granted to a debator set on winning an argument and securing status does not make them better at accepting and learning from information in the context. It makes them better at defending themselves from needing to. It makes them better and creating straw men and clever but irrelevant counter-arguments.

I wish lack of intelligence was the only thing that could prevent someone from comprehending something. Alas...

You never stated that you think that people who speak like us are the smart ones.

I'm not comfortable identifying with any group 'us' unless I know how that group is identified. I'd be surprised if I even willingly put myself in the same group as you (making a quoted-from-you 'us' unlikely). For better or worse I do not believe I relate to words, argument or communication in general the same way that you do. (And yes, I do believe that my 'us' would refer to the 'smart ones'---or at least ones that are laudable in some way that I consider significant.)

I think neither of those things. This isn't about stupidity or intelligence. This is about how people will behave within a conversation. More intelligence granted to a debator set on winning an argument and securing status does not make them better at accepting and learning from information in the context. It makes them better at defending themselves from needing to. It makes them better and creating straw men and clever but irrelevant counter-arguments.

I agree that tone can provide useful information. The difference between our positions is perhaps more one of emphasis than anything else, despite the stupid and superficial squabbling above. I'm focused on the dangers of relying on tone, whereas you're focused on the benefits.

I'm focused on the dangers of tone since I think that our intuitions about such an inherently slippery concept are untrustworthy and I also think that it's human nature to perceive neutral differences in things like tone as hostile differences. As previously mentioned, I also thing that LessWrongers allow tonal differences to cloud their judgement, and they feel justified in doing so because they are offended by other tones. Tone should be secondary to substance by a very long margin.

I am unsure to what extent you really disagree with any of this. You don't seem to attempt to refute my arguments about how a reliance on tone can be dangerous. Instead, you take pot shots at my credibility, and you say that tone also has legitimate uses. I don't want to deny or preclude legitimate uses of tone, so your position here doesn't clash much with mine.

We also both seem to perceive norms on LessWrong surrounding tone differently. I see a lot of the dangerous type of attitude towards tone going on in this site, the above comment with someone who apparently strawmanned my comment 3 times being a good example. Judging from your overall position, you seem to perceive this as less common. I don't know what could be done to resolve this aspect of our disagreement.

I'm not comfortable identifying with any group 'us' unless I know how that group is identified. I'd be surprised if I even willingly put myself in the same group as you (making a quoted-from-you 'us' unlikely). For better or worse I do not believe I relate to words, argument or communication in general the same way that you do. (And yes, I do believe that my 'us' would refer to the 'smart ones'---or at least ones that are laudable in some way that I consider significant.)

I was using that language tongue-in-cheek, to display the sort of perspective that I perceive as dangerous and that I think you might be trying to justify, not as something that I actually believe. I also thought it was ironic and amusing to place myself in the same category as you, I did so with the belief that you would reject that association, which was exactly what made it funny to me.

Also, you say changing the nature of the game like it's not important. It's like you want to play basketball back before they cut the bottoms out of baskets.

I understand what you're getting at, but what specifically is important about this change? I see the added resource intensity as one thing but that's all I can think of whereas I'm reading your comment as hinting at some more fundamental change that's taking place.

(A few seconds later, my thoughts.)

One change might be that the goals have shifted. It becomes about status and not about solving problems. Maybe that is what you had in mind? Or something else?

I'd just like to say that your complaints about length are pretty funny in their ironic stupidity.

I said that length was useful insofar as it added to communication. Was I particularly inefficient? I don't think so. As is, it's somewhat ironic, but I think only superficially so because there isn't any real clash between what I claim as ideal and what I engage in (because, again, I think I was efficient). And there's not stupidly there at all, or at least none that I see. You'll need to go into more detail here.

People always speak in a certain type of tone, signalling that . . . they are Reasonable and they are listening to the points of their opponents.

In this community, that depends a lot on the topic of conversation.

I perceive most of signalling as a waste of resources and think that cultivating a community which tried to minimize unnecessary signalling would be good.

Correcting spelling errors doesn't waste many resources. But yeah, the amount of pointless signalling that goes on in the nerd community is kind of worrying.

Why do I do it myself? Force of habit, probably. I was the dumbest person in my peer group throughout high school, so I had to consciously cultivate an image that made me worth their attention, which I craved.

good ways of signalling "nerdiness"

I would specify instead: signalling "I care about good communication and avoiding misunderstandings due to poor use of language and syntactical ambiguities/misinterpretations"

I've got this idea from I-don't-know-where that this kind of signaling is a useful, cost-efficient sonar ping that'll publicly filter for certain types of people, notably those who care about grammar and those who care about avoiding ambiguities. I think attracting both of those groups is a suitable compromise when the only obvious alternatives are much costlier.

I imagine the less technical the subject matter the more likely it is to be useful to listen to as a podcast. I only listen to podcasts when I'm out on errands and so I don't want to or have to devote much mental energy to get something out of the podcast.

So, by this heuristic, I think the quantum physics sequence is probably out and Yudkowsky's coming of age is probably in.

Yes, we're very cognisant that some content just doesn't work as spoken word. We thought Less Wrong content was a great test case because most articles translate well to spoken word and is pretty unique in that the sequences nicely cluster content for us to offer.

Just to counter your anecdote, I (almost) only listen to podcasts when I'm in an idle waiting situation, or doing routine tasks that require insignificant mental energy. I love to listen to things that make me think, so my mind is as far away from the tedious routines as possible.

That said, the content here is "designed" to be read, not listened to. Content that tends to provoke a lot of going back and forth for references and rereading crucial bits multiple times isn't going to work in direct text to audio conversion because of the differences of the media.

But forcing the listener to think isn't a problem to me - and I do think (even after trying to compensate for possible cognitive biases) that I represent a significant base of listeners.

This lookes like it could be very good. I know some people who have started reading the sequences, were moderately interested, but then stopped as they did not have the time. I am definitely going to recomend this to them. In general, I am a big fan of audiobooks and podcasts for listening to in your spare time, and this combines the greatness of that with the super greatness of the sequences. A big thumbs up from me.

Thanks a lot for the feedback. That's extremely encouraging. We thought the getting the sequences done would be great for example that case and we hope it will thinks more approachable for your busy friends.

Minor interface tweak: most websites have taught me that if I click on the site logo at the top, I'll be taken back to the front page. I was expecting that to work on Castify as well, but it didn't, which delayed me for about half a second before I located the "Home" link. It's no big deal, but many users would probably prefer it if you followed the normal UI convention.

Another good suggestions. That's something I overlook all the time and is pretty easy to fix.

I was just on Castify, and it looks like it has been successfully fixed. Impressive response time.

Speaking personally, I'm really put off by the payment model. You're presenting this as "$5 for a one-year subscription". Now, if this was "$5 for a one-year subscription to all our Less Wrong content, released regularly on the following schedule", then that would seem fair value for money. On the other hand, if it was "$5 to buy this sequence, and you can buy other sequences once we have them ready", then that would be okay, too. As is, though it's coming across as "$5 to subscribe to this sequence for one-year, plus more money to subscribe to any other sequences we put out when we have them, and if something happens to your files at some point in the future, then too bad; we'll charge you another $5 to get it again, despite the fact that we have your account information on file and know you paid us". And that is... not good. It strikes me as overly greedy, and to no real purpose, since you're not locking the files or anything so I don't get to play them after the subscription expires (incidentally, also a business model I would not support). To summarize: I'd willingly 'subscribe' to content that is coming out on a regular basis, or 'buy' content that is complete as is. I will not 'subscribe' to content complete as is, since the implication is that my right to the content is temporary and revocable.

Sorry about the confusion over the "subscription" of what is a one-time payment for a Core Sequence. The "subscription" status of this first Core Sequence was a result of the way we originally set up things with PayPal. We are working to change the one-time purchases to a "buy" option not a "subscription".

Our goal is to do exactly what you said at the end of your post. We will have a single subscription option where you can subscribe to all new promoted posts from Less Wrong. This will be a monthly recurring payment model. Then there will be a list of Core Sequences available for purchase (like buying an audiobook). You'd buy them individually.

We will have some additional core sequences coming out shortly and hope to get the promoted posts subscription option up and running very soon. Thank you for your feedback!

Thanks for the quick response. I figured that you probably wouldn't be trying to do that (it'd be awful for business, for one thing), but from what was written on the site as it stood, I couldn't find any reading of it that said anything else.

Hello again Endovior, just wanted to let you know the changes have been made. Now it's no longer a subscription but a single purchase. Thanks again for the feedback and your patience!

Awesome, was waiting for that to be fixed before sending you monies. Subscribed now.

What we're really interested in doing moving forward, aside from more sequences, is turning the promoted posts into a podcast. This would be offered as a paid monthly subscription.

We'd love the community's feedback on this.

Edit As suggested by somervta, if anyone is themselves interested in narrating some content, please get in touch with us. We'd love to get people familiar with LW content to help out with the load. When we start adding more channels, we expect our of main challenges to be keeping the quality of the readers high.

The free sample is pretty good. The reader is awesome. You've probably got my (monetary) support in the long run, though I'd like to see how it'd work with Kaj's suggestion about the business model. Getting new people to listen to the sequences would be easier if it doesn't look like there's any commitment, and/or if a sequence can be 'gifted' to someone.

The one nitpick or suggestion I might have, however, would be to have slightly longer pauses between main points / topics, to let everything sink in. The pacing of the reader is excellent, but Eliezer's writing can require some heavy mental juggling between concepts, so I would have put a bit more time spacing e.g. before and after the "It's tempting to try to eliminate (...) short and direct step, but it is still a step." paragraph to let the jump from the argument to the belief steps and from the steps to the tall building example sink in and run more smoothly.

I doubt this alone is worth re-editing all the audio, and it might just be specific to the sample article. Might be worth keeping in mind once you're doing the meat of things like Reductionism or Human's Guide to Words, though.

We definitely hear you. We'll pass that suggestion and positive feedback onto George, he's the reader. The subject material can certainly be dense, you definitely do not want to hit the 2X speed button on your iPhone!

I realize that you have your own voice actors, but it might not be a bad idea to solicit some help from people already familiar with the whole LessWrong conceptspace. I know we have quite a few members with some excellent recording setups.

The obvious way would be to put a link in your post, and/or set up a second post asking for volunteers (either way, you should put something in the discussion section also). You could ask anyone who's interested in helping to email you a voice sample of a particular article, specifying the length in the post.

Making the Babyeaters/SuperHappy posts into an audio story might draw new people to the site.

If there was a paywall, that would make it drastically less effective of a recruiting tool. There is a fan-made podcast of HP & the Methods of Rationality that, while less professional, is also free.

http://www.hpmorpodcast.com/

I might be missing something obvious but I'm a bit confused about the subscription length. It says on this page that one has 6 months to download the podcast and that you keep them forever. However, it also says in two places that it is 4.99 for 1 year of access. What significance does the year have?

Your confusion is warranted. I quickly changed the terms to one year based on feedback, but didn't update the description text. Sorry for the confusion.

Hey ahartell, I just wanted to let you know that buying flow has changed. Now the sequences are a single purchase instead of a "subscription". We are still planning on releasing a "subscription" model for all the LessWrong promoted posts in the near future.

After a very short amount of time listening to a Text to Speech voice I now prefer it to almost any narrator. They are very good these days so I won't be making use of this.

After a very short amount of time listening to a Text to Speech voice I now prefer it to almost any narrator. They are very good these days so I won't be making use of this.

Who is your voice of choice? (I prefer Graham for nonfiction material. Paul or Brian for male-protagonist fiction and Lucy for female protagonist fiction.)

Just Neospeech Bridget all around. I like the fact that the voice is female and has a British accent and it seems to be of just all around higher quality than all the available voices except Ivona Amy.

Do you find that varying by subject the narrator helps with comprehension? Seems like it would take a bit of extra time.

Seriously? Are you sure you've been comparing good narrators to that TTS voice?

For me, a good narrator will win out in an overwhelming majority of cases where I can choose between TTS and a good narrator.

Are you sure you've been comparing good narrators to that TTS voice?

A good narrator is, by definition, superior to a TTS (and as TTS improves, voiceover professionals will have to up their game).

But what is superior to a TTS, though, will vary according to the listener. What I want of a good narrator, for example (and I am moved to post this from having heard various storytellers of fiction), is someone who keeps him- or herself out of the matter, and is simply an intermediary, like a newsreader or simultaneous translator. As far as I'm concerned, it's a voice, not a person. I don't want a person chattering in my ear when what I want is the text. The voiceover artist's job is, in fact, to be a better TTS.

As far as I'm concerned, it's a voice, not a person. I don't want a person chattering in my ear when what I want is the text. The voiceover artist's job is, in fact, to be a better TTS.

Hm, that's interesting, because I generally look for just the opposite in podcasts, particularly fiction.

When I read text, the voice in my head emphasizes certain parts and changes tone in response to the content of the text, at a reasonably high level of abstraction (i.e. just looking at the syntax and formatting isn't enough). If a narrator isn't doing that, I have a hard time getting into the reading.

Yeah, seriously. And I have a large amount of experience with different narrators. I find that having one fixed voice aids my comprehension and I don't care that much about how sonorous the voice is. If I could take my pick of a narrators, and some how get a text to speech version of their voice I would pick that and only listen to them to get the effect, but that isn't in the cards.

Interesting. I love how everyone has such different preferences.

We're definitely going to stick strictly to the human-narrated content, but there is certainly a growing market of services which can get you your TTS content and we think they have a place too.

Just something that jumped at me from the FAQ:

Do I need to create an account?

Yes. This way we can manage which channels you are subscribed to and allows you to sign in and change your Castify subscription status.

An awkward turn of phrase. Consider replacing "which" with "the" and "allows you to" with "let you". Or rephrase it completely.

I see that there's an LW channel subscription page, but there doesn't seem to be any kind of preview that one could use before buying. I presume that there will be one?

Hi there. If you go to the home page and press the green button, you'll hear a sample (you can listen to a whole article). But yes, we are planning to have a sample for each channel. For now, I'll just mention that you can hear audio on the channel page. Thanks.

Edit Sample now available on the channel page.