This post arose from this discussion in the "Philosophy: a Diseased Discipline" post.
There have been several conversations lately about the costs and benefits of scholarship, the effort of reading the sequences, and attempts to repackage the sequence material in an easier form . There also used to be a practice on LW of telling newbies who weren't producing good content to come back when they'd read the sequences. However, David Gerard, who has been paying more attention than me, has noticed that this practice has stopped. One plausible explanation is that the stoppage is due to a rising awareness of the effort that reading the sequences takes.
In an impromptu unscientific poll, 10 respondents said that they had read the sequences while still lurking on LW, 3 that they read them after creating accounts, and 8 that they had read them while they were still on OB. Nobody said that they still hadn't read the sequences . So, assuming that this roughly represents the status quo, most LW posts/comments come from people who have read the sequences. The questions are: One, is this situation changing (are fewer people reading the sequences than in the past)? And two, should it change, and in what direction?
To answer this, one needs to look at the costs and benefits.
Length: The sequences comprise over a million words, not counting the comments. They cover material as diverse as semantics, quantum theory, cognitive science, metaethics, and how to write a good eutopia.
Interdependency: Each post in a sequence requires understanding of the previous posts in that sequence, and sometimes posts from earlier sequences. As well as being a source of intimidating and annoying tab explosions, this exacerbates the problem of length. It's hard to read the sequences except going through large chunks systematically, so they can't be broken up and read in a person's spare time.
Possible Memetic Hazard: Some of the ideas in the Sequences are controversial . These points are often clearly marked in the posts and debated in the comments, so they won't sneak up on anyone; on the other hand, Memetic Hazard was used to describe controversial topics here, so at least someone thinks it's a problem. Some potential readers may not want to be exposed to treatments of controversial issues that argue for one side before they read balanced overviews. Also, discomfort has been expressed over the possibility of LW being a cult. I don't want this post to turn into a forum for the is-it-a-cult conversation, so it's up here as something that may cause disutility to some people who read the Sequences.
Usefulness: various people  have discussed the various benefits of rationality knowledge in helping them "Win at Life". These benefits vary widely from person to person, so there are many ways to take advantage of the sequences in one's own life.
Informativeness: On questions that don't have immediate practical relevance, it's still good for the community if everyone is familiar with the basic material. Discussions of uploading, for example, wouldn't go very far if people had to stop to explain why they believe that consciousness is physical. Having all participants start out with a minimum number of undissolved confusions improves the SNR of Less Wrong even when it doesn't directly help the individual members win.
A Common Vocabulary: on a forum where everyone has read the sequences, it's easy to refer to them in conversation. Telling someone that their position is equivalent to two-boxing on Newcomb's problem will quickly convey what you mean and allow the person an easy way to craft an answer. Pointing out that a debate is over the meaning of a word will do more to prevent it from expanding into a giant mess than if the participants hadn't read Making Beliefs Pay Rent. And using examples like Bleggs and Rubes or similar can connect a commenter's example to ver audience's current knowlege of the concept.
Please comment to suggest more costs and benefits, provide more info on the sequence-reading habits of commenters, share your experience, or explain why everything I just said is wrong.
 This option in the poll was created after the others and would up being elsewhere on the page, so it is probably underrepresented. I'm just taking the results as a first approximation, and will edit this post if the comments suggest the status quo is not what I thought it was.
 Some examples: The Many-Worlds and Timeless formulations of quantum mechanics are still being debated by Physicists. Perhaps less importantly, as an average reader can understand the debate and form ver own opinion, issues like the Zombie World are still being debated by philosophers.
 See this post for an example: Reflections on Rationality a Year Out