I will say that .PDF format is end-user hostile.

What Would You Like To Read? A Quick Poll

by alyssavance 1 min read21st Jun 201244 comments


In our discussion of academic papers, Lukeprog argued that lots of smart people preferred to read ideas in academic paper format. Based on my observations, I mostly disagree. But that's just anecdotal evidence. Let's use Science!

Suppose someone at the Singularity Institute thought up a cool new idea: it could be about rationality, Friendly AI, decision theory, making money, or any of the other topics we discuss here on LW. Explaining it takes about ten pages, and it's nontechnical enough that it can be explained to a general audience of non-mathematicians. Which of the following explanations would you be most likely to actually sit down and read through?

  • A post on Less Wrong or another friendly blog
  • A book chapter, available both on Kindle and in physical book form
  • A mailing list post, made available through a public archive
  • An academic paper, downloadable over the Internet as a PDF
  • A static HTML page on the Singularity Institute's website
  • A page on a Singularity Institute or Less Wrong wiki
  • A speech, downloadable as an audio file
  • A PowerPoint or other presentation format

EDIT: To state the obvious, this poll will be biased in favor of blog postings, since it's on a blog. However, I still think it'll provide data that's much better than anecdotal guessing. I've emailed a few rationalist mailing lists to try and counteract this effect.