Suggestion: New material shouldn't be released too fast

by Chris_Leong1 min read21st Nov 20187 comments

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Three sequences on AI Safety were recently released. I'd suggest that in general it is probably better when new material isn't released that fast. Those sequences are quite technical so each post requires a reasonable amount of time to be invested. This means:

  • There is more psychological pressure to read each post quickly rather than taking the time to understand and internalise the ideas
  • There are less comments because keeping up with the posts reduces the time people have to write comments and if you're behind, by the time you catch up there's less value writing a comment as less people will see it

This isn't a particularly important post, just feedback for the future.

7 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 2:54 PM
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Overall I agree with you, and I think all else equal we should space things out more.

One thing you might be underestimating: We are not even halfway through the new sequences. We are releasing one post every day, and the total release schedule is already about 2.5 months long. If we had doubled the interval between posts, we would have had a 5 month release schedule for the three new sequences, and I think that would have started to impose serious costs by not having all the content available for people who want to take a month off to focus on getting into AI Alignment, or to allow other people to reference and build on the ideas.

On the comments not getting engagement: I agree that the new posts might fall from frontpage soon. I want to point out they will be at the top of the AI Alignment Forum for quite a long time, and likely be pointed to as reference works commonly, so I expect the comments to be seen then a fair bit too.

the new posts might fall from frontpage soon

What if, instead of 'keeping the posts around longer' the sequence was stuck on the frontpage (or a post containing them)?

It is on the Alignment Forum. It’s perhaps an open question if it’s relevant enough to most LW readers to also be on LW. (Note: there are three sequences so it’d take up all three recommended reading slots)

I think it generally makes sense to have highly upvoted recent sequences spotlighted on the top of the page, for the same reason it makes sense to have them spotlighted in 'Curated'.

They can then be made rarer (or phased out entirely) once they're less recent, if there's less value to spotlighting them in the long run. I've generally had a hard time finding posts from each other, because posts in Embedded Agency and Fixed Points on LW often haven't been included in any sequence.

Re: reference works. If LW worked a bit more like a mailing list, where reading a post caused you to "subscribe" to its comment thread by default, then people would feel less pressure to comment on things quickly after they were released so their comments would be read. The old LW 1.0 had a subscribe feature, but I'm not sure how many people used it. It was opt-in rather than opt-out.

Right now, my feeling is that checking LW and participating in discussions every day frazzles my brain in subtle ways. So I mostly don't try to keep up with posts day to day, and instead figure I will archive binge at some point in the future. But it seems like the value in me reading a post and leaving a comment on it is a lot higher than just reading the post if my comment gets upvoted. And if I leave a comment while archive binging, it's much less likely to be read. So I suppose while archive binging, instead of leaving a lot of little comments, it's better for me to try to categorize related thoughts into an entire post's worth of material and make a toplevel post with those ideas so people will actually read them? I'm a lot slower at writing posts than writing comments, but I'm hoping to overcome that problem at some point.

When I saw the title, I thought this was a proposal for a site-wide queue.