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Why does the 100 Greatest Paintings of All Time deck have only 99 notes?

The remaining one you have to paint yourself.


This is the first (and probably last) time I will upvote a comment containing an emoticon.


Wow, why? Body language is an important part of metacommunication, and due to the limitations of text forums like this I think they are very necessary.

For example "thanks for the idea" can come accross as politely dismissing, "yeah whatever" while "thanks for the idea! :)" is heartfelt.

Exclamation and question marks are simply the first forms of emoticons.

Sorry, one of the cards was missing. The deck has now all 100 notes.

benthamite, have you had success using decks you have not built yourself?

I once tried with the list of cognitive biases, and again with german and it was an atrocious experience. I thought then that I was violating rule 2:

"Learn before you memorize Before you proceed with memorizing individual facts and rules, you need to build an overall picture of the learned knowledge. Only when individual pieces fit to build a single coherent structure, will you be able to dramatically reduce the learning time. This is closely related to the problem comprehension mentioned in Rule 1: Do not learn if you do not understand. A single separated piece of your picture is like a single German word in the textbook of history.

Do not start from memorizing loosely related facts! First read a chapter in your book that puts them together (e.g. the principles of the internal combustion engine). Only then proceed with learning using individual questions and answers (e.g. What moves the pistons in the internal combustion engine?), etc."

Maybe it is possible to study the material by yourself first and then use someone else's deck - experience will tell, for me it doesn't work. Then again I can imagine that different people build different models of the same information and thus require different cards.

If you had success (or not) using other's people decks please reply (also mention which subject - I predict something like multiplication tables or such that is just "hard memorizing" and little understanding is easier)

People who learn about spaced repetition are always tempted to look for existing decks to memorize, but I think this is a false efficiency. In order to memorize a deck of material, you are going to be dedicating a non-trivial portion of your life to memorizing its content. The time spent actually creating the cards is substantially less than the time spent quizzing for almost any material. I'm not completely against pre-existing decks, but I think people just need to keep perspective.

One of the biggest lessons SRS will teach you is humility: the amount you will ever be able to learn is extremely finite. Use it wisely.

The time is so limited, and yet even the inefficient use of time is better than wasting it completely. Using someone else's Anki deck may be a way to overcome akrasia. It could make a difference between starting to learn a topic now or postponing it to unspecified "later".

This said, I personally prefer making my own cards. On the other hand, it is probably not efficient. I just enjoy the feeling of control over the deck. I could probably get the same level of control more efficiently by starting with someone else's deck and then editing anything I don't agree with.

I used a deck I didn't build myself to learn GRE vocab.

Funny you should mention German -- I started learning German with someone else's German vocab deck (one of the ones that's on Ankiweb, possibly even the same one you used). Those first 200 words were not terribly well-chosen, in retrospect, but I digested them in 12 days, 20 words a day plus 2 review-only days at the end. Since then I've been adding to it, and have created other decks for grammar and irregular verbs and things like that.

It was the first Anki deck I've ever used, and I've never used Anki for anything but German, so I don't have a very broad perspective. But it worked for me.

benthamite, have you had success using decks you have not built yourself?

Yes, both to learn new material and to retain material I had previously learnt. From the list above, examples of the first type include Get Motivated, List of Cognitive Biases and Fallacies, 100 Greatest Paintings of All Time, and The Major Mnemonic Memory System, while examples of the second type include Richard Wiseman's 59 Seconds, How to Formulate Knowledge and Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication.

Thank you all for your responses. I've updated my estimate that this is just a me-problem.

Still, if you are trying to learn material from a field that requires a general framework for understanding, then I'd advise you not to learn directly from an Anki deck, but to first study the original source from which the deck was created. Perhaps you may want to try the List of Cognitive Biases and Fallacies deck, which many people (myself included) have had good experiences with, to determine if your "atrocious experience" was the result of bad luck or bad choice of decks on your part, or if it instead reflects something else about how you are using Anki.

I did try it once. It was less bad than german but still bad: I memorized, but only after actually reading up on them I knew what I meant - leading me to think that I ended up not saving time in the long run, for if I had written them myself my memorization would probably be better.

I will try it again. For science.

I've tried it and run into what feels like the same problem. I've only ever kept one deck built by someone else, and I very frequently edit and delete cards from it. It's still my only Anki deck that I don't really enjoy spending time on - it feels more stressful. And for me, the process of creating the cards is definitely one of the most valuable components of the procedure. That said, I still haven't got rid of that deck, and I'll post a few of my decks that I think could be somewhat generally applicable in this thread in case anyone else wants to use them.

Thank you, this is my experience - it feels stressful. Updated prob.

There seem to be a lot of errors in the 100 greatest paintings deck. Some of the cards have names and pictures mismatched, some have an entirely wrong picture (Google image search says the one for "Rubens: Fall of the Damned" is actually "Hell" by Dirk Bouts, the "Rinaldo e Armida" one seems to be by François Boucher, not Van Eyck, Goya's Asmodea is actually a photograph of this guy), and a lot of the paintings that have established English names are listed with a foreign name that's annoying to memorize. Also what's the deal with this Last Supper image? It doesn't look like the Wikipedia reference.

EDIT: I put my fixed version up at AnkiWeb, feel free to use for updating the original. EDIT2: Updated description and link.

Thanks, Risto. I have updated the link.

I have also contacted Luke, who created the list on which the deck was based.

I just noticed that your deck has 98 images, so there are (at least) two cards that lack an image. Would it be possible to fix this?

Also, you may want to add this line to the deck's description, since I've removed my own deck and your link to it is therefore not working:

"Based on lukeprog's listology, itself based on Piero Scaruffi's 1000 Greatest Western Paintings of All Times."

I just noticed that your deck has 98 images, so there are (at least) two cards that lack an image. Would it be possible to fix this?

I'm not seeing this. Just did an import of the deck to an empty Anki profile, and I seem to be getting 100 files in my and all the cards look fine in Anki.

I didn't figure out how to change the description of an existing deck, so I reuploaded it here: (I've removed my old shared one, please update the link)

I've got a 12,000+ note deck (over 80% of which I created myself), but for most of it I don't have any particular reason for thinking other Less Wrongers would be interested (Middle Ages, Japanese, Religion, etc...) and some of it is quite personal. Although, I am working on a liberal arts (Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music Theory, and Astronomy) deck that is intended for consumption by people-other-than-me (specifically my son, when he is of appropriate age), but I'm not quite finished with it yet.

If your cards are tagged, you might be able to easily generate one or more decks for the subset of cards that are of potential interest to other users.

I would love to see the deck you intend for your son when it is done.

I'm only about half-way done, but I'll make it known when it is ready for beta-testing. It is designed to complement being tutored by yours truly, but since every card contains one sentence and only one sentence (usually utilizing cloze-delete and with plenty of context) it should work as a stand-alone product as well.

Here is my "general" medicine deck, mostly vocab and roots:

Here is my psychology deck, which includes cognitive biases (about half of the list I posted here; I'm still planning to make the rest), some personality psyc, and also a few taken and modified from Divia and Alex:

Here is my math deck, mostly vocab, with some graph theory:

Here is my statistics deck, mostly vocab, with quite a bit of notes on probability distributions (basically my idea from here):

If you only want part of the deck, it's really easy to create that, just browse and filter by tag:DSTN (or something) and get rid of the rest.

I generally agree it's better to make your own, but think you can learn how to make them and take specific notes from others.

Gwern used to have his main deck available for download here, though I can't find it anymore (and didn't look that hard). I took some things from body language and vocab from it, although there was a lot of cultural stuff I was uninterested in.

Thanks, Andy! I added links to all your decks.

Gwern used to have his main deck available for download here, though I can't find it anymore (and didn't look that hard). I took some things from body language and vocab from it, although there was a lot of cultural stuff I was uninterested in.

I believe I found the link: it's at the end of the "see also" section. I'm currently downloading the (35Mb) file. It's a Mnemosyne deck.

Most of my decks are pretty specific to idiosyncratic courses I've done and I don't feel they'd be useful to others. These ones might be a bit more generally applicable if you're interested in the area:

Advanced psychological statistics - mainly about various kinds of modelling approaches and meta-analysis.

Quantitative and qualitative research methods - fairly basic research methods stuff

Functional neuroanatomy and neuroscience methods - basic stuff about various imaging techniques, a little bit of psychopharmacology

Great! Added.


Does anyone have the Lucid Dreaming and Psychedelic Experiences decks? Divia's linked hosting has vanished. This also took down the linked Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions, Human's Guide to Words, and Dealing With Police.

Yes, this has been noted here. I just wrote Divia another message.

Some of those links uses the deprecated .anki file format. Import .anki files is an add-on I created for a Less Wronger, that will allow you to import those old decks

Quick Bayes Table, by alexvermeer. A simple deck of cards for internalizing conversions between percent, odds, and decibels of evidence.

link broken

Thanks, but this post is no longer updated and the link is not broken on my website. (If you think that's confusing, despite the notice at the top, I may consider replacing its contents with just a link, though retaining the content may make it more discoverable.)

Could this be put on a main wiki page of 'rationalist resources', where rationality materials can be searched for (e.g. along with Lukeprog's best textbooks and other resources pages)?

I have a set of Mnemosyne decks - is it easy to convert between the two formats?

Very easy, three clicks in Anki. Import -> change file type -> Mnemosyne deck

I'm trying to import Gwern's deck and after 1.4 hrs Anki is not finished. Has anyone converted it? Could you upload it somewhere? Thanks

Hm, only 19k cards doesn't sound like the sort of thing that should take more than 90 minutes to import. If it turns out to be a problem on my or Mnemosyne's end, feel free to ping me about it.

I haven't and can't easily upload it because I only took some of his cards and deleted most.

This link is also broken: General math, by Andy_McKenzie.

The link to 'Rationality Habits Checklist, by Qiaochu_Yuan' is broken. Qiaochu_Yuan, any updates?

It appears that all the links by divia are no longer available.

I can't access Mysterious Answers deck. Does anyone have a non-Posterous copy of this please?

I just sent Divia this message:

Hi, A while ago you created a number of valuable Anki decks, which I listed in this LessWrong post: Alas, it seems that the decks are no longer hosted at your site. Would you mind making them available again? You can either upload them somewhere else or just use the 'share' option on Anki 2. Or, if you send them to me, I'd be happy to share them myself. Thanks!

I'll update the links if and when she makes the decks available again.

Divia has made the decks available again. I'll update the links soon, but in the meantime you can find them here.

ETA: All the links have now been updated.

Last time I tried using SRS I got annoyed having to edit my deck through the Anki interface. I want to live in Vim when I edit large quantities of texty stuff, not poke through a GUI that's different for every application.

So what options have I got? Googling attempts get me people trying to learn Vim with SRS, not people doing SRS with Vim. Anki has a text export and I could probably rig it up to an export-edit-import cycle without that much fuss. But the text export doesn't carry repetition data, and I worry about that being lost in the process. Though Anki did seem to be able to update the deck with an import of an exported and edited file instead of just remaking everything from scratch.

Emacs has org-drill, but it feels sorta kludgy and it's Emacs-only.

Rolling my own might be an option, I can just crib the algorithm from somewhere and the rest of the application logic isn't terribly complicated. I'm envisioning something like a text file for the deck where the cards are set up using some sort of lightweight markup, and repetition data is stored in base64 blobs on special lines and updated by the SRS app when it operates on the file. Could also have the app maintain a separate database with hashes of card contents as keys (this would zap a card from the db whenever it's edited, but then again you might often want to refresh things after an edit) and keep the actual card text file immutable.

Displaying LaTeX or images would be tricky if I wanted to be old-school and run this on command line. Could also make a web app run the thing.

When I use Anki, all I'm doing is pressing buttons (I don't have it make me type in answers; I have no urge whatsoever to lie to it about whether I got the right answer) so I don't miss not having Vim.

When I make any more than four or six new cards at a time, I do it in Vim or write a program to do it. Anki can import CSV files.

Yeah, on further thought making and reviewing the cards are disparate enough activities that the import workflow should work fine.

Any math stuff? I know you've got 'em.

See the "Mathematics" and "Statistics" sections, which I just added to the post.

Well, if anyone's looking for AQA GCSE Science and Additional Science anki decks, feel free to message me.

I'd be interested; could you please post those so they can be added to the top post?