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by Eliezer Yudkowsky1 min read10th Dec 200712 comments


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Overcoming Bias now has a new Welcome page, as I'm sure you've noticed on the sidebar.  A completely ad-hoc eyeballing "statistical" test during our recent Redditing showed that a less prominent placement didn't increase pageviews per visit.  Hopefully it won't get in the way too much.

Handy social bookmarking thingy is just below "Recent Posts".

The "Contributors" section now contains only individuals who have made 3 or more Overcoming Bias posts.  For the curious, the following is the complete list of individuals who've made 10 or more contributions:  Stuart Armstrong, David Balan, Nick Bostrom, Hal Finney, Robin Hanson, Andrew Gelman, James Miller, Eliezer Yudkowsky.

Many of us, including me, have been having trouble with a odd Typekey bug that shows us as logged in, but marks our contributions as having come from nowhere.  If you "Sign out", manually enter your name and email address (and optionally URL), hit "Remember personal info", and then post, you shouldn't have this problem.  At least it's worked for me, so far.

I've located what looks to be an acceptable restaurant for the Bay Area Overcoming Bias meetup, in Millbrae right next to the Millbrae BART/Caltrain station.  This seems like a fairly central location and very well accessible by public transport.  It's even centrally located for anyone who wants to quickly fly in to SFO.  However, we're currently approaching the holiday crunch, so my thought is to schedule the first meetup for mid-January.  Will post on this soon, I hope.

During November I generated 40,965 words of posts (not including comments).  And here I was wondering why I've been feeling tired lately.  Blooking feels like trying to run up a mountain, through concrete, at top speed - but it gets things said.  41,000 words/month, even if only a third of them end up being used, would be nearly in the range of a professional author if I could sustain it.

The recent post "When None Dare Urge Restraint" rose to #1 on Reddit, which raises interesting issues about how often that sort of thing should be allowed to happen on Overcoming Bias.  Political posts are less interesting, and generate lower-quality discussion; they violate both Hanson's injunction to "Tug the rope sideways" and my own principle of "Learn rationality first on nondistracting problems."  So we definitely don't want to do this too often.

However, I also recall an occasion where a Congressperson visited a transhumanist gathering, and asked "How many people here are signed up for cryonics?"  Many hands went up.  "How many of you know the name of your representative in the House?"  Fewer hands went up.  "And you wonder why you don't have much political influence."  Point taken.

There is something to be said for being a little relevant every now and then.  I didn't write "When None Dare Urge Restraint" with the intent that it would rise on Reddit, but I'm glad it did, and I'm currently considering whether to write another political post.  It has obvious pros and obvious cons.

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