seconded. tradition as a computational shortcut is a very important insight that I have tried (and mostly failed) to communicate to others.

more generally, memes take advantage of consistent vulnerabilities in human reasoning to transmit themselves. the fact that they use this propagation method says nothing about the value of their memetic payload.

we should pay attention to successful memes if we want to generate new successful memes.

Your first and second paragraph somewhat contradict each other - I agree that some traditions may be undervalued by people who'd prefer to reinvent things from whole cloth (from a software engineering perspective: rewriting a complex system you don't understand is risky), but as you say, traditions may have been selected for self-relication more than for their actual value to humans.

If you consider selection at the family, village or tribe/nation level, maybe tradition's "fitness" is how much they help the people that follow them, but many traditions are either quite recent, or evolved in a pretty different environment. So I don't know how much value to attribute to tradition in general.

What bothers you about Less Wrong?

by Will_Newsome 1 min read19th May 2011162 comments


Or, what do you want to see more or less of from Less Wrong?

I'm thinking about community norms, content and topics discussed, karma voting patterns, et cetera. There are already posts and comment sections filled with long lists of proposed technical software changes/additions, let's not make this post another one. 

My impression is that people sometimes make discussion posts about things that bother them, and sometimes a bunch of people will agree and sometimes a bunch of people will disagree, but most people don't care that much (or they have a life or something) and thus don't want to dedicate a post just to complaining. This post is meant to make it socially and cognitively easy to offer critique.

I humbly request that you list downsides of existing policies even when you think the upsides outweigh them, for all the obvious reasons. I also humbly request that you list a critique/gripe even if you don't want to bother explaining why you have that critique/gripe, and even in cases where you think your gripe is, ahem, "irrational". In general, I think it'd be really cool if we erred on the side of listing things which might be problems even if there's no obvious solution or no real cause for complaint except for personal distaste for the color green (for example).

I arrogantly request that we try to avoid impulsive downvoting and non-niceness for the duration of this post (and others like it). If someone wants to complain that Less Wrong is a little cultish without explaining why then downvoting them to oblivion, while admittedly kind of funny, is probably a bad idea. :)