...smarter than me...

I think this is a largely overestimated concept, especially on LW. I doubt most people here are "smarter" than average Joe. A lot of it is due to education, a difference of interest, and a little more ease when it comes to symbol manipulation. Surely there are many more factors, like the ability to concentrate, not getting bored too quickly, being told as a child that one can learn anything if one tries hard enough etc., but little has to do with insurmountable hardware limitations.

Eliezer Yudkowsky recently wrote:

You kn

... (read more)

I'm not convinced anybody could teach me to understand linear algebra. Or maybe what I mean by that is that I'm not convinced of my own ability to understand linear algebra, which may be a different thing.

I have trouble with maths. More specifically, I have trouble with numbers. What I experience when faced with lots of numbers is akin to how people with dyslexia often describe trying to parse lots of written text - they swim and shift beneath my eyes, and dissolve into a mass of meaningless gobbledegook that I can't pick any sense from. And then after a w... (read more)

1David_Gerard9yI wonder if that makes a difference in practical terms. There's all sorts of potential in one's genes, but one has the body, brain and personal history one ends up with. What I mean is no longer feeling like the smartest person in the room and quite definitely having to put in effort to keep up. I first encountered humans who couldn't understand basic arithmetic at university, in the bit of first-year psychology where they try to bludgeon basic statistics into people's heads. People who were clearly intelligent in other regards and not failures at life, who nevertheless literally had trouble adding two numbers with a result in the thirties. I'm still boggling 25 years later, but I was there and saw it ...

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. :)