1. Too much emphasis on "altruism" and treatment of "altruists" as a special class. (As opposed to the rest of us who "merely" enjoy doing cool things like theoretical research and art, but also need the world to keep existing for that to continue happening.) No one should have to feel bad about continuing to live in the world while they marginally help to save it.

2. Not enough high-status people, especially scientists and philosophers. Do Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett know about LW? If not, why not? Why aren't they here... (read more)

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Too much emphasis on "altruism" and treatment of "altruists" as a special class. (As opposed to the rest of us who "merely" enjoy doing cool things like theoretical research and art, but also need the world to keep existing for that to continue happening.) No one should have to feel bad about continuing to live in the world while they marginally help to save it.

Are people doing specific things to make you feel bad about "continuing to live in the world", or does mere discussion of altruist-relevant topics among LW altruists make you feel that way?

12Wei_Dai9yHigh status people tend to be those whose actions are optimized to maximize status. Participating on Internet forums is not an optimal way to gain status in general. (Of course it can be a good way to gain status within particular forums, but by high-status people you clearly meant more widely-recognized status.) (I disagree with Vladimir_M that "arguing on public internet forums is not an effective way to accomplish anything much in practice". In my experience it is a good way to get people interested in your ideas, further develop them and/or check them for correctness.) Probably not much we can do unless LW somehow gains widespread recognition among the public (but then we probably won't care so much about "not enough high status people"). I note that even the philosophers at FHI rarely participate here.
24Vladimir_M9yWell, to be blunt, arguing on public internet forums is not an effective way to accomplish anything much in practice. The only people who do it are those for whom the opportunity cost in time is low (and are thus necessarily underachievers) and those who find it enjoying enough to be worth the cost (but this is clearly negatively correlated with achievement and high status). Also, arguing on the internet under one's real identity is a bad idea for anyone who isn't in one of these four categories: (1) those who already have absolute financial security and don't care what others will think of them, (2) those who instinctively converge towards respectable high-status opinions on all subjects, (3) those who can reliably exercise constant caution and iron self-discipline and censor themselves before writing anything unseemly, and (4) those who absolutely lack interest in any controversial topics whatsoever.

What bothers you about Less Wrong?

by Will_Newsome 1 min read19th May 2011162 comments

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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. :)