For the vague ideas and posts that you want to write up, but which don't feel "ready to be A Real LessWrong Post" yet.

  • Describe your idea on a LessWrong or LessWrong-adjacent Discord server. The adjacent servers (in my experience) are more active. For AI safety/alignment ideas specifically, try describing your idea on one of the Discord servers listed here.

  • Write a shortform using LessWrong's "New Shortform" button.

  • If you have a trusted friend who also regularly reads/writes on LessWrong: Send your post as a Google Doc to that friend, and ask them for feedback. If you have multiple such friends, you can send the doc to any of all of them!

  • If you're trying to explain something technical, especially aimed at a nontechnical audience: Talk your idea over with a smart friend or family member who doesn't have any of the relevant background knowledge. You get fresh eyes on the idea, and partly escape the curse of knowledge.

  • Write notes about your idea, then reread (and maybe rewrite) them a day or two later.

For example, you can’t find typos in your own writing without a great deal of effort because you know what it’s supposed to say; so copyediting advice runs like ‘read it out loud’ or ‘print it out and read it’ or ‘wait a week’ or recite until gibberish or even ‘read it upside down’ (easier than it sounds).

- Gwern Branwen, On Seeing Through and Unseeing

  • Ask an AI chatbot to write a similar post of your idea. If it says something you didn't think of, that can be good feedback. (If it said everything you were going to say, possibly your idea isn't yet new enough.)

  • Read "How To Write Quickly While Maintaining Epistemic Rigor". It can get you out of the "perfectionism + nervousness --> never finish or post the idea" trap.

  • If you have 100+ karma points, you can click the "Request Feedback" button at the bottom of the LessWrong post editor. This will send your post to a LessWrong team member, who can provide in-depth feedback within (in my experience) a day or two.

  • If all else fails (i.e. few or no people feedback your idea): Post your idea as a normal LessWrong post, but add "Half-Baked Idea: " to the beginning of the post title. In addition (or instead), you can simply add the line "Epistemic status: Idea that needs refinement." This way, people know that your idea is new and shouldn't immediately be shot down, and/or that your post is not fully polished.

This post was based on the latest edit I made to this post. Thanks to Justis for feedback and some of the ideas.

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