Leaving beta: Voting on moving to LessWrong.com
It took longer than we hoped, but LessWrong 2.0 is finally ready to come out of beta. As discussed in the original announcement, we’re going to have a vote on whether or not to migrate the new site to the lesswrong.com URL. The vote will be open to people who had 1,000 or more LW karma at the time we announced the vote back in September, and they’ll receive a link by email or private message on the current LessWrong.com. If you had above 1000 karma in September and did not receive an email or PM, send an email to email@example.com and we will send you the form link.
We take rationalist virtues seriously, and I think it’s important that the community actually be able to look at the new implementation and vision and be able to say “no thanks.” If over half of the votes are to not migrate, the migration will not happen and we’ll figure out how we want to move forward with the website we’ve built.
Unfortunately, the alternative option for what will happen with the lesswrong.com URL is not great. Before I got involved, the original dominant plan was to replace it with a static HTML site, which would require minimal maintenance while preserving the value of old Sequences articles. So in the absence of another team putting forward heroic efforts and coordinating with Trike, MIRI, etc. that would be the world we would be moving towards.
Why not just keep things as they are? At the time, it was the consensus among old regulars that LW felt like an abandoned ghost town. A major concern about keeping it alive for the people still using it was that newcomers would read Sequences articles linked from elsewhere, check out the recent discussion and find it disappointing, and then bounce off of LW. This reduced its value for bringing people into the community.
More recently, various security concerns have made it a worse option to just keep old websites running – Trike has run into some issues where updating the server and antiquated codebase to handle security patches proved difficult, and they would prefer to no longer be responsible for maintaining the old website.
In case you’re just tuning in now, some basic details: I’ve been posting on LW for a long time, and about two years ago thought I was the person who cared most about making sure LW stayed alive, so decided to put effort into making sure that happened. But while I have some skills as a writer and a programmer, I’m not a webdev and not great at project management, and so things have been rather slow. My current role is mostly in being something like the ‘senior rationalist’ on the team, and supporting the team with my models of what should happen and why. The actual work is being done by a combination of Oliver Habryka, Raymond Arnold, and Ben Pace, and their contributions are why we finally have a site that’s ready to come out of beta.
You can read more about our vision for the new LessWrong here.