Announcing the Less Wrong Sub-Reddit

by alyssavance1 min read2nd Apr 201037 comments

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Personal Blog

Announcing: the Less Wrong Sub-Reddit, at http://reddit.com/r/LessWrong. This Reddit is intended as a partial replacement for/complement to the Open Thread, which has gotten somewhat unwieldy and overcrowded as of late. I (Thomas McCabe) will be posting things that appear on the April Open Thread to this Reddit, to aid in starting conversation. We'll see how it goes.

This Reddit is for the discussion of Less Wrong topics that have not appeared in recent posts. If a discussion gets very long/involved, celebrate by turning it into a top-level post.

To anyone who is worried about the discussion quality devolving to Reddit level: I retain moderator power over the sub-Reddit, and can delete things and ban people from it. If this gets to be too much work for me, I will be happy to give mod power to other interested Less Wrong readers with a track record of good posts and comments.

This is purely my creation, and not that of Eliezer or the Less Wrong admins. If anything goes horribly wrong, don't blame them.

This is completely not an April Fool's joke. I want to start it now (on the first day of the month) because the Open Thread "only" has 52 comments on it.

If you don't have a Reddit account, or want to create a new account to post under your Less Wrong username, you can click "Register" in the upper-right-hand corner. It only takes fifteen seconds.

For those who don't look at the bottom of the website very often, Less Wrong is originally powered by the Reddit codebase.

Good luck, everyone, and may the best discussions win.

Edited for clarity: I'm proposing that we set up a new discussion community such that Less Wrongers have a place to talk about off-topic stuff other than Open Thread (which is hugely overcrowded). If either LW or the subreddit crashes, it should have no effect on the other.

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37 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 4:46 AM
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Let's have a poll. Vote this comment up if you're in favor of using the sub-Reddit for assorted discussions instead of using open threads.

Other voting option is here, Karma balance is here

Vote this comment up if you're opposed to moving discussions from open threads to the sub-Reddit.

Karma balance is here

Where's the "neither" option? I don't like open threads, but neither I do going off site. Why can't we have a sub-lesswrong?

"Where's the "neither" option? I don't like open threads, but neither I do going off site. Why can't we have a sub-lesswrong?"

Because this is hard to implement. If you want to implement it yourself, please do so.

If LessWrong is based on Reddit, and Reddit can spawn subreddits at will, why can't LessWrong do the same?

Reddit's codebase has been heavily modified for Less Wrong, and subreddits can't be introduced without breaking the site. Seriously. People have tried to do this. It's hard.

There is a major problem with this. I wrote code to enable polls in comments, which is currently in testing and likely to be rolled out soon. This won't be available on the Subreddit, nor will any other improvements I or anyone else may make to the Less Wrong codebase in the future, unless we get those features rolled out for all of Reddit, which is unlikely. I am opposed.

"This won't be available on the Subreddit, nor will any other improvements I or anyone else may make to the Less Wrong codebase in the future, unless we get those features rolled out for all of Reddit, which is unlikely."

That's great- don't get me wrong!- but this just means that, if you want to conduct a poll, you should do it on LW instead of the sub-reddit. The two are not intended to be mutually exclusive; you're supposed to use both.

[-][anonymous]12y 0

But then won't open threads on LW continue to be necessary?

It doesn't have to be mutually exclusive. The problem is that the open threads are over-crowded, so having another place to discuss off-topic things should help make it easier to use them too.

How do you decide which to use? Is there something in particular that the open threads would be for?

Let me know if you can read the notice for this comment in your message center - judging by the pattern of crashed pages, it's a comment in reply to this one which is crashing Less Wrong.

I can, it worked.

"How do you decide which to use? Is there something in particular that the open threads would be for?"

Whichever you feel like. You could (and quite plausibly should) post it to both, actually, at least for now.

I guess that's the main thing I don't like about this idea. Especially if people cross-post to both, the resulting discussion will get fragmented between the two sites (or everyone will have to remember to post their replies to both).

I think having the discussions fragmented across multiple sites will just lead to confusion. Personally, I wish the LW software supported subreddits. (Haven't gotten around to familiarizing myself with the codebase yet, but if any of you have, do you know if they actually removed subreddit support when they forked it, or does it currently just lack an interface to them?)

"Personally, I wish the LW software supported subreddits."

If you want to implement this, please do go ahead, I and many others would greatly appreciate it. But as it stands now, this isn't here, and probably won't get implemented for months (if it does so at all).

[-][anonymous]12y 0

If you want to implement this, please do go ahead, I and many others would greatly appreciate it.

I might.

Wait, are you proposing that a part of Less Wrong be hosted off-site? I'm not sure that's a good idea. Mirrors are one thing, but multiple single-points-of-failure are another entirely.

Think of it as an emergency backup, for when the UFAI takes down LessWrong. reddit may give us seconds more to organize our resistance.

The code is independent; it's not single-point-of-failure.

Think of it as an emergency backup, for when the UFAI takes down LessWrong. reddit may give us seconds more to organize our resistance.

The code is independent; it's not single-point-of-failure.

No it isn't. They use the same code base. Any security hole in either one is very likely to be present in both. (Of course, more mundane IT problems are very unlikely to affect both sites simultaneously. But it's not useful against UFAIs.)

"No it isn't. They use the same code base. Any security hole in either one is very likely to be present in both."

You mean, they both share the same Reddit codebase? That's largely true, but it doesn't make it any less safe. What PhilGoetz means is that if one site goes down or crashes or gets taken over by Martians or whatever, the other will still be fine. So, in that sense, it's not single-point-of-failure.

Conditional on one site or the other going down, the second instance adds little buffer.

An ufai would simply focus its efforts on pieces of code likely to be common between the two sites, ensuring that it can take both down at the same cost. This also assumes that developing such an attack is costly, which it may not be: I would expect a sensory modality for code to reduce our commonly made coding blunders to the level of "my coffee cup is leaking because there's a second hole at the bottom".

I'm proposing that we set up a new discussion community such that Less Wrongers have a place to talk about off-topic stuff other than Open Thread (which is hugely overcrowded). If either LW or the subreddit crashes, it should have no effect on the other.

I agree that there ought to be a better system for managing side conversations that aren't centered around the top-level posts, but I don't think this is the way. The programmer in me says that this is a hack which would have negative side effects if used, and the evolved tribal instincts in me say that this is a power grab outside the bounds of your status.

"I agree that there ought to be a better system for managing side conversations that aren't centered around the top-level posts, but I don't think this is the way."

Well, what would you recommend? I'm certainly open to suggestions. Or, if you want to build a better system yourself, go right ahead, we'll all be better off for it. But "the alternative you're proposing has flaws" does not justify the status quo if the status quo has even more flaws.

"The programmer in me says that this is a hack which would have negative side effects if used,"

Such as?

"and the evolved tribal instincts in me say that this is a power grab outside the bounds of your status."

Do you even know what my status is? It's not all that high, but it's more likely than not that you don't know, and you shouldn't presume that people other than you have low status.

and the evolved tribal instincts in me say that this is a power grab outside the bounds of your status.

Do you even know what my status is? It's not all that high, but it's more likely than not that you don't know, and you shouldn't presume that people other than you have low status.

This remark was mainly in response to this bit:

I retain moderator power over the sub-Reddit, and can delete things and ban people from it. If this gets to be too much work for me, I will be happy to give mod power to other interested Less Wrong readers with a track record of good posts and comments.

By lampshading the fact that you were gaining moderator power, you made it look like a power grab, even if it wasn't meant to be.

(Was this bit edited? I think I might've read a pre-edit version, but have no way to check.)

"By lampshading the fact that you were gaining moderator power, you made it look like a power grab, even if it wasn't meant to be."

I'm sorry if I created that impression; I just wanted to convince people that this will not turn into a low-quality unmoderated free-for-all, like what most of Reddit is now. I certainly don't intend to randomly abuse power, just to ban spam and non-intellectual stuff like lolcats.

I appreciate Tom's initiative. I'd be in favor of the idea if we had a link to the reddit page from lesswrong.com, preferably above or below the "Recent Posts" list in the right-hand frame; and a link from reddit back to lesswrong.com.

Also, I'm curious to see what the "most controversial / hottest / etc" tabs will reveal.

BTW, I'd like to see a +/- point display on comments, instead of the sum of the two.

On consideration, I agree about the subreddit. The separate login is inconvenient, unfortunately.

I, too, would like a +/- display - wasn't someone working on some code to push soon?

Yet another user here who'd like to see, e.g., "2 upvotes, 2 downvotes," rather than the way it is now, namely,"0 points," at the top of the comment.

Why would I want to use this instead of the Open Threads? If I use this "sub-reddit" thingy, I have to click to load each new post and its comments, but in the Open Thread, I can just scroll. This has the effect of turning everything into the equivalent of a top-level post, and it seems much less convenient.

What are the benefits of having a sub-reddit?

It's a lot easier to manage discussions than having an Open Thread with five hundred comments.

[-][anonymous]12y 2

Why can't we have a subreddit on lesswrong.com?

I think this is great, I've wanted an off-topic subreddit for a while. If we can get people to use it, great, but I suspect that there is going to be resistance in getting people to effectively use something that isn't on Less Wrong. It also means that comments won't show up in Recent Comments and other issues of integration. Hopefully this works for the next month until we can get a local off-topic subreddit going.