My recent sequence on the craft and the community is highly forward-looking—not an immediately whole recipe, but a list of action items and warnings for anyone setting out in the future.  Having expended this much effort already, it seems worthwhile to try and leverage others' future efforts.

That sequence seemed like an appropriate finale, but putting it last had some side effects that I didn't expect.  Thanks to the recency effect, people are now talking as if the entire œuvre had all been anticipation of future awesomeness, with no practical value in the present...

Okay, seriously, if you look over my posts on Overcoming Bias that are not just a couple of months old, you really should see quite a lot of practical day-to-day stuff.  Yes, there's a long sequence on quantum mechanics, but there really is plenty of day-to-day stuff, right down to applying biases of evaluability to save money on holiday shopping.  (Not to mention that I finally did derive real-world advice out of the QM detour!)

I suspect there may also be a problem here with present schools not teaching people the experience of creating new craft.  What they present you with, is what you learn.  So when I talk about my belief that we could be doing better, they look around and say:  "But we aren't doing that well!" rather than "Hm, how can we make progress on this?"

And then your current accomplishments start to pale in the light of grander dreams, etcetera.  One of the great lessons of Artificial Intelligence is that no matter how much progress you make, it can always be made to appear slow and unexciting just by having someone else quoted in the newspapers about much grander promises on which they fail to deliver.

Anyway.  I think that discussion here is going a bit too meta, too much about the community, and that was not the final push I had planned to deliver.  (I know, I know, obvious in retrospect, yes, but I still didn't see it coming.)  Hence the quick add-on about practical advice backed by experimental results or deep theories—thankfully we are going back to those again in recent posts.

So if it's all right with you, dear readers, after the end of April, I will not promote more than one meta post unless at least four nonmeta posts have appeared before it—does that sound fair?


Part of the sequence The Craft and the Community

Next post: "Go Forth and Create the Art!"

Previous post: "Practical Advice Backed By Deep Theories"

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21 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:36 PM

I think that discussion here is going a bit too meta, too much about the community

I completely agree, and considered writing a post to that effect, but decided not to because it would itself have been a meta post after a long string of meta posts.

I'm not a big fan of placing arbitrary limits on what you can or can't promote, but I would probably care more if I knew what promoting did.

Posts that aren't promoted (like this one [edit] -- um, not any more) don't show up on the front page, only in the "new" list and on the sidebar.

Just to avoid confusing Nominull... This post has now been "promoted", so it does now appear on the front-page, and in RSS feeds.

You can get an RSS feed off the "new" page if you want to skip the whole promotion thing entirely.

promoting makes the headline and above-the-fold text visible from

And that can be done only by the admin (Eliezer)?

and Robin, but I think they're the only two.

What's promoting?

Sounds perfectly fair to me. Among other things, this should make the site feel less cliquey to newcomers. (Also, people don't usually agree with me on this, but I believe that when it comes to user-created content, limits are a good thing.)

We need fewer meta-posts, and more meta-meta posts like this! :)

Only Omega posts will stop the madness.

Then you just have omega-plus-one posts.

A proper representation theorem will save the day.

Yes, but only if we don't take both boxes.

How does everyone feel about posts not consisting of info, advice or reflection, but only of request for help or the pointing out of problems and difficult questions? So far on LW the former kind of posts have been dominating, with the general feel, inherited from OB, that posts should be high-quality contributions from the poster to the community. But could there also be room for posts just consisting of "I have this problem (relevant to our topic) and I need help" or straight-forward questions without much complementary reflection from the poster?

Maybe this latter kind of material would be better placed in comment form in threads intended for this kind of thing (such as the recent The ideas you're not ready to post ). Maybe there could even be a "General Help and Advice Thread". This kind of set-up would keep the quality of posts at a high level - but would also mean that potentially good problems/questions would get little attention, buried away in obscure corners of the site.

To the Open Thread. I think there is no need to create so many varieties of the not-on-other-article-topics-comments threads.


So if it's all right with you, dear readers, after the end of April, I will not promote more than one meta post unless at least four nonmeta posts have appeared before it - does that sound fair?

Praise the Lord!


I think you might mean "oeuvre".

"œuvre", even