Announcing rationalist blog aggregator

by nerfhammer1 min read29th Sep 201126 comments

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After input from many of you guys and the NYC group, I am announcing planetrationalist.com

There's a lot of different directions this sort of idea could go in, but I figured that this could be a good-enough first effort.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

26 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 3:41 PM
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The feed is shit and needs some pruning. Will this happen, or should a new feed be made?

The connection has timed out.

The server at planetrationalist.com is taking too long to respond.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply

It seems fine for me now.

If not for you, maybe check down for everyone or just me.

It seems to have resolved itself, but thanks - I should have thought to check that and included the result either way :)

Funnily enough it was down when I first read your comment, as were downforeveryone.com, isup.me, & all similar suggestions Google had.

May not have been just you, I suspect my ISP was having problems earlier.

Any hope of toggleable sources?

Meaning you want to turn some sources off?

Options for now:

  • create a greasemonkey script to hide posts from the sources you don't want. Every source has a unique CSS class so it should be trivial.
  • create a yahoo pipe to filter the sources you don't want through the rss feed and read it through a feed reader
  • clone the set of sources using the OPML feed in your feed reader of choice and add/remove whatever you want from the source list. However, this will not be kept in sync in the likely event that the official set of sources should change.

Out of curiosity, what don't you want to see and why?

I like the aggregation, but there are a lot of posts for each day. I just thought it would be nice to reduce the amount to something manageable to cover in a few minutes a day, and to be able to choose which sources. Of course this is available with RSS and whatnot, it's probably not something you need to focus on soon.

I like it! Thanks for providing this.

Only minor quibble is the fact that some of the blogs only put a short snippet in their RSS-feed. As I like reading things in a feed-reader (actually, feed2imap + my e-mail client), having to open a browser to read things is small nuisance.

So, as a small feature request, maybe offer a way to filter the feeds to only get the ones that have the full text in their feed?

I've thought of ways of working around this. There are ways of actually defeating the truncation. One issue is that there isn't necessarily an obvious programmatic way of telling which feeds are truncated and which aren't.

For now, try out this feed proxy: http://andrewtrusty.appspot.com/readability/ , e.g. http://andrewtrusty.appspot.com/readability/feed?url=http%3A//feeds.feedburner.com/planetrationalist

Thanks - will try that!

I've checked out planetrationalist.com several times in the past few days, finding interesting stuff to read. So, you get my upvote.

[-][anonymous]10y 0

Sweet. I endorse you doing things. You need share buttons - I want to be able to send these articles out or tweet them with a click.

Hmm, I was wondering how much people used those things. Do you want just twitter + email? Facebook?

[-][anonymous]10y 1

All of the above, I'd just install some basic set of sharing buttons. Email, twitter, facebook, maybe Google+.

I've re-instated twitter so far. The issues are: general visual clutter, I found a way to mitigate this issue by using a trick to force lower the visual contrast of the buttons, and that these social buttons often really slow down the loading of the page, especially if you want the dynamic share/like/retweet counters for every item. I might leave the counter on twitter but omit it for the others and see what the page load is like.

I'm not sure what email-sharing service to use... facebook has one in its "share" button, there are probably others.

Very interesting, I suspect I will spend a lot of time reading this.

How are you defining rationalist for these purposes? How are you selecting the blogs?

To be completely honest, I wasn't going on a strict definition of the term rationalist; frankly I consider the term kind of flawed anyway. But I don't have a better replacement in mind. For me it means being interested in being rational, being interested in how the mind works, being interested in cognitive biases, Bayes' rule, probability, statistics, logical fallacies, and scientific self-improvement.

  • I selected the sources starting with lesswrong and overcoming bias, then taking suggestions from people, doing some rudimentary graph analysis, manually adding blogs of authors in related fields, watching what sources I selected linked to themselves.
  • I tried to include sources that were readable but not gimmicky (e.g. top 7 secret tips to supercharge your goals!!!). Sometimes sources vary outside this interval, and I don't have any filtration sophisticated enough to handle this.
  • I selected against sources that posted too frequently, anything political, anything that seemed angry or upbraiding or read like a manifesto. I included some sources which include these but against which I was able to filter out the political etc. posts easily. The rudimentary methods I used to filter topics doesn't work perfectly, though.
  • I tried to include a few sources from less closely related subjects that were high quality and don't seem to post that frequently. For instance, I included only a couple skeptic blogs, but there are tons and tons of them out there and I feel that it's a different niche that's already addressed pretty well elsewhere. Some fields I avoided almost entirely like entrepreneurship or economics.
  • I tried to not let any one subject dominate the set of sources. I feel like I included too many psychology blogs, for example.

I am impressed. (I would be marginally more impressed if the site gained a favicon.)

Yeah I couldn't think of one.

Favicon contest?

I suggest the Google Chrome default favicon with a big coloured R in the middle.