I've ported the Less Wrong Wiki into an Anki deck. I hope this will be useful for new members as an alternative way to get acquainted with many interesting LessWrong concepts (Newcomb's problem? Superexponential conceptspace?).

A disclaimer: this an automatized scrape and therefore it might not always look great. In particular lot's of cards don't really conform the "simple and specific" rules for spaced repetition cards (see e.g. http://www.supermemo.com/articles/20rules.htm) - the deck it is thus not meant for memorizing the definitions, but rather for reading/browsing/recognizing the concepts. Nonetheless, I hope this still will be useful for some of us (certainly for me). 

I did a semi-automatic sanitization of the cards, but if you find some bogus ones (or any other problem) please let me know and I'll fix it.

The scraped Wiki version is from 01/09/2012 and there are currently 628 cards. There are "forward" format cards (name front, description back) and also "reverse" cards (in cloze format where it was possible, i.e. where the concept name comes up in the description text).

The deck is here:


The link also contains a .txt version of the cards (tab separated) which might be used to import to other repetition software than Anki.

The deck can be supplemented e.g. by the "List of Cognitive Biases and Fallacies" and "42 Logical Fallacies" decks as well as other decks mentioned on the spaced repetition wiki page.

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9 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:35 PM

I don't think it's useful. Using a badly formatted deck is a waste of time. Creating new cards isn't the bottleneck when it comes to learning knowledge with Anki.

As said - the deck is not intended to serve for memorization of the definitions as they appear in the wiki, but to get acquainted with the concepts.

This is how I approach also other LessWrong decks (those listed in the wiki for example). It is a bit different from the type of information for which Anki is actually best applicable such as learning vocabulary, capital cities etc.

The default rate in Anki is ~20 new cards - creating this amount of proper cards daily is a huge time barrier (at least for me... even at 10/day).

That been said it woud be great to have a proper Anki deck with the LessWrong glossary.


What is the bottleneck with learning knowledge with Anki then?

Also, I don't think the deck is useless. It just needs improvement.

Forgetting items and thus having to repeat them is the bottleneck.

(1) "Do not learn if you do not understand" and (2) "Learn before you memorize" are key rules for learning with a spaced repetition system.

If someone simply takes this deck without the underlying concepts in the Wiki, he's likely to try to memorize stuff that he doesn't fully understand.

"Read about a concept -> Understand it -> Make a card for it" is more effective than using a premade deck. Making minimum information cards in itself force you to understand a concept. You have to determine what's important about it.

Surprisingly useful, after cleanup (20% of the notes should be deleted). The link here is broken, but Pablo hosts an archive at https://www.stafforini.com/blog/anki-decks-by-lesswrong-users/.

Some of the notes in this deck are "title first", i.e. they just name a concept and invite you to generate an ad-hoc explanation in your head. It's a nonstandard use of SRS, and can take an immense amount of effort per card, but is also immensely useful practice for just being able to explain things. You can always move those to a separate deck called "The Tryhard Deck" or "Practice for Explaining".

As for the rest, they're classic well-formatted SRS -- what's not to like? You get a wall of text with enough material to identify the concept being clozed, and all you're asked is to identify it (like "availability heuristic"). You still should read the sequences first, but I hope that's a given.


What's the copyright license of the anki decks? More importantly, what's the license for the lesswrong wiki?

This is something I didn't thought of... I can include a copy of the licence in the google docs directory, but is it enough?

Curiously the licences page: http://www.wikia.com/Text_of_the_GNU_Free_Documentation_License linked from the LessWrongwiki:Copyrights page is empty...

I don't think anyone really cares. The GFDL is a horrible license which is extremely hard to be truly compliant with. (Try reading it sometime when you have nothing better to do.)

Truthfully, we should edit that page to read CC-BY-SA, and if anyone asks, there was never anything about the GFDL there...