An alternative way to browse LessWrong 2.0

This is something I’ve been tinkering with for a while, but I think it’s now complete enough to be generally useful. It’s an alternative frontend for LessWrong 2.0, using the GraphQL API.



  • Fast, even on low-end computers and phones

  • Quickly jump to new comments in a thread with the “.” and “,” keys

  • Archive view makes it easy to browse the best posts of years past

  • Always shows every comment in a thread, no need to “load more”

  • Log in and post using your existing username and password, or create a new account

  • Simple markdown editor

  • Typography enhancements

  • Switch between fixed-width and fluid layouts and several different themes

  • Easily view a comment’s ancestors without scrolling by hovering over the left edge of a comment tree

Thanks to Said Achmiz for designing the themes and writing much of the frontend JavaScript.

Give it a try: https://​

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Wow, thanks. I don't see anything at LW 2.0, so nice to be able to read articles again.

First thing first: it's nice.

My (probably irrelevant) issue with it is that.. it kind of nulls all the effort that went into LW2. It's fine to make something as a prototype and eventually replace it, but "alternative" suggests that it exists side-by-side. This kind of double-effort just seems pointless. Why not just make the LW2 site better, rather than make another site and have two sites that do the same thing?

Also, I don't think commenting with your existing account is okay. Did they just hand you over the database? That does violate consent/trust. Why do more people need to know this particular email-password combination? If I can't trust you to NOT hand over my email-password combo to literally everyone then I'll be sending EY an email with a good argument for quantum suicide,'cause seriously, if a damn email address can't be contained we might as well pack it up right now, no chance to win against an AI.

The two sites are based on quite different philosophies of web development, so it would be far from straightforward to do some of the things I've done within the existing LW 2.0 code. I've had fun creating GreaterWrong, and I don't mind putting effort into it as long as LW 2.0 seems like a viable community. I don't think it's necessarily bad to have two sites that do the same thing, if some people prefer one and other people prefer the other. (I agree with Error's comment.)

No, I don't have any special access to the database. If you log in to GreaterWrong, your password is briefly stored in my server's memory, only as needed to forward it to LW 2.0 and receive an authentication token back. In the future I'd like to eliminate even that, but it will require some additional complexity and changes on the LW 2.0 side.

Why not just make the LW2 site better, rather than make another site and have two sites that do the same thing?

A choice of clients is good for users. If an interface sucks, but multiple clients are available, you can switch to one with an interface that does not suck. If no clients have interfaces that do not suck, in principle you have the option of writing your own, which seems to be what happened here.

The best people at administering a service are not necessarily the best at programming a UI, and vice-versa. Allowing alternate clients lets you make use of comparative advantage.

Competition between clients is good for users for the same reasons it is good for customers in the market. New features are created for advantage; good ones are copied and spread. Niche preferences (especially those of power users) stand a chance of getting accounted for.

In short, multiple robust clients makes all clients better. If I may mount my hobby horse for a moment, the lack of client (and service) choice is part of why "modern" web clients still have not caught up to 90s-era newsreaders. This can only be a good thing for LW.

Why do more people need to know this particular email-password combination?

This one is a complaint I think I agree with, although the issue only affects web clients. From the LW2 thread it sounds like the author is working on it.

Yep, I agree with this. I've learned quite a few things from the GreaterWrong design and overall think that the LW2 UI will be significantly better because of that. It's great to have a platform that experiments in a very different direction from the main site.

How haven't they caught up to 90s-era newsreaders.