Hammertime Intermission and Open Thread

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This post marks the end of the first cycle of Hammertime. Click here for intro.

Hammertime will return on Monday 2/19.

I want to close off the first cycle with some thoughts, and designate a place for discussion about the future of this sequence.

Discussion Topics

1. Sequences: Yea or Nay?

I’ve always felt that sequences are a valuable way to organize deeper thoughts and drive home a few central messages from several perspectives. However, the current format and culture on LW seem to radically favor short, independent chunks. (There is also the obvious problem that Sequence construction is not working.)

I’ve been posting daily for a while now but when I shifted from individual posts to a sequence, average Karma immediately dropped by a factor of about 2. It’s possible that people don’t bother upvoting the same sequence, or that my writing quality dropped, but if this is real signal that many more people would read a sequence if they are marketed as individual thoughts (and WordPress stats suggest this as well), that might be reason for me to stop writing sequences in the future, or at least collect sequences together only after they’re complete.

Possible actionable for meta: make posts in a Sequence share karma and/or a single slot on frontpage.

2. Repeat or Explore?

My original intention was to review 10 topics over three cycles, building up in the difficulty of problems solved. I think I will definitely return to and expand on several of the techniques we’ve seen already, but also add more topics. If people have favorite techniques (and hopefully references) they’d like to see in Hammertime, post them here.

3. Monotonicity of Progress

A big goal of mine is to solve the “Rationalist Uncanny Valley,” where beginning rationalists get worse at life before they get better. I can’t believe that this has to be the case; it seems to be symptomatic of a larger failure to develop the proper curriculum. I would like progress on rationality to be monotone – is there a good reason this should be difficult? It’d be great if we could compile a central list of “uncanny valley” failure modes.

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