General disclaimer: Obviously there's always going to be more that could be done and it's better to do a few things well, rather than many things poorly, but I still think it is worth being conscious of areas that could be improved[1].

  • I'm still strongly in favor of adding sub-communities. I know that there were worries before that there wasn't sufficient volume, but I suspect that creating new spaces for discussion will create their own volume. Further, I suspect that carefully curating the subcommunities that people are allowed to create would prevent some of the risks of this causing division in the community. I think that the strongest argument here comes from looking at Reddit. Reddit simply wouldn't be Reddit with its wondrous and diverse range of communities if it had tags instead of sub-communities.
  • The resources section of the community page still seems underdeveloped. I don't this is a huge priority but this could be a good thing for an intern to work on.
  • Most Wiki pages still seem rather bare. I would love to see Less Wrong develop an internship program where interns spend a significant amount of their time focusing on improving pages on the Wiki. I could imagine a world where the Wiki pages ends up being one of the first places you head when you want to know about a topic.
  • Short-form: Most people still seem to be posting their thoughts to Facebook or Twitter. It feels awkwardly integrated to me,  but some short-form posts are seeing reasonable levels of engagement. I think for this feature to really reach its full potential there has to be a separate item on the sidebar just for short-form[2] and that it should display these posts in a feed format very similar to Facebook. This feed should be customised based on who you follow and the posts that you've liked/indicated that you aren't interested in.
  • More generally, I have this vague sense that this community isn't reaching its full potential. I guess a large part of this is that everyone (including me!) has their own distinct interests and perspectives and this means that we don't coordinate very well on larger-scale (or even mid-scale) projects. Effective Altruism is a very similar community, but they seem to be much better at this. I don't expect this to be resolved quickly. In the same way, it took far too long and many failed attempts for LW to be revived. That said, I have no idea what Lightcone is planning to do next.
  • The Less Wrong 2.0 team has a plan for how they'd like to see things develop and so far I think they've been pursuing quite reasonable strategies. One thing I'd like to see though is greater community engagement when formulating these plans. I'm not suggesting that they should just do whatever receives the most upvotes, but I would love to see at least yearly posts outlining their current strategy and key uncertainties for the community to comment on.
  1. ^

    I was originally going to post this at the end of 2021, but I forgot and it ended up stuck in my drafts. This is a reviewed and updated version. Ideally, I'd like to write one of these reflective posts every year.

  2. ^

    I'm not saying that it deserves a sidebar position without an attempt to develop it. Nor am I claiming that such a redevelopment should be undertaken as it would involve significant resources.

44

14 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 1:21 PM
New Comment

I don't have a specific response, but I at least want to say I like hearing ideas for things to do with the site and I enjoyed reading all of these thoughts. Strong upvote.

As a long time reader (lurker?) and very occasional commenter, I like that I get exposed to topics that I either know little about, or are completely new to me. As an example, most of the math related posts go straight over my head, but sometimes one will tweak my interest and open up new things to think about.

It seems to me that creating sub-communities would reduce my exposure to ideas with which I’m not that familiar. If I’m basically subscribing to eg the buddhist-related sub-community, then I’m going to miss the occasional gem (for me) in the jeff_tk family related community. Or I’d have to subscribe to every sub-community, which seems like more admin hassle than just reading/scanning everything. 

I’m curious as to what are considered to be the specific advantages (on LW) of creating sub-communities….

What do you think an 'intern' is? Like are you using the term loosely or do you think LW should, like, hire college students 

Well, they don't have to be college students but they are the ones who are most likely to take you up on this opportunity. I guess I'm curious that you seem to find this idea surprising? I know there's a limit to what interns can get done but I suspect it's just about picking the right tasks.

I guess the reason I feel surprised by / dislike the idea is that Lightcone/LW is pretty bottlenecked on employee (and especially manager) time, so hiring interns just seems like a crazy idea to me that I would never have suggested (at least in Lightcone's current state). But it's not like everyone knows that, so it wasn't unreasonable for you to suggest it.

Yeah, I'm not really aware of the state of Lightcone/LW and I didn't necessarily mean to imply that all of these ideas should be implemented right away.

I'm still strongly in favor of adding sub-communities.

Can you list some?

I do think it's a shame that LW, Alignment Forum, and EA Forum are three separate sites rather than a single one. Maybe there are weird political reasons for this but as a user I don't really care, I just want to be able to navigate between all of them and discover content and crosspost with ease. Some other possible subcommunities:

  • Forecasting and prediction (Especially if we could integrate prediction markets from Manifold!).
  • Tools for Thought slash  https://futureofcoding.org/. Feels like it should have a decent amount of audience overlap. I'm a bit external to this group, but I'd love to see what kinds of discussions they have!
  • Georgism/Model Cities?
  • Ratfic/Glowfic??

(I may just be listing all my weird geeky interests haha)

You can actually see Alignment Forum content directly on LessWrong. The content you see there is a subset of the content you see on LessWrong.

One more: Progress Studies!

What's Glowfic?

A type of forum roleplay / collaborative fiction writing started by Alicorn.

glowfic.com

A bit hard to describe; kind of like ratfic, kind of like roleplay, kind of like a forum.

https://luminousalicorn.tumblr.com/post/145319779970/what-is-a-glowfic

Well, the Alignment Forum already is kind of its own separate community.

I noticed that the parenting channel on LW Slack seemed to get a lot of attention (I don't really know what was discussed there since I'm not a parent).

I could imagine creating a separate space for discussion about forecasting as well.