This week's open thread is less than a day old, and has already accumulated more comments than the 15 latest non-open-thread posts combined. I fear the thread will wither and die before Friday.
Going from monthly to weekly open threads was a big hit. Should we ratchet up open thread frequency even more? Should we add more outlets for comments, or will comments inevitably expand to fill the available room?
Proposal for discussion: We follow a regimen of weekly blather threads for the next two weeks, then reassess.
- Stupid questions (Monday) - Admit your ignorance
- Advice (Tuesday) - Seek the wisdom of the crowd
- Open Thread (Wednesday) - Catch-all prattle
- Links (Friday) - Quality readings. Meme postings punishable by death
I posted a Links on Friday and a Stupid Questions on Monday. In the 5 post-days that they've been up, they've accumulated 32 comments. Based on these numbers, it seems unlikely that these topical open threads will relieve pressure on the main Open Thread and so I've stopped the experiment.
Meetups should be a separate subreddit; they unnecessarily clutter the Discussion page.
Also, no matter how often the Open Threads will appear, people will still post Open Threads material in Discussion.
Well, things would most probably be better if some short guidelines, explaining what should be posted where, were put somewhere visible..
Agreed. It's always bothered me how much space they take up.
It would be better to use geolocation to see if the user is near a meetup and if so, we could show that in a little notification window at the top
Open threads should be their own subreddit.
No matter how often you post open threads, people will not post in them right before a new one is posted, because others wont view it as much. The way to solve this is to add an entire open subreddit.
If the problem is that no one will post in an open thread near the end of it's lifetime, a silly solution would be to automatically create an open thread every day with 10% probability. Now someone considering posting has no reason to wait for a future day to post because the expected lifetime of a thread is always constant, and is ~10 days.
Better would be to have a single thread "Open Thread" where posts older than N days would be moved to an automatically created "Open Thread Date-Date" post.
An even easier fix would be to remove the end date from open thread titles. When someone feels like posting a new one they just do that. This is a sloppy implementation of the first solution.
People will start a new thread just to bring attention to their post, while being immune to the criticism of "This belongs in the open thread"
How about overlapping thread lifespans? This way when a new thread is created, recent comments on the previous thread won't go unread, and discussion can still happen there. A thread on Monday that lasts a week and a thread on Thursday does too, for example, with both threads pinned to the top and included under the Latest Open Thread feed on the side. I suspect this would be easier to implement than your second option. It's more difficult to implement than your first and third options, though.
Overlapping threads are just an agreement of everyone to keep looking at old posts. This is harder to orchestrate, because it requires lots of people to change.
Point, but I did suggest several ways in which this could be encouraged (pinned threads, different stated lifespans, shared use of Latest Open Thread feed)
Reducing the visibility of the new threads could help too.
"LessWrong doesn't have the resources to implement this"
Are you sure about that?
basically, for anything that requires code changes thats' not already on the list, this is true. More subreddits are being worked on, but that's basically it for the proposals here (unless someone wants to be heroic and writes the code themselves.)
This is a reference to the type of reply that you usually receive from Eliezer when you suggest a change on the site.
Ah, that is why there were quotes. Missed that, sorry.
Basically, open threads are a replacement for forum-style discussion, with topics promoted or demoted according to frequency of comments. Is there some way to just make reddit code display posts ordered by most recent comment? Then someone could make us an "Open Forum."
I wouldn't mind seeing an off-topic forum either.
Heh heh, guilty as charged.
I've noticed a kind of "LW content inflation" over the years where what was once appropriate for Main becomes appropriate for Discussion and what was once appropriate for Discussion becomes appropriate for Open Thread. I don't know if this is a good thing or not. It seems like if you are asking a question that has an unambiguous answer then you should clearly post in Open Thread because it's fairly wasteful for additional people to see your question after it's already been answered; beyond that I'm not sure.
This seems like it could be a consequence of there being more posters.
I like the idea of topics per day of the week, and it'd be worth trying.
It may also be worth making the rationality diary into weekly self-improvement open threads, where you can just post about how much progress you're making, which systems you're using etc.
I agree. As a relative novice with many stupid questions to ask I really appreciate the open threads.
What do you mean? People seem to post in the last days of the 'week' with a reasonable frequency, however, I fear that making the OT a daily thing will just result in more Discussion clutter, less visibility of other threads and less visibility of comments in the OTs.
I share some of your concerns about Discussion clutter and fragmentation the open threads, and think we will understand the tradeoffs better if we have a prototype in front of us.
The previous open thread had 330 comments in its lifetime. The latest open thread had 156 comments on its first day. By 'withering', I mean an open thread half spent on its first day.
For the record I guess that one of the main reasons for this is that some posters wait in order to make threads on the first day so they can get more exposure.
As a subjective indication I got the feeling that the quality postings somewhat reduced recently.
Could it be that more frequent open threads discourage from self-contained postings?
That would imply that "comments inevitably expand to fill the available room" because this effect is increased.
That would argue against adding the Links subsection, but asking stupid questions and asking for advice certainly aren't going to be their own posts.
I like the open threads a lot. I feel far more comfortable bringing up a topic in an open-thread than presenting it as a formal post.
If the open thread seems too cluttered, which I don't have a problem with, it might make more sense to make dedicated subthreads within it for different kinds of content than clutter the discussion page with different kinds of open threads.
I don't think the proposal is a good idea: it adds a trivial inconvenience to posting, and adds more noise to discussion making it harder to find the latest actually open thread. I predict the result would be at least one of: people post in the wrong section, people ignore a number of the categories, or people post less overall.
I'm in favour of more frequent open thread posts, but I think they should remain a single open thread. (Actually if I were making changes I'd probably fold the media recommendation posts into the open threads).
Weekly might be too often for stupid questions threads-- the stupid questions don't seem to build up all that quickly. A thread every month or two might work better.
Yeah. A not insignificant portion of the comments on the Open Thread could be put under that category, and my hope was to relocated those comments. But, based on comment counts, that hasn't happened.
It seems to me people post less on weekends. They might want to spend their free time some other way and browse LW at work. Adding more open threads would do nothing to this phenomenom.