[Edit: IssuesBugs, and Requested Features should be tracked at Google Code, not here -- matt, 2010-04-23


Less Wrong is still under construction.  Please post any bugs or issues with Less Wrong to this thread.  Try to keep each comment thread a clean discussion of each bug or issue.

Requested features... sure, go ahead, but bear in mind we may not be able to implement for a while.

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Currently, lots of discussions just end without the last commenter or readers knowing why.

So, feature idea: add a way for the author of the parent of a comment to set an "agreement status" with the following options by clicking a button:

  • I don't understand this yet. Still trying.
  • I don't understand this. I give up.
  • I agree.
  • I disagree, and will write up the reasons later.
  • I disagree, but don't want to bother writing out why.
  • I need to think about this more.
  • I already addressed this before.
  • [other options if needed]
A norm for finishing any conversation with such status would be more flexible. This'd take at least a good top-level post, official endorsement of the policy, and some reminders for the participants of conversations that follow this template. Also, without the norm, software option won't be useful.
4Wei Dai
Yes I agree we need a norm. But we also need the software feature so that we aren't littered with agreement status comments everywhere, and also to make it easier to follow the norm, which would make it more likely to be adopted as a norm.
Actually, what I've done sometimes is I add the status to the end of my already posted comment. That way I'm not adding any 'comment noise' but if anyone reads the post in the future they can see what the outcome/latest state was. I do that occasionally but sometimes feel a little self-important while doing so. (Along the lines of "who cares what I finally think?") But I rationalize that it would be helpful for someone following the thread, in the near or far future. I think it would generally be a good norm to have.
Just badger the person who fails to respond to a what seems to you an important comment. I hereby give everyone explicit permission to do so to me.
It is a good idea, and one that would work best if it was a norm. Badgering without such a norm can come across as insecure and play right into the hands of the one using the 'rhetorical inattention' gambit. Fortunately, a concise 'badger' including or consisting of a link to the parent would remove the need to explain or justify oneself and so avoid this difficulty.
I'm now wondering which specific rhetorical usage wedrifid!2009 was referring to. There are all sorts of meanings depending on the context and quite a few could be considered rhetorical. I think "a" would be more appropriate than "the" here.
Not with this crowd, I hope.
In any case, you cannot force anyone to respond. Thus, in my opinion, the best response to ignorance is to summarize the debate British Parliamentary style and be done with it.
The main one: I don't like your attitude, this is signalling crap not discussion. Stick it.
"I disagree, and am open to disagreement-arbitration on this particular issue (but not necessarily others)." I've felt that way on issues on this board before, but didn't continue responding because there were too many comments to reply too. (I'm thinking in particular of the "no one likes the taste of alcohol" thesis that I advanced.)
I find this makes me less likely to write up reasons later. It makes it work.
I think a common one is "I'm tired of this discussion and don't want to think about it any more."
I don't like this idea, so far. I don't see any good way of adding this to the UI nicely, and for most such conversations my response would be "I walked away from the computer for a week and so didn't check any such box"
4Wei Dai
What about adding a drop-down list box to the right of "Vote up | Vote down" etc? Or below that line? The selected message can be displayed in the same space for others to see. I guess this feature wouldn't be useful for a user who comments on a few threads and then leaves for a week. But there are also extended discussions between regulars here that end without anyone except the author of the parent of the last comment knowing why.

Feature Request

In the recent past, some LW members have mentioned that karma was part of their motivation to post and comment.

This led to a change in the karma system to re-align incentives: 10 points for post upvotes, 1 for comment upvotes.

Here's another change that could motivate people who seek karma to contribute more to LW:

Instead of just showing the top 10 contributor in the column on the right, we could show more than 10. Even better if we can have a link to a top 100 or full list, like the leaders page on Hacker News.

If this simple change can encourage more people to contribute to LW, it seems like it's worth it. A small improvement in participation can lead to significant gains over time.

Seconded - I'd not only like to see a 'full list' of contributors, but vital statistics would be cool too - how many comments, how many posts, average post karma, average comment karma, how many upvotes/downvotes made, how many upvotes/downvotes received, etc.


Feature request: profile pages, at minimum an empty box where the user can put text and links.

3Paul Crowley
This is issue 108.
Thanks. Can we get a link to http://code.google.com/p/lesswrong/issues/list on this original post?

I'd like a way to display all of a user's posts and comments on a single HTML page, so I can find things easily. I've written a PHP script to mechanically "press" the "next" button repeatedly and collate all of the pages into one, and I've found it very useful. I would make the URL public and let everyone use it, but unless I add some kind of caching, it might put a lot of stress on my my server and Less Wrong's if many people use it at the same time on some prolific contributor (e.g., Eliezer).

So my questions are:

  1. Is there much demand for this feature from others?
  2. Is there hope to have it implemented on Less Wrong directly?

If the answer to 1 is yes, but 2 is no, then I'll code the caching and make the URL public.

ETA: In case anyone wonders why I didn't submit a patch to the Less Wrong codebase, it's because I can't understand how it works. Is there some documentation for potential developers?

1Wei Dai
I wrote earlier: There doesn't seem to be a huge demand for this (or not many people are paying attention to this thread), so if anyone wants to know the URL for this, just send me a private message, and I'll give it to you.
(For the record, the URL was eventually posted here.)
I might use it, but probably only if it were incorporated into the site. Is it really only possible to view 5 at a time with the current script? Edit 4/11: Changed my mind; sending PM.

This might be slightly off-topic, but there isn't another place to post it right now...

The design here is awesome, especially compared to Reddit (or OB). Whoever designed the basic layout/look deserves major Kudos. The kind with chocolate chips. It's clean, usable, and (on my browser/display) not a pixel out of place.

We'll see how the entire site evolves in terms of usability.

Is there a way to make strike-through text? I'd like to be able to make revisions like this one without deleting the record of what I originally said.

There is no way to do this at the moment. I've raised a feature request for it. #123

Before people can submit their own posts, it would be good to have it spelled out what's considered on-topic.

I can find no way to link to my home page (or provide any other information on who I am) from my visible user profile.

Seconded. Even a generic box people can look at where I can write http://thomblake.com http://thomblake.mp twitter: @thomblake would be good
Also, in comments - single line-breaks being converted to or whatever would be cool. Or is there MarkDown for that? Is what's under "Help" all there is?
Most features of Markdown are supported, except inline HTML. According to the official spec line breaks are made as follows (which I tested and it works on Less Wrong) Perhaps we should include a link to more extensive formatting info in the help table.
I've raised an issue to track this feature request.

It would be nice to have jsMath installed (a Javascript renderer for TeX math -- you just drop it in your page and it shows TeX math prettily). Yeah, you can read and write math in pure HTML, but... :-)

Seconded. However, as an interim solution, we can do things like this: the Golden ratio is (1+root(5))/2.
That looks like a reasonable workaround. With Markdown you can embed images so your image above can be embedded directly: I've also added a feature request for jsMath.
Ah, I didn't know you could embed images because it wasn't in the help. Would it be a good idea to put a link to a Markdown tutorial at the bottom of the table that pops up when I click the help link?
Yes, I've added an task to include a link to more thorough Markdown documentation.

It would be wonderful if those pressed for time could have a link where they could see the top-scoring comments of the last day/week/etc.

Four thoughts:

  1. Show the number of comments on posts from the front page.

  2. Add a favicon. I usually have at least 20 tabs open in Firefox at once, and favicons are invaluable navigation aids.

  3. I like the tree view because it allows direct comment, but a flat view would be helpful to catch new posts.

  4. Display the full text of a post in the RSS feed. I'm glad the feed shows the number of comments though.

One last suggestion: would it be possible to set personal time zones?
Good request. Reddit gets around this by only showing times like '21 mins ago' or '8 days ago'. We've made it show times and dates which are timezone dependent. Raised as issue 107.
Indeed, I'd really like to see the full text of posts in the RSS feed. By the way, it's also possible to have two or more feeds with different content (e.g., just titles/just first paragraph/complete text), just in case others have other preferences.
Adding content as well as titles to the feeds is on the to do list. I have raised an issue for it.
Full article content in RSS feeds has been implemented.
Is anyone else having issues with logging in? After I log in, it doesn't appear to have succeeded until I click off the main page. Not sure if there is an issue, but seems confusing. I'm also not sure if the 'remember me' checkbox is working.
Is this still happening? I released a couple of login related updates today. If so can you let me know what browser and operating system you're using as well as the location (URL) of the page you're on when trying to login.

This site has a lot of features, but I don't see anything that explains how they're used. A general help page and/or FAQ seems necessary. Example:

What's Karma, what does the number represent, and what makes it change?

Till then, as the code's forked from the Reddit base, here's their help which tells you have the default system works. It says you get Karma by writing submissions which pander to the whims of the majori^H^H^H^H^Hare popular, and it's used to upgrade your post-Singularity consciousness. Hope this helps :)

Is there a way to systematically notice new comments as they appear? Ideally I'd like to receive them as individual e-mails with subject being equal to post title, for gmail threading magic to facilitate efficient skimming.

As it is, tree view makes it difficult to keep track of the conversation as it unfolds, it's even worse than on OB where there was no native way to subscribe (I use backtype for that purpose, a still buggy comment scanner). Maybe the simplest step for now is to allow flat view for discussion.

A full comment page (with feed) is now available via the Comments tab.
Thanks! Could you add anchors to the links from there? The "Parent" link on the comments in the Comments tab seems to be the most useful one. Also, an additional pair of "Prev | Next" links at the top of the Comments pages would be convenient. It should be "In response to a (the?) comment". The Edit and Reply actions don't work.
1Eliezer Yudkowsky
You just linked to moreor. It appears at the main site here, but there's no "Comments" tab visible as yet.
Oops jumped the gun on my announcements, they should all be live now. Fixed the link too.
Agreed - I didn't see what you were talking about at first, but now I've noticed that once I've already read several posts, it's hard to find new comments on threads I've already read. Since some situations call for following comments in real-time (when possible), a flat view, or some other solution, would be awesome.
We'll add individual post feeds including all comments very soon, but it sounds like many of you don't use feed readers, so need something on-site. If you use do use a feed reader the following seems like a good model: * find a post you want to follow * click the feed icon, and add it to your reader * follow it in your reader (which is sensible enough to only show you the new stuff) If you don't use a feed reader, a flattened reverse chronological comment view is the best idea I have.
1Eliezer Yudkowsky
There's got to be an open-source feed-reader gidget out there somewhere. So just develop the feed as pure RSS, and then link to a page that reads the feed and shows the standard gidget's view of the feed?

A way to see the number of comments a particular post has would be useful

This has now been implemented.

I don't like the AddThis button (because it pops up when I accidentally mouse over it). I searched for a few minutes on the AddThis site and elsewhere, but couldn't find a way to turn it off.

Well if you use firefox, there are a bunch of extensions that would let you get rid of it. But I agree that it's annoying, badly implemented, and shouldn't be there.

Four-digit karma is not readily legible in the little green circle.

[currently the parent comment is at -1 points] Interesting: does the downvoter see a statement of status in this true observation, and so feels offended?
It was probably just a drive-by. I get those on a pretty regular basis.
Hmm... Someone downvoted my comment as well -- is that the same person?

Is there a good reason for drafts to show in the What's New list and on the sidebar (maybe it's just an artifact in current software)? It's deeply confusing, I've just had an article lying as a draft for three hours, while thinking that I've already published it. Currently, the only way to find out whether the article is published is to check if it's absent from the draft list, or to log out.

An alternative solution is to add some kind of designation near the articles that are still drafts, like a word DRAFT in big red letters.


In the original Reddit codebase, you could tell when someone replied to your comment, because they'd highlight an "envelope" icon. I can't see of a way to check for replies in the LW site.

The site should implement a kill-filter - a method of hiding all comments, messages, and posts from specific users.

5Paul Crowley
I think I prefer things as-is. We pretty much all tend to find the same users problematic, and they don't tend to stick around - either they leave or they're chucked out. I think it's better if we're all seeing the same site.
Such user-specific effects might be better done externally, as with greasemonkey. For very simple things, you could use yahoo pipes. Here is a filter that removes lojban, from the feed of new comments. rss It would be nice if the feed were more structured. I had to match the title, rather than the author of the comment.

There are no "next" and "previous" buttons like there were on Overcoming Bias, which especially breaks context on some older posts. Altogether there should be some easy way to navigate / browse through old posts on Lw.

I second this notwithstanding VN's post. Also, I think I'd have gotten further the first time I encountered the sequences if there'd been First/Previous/Next in Sequence buttons. (edit) Beware Trivial Inconveniences seems possibly relevant. (edit 2) This post backs me up on Next buttons.
In the meantime, there's the all posts list on the wiki.
That indeed seems like a good resource for now.

Bug: comments deleted by a moderator behave differently than comments deleted by the user.

The comments deleted in this thread are still visible on the user pages (mjgeddes and outlawpoet); when the user deletes comments, they vanish from the user page, or at least they used to. Leaving them on the user page is probably not the desired behavior, at least for the second deletion.

this post claims to have 1 more comment than it displays. I wonder if this is a deleted comment effect as well. Not a big deal, but worth recording for anyone who wants to debug deletion.

Have an option when viewing all recent comments on the site to display the parent along with each comment, because many comments can't be understood out of context, and it's a pain to click on "Parent" for each such comment.

Automatic reply-notification would be nice in the long run. If there was a page where we could automatically see any new replies to our old comments, or if commenters/posters could choose to be notified about replies, then people might more often bother to reply to old threads, and conversations could be more on-going.

It turns out there is such a page, it was just hard to find. If anyone else wants to see replies to your comments (though not your posts), from most recent replies to oldest, just go to your inbox. This can be accessed by following links instead of by knowing the url to type in, but the route is complicated enough that perhaps it should be shortened in the long run. (The only current route I know: 1. Go into my "account preferences"; 2. Click on the "friends" tab; 3. Click "Send message", as though I were going to compose a message; and then 4. Click on "inbox".)
Nice one!
This is something that is marked for investigation #118

It would be handy to see in your user's page which comments of yours had been replied to without having to check each one individually.

Yes, and this seems to be a general issue of how comments are represented in the discussion (tree view) vs. how comments are tracked by various means (individually, without any context). The difference in presentations leads to difficulty in understanding the same comment when it's written and presented in different modes. For example, if the discussion itself proceeds in linear view, people refer to comments to which they reply, or cite them, which makes reading comments linearly simpler. It'll be simpler to read such comments in e.g. a feed reader. On the other hand, when the discussion happens in tree view, comments are written without mentioning their context, and as a results comments streamed into a feed reader individually become incomprehensible. We need some kind of linear view that cites its context. I suggest (an option for) including comment's parent in all kinds of local or linear views for comments, including feeds. Specifically for the problem pointed out by Michael, maybe there should be some kind of "subscription" capability, through which you form a set of comments, replies to which get aggregated into a separate feed (or discussion-like stream, like any of the many views that present the content of the site).

Reddit's up-arrow/down-arrow system with the selected arrow highlighted is much more intuitive and easier to see at a glance than a "vote up" and "vote down" with the selected link in bold. It also makes sense to have the point count next to the vote buttons. I spent my first few seconds on this site wondering why there was only a "vote down" button before I realized the minus sign next to the point count had nothing to do with voting.

I agree with the people saying show the number of comments on the front page.

The site needs an icon, even if it's crude and temporary, say "LW" like on Yudkowsky's and Bostrom's sites.

The Top Contributors list hasn't been sorted by karma since the karma system was changed to give 10 karma per vote for top level posts. For awhile they were obviously out of order; now, the top 10 list is internally sorted, but does not accurately represent the top 10 users by karma (I have more karma than 3 of them). Perhaps it's sorting by number of upvotes instead of amount of karma?

It's not completely sorted internally, or at least doesn't display that way to me.

Is there a convenient way to access old incoming personal messages? My inbox is obviously fully of replies to threaded comments and I can access old ones by search if I remember details. I can also access sent personal messages with the next tab over. But is there any way to get to an old pm without clicking 'previous' enough times to bring me back to April? If not, this would be a welcome addition.

Have you talked to Wei Dai? I haven't used his script, so I don't know if it currently works for inbox messages, but it seems like something to try. Edit: Looks like doesn't, at least currently.

Is there a page for "how to use this website" somewhere that I've missed? For the most part, it is intuitive. But I got a bit worried when I clicked "Report" on some spam and it asked me "Are you sure?". No I'm not sure - I'm just guessing what "Report" means and what it does...

I'd also be interested in knowing how Karma works, who (if anyone) is notified about my comments, what Voting does, etc... Just a general overview of how the website works. And if this information isn't all in one place already maybe it should be.

For my part, I think I accidentally clicked on Report the other day, while expanding a lot of comments for Context. But I don't remember any dialogue so I can hope that it didn't go through. The reddit FAQ may answer a few questions.
3Ramana Kumar
Update: the welcome post has a small explanation of voting and karma.
Questions I have about karma: * How can I tell if I've voted on something after the vote button isn't bold anymore? Do I just have to keep track? * How often can I vote on a single post or comment? It looks like whenever a user's comment is replied to, the reply shows up as a message in their inbox, with the envelope at the top of the sidebar turning orange/red to indicate it to them. Replies to replies don't generate a new message.
After what? The vote button always remains bold for me. (This, incidentally, implies that one can only vote once - either up or down.)
At the moment I can't find a post that I'm sure I voted on that doesn't have one button bolded, so I might just be confused.
Update: no, I'm still experiencing cases where I vote, press control+F5 and find the vote gone. It might be related to the fact that vote buttons still bold and unbold even when I'm not online.
Yes, when you click the vote link, Javascript bolds/unbolds it immediately, while sending a request to the server. If there's a problem with your connection, it will appear as though you've voted but when you go back the link will not be bold, since your vote will not have been received. If you don't have enough karma to downvote, the response from the server will trigger a callback which cancels the bold and informs you of your inability to downvote, assuming you have a good connection and you're still on the page.
I believe the button bolds before the data is stored on the database - I've noticed edits to the texts of posts vanish when I close the window immediately after submitting them.

LessWrong.com sends the user's password in the clear (as reported by ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 8.

Please consider warning people that is so.

I'd like more context.

Since there are anchors, is there any cost to replacing context=1 with context=3 ?

Alternatively, context for the parent button (or even the permalink button) could be controlled from the preferences page, at the cost of UI proliferation. This might make more sense for people who want context on the recent comments page, which is a feature that would have cost to people who don't want it. (hmm...I guess greasemonkey could make parent=context=3)

Incidentally, the combination of deleted comments and context is buggy. If you go here where ... (read more)

Spam bots are preparing a siege for the wiki, several of them register every day (although there were no attempts to edit the pages yet). Maybe a captcha extension on registration could fix this?

Does anyone know if these accounts are being managed or is there the possibility as you say for a siege at a later date?
The siege began. Two bots, registered on 2 and 4th June respectively, just posted their spam messages. Furthermore, the messages hack the wiki markup. It may be a while for all the bots to run out, and new ones continue registering as we speak. You should really install that captcha. ETA: 5 triggered bots so far.
Spam became a rather serious issue now. Just look at the block log: today I had to block 16 spam bot accounts, and delete their spam. I don't even have tools for easily doing that, so each account takes a number of clicks with a delay. Good thing they are only spamming on their own user pages...
I don't know, it was more of a joke. From what I googled, adding a captcha seems to be just a matter of installing an extension.

There is no visible difference between an unpublished draft and a published article. I am not the only one who has written an article and wondered why it seems to have drawn absolutely no response, then remembered there is this feature of not publishing immediately. I then hunted around for something to click called "Publish". In fact you have to click "Edit", even if the text already says exactly what it should, and publish from the edit page.

Proposal. When viewing multiple articles on a page, each article (down to its summary break) i... (read more)

Requested feature: a 'user list', possibly sorted by karma - just like 'top contributors', but listing everybody. Preferably on its own page somewhere.

Highlight comments made since I last viewed a post, or hide old ones.

It would be desirable to be able to tell which comments/posts I'd already voted on once I've done so.

The Vote up or Vote down link on comments should be bold after you vote. When you vote on an article the + or - in a circle becomes filled in to indicate your vote. Is this not happening, if so what browser are you using?
You're right, that is happening - I wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't pointed out the effect. Maybe most people would notice, and I'm oblivious, but I'd recommend making the difference a bit less subtle.
You can also just click twice. It's a toggle.

Comment karma!

Somewhere there needs to be formulas explaining exactly how you compute the sorting for the LW top tabs, and for the various numbers sitting next to posts and comments, all in terms of the various voting actions that are done. I'm really quite confused about it all.
I have mixed feelings about karma; even without karma, I was finding myself a bit too interested in seeing how many points my comments got. But perhaps other people are better at ignoring gold stars than I am, or perhaps the effects of people attending to others' responses are net-positive.
I share your weakness for gold stars, however, I'm finding thus far that it has a positive impact on my posting. Thinking before I speak is useful, particular since it means more thinking, more effort to consider other's knowledge and less chance of getting sidetracked on pointless nitpicking.
2Scott Alexander
I am definitely no better than Anna at ignoring gold stars. I think the situation might be improved if the "top contributors" box wasn't there on the right margin looking temptingly like a scoreboard.
With comment karma we should definitely stop trying to use upvotes and downvotes for opinion polls.
2Eliezer Yudkowsky
Yeah, we need "agree" "disagree".
1Eliezer Yudkowsky
Agreed, we need this and soon.
What exactly do you mean by this. In other words how would it be used? The codebase has the concept of comment karma already. However when presented in the UI, 'Karma' is the sum of comment karma and submission karma.
3Eliezer Yudkowsky
Right now, karma only seems to be including submission karma, no comment karma. E.g. this user with many upvoted comments and karma 1.
Comment Karma does affect the "Top Contributors" ranking, though - I did a self-deprication experiment. And strangely enough I fell off the list shortly after you wrote the above link :-) What's jimrandomh's dark secret?
An unpublished draft that was upvoted?

It would be nice to have some definition of what the "friends" feature is supposed to mean. Is it like facebook "friend" or like twitter "follow" or... any number of other possible interpretations? Is it supposed to be reciprocal, or are these just people whose posts you want to read more of / that you like?

Apparently it's just for people whose submissions you want to follow, so their usernames will appear highlighted & you can read just their submissions here.

The design of this site is rendered fairly poorly in browsers that are configured to enforce a minimum font-size above a certain bound. Specifically:

  • green circles aren't scaled to fit the digits shown on top of them
  • the Karma Score value is overlaid on the text "Karma Score"
  • part of the text box for entering comments is pushed under the right sidebar
  • the untoggled states of the Vote {Up, Down} indicators aren't displayed quite correctly

Steps to reproduce with Firefox 3.0.6 (I haven't tested other versions, but this is likely to also work with... (read more)

On comment previews: You can edit your comments after you've posted them, so this is probably something nice-to-have rather than urgent.
Agreed, but when you do that the comment tends to jump up and down and I've had trouble finding the posted comment / edit box in the thread.
On more horizontal space: We'll hopefully be fluid width before many of you read this comment.

On what basis will free people vote on an idea they disagree with but that is explained well? A hilarious but unrelated pun? A brilliant comment on a post that has nothing to do with it? A valid point by a well known troll?

7Eliezer Yudkowsky
I can immediately answer that the valid point by the troll should be voted up, and it seems that the disagreed-with idea that is explained well should at least not be voted down.

It seems like the only criterion for the rating of comment/post be the degree to which it contributes to healthy discussion (well-explained, on-topic, not completely stupid). However, there is an strong tendency for people to vote comments based on whether they disagree with them or not, which is very bad for healthy discussion. It discourages new ideas and drives away visitors with differing opinions when they see a page full of highly rated comments for a particular viewpoint (cf. reddit).

The feature I would recommend most for this website is a dual voting feature: one vote up/down for the quality of the post/comment, and one for whether you agree or disagree with it. This would allow quality, disagreeable comments to float to the top while allowing everyone to satisfy their urge to express their opinion. It also would force people to make a cognitive distinction between the two categories.

Even people like me who try to base their ratings independent of their agreement with the comment are biased in their assessment of the quality. It would be very healthy to read a comment you agree with and would normally upvote (because your quality standards have been biased downward) only to see that a large fraction of the community finds the argument poor.

Incidentally, you might allow voting for humor or on-topic-ness so that people can (say) still be funny every once in a while without directly contributing to the current discussion per se.

(Sorry that was so long. It was something I had been thinking about for awhile.)

I disagree, because I see these factors as necessarily closely connected, in any person's mind. I rate not quality of prose, but quality of communicated idea, as it comes through. If I think that the idea is silly, I rate it down. If the argument moves me, communicating a piece of knowledge that I at least give a chance of changing my understanding of something, then the message was valuable. It doesn't matter whether the context was to imply a conclusion I agree or disagree with, it only matters whether the idea contributes something to my understanding.
4Eliezer Yudkowsky
This makes... quite a lot of sense, actually. And of course the posts would be sorted by quality votes, not agreement votes.
If agreement votes aren't going to be used, why not do away with them altogether and just use the current system to vote based on quality only? True comments are higher quality than false comments so agreement should factor into quality judgments anyway.
I like Jess's proposal because I think it has a better chance of working in practice. Most of us, I think, do want to express agreement / disagreement, and I think separating it out into a separate vote would work better with real humans' cognitive systems than relying on people following an explicit instruction to ignore one of their motivations. [Yes, I would like to see a study testing this assumption somehow, but in the meantime, that's the prediction my subjective probability is going into...] Besides, I would find the agree/disagree info interesting. And I think it probably reduces "me too" posts. And the info presumably could be used for the "most controversial" page. (edited: s/separate out their motivations/ignore one of their motivations/)
I think other people have said it, but Slashdot has one of the best commenting structures around. Different values for different categories (funny, insightful etc....), anonymous posting, reputation, very clear thread structure. All sorts of fun stuff
5Nick Hay
Because quality and truth are separate judgments in practice, and forcing them to be conflated into a single scale is losing information. To the extent that truth is positively correlated with quality this will fall out automatically: highly truthy posts will tend to have high quality. Low quality and high truth are not opposites.
I agree it's losing information, but that's something you have to weigh against the inconvenience of multiple dimensions. To the extent that truth is positively correlated with quality you're just making people click twice, and I suspect clicks are a limited resource. As I see it the voting system is there to put comments in a convenient order and remove the really bad ones from sight, not to provide opinion poll information.
That's exactly the point: voting is supposed to put comments in order according to quality, so that you can read the worthwhile comments in a reasonable time. My claim is that the current voting system will not do this well at all and that a dual voting system will be better. (That second bit is just a guess). The opinion poll information is just a nice side effect.
OK, so according to you and Benja the point is to have the agree/disagree buttons there mainly as a lightning rod to prevent agreement from affecting quality votes. That's a good point, but I wonder if it's worth it and if there are better ways to accomplish the same thing. I also wonder if there should be a button labeled "malevolent cantaloupe" so the unserious people will click on that instead of voting.
I'm not sure this is obviously right. I would probably insist upon some usability study to determine how people actually use such features. Of course, if the cost is low such a study could just be implementing them and seeing how it works. I imagine there's a name for this cognitive bias, but I've noticed well-informed folks tend to think agreeable opinions are better-argued, and less agreeable ones are worse-argued (probably a species of confirmation bias). For example, someone posting against physicalism might get downvoted quickly by people who say "but they didn't even consider Dennett's response to this premise". But they might not have the same objections on-hand to an unsound argument in favor of physicalism.
I'd prefer a clear explanation of intended semantics of voting, linked to on "About" page, and posted one of these days on the front page to get anyone's attention and users' suggestions.
It might also be good to stick a reminder of what up-voting is intended to mean right next to the up-vote and down-vote buttons. Or to change the names: instead of "vote up" and "vote down", perhaps something like "high-quality discussion" and "low-quality discussion".
Not sure about that - those labels at least would look ugly. Maybe a title attribute on the "vote up" and "vote down" would be sufficient.
6Nick Hay
How about buttons "High quality", "Low quality", "Accurate", "Inaccurate". We're increasing options here, but there's probably a nice way to design the interface to reduce the cognitive load. Using the word "vote" seems broken here more generally -- we aren't implementing some democratic process, we're aggregating judgments (read: collecting evidence) across a population.
I completely agree about the word "vote". "High quality" / "Low quality" has good brevity, but for myself I'm still tempted to blend in agreement/disagreement with my ratings when I picture those words -- to regard comments I disagree with as "low quality". If we could have the question "Does this add to or subtract from the conversation?" surrounded by up/down arrows (or by "adds" / "subtracts"), I imagine myself voting better.
For example, I just up-voted James Andrix's and Kurige's comments about their religious beliefs. I up-voted the comments because they're good data, I'm glad the commenters shared it, and it looks like stuff more eyes should look at within the thread. But I hesitated, because "up-voting" gives the appearance of agreement. Rating Kurige's comment "high quality" feels a bit similar, like calling it "high quality reasoning". But clicking up-arrow next to the question "Does this add to the conversation?" would feel obvious, to me in this case.
Yep, what I wrote is just based on my best guess. A usability study would be great.
Also, I am going with the crowd and changing to a user name with an underscore
A second question about the semantics of voting: should I be up-voting all good posts regardless of score, and down-voting all bad posts regardless of score, or should I be voting to correct points-numbers that are misaligned with post quality?
Upon reflection, I'd say we should be voting to correct points-numbers that are misaligned with post quality. Otherwise, if people continue to up-vote more posts than they down-vote, comments will accumulate more and more points the older they get, and a setting like "show me all posts above 3" won't be meaningful across threads or comment-ages. Added: The "odd social dynamics" point is good. I'll follow Eliezer and thomblake here.
5Eliezer Yudkowsky
I would actually say that voting to correct post-quality would lead to some odd social dynamics. I'll vote up if something is negative for no reason, but otherwise I'll vote my opinion, not corrections - unless something seems really out of line. I'd rather have the sum of people's individual components then see everyone trying to correct everyone else's voting.
Agreed - I've been using voting the same way: if (score < 0 && myPreferredScore >=0) vote up else vote my conscience Edit: had to camelCase the name above due to odd behavior of underscores. I should learn MarkDown.

Is the recent comments page broken right now or is that just me?

Edit: Working again!

It's been broken for me, too. The problem may be associated with comments from a time period-- recent comment is working for me now, but I can't page back.
For reference, it's usually the fault of one particular comment - when this happens, finding any page with that comment will break the site. "Recent comments" works again when that comment falls off the first page.
Yep. This time around the particular comment seems to be 1rvk in the numbering scheme used in URLs.
On what thread?
I can't tell, since I can't see that particular comment. I've inferred that "number" by some boundary testing, inputting various URLs to see which ones worked and which breaked.
I see - playing with http:// lesswrong.com/comments?count=50&after=t1_[comment-ID] seems to suggest 1rvj may be responsible, as http://lesswrong.com/comments?count=50&after=t1_1rvj has 1rvi as the first visible. That said, http://lesswrong.com/comments?count=50&after=t1_1rxo works where http://lesswrong.com/comments?count=50&after=t1_1rxn fails, which suggests 1rw8 breaks the page, too. Edit: At least on my viewer - other people may have their Recent Comments set to show fewer comments.
Not just you. It happens periodically.
Me too.
Me too, but it now appears to be working.


This post imported from OB has Japanese characters where they shouldn't be (encoding problem).

Some changes to karma have been deployed today. Posts will now show scores less than zero, previously scores below zero were shown as zero. Votes on posts are now worth 10 points up or down to the contributor. Also the threshold to be able to post is now 50, up from 20.

It's unclear -- do you mean that the number of points received for posts gets multiplied by 10, both for positive and negative votes? This factor seems too dramatic. I'd go for 2 or 3, no more. One also has to take into account that posts get more votes than comments simply because more people rate them, so the effect of a post is already greater than that of a comment. Also should (have) been discussed in one of the open/meta threads in advance of deployment.
Yes an up vote on a post is worth 10 karma points to the contributor, a down vote -10 points. With regard to discussion, I just implemented what I was instructed to do.

This post imported from Overcoming Bias misses some spaces around formatting, possibly an importing bug.

It would be useful to have an RSS feed showing all descendants of all comments and top-level postings made by the logged-in user. It would help in avoiding accidentally ignoring a comment in a conversation I'm actively participating in.

Alternatively, or also, highlighting in some way all such comments in the other RSS feeds and web pages.

as noted here, we need some sort of spoiler capability in comments. if this is already available in standard Markdown, I missed it. It would be cool if it worked like those on the XKCD forums.

I find the right-alignment of the "continue reading>" link makes it extremely easy to miss. My eye is scanning left to right, so once I don't see something below the last line on the left I typically go to the next post. (Once I happened to notice it, I was able to keep a lookout for it, but if it was left aligned and maybe down a line, I suspect it would be a lot easier to see.)

New features and bug fixes seem to be added without any sort of announcement. It seems like there should be something to indicate when the site is changed.

I want to be able to click on one of the Recent Comments and see the entire comment list, not just the "thread" that contains the recent comment.

I would probably not like this to simply replace the current functionality.

Indented numbered lists don't wrap properly. For example,

1. This is a numbered list item. In the text box, it was 4 spaces, followed by "1.", followed by the rest of the text. If this line is longer than your browser window is wide, it won't wrap properly.
Indentation implies preformatted text. The 1. should be at the start of the line. 1. This is a numbered list item. In the text box, it wasn't 4 spaces, followed by "1.", followed by the rest of the text. If this line is longer than your browser window is wide, it will wrap. If you want to nest lists, then you need to indent the second list item. 1. First level 1. This is a numbered list item. In the text box, it was 3 spaces, followed by "1.", followed by the rest of the text. If this line is longer than your browser window is wide, it will wrap. Full Markdown documentation is available on Daring Fireball

I am having some trouble posting an article.

I first tried posting it to Drafts For Yvain to see what it would look like, and it showed up with karma 1 on the main site (but I could only see it when logged in). Although it looked good, I didn't see any obvious way to change it from draft to official post.

So I deleted the draft, went back to the editor, and posted the article to Less Wrong. But it redirected me to a version of the article with [deleted] next to the title, and it doesn't show up on the main site.

Also, I saved my draft, but don't see any way to load the saved file. There's nothing in the tab that says "saved" on the right of the top menu.

3Scott Alexander
I've since posted the article, but I'd still like an explanation of drafts and saving.
Think of 'drafts for username' as a private site where you can post articles - i.e. a 'holding area' - until you think they are ready to be viewed in Less Wrong. An article can only exist in one 'area' at a time, either drafts or lesswrong. If you delete an article, it will remain deleted regardless of which site you post it to. (I'm unsure if you can undelete an articles, but its status would remain deleted if you moved it). Also, when you are logged in, you should be able to edit posts via their 'edit' link on the bottom right hand side of the article. If you've ever used reddit, think of it as a private subreddit (as that's what it is).

4 digit karma total should be common soon enough, several users are past 100 after mere days.

Minor problem, but at this rate the green circles are in trouble.

There's a bug that shows users as having millions of karma, the excess numbers just spill over the side.

I am sure this had been said, but I would really like a full-post RSS feed. I don't want to come to the actual site every time I want to read a post; I just want to be able to read it on my RSS reader.

Full content in the RSS feed has been implemented now.

In my preferences, I've marked the checkbox for making my votes public. However, I'm not sure where I can see the votes I or anyone else has made. Is this simply not implemented yet, or hidden somewhere?

This thing is confusing!
They should show up in the liked and disliked pages of your user profile. If they don't, then there is a bug! (The 'tabs' will show up if the user, like yourself, has the option selected).
It only says "There doesn't seem to be anything here" to me. (Thanks, though - I hadn't even noticed those tabs before. The tab bar could be made more obvious, it kind of fades into the layout now.)

Please consider using a "fluid-width" theme.

I shall disagree, with equivalent explanation.
It could be worse - but on my 26-inch monitor - most fixed-width sides do not look great - I find.

Drafts shouldn't be counted as contributions in the sidebar widget.

This is a known issue to fix. Issue 29.
Also, drafts show both in the "drafts" and the "submitted" lists.
They currently don't add to Karma, they are just counted on the right.

Google Custom Search leads to http://staging.lesswrong.trike.com.au/ instead of this site.

When I go to my userpage and click on the title of this post (above one of my comments on this post), it links to


But that page 404's...

I've applied a fix for this today. The links should now be valid.
Noted this in Issue 104.

A map of where we are, automatically generated with the Google Maps API from the data in the Location field of the user profiles.

I'm actually swestrup. I can't login. Less wrong has no method of complaining if you aren't logged in, so I had to create a new account.

Less Wrong keeps complaining my password is bad, but I couldn't reset my password because:

a) I had switched mail providers an my email address on record was no longer any good. Again, I couldn't do anything about this without logging in.

b) I managed to temporarily get my old mail address working again, only to find that Less Wrong's password reset feature is also broken.

The third footnote of this post has been hacked. (Garbage text has been inserted.) http://lesswrong.com/lw/dr/generalizing_from_one_example/

Can you fix it? I am actually really curious what was there originally...

1. Select the 'hacked' text. 2. Copy to clipboard. 3. Click on the adjacent link to rot13.com. 4. Paste 'hacked' text into box. 5. Click cypher. 6. Enlightenment!
Welcome to LW! Have a point, for attempting to be useful.

Testing double indent

Single indent

No indent

Maybe there should be a sandbox?

Use your own old comments, then revert.
Yes, there should be a sandbox. Here is someone else's sandbox. It probably isn't perfectly compatible.
What's wrong with the edit button?

Why does a page pop up when I click on any user's name... But mine doesn't (have a page that pops up when I click on my user name)?

Edit: I see that Vladimir has already pointed this out, Thank you, Vlad.

There is a problem with plugin on the Wiki: see this page for example. The error message is:

Failed to parse (Missing texvc executable; please see math/README to configure.)

And today, pressing "edit" doesn't work ("page not found"). Edit: (On the wiki articles -- see the parent comment).
Works for me. But something I have noticed is that now and then a page from LW will be slightly corrupted in one of the links, and I see a fragment of raw HTML. Clicking on such links can go wrong. Reloading usually gets a clean page. Just tried "edit" on this comment -- no problem. "Edit" on postings also works.
I've noticed this as well. For reference, I'm using the latest Google Chrome on Windows XP.
Sorry for the confusion -- I was talking about the wiki.

There are lots of weird things about deleted posts, but showing the author as "[deleted]" is definitely a bug.

I reached that belief from this post and it matches what Yvain says

"Recent Comments" is currently broken, though I must confess I enjoy the error messages.

This comment or one in its thread might be relevant, as they aren't directly viewable either: http://lesswrong.com/lw/13k/missing_the_trees_for_the_forest/z1g?context=1#z1g Also, my 'inbox' isn't working, and I had a post on that thread. I'm wondering if it's possible for a single comment to break these features.

As I mentioned elsewhere: recent karma changes to posts and comments.

Also, a 'preview' feature for comments would be nice.

Seconded. It's a little frustrating when my karma creeps up or down and I have to guess what's getting the approval/disapproval.
And: Sometimes it doesn't creep! I just had a gigantic upswing of karma and an equally dramatic downswing in the space of a few hours (on the order of fifty points in each direction). It doesn't seem to be my latest comments that are getting adjusted, and I would just love to know what is generating such strong opinions.