I've been making rounds on social media with the following message.

Great content on LessWrong isn't as frequent as it used to be, so not as many people read it as frequently. This makes sense. However, I read it at least once every two days for personal interest. So, I'm starting a LessWrong/Rationality Digest, which will be a summary of all posts or comments exceeding 20 upvotes within a week. It will be like a newsletter. Also, it's a good way for those new to LessWrong to learn cool things without having to slog through online cultural baggage. It will never be more than once weekly. If you're curious here is a sample of what the Digest will be like.


Also, major blog posts or articles from related websites, such as Slate Star Codex and Overcoming Bias, or publications from the MIRI, may be included occasionally. If you want on the list send an email to:

lesswrongdigest *at* gmail *dot* com


Users of LessWrong itself have noticed this 'decline' in frequency of quality posts on LessWrong. It's not necessarily a bad thing, as much of the community has migrated to other places, such as Slate Star Codex, or even into meatspace with various organizations, meetups, and the like. In a sense, the rationalist community outgrew LessWrong as a suitable and ultimate nexus. Anyway, I thought you as well would be interested in a LessWrong Digest. If you or your friends:

  • find articles in 'Main' are too infrequent, and Discussion only filled with announcements, open threads, and housekeeping posts, to bother checking LessWrong regularly, or,
  • are busying themselves with other priorities, and are trying to limit how distracted they are by LessWrong and other media

the LessWrong Digest might work for you, and as a suggestion for your friends. I've fielded suggestions I transform this into a blog, Tumblr, or other format suitable for RSS Feed. Almost everyone is happy with email format right now, but if a few people express an interest in a blog or RSS format, I can make that happen too. 


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18 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 4:44 AM

A fine idea. I suggest opening each summary with the thesis of the cited post.

If this article makes it to 20 votes will it be included in the newsletter?

I was thinking about that. No, it won't. I'm using my own judgment to exclude some things which are upvoted to signal things other than the content of the post being 'very rational', or whatever. One of the most upvoted posts of last year was the announcement of a new moderator. The wouldn't 'have been included in the newsletter, as important as that is. Searching through the 'top comments' for last week, in making the first newsletter, more than half of them were highly upvoted predictions for what will happen next in HPMoR. Maybe some of them would be worth including, since virtually everyone reading the newsletter would also be interested in a compelling prediction of what will happen next in the plot. Maybe I'm biased by the fact I haven't read the latest chapters yet, and I didn't want the plot spoiled, so I skimmed those comments. Still, though, there were over a dozen lengthy HPMoR predictions. They don't strike me as content fit for the newsletter.

I'm only reading this comment as this article indeed has reached 21 upvotes. It'd be pretty funny, and 'meta', if this was included. Your question is interesting, though, because it makes me clarify what are exceptions to inclusion.

Edit: it's going to be weird if this announcement is the only post this week to pass a threshold of 20 upvotes. I count the 'week' on the same cycle as open threads posted on LessWrong. It's only been two days since 2400 hours Sunday night, i.e., Monday night 0000 hours. Still, though, there is nothing new unrelated to HPMoR which passes the threshold. My hypothesis is everyone is too busy reading HPMoR, or discussing it, to bother producing other content. I'm only half-joking. The most upvoted comments for the last week are all predictions about what's coming up in HPMoR. Like, how maybe the final trial for Harry will actually be a test of not letting the AI out of the box...

Should I break my rule of not including HPMoR-related content in the digest? If not, there will be nothing...

I'm now tempted to include this announcement of the newsletter in the newsletter just for the one-off recursion joke I can make.


It will never be more than once weekly

As the digest is an experiment, don't feel you have to stick too closely to a weekly schedule. I agree that the HPMoR discussion has dominated lately (for obvious reasons with the flood of new chapters and the impending conclusion), and the LW digest isn't the place for those comments.

But I do think it's a worthy exercise - not just for publicity elsewhere but locally to LW too: bringing attention to comments that may deserve even more attention than they already received.

I'm now tempted to include this announcement of the newsletter in the newsletter just for the one-off recursion joke I can make.

I say go for it, but then my highest voted submission to discussion was this.

any chance you can create a second version, "historical lesswrong digest" - which lists all posts with 20+ upvotes for this week and every 54th previous week from the site's history?


Great job! Evan is also creating an effective altruism digest: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dotimpact/permalink/415596685274654/

If possible, I think it would be nice if the digest contained at least an excerpt from the beginning of the posts/comments in question, in addition to the link.

I'd like this very much in RSS format.

If you make an RSS feed, don't include any SSC/OB posts, because those already have their own RSS feeds.


There is an option to only display only comments above a certain threshold. I tried to use a positive threshold (5 votes) but it doesn't seem to work.

As an aside, I still find it much easier to sift through LW for good content, relative to other broad-domain sites. While I'm glad the ecosystem has diversified, it has become harder to find e.g. the good comments on a SSC piece, or to separate the wheat from the chaff on social media or single-author blogs.

It used to work, but then Eliezer decided that he didn't trust the readers with this power. And that he didn't trust readers with the knowledge of the rules.

Did he say something to that effect? A cursory look at the issue suggests that comment-hiding is broken entirely. Given that the config setting is still there, this strongly suggests a bug - if it were supposed to have been removed, the setting should've been removed, too.

Using a positive threshold seems like it could get counterproductive very fast.

It's not very different from the current system of three tiers of posts: discussion, main, promoted. Except that situation is much worse because most people don't know about the middle tier.

That's not quite what I meant. If you have your interface set to filter out posts with less than +5 votes, as emr did above, that's fine on its own. If the practice spreads far enough, though, then nobody sees anything, because nobody's looking at the posts to do the votes to reach the threshold.


I suggest we dig out some old articles that could be interesting.

I also say this is a good oppourtunity to go in a false dichtomy and endlessly discuss certain taboo topics or start a fuel-unlimited flame war.

Good luck.

Every week, Costanza digs out 4 old articles and puts them on the front page, under "featured articles."