Eliezer passes 100,000 karma points

by lukeprog1 min read9th Mar 201132 comments

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Eliezer Yudkowsky has passed an arbitrary milestone: 100,000 karma points on Less Wrong. Allow me just a moment to celebrate this like we celebrate other arbitrary milestones, like birthdays.

I think that Eliezer's karma score vastly under-rates his relative contribution to this site. For example, his score is only about 13x my own score, but I think it's obvious he has contributed far more than 13x as much value to this community as I have.

This is probably due to the fact that good posts today get far more upvotes than earlier good posts, when I suspect the community was smaller. For example, my rather simple and insignificant post Secure Your Beliefs received 34 upvotes, which is more than almost any of Eliezer's epic and brilliant posts of the past have received, for example Terminal Values and Instrumental Values.

So at this arbitrary milestone, I'd just like to say a quick word to Eliezer:

 

Thanks.

You've done a lot.

 

Okay, that's all! I hope this doesn't come across as "sucking up to the Dear Leader," but instead as the sincere appreciation it is. There is a good reason I list Eliezer as one of my heroes-even-though-we-shouldn't-have-'heroes' over here.

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We need to make the green circle bigger!

(I had given thought to starting an "Eliezer 100,000" pool in the open thread ...)

The green circle has already been a problem for anyone with at least 1000 karma, let alone 100,000.

Yes, but that's no reason not to fix it!

There's all sorts of graphic design disaster ways to do it. Anyone here actually a graphic designer for a living?

Not a GD, but the simplest solution would be to simply make the number green and get rid of the circle.

I do believe you've got it!

(We discussed ideas on Sunday at the London meet. All were terrible.)

Green and bold, maybe, or white with a green outline. There's so much green text in the UI that it'd have to stand out in some other way or lose a lot of emphasis.

Of course, losing emphasis may not be considered harmful.

As I've noted before, having that green circle at top-right with your score in it makes LW feel like a karma-whoring video game ...

I've been wondering if karma is really a good system, for exactly that reason. I think I've only had a comment down-voted in to the negatives once, so I can reasonably predict that any vaguely 'quality' comment is likely to make my karma go up. I'd think it better to encourage users who produce "+10 karma" comments, not those who produce ten "+1 karma" posts.

Of course, as a simple bar to "unlock" privileges, it works well, but then you could just have it show "50+" once everything is unlocked.

And on the gripping hand, it does encourage me to try and cement my thoughts and speak up any time I feel I have something to contribute :)

This is an entirely reasonable concern. But the comments are generally the highest quality I can think of on almost any forum. So I'd say it's certainly not broken.

Comment quality was approximately as high on Overcoming Bias before the founding of Less Wrong, and there was no voting on OB.

Voting did greatly reduce the need for editors to moderate comments. In particular, part of the reason that comment quality was extremely high on Overcoming Bias is that Eliezer moderated comments on Eliezer's posts and Robin moderated comments (with a heavier hand in my experience than Eliezer did BTW) on Robin's posts, and if voting had not been introduced (by Eliezer, the Future of Humanity Institute and Tricycle Development) Eliezer would have stopped moderating comments so that he could use the time and mental energy for other pursuits.

Note that Eliezer stopped posting (or more precisely drastically reduced the volume of his writing on the site) about 3 months after the introduction of voting.

Although it is unlikely that comment quality would have stayed high after Eliezer stopped posting and moderating if voting had never been introduced, it is extremely unlikely that voting by itself would have produced a community capable of the quality of conversation we see on LW today. In other words, the nature of the core content was the cause of the excellence of the community although the introduction of voting gave the community a mechanism to prevent the rapid deterioration of the community after Eliezer became uninterested in continuing to post daily and to moderate.

Voting by itself is not a particularly robust quality-protection mechanism IMHO. In particular, a sharp increase in new LW users has the potential to cause a catastrophic decrease in comment quality IMHO.

Voting by itself is not a particularly robust quality-protection mechanism IMHO. In particular, a sharp increase in new users has the potential to cause a catastrophic decrease in comment quality IMHO.

Oh yeah. It's not a bulletproof shield, even slightly. I'm saying that I see no reason that tweaking it would actually make the place better.

I wasn't familiar with the details of just how well the tone was set, thank you!

Thanks. :)

(Though I guess the number itself could be black, red, pink, orange, etc... But yeah, the circle doesn't really seem necessary. Though, again, I'm not a graphics designer at all, so...)

Nah, LW green!

(I made paperclip badges for the London meet and trimmed them in LW green. I carefully tweaked the precise colour to allow for going from RGB to CMYK, then again for being behind the plastic of the badge ... I may not be a graphic designer, but I've done enough of it to know when to hand the job off to a professional ...)

Most of Eliezer's posts were originally made on Overcoming Bias, which has no karma system. They were ported to LW at its inception, so all upvotes occurred well after their writing. Certainly they scored a small fraction of what they would have, had they been written fresh on the site!

I also try not to make heros out of other mammals, but Eliezer is indeed 100,000 kinds of awesome!

Yeah. Whenever I go back to one of those posts originally on Less Wrong and I like it, I always make sure to upvote it.

The karma system just gives you an indicator for the relative appreciation of a user. For EY it could just say 'lots' and not even bother with a concrete number. It could also be logarithmic.

Oh, and you might consider dropping Gandhi at some point. Heroes have this tendency to appear bad when looked at from different times or contexts, or just close enough.

I would upvote this, but that would only make the effect worse!

So I'll go back and upvote some sequence stuff that I read before I got an account.

I echo luke's sentiments. Thanks Eliezer. www.Lesswrong.com is a resource that truly strikes at the heart of the matter.

Also: The Karma thing is a good way to prevent trolls and other less desirables from flooding the site with crap, plus find the more appreciated and higher contributors. I think it helps maintain the quality of discussion on this site.

My only problem is that I hate commenting unless I have something to add, which @ lesswrong.com is almost never (thanks to the diligence of the community here) but I need at least 2 points to bring up a topic in the dicussion board, where usually I just want to share how I'm using this site to encourage rationality in my local community, and also to ask if there are any Sydney, Australia meet ups.

My only problem is that I hate commenting unless I have something to add, which @ lesswrong.com is almost never

I was originally in your boat, and kind of still am.

I've found that the more I've been involved, the more I've had to contribute. At first my comments were kind of trite, but I got better. Commenting gives you good feedback, which you can then use to refine your points and knowledge so that you have more to contribute.

I find that actually helped me a lot: When I first got here, I probably wouldn't have contributed as much to the discussion, simply because I'm used to how a "normal, mainstream" community acts. Having a small obstacle to participation seems like a good way to ensure people are familiar with LessWrong specifically.

Eliezer is awesomecool! He's one of my heroes on Facebook! Yayyyyyyyyyy Eliezer! People like him and say nice things about him! May he be blessed with unalloyed yet deserved positive affect!

SIAI is totally awesome too! Good job making SIAI, Eliezer! Good luck with your proof proof proofs! May ye never forget to go meta, nor crumble in uncertainty, but especially may ye not forget to go meta! Yay Eliezer! 100,000 karma means... you are far from becoming Enlightened, but at least your rate of karma generation has gone down of late! Go you!

Some of Yudkowsky's newer posts have received much less upvotes than yours or Yvain's. My guess is that if one of you would have been around when he started and tried hard enough you'd probably be at 100k yourself.

Once Yudkowsky's book comes out we'll see how he really compares to other people. Although Amazon reviews won't be a good measure I suppose ;-)

raises a toast to the occasion!

I'll just say this much (I've said it before, I think, but...): I find that much of my "cached wisdom" itself as of late seems to be coming from Eliezer, to the point that it's pretty much almost certain that if in conversation I use a phrase like "Someone I consider wise has noted that..." the someone in question is probably Eliezer.

So here's another thank you. :)

Writing the first chapter of "...and the Methods of Rationality" is a milestone all by itself. It's a wonder reading it hasn't given me hyper-cerebral electrosis.

Thanks, Eliezer.

Theliezer.

Is "Theliezer" like "Amen"? If so, I'm all for it! Theliezer!

I posted the above comment shortly after I posted this Look Around You clip, so that pattern was on my mind. (It's a running joke in the series, which originated in the "Water" episode from the first season, and was then used in every episode in the second season.)

It looks like a contraction to me.