Consolidated link thread, September 2011

by Kaj_Sotala1 min read19th Sep 20119 comments


Personal Blog

Recently the Discussion section has been full of link threads, most of them with a pretty low karma score and few if any comments. While many of them are interesting, I'd prefer to have less of them around. Right now they clutter up the discussion section so that it's getting hard to find the threads with actual discussion going on.

Therefore I'd suggest having regular link threads, in the same manner as rationality quotes and open threads. If you're only posting a link together with a brief description or excerpt, and it isn't something really really interesting, please post it as a comment in a link thread.

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The trouble is that LW has no "bumping" and only minimal advertising of new comments - if you post something new in an old thread it's not easily available to people.

I've suggested implementing (optional) thread-bumping in Discussion on two occasions. Both times, the suggestion received very little agreement (as measured by upvotes), and I've never understood why. It seems like an obvious improvement to me.

I (and possibly others) look through for discussion posts I haven't read based on date. Sorting by upvotes allows one to see which recent threads are active and saving posts allows you to follow discussions you've been reading. Recent comments also follows where the latest additions of any kind have been made.

In that environment, I think there's a limited number of people who are interested in "bumping" the same way one would see on a forum.

Upvoted for discussing the problem.

Would the bump happen because of a comment, because of karma, or because of both?

I would like to avoid the diseased Facebook sorting algorithm at all costs here. Some arbitrary assessment of posts and karma should not be used to bring topics to the top.

Perhaps we could make it possible to select from a list sorted by most recent comment, most recent karma and most recent post?

Different solution: setting up a Less Wrong News site based off Hacker News?

Given that more than one solution has come to mind, maybe it is worthwhile discussing the problem first.

Ok, here's a tryout of the system, I having just encountered a link which may be of interest to LW but may not result in extensive discussion.

Via Nature, I read of an "innovation challenge" on a frequent subject of discussion here, Increasing People’s Ability to Start and Stay on Task.

The goal of this Challenge is to find ways to help people start and stay committed to tasks that aren’t always easy to perform but are the right things for them to do, especially, for their health. To solve this Challenge, the Solvers should show how to make people “want” to do things they “have” to do.

$10,000 prize for the best response. Requires registration and agreement to T&Cs to get full details of the challenge. Deadline 16 October 2011.

I believe the possibly problematic nature of holding contests to get 100 people to work for you while only having to pay one of them has been mentioned here before. Still, the T&Cs do allow the successful contestant (and the unsuccessful ones) to retain ownership of the IP that they submit, while granting an unlimited licence to the proposer of the challenge to make whatever commercial use of the winning solution that they want.

While I understand that this risks making the site more complicated, I suppose it's at least worth suggesting that we move the links to a separate section of the site altogether. It could be "Main, Discussion, Links" for example. Or maybe the Discussion menu could expand to "Posts, Comments, Links."