Alan648

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Alan648's Shortform

I want a better way to efficiently find the high-level conclusions from any given area of (scientific) knowledge

I often want to know something like: what is the state of the evidence on e.g. how to sleep better, what actually works for depression, how memes spread through societies, etc. 

I usually don't know to efficiently find traction on these questions. 

The options generally seem to be: 

a) Google it and come up with something probably as likely to be false as true

b) spend many hours doing a review of the literature myself

c) get lucky and find a good, readable review from someone trustworthy 

d) do nothing 

I think this could be improved if there existed some centralised place with short, easy-to-read, high-level, high-quality summaries of different areas of (scientific) knowledge. 

I'm imagining something that looks like the following: 

Title: e.g. 'How To Sleep Better' 

High-level conclusions: X, Y, Z

Proposed reasons: a, b, c 

Links to further reading 

I will pay ~$30 an hour (negotiable; up to ~10 hours per person) to anyone who wants to either: write such a summary on an area they know about or collate the best of these kinds of summaries on a bunch of different areas.

Such a project will, by its nature, involve a level of trust in the people writing the summaries. My hope is that the people in this community are trustworthy enough to make this valuable in expectation. In an ideal world, and possibly in the real world if this takes off, these summaries could be peer-reviewed and scrutinised, to ensure higher-quality. 

However, I expect the existence of a somewhat inaccurate summary (with links to further reading) to be better than the default (e.g. Google) referred to before. My idea is that this could be a website that people can default to to find information quickly instead of Google, but easier-to-read and more action-relevant than something like Wikipedia. 

Finally, if you have an idea about a better way to achieve this goal of making a more efficient way of learning the high-level conclusions from science without having to do the research yourself, then let me know!

(also first-time post on LessWrong, so let me know if there are some norms or best practices that I'm not following, or reach out and say hi <3)