LW has a BDFL already. He's just not very interested and (many) people don't believe he's able to restore the website. We didn't "come to believe" anything.
An additional additional point is that the dictator can indeed quit and is not forced to kill themselves to get out of it. So it's actually not FL. And in fact, it's arguably not even a dictatorship, as it depends on the consent of the governed. Yes, BDFL is intentionally outrageous to make a point. What's yours?
I've done my fair bit of product management, mostly on resin.io and related projects (etcher.io and resinos.io) and can offer some help in re-imagining the vision behind lw.
that's awesome. I'm starting to hope something may come of this effort.
Who is empowered to set Vaniver or anyone else as the BDFL of the site? It would be great to get into a discusion of "who" but I wonder how much weight there will be behind this person. Where would the BDFL's authority eminate from? Would he be granted, for instance, ownership of the lesswrong.com domain? That would be a sufficient gesture.
I'm empowered to hunt down the relevant people and start conversations about it that are themselves empowered to make the shift. (E.g. to talk to Nate/Eliezer/MIRI, and Matt Fallshaw who runs Trike Apps.).
I like the idea of granting domain ownership if we in fact go down the BDFL route.
Please consider a few gremlins that are weighing down LW currently:
Eliezer's ghost -- He set the culture of the place, his posts are central material, has punctuated its existence with his explosions (and refusal to apologise), and then, upped and left the community, without actually acknowledging that his experiment (well kept gardens etc) has failed. As far as I know he is still the "owner" of this website, retains ultimate veto on a bunch of stuff, etc. If that has changed, there is no clarity on who the owner is (I see three logos o
For the benefit of anyone else who'd need to Google: Benevolent Dictator For Life
Re: 1, I vote for Vaniver as LW's BDFL, with authority to decree community norms (re: politics or anything else), decide on changes for the site; conduct fundraisers on behalf of the site; etc. (He already has the technical admin powers, and has been playing some of this role in a low key way; but I suspect he's been deferring a lot to other parties who spend little time on LW, and that an authorized sole dictatorship might be better.)
Anyone want to join me in this, or else make a counterproposal?
I am working on a project with this purpose, and I think you will find it interesting:
It is intended to be a community for intelligent discussion about rationality and related subjects. It is still a beta version, and has not launched yet, but after seeing this topic, I have decided to share it with you now.
It is based on the open source platform that I'm building:
This platform will address most of the issues discussed in this thread. It can be used both like a publishing/discussion platform, and as a ... (read more)
I think you're right that wherever we go next needs to be a clear schelling point. But I disagree on some details.
I do think it's important to have someone clearly "running the place". A BDFL, if you like.
Please no. The comments on SSC are for me a case study in exactly why we don't want to discuss politics.
Something like reddit/hn involving humans posting links seems ok. Such a thing would still be subject to moderation. "Auto-aggregation" would be bad however.
Sure. But if you want to replace the karma system, be sure to replac
On the idea of a vision for a future, if I were starting a site from scratch, I would love to see it focus on something like "discussions on any topic, but with extremely high intellectual standards". Some ideas:
On (4), does anyone have a sense of how much it would cost to improve the code base? Eg would it be approximately $1k, $10k, or $100k (or more)? Wondering if it makes sense to try and raise funds and/or recruit volunteers to do this.
Strong writers enjoy their independence.
Strong writers enjoy their independence.
This is, I think, the largest social obstacle to reconstitution. Crossposting blog posts from the diaspora is a decent workaround, though -- if more than a few can be convinced to do it.
Reminds me of the motto "Strong Opinions, Weakly Held". There's no point having a blurry opinion, or not expressing what you believe to be the most likely candidate for a good way forward, even if it's more likely by only a small margin. By expressing (and/or acting on) a clearly expressed, falsifiable opinion, you expose it to criticism, refutation, improvement, etc. And if you hold it weakly, then you will be open to reconsidering. Refusing to make up your mind, and kindof oscilating between a few options, perhaps waiting to see where the wind ... (read more)
You appear to be arguing about definitions. I'm not interested in going down that rabbit hole.
Which in turn depends on what you mean by "artificial".
I don't use the word consciousness as it's a complex concept not really necessary in this context. I approach a mind as an information processing system, and information processing systems can most certainly be distributed. What that means for consciousness depends on what you mean by consciousness I suppose, but I would not like to start that conversation.
There are still many intermediate steps. What does it mean "to be conscious of a sensory input"? Are we talking system 1 or system 2? If the brain is composed of modules, which it likely is, what if some of them are digital and able to move to where the information is and others are not? What if the biological part's responses can be modelled well enough to be predicted digitally 99.9% of the time, such that a remote near-copy can be almost autonomous by means of optimistic concurrency, correcting course only when the verdict comes back different... (read more)
Surely the point at which your entire sensory input comes from the digital world you are somewhat uploaded, even if part of the processing happens in biological components. what does it mean to "travel" when you can receive sensory inputs from any point in the network? There are several rubicons to be crossed, and transitioning from "has tiny biological part" to "has no biological part" is another, but it's definitely smaller than "one day an ape, the next day software". What's more, what I'm arguing is not that ther... (read more)
This whole conversation sounds to me like people arguing whether width or height is a more important factor to the area of a rectangle. Or perhaps what percentage of the total each is responsible for.
It seems we humans are desperate to associate everything with a single cause, or if it has multiple causes, allocate causality to x% of multiple factors. However, success quite often has multiple contributing factors and exhibits "the chain is as strong as its weakest link" type behaviour. When phrased in terms of the contribution width and height make to the area of a rectangle, a lot of the conversation sounds like a category error. A lot of the metaphors we try and apply quite simply do not make sense.
The truly insidious effects are when the content of the stories changes the reward but not by going through the standard quality-evaluation function.
For instance, maybe the AI figures out that the order of the stories affects the rewards. Or perhaps it finds how stories that create a climate of joy/fear on campus lead to overall higher/lower evaluations for that period. Then the AI may be motivated to "take a hit" to push through some fear mongering so as to raise its evaluations for the following period. Perhaps it finds that causing strife in t... (read more)
Got a project we worked on for my startup covered on hackaday.com!
The issue is that the content does get written. It just doesn't find its way here.
I admire your optimism and determination. It's not my intention to convince you not to try. Even if you don't succeed, and it's not impossible that you could succeed, you will certainly get a lot out of it. So take my negativity as a challenge, and prove me wrong :).
Consider the fact that many, many programmers frequent LW. It's quite likely the majority of members know how to program a computer, and most of them have a very high level of skill. Despite this, contributions to LW's codebase have been minimal over the life of this website. I take this as extremely strong evidence that the friction to getting any change through is very, very high.
the problem is that these suggestions have orders of magnitude higher cost of implementation. This is further compounded by the fact that 1. LW uses a fork of the reddit codebase, which was not built with modification in mind, and 2. the fact that the owners of LW are (a) hard to engage in a conversation about changes and (b) even harder to get them to actually apply it.
The suggestion I made above suffers from none of these, and is technically implementable in a weekend (tops) by a single developer -- me. Whether it will be successful or not is a differen... (read more)
I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about this. Fundamentally in order to discuss improvements, it's necessary to identify the sources of pain. The largest problem (and/or existential threat) I can see with LW is its stagnation/decline, both in content, and in new insights generated here.
Charitably, I suspect LW was built with the assumption that it would always have great content coming in, so the target and focus of most design decisions, policies, implied norms, and ad hoc decisions (let's call all these 'constraints') was to restrict bad conten... (read more)
I wonder to what degree 'follow your dreams' is a counterbalance to Dunning-Kruger. I.e. the people that should follow their dreams are likely to underestimate themselves, so a general 'go for it against the odds' climate might be just enough to push them to actually follow through. This would still leave the less skilled to suffer in following dreams they can't succeed at, but there should be some thought as to whether the end result is positive for humanity-in-general or not.
There is also something to be said that some times the people that should follo... (read more)
The advice to "follow your dreams" seems to have two different interpretations, "use your gut feeling to choose your career" and "strive for excellence in your chosen career". I'm mostly objecting to the first interpretation.
As to what motivates people, I've come to believe that our interests and motivations are changeable, though I believed otherwise for many years. You can consciously choose to abandon a hopeless dream, and get a different dream that will motivate you just as much.
and of course this is another case of 'just because you hired the top 1% of the CVs you got, doesn't mean that those you hired are in the top 1% of programmers'. Less good programmers are more often looking for a job.
Is there a name for this pattern?
funnily enough this list translates pretty well in the context of a whole business or organisation. great work!
The bay is where it's at for the kind of thing I want to do. The amount and seniority of people I spoke to face-to-face in 2 months in SF I didn't speak to in 3 years in London. San Francisco is a city so dense with developers and startup folk that New Relic feels comfortable paying for poster ads on the street. Being where the density of talent is, is a no-brainer. Besides that, the money is there, the partners are there, and the developer thought leaders are mostly there. It's kind of hard to make a case for being anywhere else, really. Plus, it's a pretty awesome area to live in, on the balance.
I spent the last two months in the valley away from my team and close ones. Pitched my startup to several investors big and small. I had to learn the game and the local culture on the fly. I went through insane ups and downs while keeping it together (mostly).
In the end I returned with signed a term sheet with one of the biggest funds in the valley for about 2.5x the amount I was looking for. This quadruples the value of our shares from our last round in September. Assuming term sheet converts to money in the bank, me and my team will be moving to the bay in the next 6 months with enough backing to take a proper shot at building a huge company. And now, to actually get some work done :)
Complaint isn't actually a high enough barrier. If I had a waiter serve me breakfast every morning in bed, and suddenly I had to go to the kitchen for it, you bet I'd complain. The question is, would people not visit links based on the title alone?
In any case, I've explained this enough times that I think I've done as much as I could have. I'll just leave it at this.
All I'm saying is that we have a supply problem, and you're raising a demand issue. Also, the issue you're raising is based on an anecdote that seems sufficiently niche as to not be worth the tradeoff (i.e. not solving the supply issue). If you have evidence of generality of the demand for summaries, I'd like to see it.
But what does it matter if 1% of all links that should end up here, actually do? Hacker news is a proven model, people not clicking without summaries isn't an issue.
And growth in status of the survey.
I was, for a period, a major submitter of links to Hacker News. The process for doing that with the bookmarklet they provide is literally two clicks and 10 seconds. How many of each is it for LW today?
That's the problem. Posting a summary is a trivial (or not so trivial) inconvenience.
posts per month, upvotes per month. (i understand score is positive minus negative, but it cancels out). potentially comments per month too, but I didn't fetch that data. substitute month for your preferred granularity of course.
but if we're talking startups, I'd probably look at where the money is and go there. Can this be applied to groups of traders? c-level executives? medical teams? maybe some other target group are both flush with cash and early adopters of new tech?
whatever team state matters. maybe online/offline, maybe emotional states, maybe doing biofeedback (hormones? alpha waves?) but cross-team. maybe just 'how many production bugs we've had this week'.
I've thought about taking this idea further.
Think of applying the anklet idea to groups of people. What if soccer teams could know where their teammates are at any time, even if they can't see them? Now apply this to firemen. or infantry. This is the startup i'd be doing if I wasn't doing what I'm doing. plugging data feeds right into the brain, and in particular doing this for groups of people, sounds like the next big frontier.
True. I guess I was being a bit cheeky. LW is no longer being kept at all AFAICT (or just on maintenance), just wanted to see if it's on an upward or downward trajectory. I obviously think there is a problem, and I have a solution to suggest, but I wanted to double check my intuition with the numbers.
post updated with code, go crazy! number of comments is another one I'd add if I ran it again.
Well, it's not being 'kept' anymore for one, but I didn't need analysis for that. I guess the question is if it is flourishing or dying out.
I am not convinced it is the optimal route to startup success. If it was, I would be doing it in preference over my current startup. It is highly uncertain and requires what looks like basic research, hence the altruism angle. If it succeeds, yes, it shouldake a lot of money and nobody should deprive it's creators of the fruits of their labour.
Obviously you'd take a different angle with the marketing.
Off the cuff, I'd pitch it as a hands-off dating site. You just install a persistent app on your phone that pushes a notification when it finds a good match. No website to navigate, no profile to fill, no message queue to manage.
Perhaps market it to busy professionals. Finance professionals may be a good target to start marketing to. (busy, high-status, analytical)
There would need to be some way to deal with the privacy issues though.
Well, at this point we're weighing anecdotes, but..
Yes! They do tend to push their rationality to the limit. Hypothesis: knowing more about rationality can help push up the limit of how rational one can be.
Yes! It's not about rationality alone. Persistent determination is quite possibly more important than rationality and intelligence put together. But I posit that rationality is a multiplier, and also tends to filter out the most destructive outcomes.
In general, I'd love to see some data on this, but I'm not holding my breath.
I question the stats that says 1% success rate for startups. I will need to see the reference, but one I had access to basically said "1% matches or exceeds projections shown to investors" or some such. Funnily enough, by that metric Facebook is a failure (they missed the goal they set in the convertible note signed with Peter Thiel). If run decently, I would expect double digit success rates, for a more reasonable measure of success. If a driven, creative rationalist is running a company, I would expect a very high degree of success.
Another thin... (read more)
Well, it's more than a hypothesis, it's a goal. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't, but if it does, it's pretty high impact. (though not existential-risk avoidance high, in and of itself).
Finding a good match has made a big subjective difference for me, and there's a case it's made a big objective difference (but then again, I'd say that) and I had to move countries to find that person.
Yeah, maybe the original phrasing is too strong (blame the entrepreneur in pitch mode) but the 6th paragraph does say that it's an off-chance it can be made to work, though both a high improvement potential and a high difficulty in materialising it are not mutually exclusive.
This isn't "I'm smart and rules don't apply". Smartness alone doesn't help.
But, to put it this way, if rationality training doesn't help improve your startup's odds of success, then there's something wrong with the rationality training.
To be more precise, in my experience, a lot of startup failure is due to downright stupidity, or just ignoring the obvious.
Also, anecdotally, running a startup has been the absolute best on-the-job rationality training I've ever had.
Shockingly, successful entrepreneurs I've worked with score high on my rational... (read more)
My instinct on this is driven by having been in bad and good relationships, and reflecting on myself in those situations. It ain't much, but it's what I've got to work with. Yes, some people are unmatchable, or shouldn't be matched. But somewhere between "is in high demand and has good judgement, can easily find great matches" and "is unmatchable and should be kept away from others", there's a lot of people that can be matched better. Or that's the hypothesis.
I meant malice/incompetence on the part of the dating sites.
I wouldn't jump to malice so fast when incompetence suffices as an explanation. Nobody has actually done the proper research. The current sites have found a local maxima and are happy to extract value there. Google got huge by getting people off the site fast when everyone else was building portals.
You will of course get lots of delusionals, and lots of people damaged enough that they are unmatchable anyway. You can't help everybody. But also the point is to improve the result they would otherwise have had. Delusional people do end up finding a match in ge... (read more)