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Open thread, January 29 - ∞

Thanks very much!

If the only thing that remained of Greater Wrong was the javascript-free access to the Less(er)Wrong homepage (I mostly disabled js in my browser in the aftermath of spectre, plus js somehow makes scrolling (sic!) on LesserWrong agonisingly slow), it would be a huge value-added for me! I also like the accesskey-based shortcuts for home, featured etc.

However, it's also a much nicer and faster interface for reading the comments and even the content!

(Testing with js enabled: no noticeable slowness; the comment navigation system is neat, though I doubt whether I'd actually use it.)

LW 2.0 Strategic Overview

Thank you, very much for making this effort! I love the new look of the site — it reminds me of http://practicaltypography.com/ which is (IMO) the nicest looking site on the internet. I also like the new font.

Some feedback, especially regarding the importing of old posts.

  • Firstly, I'm impressed by the fact that the old links (with s/lesswrong.com/lesserwrong.com/) seem to consistently redirect to the correct new locations of the posts and comments. The old anchor tag links (like http://lesswrong.com/lw/qx/timeless_identity/#kl2 ) do not work, but with the new structuring of the comments on the page that's probably unavoidable.

  • Some comments seem to have just disappeared (e.g. http://lesswrong.com/lw/qx/timeless_identity/dhmt ). I'm not sure if these are deliberate or not.

  • Both the redirection and the new version, in general, somehow feel slow/heavy in a way that the old versions did not (I'd chalk that up to my system being to blame, but why would it disproportionately affect the new rather than the old versions).

  • Images seem to be missing from the new versions (e.g. from http://lesswrong.com/lw/qx/timeless_identity/https://www.lesserwrong.com/static/imported/2008/06/02/manybranches4.png for instance does not exist)

  • Citations (blockquotes) are not standing out very well in the new versions, to the extent that I have trouble easily determining where they end and the surrounding text restarts. (A possible means of improving this could perhaps be to increase the padding of blockquotes.) For an example, see http://lesswrong.com/lw/qx/timeless_identity .

  • Straight quotation marks ("), rather than (“ ”) look out of place with the new font (I have no idea how to easily remedy this.) For examples, yet again see http://lesswrong.com/lw/qx/timeless_identity .

2017 LessWrong Survey

Thanks for the very fast reply!

I interpreted 2 correctly (in line with your reading), for 1, the "you would likely leave" part misled me.

2017 LessWrong Survey

Firstly, thank you for the survey and for the option of exporting one's answers!

Questions that I found ambiguous or without a clear, correct answer (for future reference, since changing the survey midway is a terrible idea):

  1. Is it fundamentally important to you that the 'rationality movement' ever produces a measurable increase in general sanity? (i.e, if you were shown conclusive proof it will not you would likely leave)?

What do you answer if you believe that it is fundamentally important, and worth trying, but still unlikely to succeed (i.e. we're probably doomed, but we should still make an effort)?

  1. Do you attend Less Wrong meetups? Yes, once or a few times

Attended once or a few times, in total, or attend once or a few times per year/other reasonable time period?

Bring up Genius

Thank you very much for translating this! Typos (if you care):

s/But I am happy that a have a great family/But I am happy that I have a great family/

s/and Slavic roots, so as an European/and Slavic roots, so as a European/

What's up with Arbital?

Thanks for the fast reply!

The founders were also really well known so it was easy for them to seed the platform.

OTOH Eliezer is also quite well-known, at least in the relevant circles. For example, at my non-American university, almost everyone doing a technical subject, that I know, has heard of and usually read HPMoR (I didn't introduce them to it). Most don't agree with the MIRI view on AI risk (or don't care about it...), but are broadly on board with rationalist principles and definitely do agree that science needs fixing, which is all that you need to think that something like Arbital is a Good Idea. It's a bit of a shame that HPMoR was finished before Arbital was ready.

I'm also not entirely sure about the comparison with Wikipedia, regarding ease of creating entries vs. writing explanations — in some cases, writing a logical explanation, deriving things from first (relevant) principles is easier than writing an encyclopaedic entry, having the appropriate citations (with Wikipedia policy encouraging secondary over primary sources). Writing things well is another challenge, but that's the case for both.

The remaining arguments are probably sufficient, in themselves, though.

I can't open-source the platform as long as I'm doing the for-profit venture, since the platforms are too similar. However, if at some point I have to stop, then I'll be happy to open source everything at that point.

That makes sense!

What's up with Arbital?

Thank you for the summary of the state of Arbital!

It seems that while you haven't achieved your full goals, you have created a system that Eliezer is happy with, which is of non-zero value in itself (or, depending on what you think of MIRI, the AI alignment problem etc., of very large value).

It'd be interesting to work out why projects like Wikipedia and StackOveflow succeeded, while Arbital didn't, to such an extent. Unfortunately, I don't really have much of an idea how to answer my own question, so I'll be among those who want all the answers, but don't want to write them... (Too niche a target? Luck? Lack of openness to contributors???)

Finally — this is obviously a huge request considering the amount of work you must have put into Arbital — if you're not planning to re-use much of the existing code and if you don't think that it would harm the new "Arbital 2.0", would you consider open-sourcing the existing platform? (This is distinct from the content being under CC BY-SA, though kudos to whoever made that decision!)

Link: The Economist on Paperclip Maximizers

Disable javascript (and possibly reload in a private window).

Lesswrong 2016 Survey

Thanks! (Sorry for the late reply.)

Lesswrong 2016 Survey

Is there an easy way of printing one's replies (or saving them permanently for offline use), other than either:

  1. Printing out each separate page;
  2. Waiting for all the answers to be published and extracting one's own row (though that's suboptimal since the questions will presumably be absent and also, one has to wait)?

In the old survey/census I could print (to pdf) the entire form in one go.

Thanks for organising the survey!

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