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On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus

Which list of top posts are you thinking of? If you look at the most-upvoted posts on LW, the only one in the top ten about AI risk is Holden Karnofsky explaining, in 2012, why he thought the Singularity Institute wasn't worth funding.

I grant that I was talking out of my memory; the previous time I read the LW stuff was years ago. MIRI and CFAR logos up there did not help.

A Return to Discussion

But if the community is going to grow, these people are going to need some common flag to make them different from anyone else who decides to make "rationality" their applause light and gather followers.

What, you are not allowed to call yourself a rationalist if you are not affiliated with MIRI, even if you subscribe to branches of Western philosophy descended from Descartes and Kant and Vienna circle...?

On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus

SSC linked to this LW post (here ). I suspect it might be of some use to you if explain my reasons why I'm interested in reading and commenting on SSC but not very much on LW.

First of all, the blog interface is confusing, more so than regular blogs or sub-reddits or blog-link-aggregators.

Also, to use LW terminology, I have pretty negative prior on LW. (Some other might say the LW has not a very good brand.) I'm still not convinced that AI risk is very important (nor that decision theory is going to be useful when it comes to mitigating AI risk (I work in ML)). The sequences and list of top posts on LW are mostly about AI risk, which to me seems quite tangential to the attempt at modern rekindling of the Western tradition of rational thought (which I do consider a worthy goal). It feels like (mind you, this is my initial impression) this particular rationalist community tries to sell me the idea that there's this very important thing about AI risk and it's very important that you learn about it and then donate to MIRI (or whatever it's called today). Also, you can learn rationality in workshops, too! It's resembles just bit too much (and not a small bit) either a) the certain religions that have people stopping me on the street or ringing my doorbell and insisting on how it's most important thing in the world that I listen to them and read their leaflet, or b) the whole big wahoonie that is self-help industry. On both counts, my instincts tell me: stay clear out of it.

And yes, most of the all the important things to have a discussion about involve or at least touch politics.

Finally, I disliked the HPMOR. Both as fiction and and as presentation of certain arguments. I was disappointed when I found out HPMOR and LW were related.

On the other hand, I still welcome the occasional interesting content that happens to be posted on LW and makes ripples in the wider internet (and who knows maybe I'll comment now that I bothered to make an account). But I ask you to reconsider if the LW is actually the healthiest part of the rationalist community, or if the more general cause of "advancement of more rational discourse in public life" would be better served by something else (for example, a number of semi-related communities such blogs and forums and meat-space communities in academia). Not all rationalism needs to be LW style rationalism.

edit. explained arguments more