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XFrequentist comments on References & Resources for LessWrong - Less Wrong

90 Post author: XiXiDu 10 October 2010 02:54PM

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Comment author: XFrequentist 10 October 2010 05:08:24PM *  6 points [-]

Nice idea, thanks for taking the time to compile these resources!

A few thoughts:

  1. This would be easier to follow if the links in each section were ordered roughly from easiest to most challenging.

  2. The length of this list is going to intimidate some new readers. One could productively add to the LW conversation after understanding a small fraction of these references. You should make it clear that these aren't prerequisite.

  3. Some of the entries seem only tangentially related to LW (e.g. Haskell, Go).

  4. The "Key Concepts" section might be better near the beginning.

  5. The "Key Resources" do not seem to me to be key resources.

I'm in the process of trying to get another LW project started, but I've long thought that a "LessWrong Syllabus" (laid out in the style of a university degree planner), would be a good idea. This post seems to be a step in that direction.

It could list assumed prerequisites, recommended or core topics, advanced topics, plus suggested learning materials (books, online courses, etc.), and means of testing progress at each stage. [ETA: Links above are just examples]

Methods of testing might be controversial, but it would be straightforward to capture most of the topics, particularly at the beginner stages.

I should note that this is meant to help guide self-study of the theoretical mathy-sciencey aspects of LessWrongian rationality; I think that this format might be less well suited to the study of applied rationality.

Comment author: XiXiDu 10 October 2010 05:59:19PM *  1 point [-]
  • "Key Resources" are now called Relevant Websites.
  • "Key Concepts" are now at the very top.
  • I added "Note: Don't be intimidated by the length of this list. Most of these references aren't prerequisite. Only a small fraction is necessary to follow most of the posts and discussions on LessWrong. Before giving up rather just go ahead and read the Sequences, you'll see it's much easier to understand than this list makes it look like. And if you've trouble understanding some concept, just ask in the comments or come back and see if you can find some explanation via this companion."

I know that some entries are only tangentially related to LW, but I wanted to compile a list that gives you as much as possible background knowledge to understand and participate on LW and integrate into the community. I believe that programming is a essential field of knowledge and that Go is not just very popular with people interested in LW related content but also one of the first hard AI problems people can learn about by simply playing a game.

About ordering it from easiest to most challenging. Well, I can't do that. First of all it would likely mess up the categories and it is not clear to me what is easy and what not. This list is the culmination of feedback I received from asking, "What should I learn?" That is, although I'm reasonable sure that all of the items are of high quality as they were recommended by highly educated people who have read them, I haven't actually read most of it myself yet.

Comment author: XFrequentist 13 October 2010 03:26:48AM 0 points [-]

Thanks. This is much improved, by the way!