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MBlume comments on Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism - Less Wrong

105 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 April 2009 02:44AM

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Comment author: MBlume 22 April 2009 05:49:23AM *  56 points [-]

May I suggest that length of comment should factor significantly into the choice to up/downvote?

I once suggested that upvote means "I would take the time to read this again if the insights from it were deleted from my brain" and downvote means "I would like the time it took to read this back."

Time figures into both of these. If you read a few words and don't profit from them, well, neither have you lost much. If you read several paragraphs, reread them to ensure you've understood them (because the writing was obtuse, say), and in the end conclude that you have learned nothing, the comment has, in some sense, made a real imposition on your time, and deserves a downvote.

Comment author: shaih 18 February 2013 03:37:20AM 8 points [-]

This being said, one should not hesitate to downvote a short message if it does not add at all to the discussion, simply to keep the flow of useful comments without superfluous interruption that would hamper what could otherwise be a constructive argument.

Comment author: DanielLC 09 May 2013 06:14:52AM 1 point [-]

It's about insight density. It's not as if you can take an insightful comment and write it really short to get a certain upvote. If you have a longer comment, you have room for more insight. If you have a short comment, you can't be all that insightful.

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 09 May 2013 03:23:55PM 1 point [-]

I'd rather follow your first point up as, if you have a short comment because you took the time to purify and condense your thoughts, that's a good thing.

But, don't forget the overhead for the comment simply existing in the first place. You rapidly run into diminishing returns for shortening a comment to less than a few lines. Ten words conveying a thought is not effectively twice as dense as twenty words conveying that thought.