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remmelt comments on On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus - Less Wrong

84 Post author: AnnaSalamon 27 November 2016 05:13PM

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Comment author: remmelt 30 November 2016 10:38:35PM *  2 points [-]

I oversee a list of Facebook groups so if there's any way I can help support this, please let me know and your arguments: https://www.facebook.com/EffectiveGroups/

Here's some intuitions I have:

  1. It will be really hard to work against the network effects and ease of Facebook but I think its social role should be emphasised instead. Likewise for EA Forum but maybe this can take on a specific role like being more friendly to new people / more of a place to share information and do announcements.

  2. If you position LW as setting the gold standard of conversations on rationality and ethics and not just give anyone on the internet the ability to join in most conversations, that will give authors an incentive to cross-post or adapt their Facebook posts for it. Otherwise, there's no clear distinction and no reason to go to one place instead of the other. However, you can still include layers of access to communication.

  3. Taking Anna's first point on the deadly puzzle, I think this should be a place for people of high merit and specialised knowledge to focus on solving it. I wouldn't know what the best meritocracy mechanisms for this would be that don't create bad side-effects. "The world is locked right now in a deadly puzzle, and needs something like a miracle of good thought if it is to have the survival odds one might wish the world to have."

  4. Maybe external blog and Facebook comments can be a first filter for thinking. If the commenters feel that their texts are of high enough quality, they can post a better version on them on the LW article. This would mean as an example that a blog like Slate Star Codex would have a LW icon link that allows a commenter to also post a cleaner version on the crossposted LW article if it meets the standards and he or she have the access. Having different usernames on different platforms may make this process less transparant.

  5. To summarise, I would optimise for the quality of the people, not the quantity of them. A small group can make a major difference but gets hindered by the noise of the crowd. There are plenty of other places on the internet for people to pleasantly discuss bias, get into intriguing debates and one-up each other.

  6. I don't mean this comment to sound elitist or arrogant. I probably wouldn't make the cut.

  7. I read lots of good suggestions for improving this website. They risk making the plans too complicated and difficult to execute though. The fact that LW's structure has been stagnant for several years indicates to me that this is a much more difficult problem to solve than an inside view would suggest. I think starting with fundamentals for engaging people like above should be the priority and likely means making some hard decisions.

For the rest, I think I don't have much of use to contribute to this discussion as a newbie. Please mention where you think I'm wrong here.