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LessWrongWiki User Pages Underutilized; Tag Proposal

11 Post author: Gunnar_Zarncke 23 April 2014 09:50PM

I think the LessWrong user pages are underutilized. There isn't even a wiki pages describing them (or at least I can't find it, otherwise I would have linked it here).

The user pages are what is shown when you click on a user like you would do to see that users other contributions, his karma and to send a personal message. These user pages are maintained and editable in the wiki but embedded in the blog view. This link makes these pages highly visible in everyday LW browsing and could create an awareness of LWers preferences.

Example: me in LW vs. me in LWWiki

Currently only 3 of the top ten poster have one (including EY). And this despite it being so easy to create them via the LWWiki (switch to the Wiki via the link in the nav bar and then click on your name). I guess it's partly because the sync-feature is relatively new.

JoshuaFox recently proposed to indicate your interest in business networking on the user page. But that is only one bit of information you could put there. Another information I'd like to see are the tags proposed on the LW Community Weekend Berlin which could indicate

 

  • your openness to personal messages
  • your willingness to answer questions (to specific topics); one special sub-case might be willingness to proofread posts of non-native speakers (the welcome page mentions four persons explicitly three of whom have not posted recently). 
  • whether you operate under Crockers rules (a tag seen very often on the Berlin badges)
  • other information of this kind like offers of help, dating, ...
ADDED:
ete provided a Template:

I've made a template for UserInfo. Very open to suggestions on parameters, default text, ordering, category names. It's a wiki, so you're welcome to improve it if you feel you have something to add, or let me know and I'll do the editing.

Try it out on your userpages by adding {{UserInfo |network= |questions= |proofread= |messages= |helpwith= |crocker= }} to your userpage, or see the quick documentation for more details.

Comments (28)

Comment author: leplen 25 April 2014 04:16:10PM *  5 points [-]

I attempted to do this. At first I was getting the message:

This action has been automatically identified as harmful, and therefore disallowed. If you believe your edit was constructive, please inform an administrator of what you were trying to do. A brief description of the abuse rule which your action matched is: New editors cannot create pages

This appears to be due to the abuse filter:

<abusefilters>
<filter id="1" description="New editors cannot create pages" pattern="user_age &lt;= 128400&#13;&#10;&amp; old_size === 0&#13;&#10;&amp; action === &#039;edit&#039;&#13;&#10;&amp; user_editcount = 0" />
</abusefilters>

In order to not be a "new user" it appears that you have to have made at least one edit in the LessWrong Wiki. I'm far from convinced that the LW Wiki actually needs an article on quantum mechanics, but it's got one now. I then managed to successfully create a wiki page.

With that being said, I'm still unclear as to how to make my LessWrong profile link to the Wiki. My user page http://lesswrong.com/user/leplen/ still redirects me to http://lesswrong.com/user/leplen/overview and there is no obvious reload from wiki button.

Overall I would rate this process moderately difficult and surprisingly time consuming. If this is something that anyone expects a significant number of people to do, it might be worth it to make it easier or write a guide.

Comment author: ete 26 April 2014 12:05:01AM 1 point [-]

Yea, the current wiki signup system is far from ideal. Unfortunately spambots are a plague on wikis. A single sign on between main LW accounts would solve both spam (and better than the current setup) and the need for signing in twice, but that requires someone to implement it. There is an extension for MW, but I'm not sure how well it'd fit with the reddit based login. Maybe it'd work fine out of the box, maybe it'd be annoying.

As for your userpage not showing up.. that's odd. hmm.. I'd guess it was the old MW does not allow lowercase first usernames issue again (my userpage is also not showing up, and i have a lcfirst name), but gwern's seems to work so it's not that? Maybe it takes a while before first update?

Comment author: JoshuaFox 26 April 2014 06:51:55PM 0 points [-]

My user page http://lesswrong.com/user/leplen/

That seems to be working now.

I would rate this process moderately difficult and surprisingly time consuming.

Yes.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 26 April 2014 01:25:07AM 0 points [-]

I seem to remember that I had comparable problems and that the cause was that I was a new user or that indeed a first edit was needed. I was told that the sync takes some timethere is a bot which does that nightly or some such.

Comment author: ete 24 April 2014 07:50:37PM *  4 points [-]

I've made a template for UserInfo. Very open to suggestions on parameters, default text, ordering, category names. It's a wiki, so you're welcome to improve it if you feel you have something to add, or let me know and I'll do the editing.

Try it out on your userpages by adding {{UserInfo |network= |questions= |proofread= |messages= |helpwith= |crocker= }} to your userpage, or see the quick documentation for more details.

Maybe this could get added to the OP or linked?

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 24 April 2014 08:12:33PM 2 points [-]

Done

Comment author: Vaniver 25 April 2014 08:46:16PM 1 point [-]

Issue: I am open to hosting couchsurfers in Template:Couchsurf. [here]

Comment author: ete 25 April 2014 09:02:27PM *  2 points [-]

oops, fixed. Thanks for reporting.

Comment author: ete 25 April 2014 09:08:26AM *  1 point [-]

Issue: LW Wiki CSS seems not to be handled by the code LW uses to grab userpages. I'll switch it to inline later.

Edit: Done.

Comment author: JoshuaFox 24 April 2014 07:04:03AM *  4 points [-]

Yes!

comment confirming creation of such a user page

I have updated my user page.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 23 April 2014 09:51:55PM 4 points [-]

To get a critical mass I propose upvoting any comment confirming creation of such a user page. The voting on this comment should show whether encouraging user page creation is a good idea.

Comment author: Vaniver 25 April 2014 08:45:16PM 3 points [-]

Updated my userpage.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 26 April 2014 01:36:25AM 2 points [-]

It is astonishing how much color those user pages bring to my mental model of the persons behing the previously somewhat opaque LW handles. This doesn't just apply to you in particular but to all those new pages. It's just that I noticed it when I saw it again in your page.

Comment author: MarkL 24 April 2014 10:40:50PM 3 points [-]

I have updated my user page.

Comment author: Oscar_Cunningham 23 April 2014 10:12:28PM *  4 points [-]

Is there any way I can delete my userpage or set up a redirect so that when I click on my name it takes me to my comments page like it used to?

Comment author: ete 24 April 2014 05:09:27PM 2 points [-]

Ask someone with mediawiki sysop powers (gwern is a good bet) to delete the page, I expect refresh from wiki with an empty page should give the original behaviour.

Comment author: JoshuaFox 24 April 2014 07:10:55AM 2 points [-]

As a start, you can simply link to http://lesswrong.com/user/Oscar_Cunningham/comments/

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 24 April 2014 09:05:19PM 0 points [-]

http://lesswrong.com/user/Oscar_Cunningham/overview may be preferable since it includes submissions.

Comment author: gjm 24 April 2014 03:19:32PM 2 points [-]

User page created. I predict distinctly limited takeup for this suggestion, though.

Comment author: JoshuaFox 24 April 2014 03:29:00PM 1 point [-]

That's a good user page! I may modify my own accordingly.

I predict distinctly limited takeup for this suggestion, though.

Why is that? You think that people are not interested in the whole "networking" idea? That they are too shy? That they want to form connections but are simply too busy to fill out yet another profile on top of Facebook/LinkedIn/etc?

Comment author: gjm 24 April 2014 04:09:27PM 6 points [-]

I'm not sure I have anything so well thought out as any of that, but I think I think that ...

  • Most people will usually not actually do anything that seems like it'll take more than 10 seconds, unless they see a very definite benefit.
  • "Business networking" is a vague enough benefit that it usually won't suffice to outweigh that.
  • The benefits of an LW user page for that purpose (on top of ordinary LW conversations + things like LinkedIn) are far from clear. Or, indeed, for other purposes. ** Suppose someone reads your LW posts and thinks "This seems like a smart chap. I'd like to hire him / use him as a consultant / do business with his employer / ...". Or "This seems like someone interesting. I'd like to be his friend / meet up with him / have sex with him". They can already send you an LW private message, or reply to one of your comments. What real gain is there from having more information on your user page?

That doesn't mean there's no benefit to having good user pages -- but I think the benefits, such as they are, only come once there are enough good user pages that there's a general expectation that if you've seen someone possibly-interesting on LW it's worth checking out their user page to find out more. So making a good user page is a bit like cooperating in a prisoners' dilemma, except that it has a lot more than two players and most of them need to cooperate for any benefit to accrue. (So more like what Hofstadter called Wolf's Dilemma.)

Comment author: JoshuaFox 24 April 2014 04:39:14PM *  1 point [-]

Yes.

Networking through LW will take off, it it does, after a few people find specific value from it: a better job, an employee, a cofounder. Or, beyond business networking, they might find a romantic partner; or an apartment-mate.

This does happen in F2F meetups. But it does seem that the online community could also provide some valuable matchups. Let's see if one of these approaches makes that happen.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 24 April 2014 03:47:43PM 0 points [-]

Your user page is very good. I will use it as a model to update mine.

Comment author: ete 24 April 2014 02:44:13PM 2 points [-]

It would be pretty easy to set up a little template with a bunch of parameters which generates a nicely formatted box. Could also add categories automatically so it'd be easy to, for example, go to the category of people interested in business networking. More ambitious things which could be added include queries (e.g. search for business network people in bay area), though that'd be much easier with Semantic Mediawiki, something which excludes a user from certain categories/searches if they have been inactive for a certain length of time (easiest would likely be with a magic word extension for medawiki which returns a user's last active date).

I can throw together a basic template later, then edit it based on feedback on parameters?

Comment author: JoshuaFox 24 April 2014 03:02:23PM *  0 points [-]

Is this something that can be done on top of the existing LW/LWWiki code base? If so, it could be useful.

(In general, it seems that the LW community has a lot of aspiring developers who would like to help the community while getting recognition and experience, and could be called on for incremental improvements. But I am not involved enough to know if that's practical.)

Comment author: ete 24 April 2014 03:40:57PM 2 points [-]

Basic template+autoadd categories are easy enough with existing codebase. Queries would require an extension (SMW package), which is addable by anyone with access in a few minutes and allow fun things like editing the template with a form rather than raw wikitext. The part about user inactivity would need a custom extension which would be either relatively simple or really annoying depending on how the recent activity data can be retrieved from the reddit install. Actually, thinking again, if there's an API we can call for user's most recent activity it should be possible using the existing extension ExternalData and a clever template or two, no need for custom coding.

And yea, it seems like there should be a few people with the coding skills willing to help out, though from my exploration of the code it seems to be unchanging (unless the public version control is just not updated any more).

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 24 April 2014 09:12:05PM 3 points [-]

Is "open to hosting couchsurfers" something else people want on the template?

Comment author: ete 24 April 2014 09:38:25PM *  2 points [-]

Seems like a good idea to me, I'll add it with a city parameter. This would be much more nicely searchable with SMW, detailed autocategorisation without that extention would require a huge number of categories to be manually created and would also be kinda ugly.

Edit: done.