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gjm comments on Lesswrong Potential Changes - Less Wrong Discussion

17 Post author: Elo 19 March 2016 12:24PM

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Comment author: gjm 20 March 2016 02:43:31AM 1 point [-]

HN has a mechanism for giving an article your seal of approval: it's called upvoting. More than that is only necessary if you expect your approval specifically to weigh more highly than that of other users.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 20 March 2016 05:33:22PM *  4 points [-]

Seeing comments from (say) three people who explicitly say that they agree or think I've done a good work, feels much better than just seeing three upvotes on my comment / post. I know that there are other people who feel the same. Our minds aren't good at visualizing numbers.

I think that "if you are particularly happy about something, you can indicate this with an explicit comment in addition to the upvote" is a good norm to have. Giving people extra reward for doing particularly good work is good.

Comment author: gjm 20 March 2016 11:07:34PM 2 points [-]

That's a reasonable point. (And I have no inkling why anyone thought you should be downvoted for making it.)

None the less, it seems to me that if you really find an article particularly impressive then you should almost always be able to find something more specific to say than "I like this", and that a better norm than "if you really like something, post a generic positive comment" would be "if you really like something, post a positive comment saying something about why you like it". More useful feedback, more discussion fodder, less clutter, and (because of the small extra effort required) I think a better indication of actually having liked something substantially more than usual.

Comment author: [deleted] 20 March 2016 06:20:41AM 0 points [-]

Doesn't it feel nice nice to validate someone and express yourself?

Comment author: gjm 20 March 2016 03:05:23PM 1 point [-]

There are many things that feel nice but that I prefer not to do in public without good reason :-).

Maybe I'm a starry-eyed idealist, or maybe I'm deceiving myself, but I don't think my comments on LW are mostly made with the goal of feeling nice. I'm trying to do something like overall utility maximization too.

Imagine for a moment that every article gets festooned with comments from all the LW regulars saying "I approve of this" or "I disapprove of this". Don't you think that would get in the way? Do you think it would add much value beyond just upvoting and downvoting?

If you have something interesting to say about why you approve or disapprove, or if your approval or disapproval comes with useful suggestions for improvement, or if you have reason to think that LW's readership will have a particular interest in your attitude (e.g., because you're a domain expert in whatever the post is about), then I can see the point. If you just want to say "yay!" or "boo!", though, that's exactly what the voting mechanism is for.

Comment author: [deleted] 20 March 2016 10:23:39PM 1 point [-]

I think you're strawmanning. This isn't all regulars, just me, and it isn't all articles, just one. This is making a mountain out of a molehill.

Comment author: gjm 20 March 2016 10:45:58PM 1 point [-]

This isn't all regulars [...] and it isn't all articles

Sure. But "what if everyone did it all the time?" is a useful heuristic sometimes. Things that can't stand being universalized may be things better not done in the first place. (Not always, of course.)

This is making a mountain out of a molehill.

Continuing to argue about it further certainly would be :-). So I'll leave it here. (For the avoidance of doubt: I agree it's a molehill.)