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Vaniver comments on Thoughts on "Operation Make Less Wrong the single conversational locus", Month 1 - Less Wrong Discussion

16 Post author: Raemon 19 January 2017 05:16PM

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Comment author: Vaniver 19 January 2017 07:11:19PM 23 points [-]

Two notes on things going on behind the scenes:

  1. Instead of Less Wrong being a project that's no org's top focus, we're creating an org focused on rationality community building, which will have Less Wrong as its primary project (until Less Wrong doesn't look like the best place to have the rationality community).

  2. We decided a few weeks ago that the LW codebase was bad enough that it would be easier to migrate to a new codebase and then make the necessary changes. My optimistic estimate is that it'll be about 2 weeks until we're ready to migrate the database over, which seems like it might take a week. It's unclear what multiplier should be applied to my optimism to get a realistic estimate.

Comment author: JacobLiechty 19 January 2017 07:36:07PM 4 points [-]

Great to hear on both points!

Many might find it a strange thing to have the Less Wrong community backed by a more explicit organization (separate from CFAR?) but I think if that organization is well-run, transparent, and well-branded, and open to the usual critiques, it could be quite successful. Community management will be key; communities love to be vibrant, self-sustaining entities in their own right, with sets of principles which are even distinct from the parent organization. The organization is merely there to enact decisions which are by necessity centralized.

Branding, branding, branding! Would recommend a lite cosmetic reskinning of the site in addition to the codebase switch. The upward locus spiral you want to create needs to be largely organic, but small indicators to push the excitement could be useful.

Comment author: Viliam 20 January 2017 11:24:53AM 2 points [-]

have the Less Wrong community backed by a more explicit organization (separate from CFAR?)

I think it's better to be somewhat separate from CFAR. CFAR has their own priorities, which could make LW neglected.

Comment author: Lumifer 19 January 2017 07:51:32PM 2 points [-]

Oooh.

So there will be the React-based UI, the Meteor middle layer, and some database (Mongo?) in the back? Who will host the server?

If you are already talking about migrating the database, do you have the front end pretty much ready, then?

You have to be careful about switching over with an incomplete feature set as LW isn't terribly healthy and the transition shock might turn out to be very hazardous...

Comment author: Vaniver 19 January 2017 08:31:35PM 4 points [-]

So there will be the React-based UI, the Meteor middle layer, and some database (Mongo?) in the back? Who will host the server?

Apollo/GraphQL. I expect us to pay a typical hosting company to host the server; it's unclear yet who.

If you are already talking about migrating the database, do you have the front end pretty much ready, then?

Yes and no; Telescope's core is already fully functional and has a roughly similar data structure to Reddit, and so we can move posts to posts and linkposts to linkposts and comments to comments. So that part of the migration seems clear, and is the sort of thing that Trike has already done before (in moving from Overcoming Bias to Less Wrong).

But our customized version of Telescope will probably handle them differently than the core does. Suppose, for example, that we want to move from Less Wrong's html post creation to Markdown post creation, then we need to convert all the old posts (stored as html files) into Markdown source code for those files. And until we have the Markdown post creation the way we want it, it doesn't make sense to actually code it.

You have to be careful about switching over with an incomplete feature set as LW isn't terribly healthy and the transition shock might turn out to be very hazardous...

Yeah, I'm worrying about this. Switching before it's better than current LW is bad; switching once it's better than current LW is okay but might waste the "reopening!" PR event; switching once it's at the full feature set is great but possibly late.

Comment author: ete 21 January 2017 09:27:42PM 1 point [-]

Yeah, I'm worrying about this. Switching before it's better than current LW is bad; switching once it's better than current LW is okay but might waste the "reopening!" PR event; switching once it's at the full feature set is great but possibly late.

Perhaps switch once it's as good, but don't make a big deal of it? Then make a big deal at some semi-arbitrary point in the future with the release of full 2.0.

Comment author: Viliam 23 January 2017 09:13:50AM *  0 points [-]

How about doing a public beta for a month or two, with a warning that afterwards everything posted on the new server will be deleted (including new user accounts, etc.), data from old server will be imported, the old server will become read-only, and the new server will become the official one.

Comment author: korin43 20 January 2017 01:36:35PM 0 points [-]

Since you can embed Markdown in HTML, you might find that you don't need to convert the posts.

Is this something you need more people to help with?

Comment author: Vaniver 20 January 2017 10:40:26PM 0 points [-]

Since you can embed Markdown in HTML, you might find that you don't need to convert the posts.

It's very possible that I'm confused here, or missing a cool technical trick. (And also maybe we should have separate Markdown and html editors, instead of forcing everyone to use one, which would also make it trivial to import all the old posts while still moving future posts mostly to Markdown.)

Is this something you need more people to help with?

More people would be appreciated! Email me for details.

Comment author: korin43 21 January 2017 01:21:25AM 0 points [-]

Inline HTML is valid in Markdown:

https://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax#html

It sounds like the original Markdown has some extra restrictions how you close the outermost HTML tag, but I suspect most parsers ignore that part of the "spec".

Comment author: Gram_Stone 19 January 2017 10:38:56PM 0 points [-]

comments to comments

Do you know if you'll be able to maintain their familial relationships as well?

Comment author: Vaniver 19 January 2017 10:49:24PM 4 points [-]

We picked Telescope because it has a threaded commenting system, as opposed to systems like Discourse.

Comment author: Raemon 21 January 2017 03:08:12PM 1 point [-]

I'm curious what plans you have re: open source accessibility on the new codebase?

It might be cool to get the minimum viable version up and running, with a focus on making the documentation necessary to contribute really good, and then do a concerted push to get people to make various improvements.

That may not work, but it'd be an obvious time to try for it.

Comment author: Vaniver 22 January 2017 02:28:07AM 2 points [-]

I'm curious what plans you have re: open source accessibility on the new codebase?

Like the current codebase, it'll be hosted on github.