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LessWrong Discord

3 Post author: excinera 13 March 2017 05:24AM

After seeing the success of the rationalist tumblr Discord and the Slate Star Codex Discord, I've created a server for LessWrong in general.

It can be accessed through the Discord web client by just clicking on the link: https://discord.gg/eYqZMhm.

The Discord desktop client can be downloaded from the same link, or this one.



Discord, for those who don't know, is basically a text and voice chat platform that's become very popular recently. It has a web interface and a desktop client. It's a little bit weird to get used to, but it's very simple and for whatever reason attracts a much larger crowd than IRC or Skype does. Keep in mind I'm not proposing this as an official solution to the diaspora problem, but if enough people like it, I see no reason why it couldn't be at least a good adjunct to what we have already.

Why another communication medium? Well, why not? LessWrong itself doesn't really serve as a proper conversational locus, the IRC isn't doing much better, and the Facebook groups and Skype groups seem to be doing very badly.

Why Discord? Well, because that's where the people are at, plain and simple. I initially thought that Discord was just a gimmick -- yet another fad communication protocol and all that -- but after participating in it for a while and seeing the vibrance of the community that came from it, I figured that the most important thing is there being a critical mass of people to make discussion worthwhile. And Discord really isn't too bad of a protocol, to be honest!

Comments (22)

Comment author: username2 14 March 2017 05:13:43PM 6 points [-]

Can we please not push a closed source electron based app with no options for encryption on the community ? We already have a irc channel which is on a non-tor friendly network and a slack which is practically the same thing when it comes to the frontend stack with a few differences when it comes to features. (I may be wrong about slack)

Why not go for something based on the matrix protocol which currently has support for bridges for both irc and slack ? Why must we fragment the community another time based on a temporary popular chat application which gained traction just because gamers jumped on it like they jumped on gamergate ?


It even has a meme app for those afraid of their computers based on.. you guessed it, electron. Why of course we're going to write our desktop applications in javascript and css and use a whole copy of a browser as a runtime for it.

Comment author: Lumifer 15 March 2017 03:10:46PM 1 point [-]

with no options for encryption on the community

Given that the lesswrong.com website cannot be bothered to get a free SSL certificate and thus is unable to establish an HTTPS connection... in 2017...

Comment author: excinera 15 March 2017 02:13:26AM 1 point [-]

Here is my two cents:

Well, if you want to know a secret, you're absolutely correct. Discord is a shitty kludged-together meme app that will probably die as soon as the venture capital realizes nobody is going to pay to use a resource-heavy and horribly formatted electron app that basically amounts to a non-compliant RFC 1459 implementation that's proprietary for the sole reason that anyone who actually cared could cut them out of the loop by doing an infinitely better job.

And when that happens, I hope you'll join me in pushing as hard as we can for Matrix. But there has to be something for us to push.

The Discord channels for SSC and for rat-tumb have gained more users in the last several days, and seem to have had more activity in them erstwhile, than either IRC or Skype or even LessWrong itself have gained in the last several weeks. It's simple and it's easy and it has the people on it who actually make things happen. As the saying goes, if it's stupid but it works, it isn't stupid.

I think that Matrix is promising and I hope that, God willing, everyone would be able to seamlessly move to it someday -- but right now, what's important is not creating an optimal environment from first principles, but making use of a platform that a large number of people already agree on. Before moving a community to a new and unfamiliar platform, a community must exist.

Comment author: username2 15 March 2017 12:29:43PM *  0 points [-]

I understand your thought process and I apologize for my initial tone if it was too much. I wish you luck regarding this initiative.

Comment author: The_Jaded_One 14 March 2017 09:57:20PM 0 points [-]

no options for encryption on the community

I've heard the CIA, the FBI and the Illuminati are all onto us. Strong encryption is not negotiable.

Why not go for something based on the matrix protocol

Maybe not everyone is ready to take the red pill?

Comment author: Elo 14 March 2017 08:15:57PM 0 points [-]

I get the frustration. Make things obviously better than the current system and we will all swap right?

Comment author: username2 20 March 2017 10:16:19PM 1 point [-]

It's been available for years on Freenode IRC, in the #lesswrong channel. Feel free to use whatever front-end you prefer (most open-source chat apps support IRC, and there are web front-ends too.)

Comment author: Elo 20 March 2017 11:26:27PM 0 points [-]

obviously better

Comment author: username2 20 March 2017 11:39:23PM 0 points [-]

It is not obvious to me at all how Slack, Discord et al are in any way better than IRC, indeed I can think of many deficiencies related to interoperability and retention.

Comment author: RyanCarey 13 March 2017 09:35:54AM 4 points [-]
Comment author: gwillen 13 March 2017 09:36:06PM 6 points [-]

Or even more oddly on point, today's XKCD:


Comment author: gwern 14 March 2017 03:22:11AM 0 points [-]

No IRC :(

Comment author: Jayson_Virissimo 14 March 2017 04:17:42AM 0 points [-]

IRC is near the center.

Comment author: gwern 14 March 2017 05:32:15PM 2 points [-]

Oh. I looked it over carefully twice (once in my RSS reader and once before commenting) to make sure IRC wasn't there since it was quite an omission, but now that I look a third time... I suppose that kind of illustrates the overall point well.

Comment author: Elo 13 March 2017 12:13:15PM 3 points [-]

That meme is poor and should die. How are we actually to construct future converging standards if that meme gets in the way of real progress?

Also as someone in charge of one of the chat groups, I have no problem with another and am already in this discord.

So in response to your complaint - no.

Comment author: RyanCarey 13 March 2017 05:21:56PM 3 points [-]

How are we actually to construct future converging standards if that meme gets in the way of real progress?

By deleting existing standards. By doing actual work to redistribute people toward better existing standards from worse ones. By having people migrate from at least two deleted standards every time you make a new one.

Comment author: Lumifer 13 March 2017 02:28:56PM 3 points [-]

How are we actually to construct future converging standards

Situation: there are 16 competing standards.

Comment author: Elo 13 March 2017 10:34:24PM 2 points [-]

for the record, the discord is not meant to be a standard. just another place to talk.

Comment author: username2 15 March 2017 08:24:21AM 1 point [-]

By being accepting of converging solutions and rejecting diverging proposals. I personally think Discord falls in the latter.

Comment author: Elo 13 March 2017 11:02:43PM 2 points [-]

plug for the Slack

Comment author: korin43 13 March 2017 01:33:14PM 1 point [-]

Are you aware of the LessWrong Slack? Why Discord over that?